At the time of writing, it's October 17th of one of the most interesting years we've had to say the least. For many of us, including myself, this year has caused us to turn inward, leaning into routine, habit, and health. Regardless, if one of your goals during the winter months is to put on some quality muscle mass and strength, this is the program for you.
This program centers around a few basic principles.
First, it is built around heavy, compound movements that are known to build mass and strength quickly and efficiently. Second, it is assumed that on this program, you will be eating at or above maintenance level calories, as to truly add mass you need to be eating more calories than you use.
So, as you can see, each day has 2 workouts. Cycle through the workouts in any order you want, as long as you take 2 days off per week. They can be consecutive or not, the choice is yours. The idea is that we combine powerlifting and bodybuilding principles to both build neural connections that improve strength, as well as flood the muscle with blood.
All reps should be done in a controlled manner, with a slow negative, and explosive on the way up.
For those looking to gain mass, a good rule of thumb is to multiply your bodyweight in pounds by 15-18 and then add 500 calories.
For example, if you weigh 200lbs, you can multiply this by 15 to get 3000 calories. Simply add 500 cals to this, and you have 3500 calories to start.
As far as macronutrient breakdown, generally the most effective amount of protein for building mass is between .5-1g of protein per pound of bodyweight. Personally, I am a fan of less total protein and more fats or carbs depending on the type of diet you follow. It is hard to quickly put on mass without carbohydrates, although I personally am a big fan of carnivore and keto style diets.
In the case of our 200lb person, they would be eating roughly 180-200g of protein per day, and around 400g of carbs, with the rest coming from fat. However, I personally like to keep fat higher and carbs lower. What's important with carbohydrates as well is timing - try to concentrate most of your carb intake to first thing in the morning and around your workout. This is when your body is most insulin sensitive and will make the most out of the carbs you give it.
If you are having trouble getting enough protein, we highly recommend Gold Standard Protein.
It is very important to get adequate rest while following this program. Also, do your best to manage external stress, as stress causes high levels of adrenaline which is catabolic - it can burn both muscle and fat. I suggest a supplement like Glaxon Serenity to help with stress levels. It contains adaptogens and mushroom extracts that lower cortisol and stress hormones and can optimize your results.
Practices like yoga and meditation are also highly effective in eliminating stress. They can also improve the rest of your life, by helping you become more present and self aware. When practiced, it will carry over into every area of your life and help with inner peace, stress, and emotional management. To get started meditating, simply sit still in a comfortable position with your eyes closed. Focus on the coolness of the air going in as you breathe in, and it's warmth as you exhale. Stay on the 'edge' of the present moment as you follow the breath. One 'rep' is when you stray from your breathing and wander into thoughts, then return to the breath.
For more supplement recommendations, check out The Top Supplements for Gaining Muscle in 2021.