For most people, weight gain supplements are the last thing on their list. However, for many athletes, upping the muscle mass can provide a competitive advantage for sports in which speed, power, and size are necessary. The key to weight gain is to ensure that you acquire lean body tissue, not fat.
How much weight gain you can expect depends on a number of factors, including prior resistance-training experience, genetics, body mass, gender, diet, training program, and of course motivation. Young (18-25) male body builders frequently achieve increases of up to 20% during the first year of heavy resistance training. However, initial progress greatly exceeds subsequent results, and after a few years, increases typically drop to around 1-3% per year.
It is impossible to experience weight gain of this order without substantially increasing your dietary intake. Building muscle requires a tough resistance program, and a high-carbohydrate diet allows for the greatest recovery of muscle glycogen on a daily basis, allowing you to work hard on successive days.
It has also been shown that athletes who are exercising hard on a regular basis need to eat up to twice as much protein per pound of body mass as sedentary individuals.
Years of research and experience in the gym shows that to increase your muscle mass, you need to adhere to the following rules :
- For best results "periodised" resistance training is recommended. That is, multiple sets and higher repetitions per set (8-12) to begin with, progressing to fewer repetitions per set (4-6) as your body adapts.
- You have to train at least four days per week to maximize the training effect.
- For maximum increases in lean body mass, aerobic training should be reduced if not eliminated.
- Recovery between sessions must be greater than 24 hours to maximize the training effect.