Eat to Gain Muscle | Full Day of Eating

How to eat to build Muscle

When it comes to gaining muscle, the gym is the first thing that comes to mind. Swinging weights around, pushing those muscle fibers to their absolute max and hitting new personal records. That’s how we grow muscle right?

Well in part. But it’s only one piece. In truth what you are feeding your body the rest of the day is just as if not more important that what you do inside the gym.

Think about it this way; we go to the gym, spend maybe an hour getting our sweat on, then leave and go about our day right? But food isn’t so simple is it?

We have three meals a day, snacks, food staring at us in the break room, fast food signs glaring at us as we drive down the road. Advertisements for pizza loaded with bubbling cheese. It’s everywhere, and because of that, it’s much harder to stay on track with our food.

When I started off in fitness I was told over and over: “just eat more food”. So I did. I ate more ice cream, more pizza, more hamburgers, more oreos, more soda. Guess what happened? NOTHING.

That’s right I still stayed super skinny. Now before you get angry and tell yourself that you wish you could eat all that and stay skinny, I was beyond skinny. I weighed 118 pounds, lacked confidence, lacked self-esteem, and it was not a good place to be.

What I later discovered is that while how much you eat definitely plays a role, so does WHAT you eat. The empty calories I had been eating were going in my body, but my body couldn’t do anything with those calories. Those calories couldn’t be put to work to build muscle.

Once I started eating good healthy foods that actually fueled and nourished my body, I started seeing changes and results from all my hard work.

Sure it took time and nothing good happens over night, but I could start to see forward progress.

Check out the video below to see everything I eat in a day (currently at least; I try to change it up pretty frequently).

Find more at: Bones to Bulk

I Tried Vegan – Here’s What Happened!

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So on January 1st of this year I set out to try out vegan. As a trainer I get a lot of people who ask me about being vegan, and rather from speaking solely from knowledge I’ve picked up, I wanted to have first hand experience. So I set out on January 1st to go the whole month of January as a vegan. What happened truly surprised me.

The first week, in all honesty, sucked. I felt like at all times of the day I had things coming out of me at both ends and was constantly running to the bathroom. A normal occurrence when starting off on such a huge change.

This tapered off after the first week thank goodness because it was getting old. Surprisingly I wasn’t really missing meat. Now on my normal diet, I pretty much only eat chicken and fish, so I’m not a huge meat eater to begin with. Some of the other animal products like milk, cheese, eggs, and yogurt I did miss. Even despite that though, I was really enjoying some of the new recipes I was discovering, and was finding that using beans or chickpeas as my main source of protein in meals wasn’t a bad change.

By week two I didn’t feel 100% normal, but compared to the first week, it was so much better. My stomach still had a little bit of queasiness, but overall I felt good. My gym visits were pretty normal, I didn’t see any negative results on how much I was lifting or anything.

Week three hit and while I really wanted some ice cream, I felt like I was going strong at this point. Lots of veggies, rice, and pea protein powder. I’m not going to lie pea protein powder is not the most tasty stuff in the world.

Now at the beginning of the month I had weighed myself, and taken measurements, of my chest, biceps, neck, waist, and thighs in order to compare. On January 20th I decided to do a check in, and see where I was at with my size and weight. After all, I’m all about Bones to Bulk so I wanted to make sure it was lining up with that. Now keep in mind I was eating in a caloric excess not by much but still an excess in order to maintain my starting weight and maybe even put on a few pounds.

I was pretty shocked after my weigh-in and measurements that everything had gone down. On my chest I had lost two inches (holy crap!) in size (in just under three weeks). Everywhere else I lost 1/2 – 3/4 of an inch. The only thing that didn’t change were my thighs. In addition I was down about three pounds.

So I made a decision to end it 20 days in, on January 20th. I was not able to maintain my size even despite eating an excess of calories.

Now I will say several things about going vegan.

  1. I have a new found respect of vegans, it takes a lot of discipline and lots of work.
  2. It is possible to be unhealthy and be vegan. I was shocked at how many vegan processed foods there are, from pizza, to chicken alternative wings, soy hamburgers, vegan ice cream, vegan cookies, not to mention all the bad carbs you can consume on the vegan diet. So while eating healthy and clean on a vegan diet is the way to go, vegan doesn’t necessarily equal healthy.
  3. If weight loss is your goal, it probably will work great for you.
  4. If you are trying to gain mass and muscle, it is doable, but the amount of food you have to eat is insane, and you will probably be eating non-stop all day long.

I put together a recap video that you can watch below of my experience with the vegan journey. Once again it was a great eye-opening experience and I am glad for all I learned, and I even picked up some great recipes from it.

If you would like to grab my free training you can grab it here:

Free Training at Bones to Bulk

Follow me on YouTube here

How to Build Muscle (Do This!)

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When it comes to building muscle there are some key things that are needed.  But what about when you have that one muscle group that just doesn’t seem to want to grow?  We tend to all have that one muscle group that doesn’t grow like we want to.  We work it out every week and yet it still just doesn’t get where we want it to.  So what do we do? I mean we want to go from skinny to buff right?

The answer is simple.  First off anything worth doing takes time.  Muscle does not grow huge over night, and you don’t transform from skinny to buff, or bulk up overnight.  But that’s okay.

If you’ve never heard of the compound effect let me explain it briefly.  The compound effect is the thought process that when you do small actions every day over a long period of time you will see drastic results.  When you dive further into it you will see that change doesn’t happen overnight. If you want to learn more about this I highly recommend checking out Darren Hardy’s book titled “The Compound Effect.” It’s a great read.

So when you have a muscle group that you want to grow it’s simple. We use this compound effect.  Let’s say for example you are wanting to work on your biceps more. What you are going to want to do is every day no matter what muscle group you are working out you want to perform two exercises that target the biceps (or whatever muscle group you are wanting to improve).

So let’s say it’s chest day.  Do your normal chest workout then do two bicep exercises.

If it’s leg day, at the end do two bicep exercises.

If it’s arm day…perform two additional (they can be the same as exercises you already did that day) exercises.

Are you going to see results in one week? No.  But keep this up for three to six months and you will see some amazing results.

I go into it a bit more in this video:

Want More Muscle Mass? Do This!

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Photo by Valery Sysoev on Unsplash

When it comes to gaining muscle mass you are probably already hitting the gym hard right?  And while you are seeing progress it’s not quite what you want to see?  It’s because what you do outside the gym matters even more.

What you eat determines whether or not you are going to actually gain mass.  If your body is not getting enough calories and you are lifting hard, your muscles have nothing to feed off of in order to grow, so it’s only going to get you so far.

So what you do you do?  Well you need to make sure you are eating clean and eating enough.  Your calorie intake has to be in excess of what you are burning.  If you have never tracked calories it will be a game changer for you.  Most of us (myself included) before tracking calories are way off on what we are actually consuming.

So for starters grab a calorie tracker app.  There are a ton out there, find one that works for you.  I personally like FitBit’s app (you don’t need a fitbit to use the app).

Start by figuring out how many calories you should be eating.  When starting with an app it will have you put in your stats such as weight, height, age, and then you will put in your goal for weight loss/gain. Once you do this it calculates how many calories you should be eating  a day.

This is what you want to stick with.

From here start logging every single thing you eat.  Your eyes will be opened to a whole new world and you will find that some foods either have way less or way more calories than you thought.

Get your calories on point, and your muscle gains will follow suit.  For more check our our free video course to start gaining muscle.

Is Snacking Killing Your Muscle Gains?

 

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Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi on Unsplash

When it comes to your muscle gains snacking may very well be hurting your gains. If you struggle to maintain your weight and are trying to put on muscle mass then eating the wrong snacks or not eating snacks between meals could be keeping you from hitting your daily caloric goal which in turn means not adding any weight to your frame.

Now just eating any snack is not going to cut it for you. Downing some cookies and potato chips might push your calorie number up, but those calories aren’t going to do anything for you, they are just going to turn into fat, which is the opposite of what we want to accomplish.

So what should snacking look like when trying to gain muscle?

 

You want to be eating good sources of protein and healthy fats and carbs for your snacks. Fruit of any kind is always a great option, and don’t worry, the fiber in fruit will allow your body to slowly process the sugar so it won’t go to fat.

Tree nuts like almonds, pecans, or walnuts are all great calorie dense options that pack a protein and healthy fat punch.

Protein in some low-fat milk is always an excellent quick option for boosting your calorie intake.

Greek yogurt cups with some nuts mixed in is also a great choice.

Snacking doesn’t have to be hard, it just takes some planning. Hitting 2–3 snacks a day can be the difference between gaining weight each week and staying stuck where you are, so don’t overlook the importance of healthy snacking. For more check out our free video course on how to get buff.

Should You Workout When You’re Sick?

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

So you are feeling under the weather, you’re not contagious and are not running a fever but you are debating on whether you need to get back in the gym yet or wait a few more days.

First off, listen to your body.   It’s usually right, if you truly know that you shouldn’t go and are contagious, stay out of the gym for the sake of all the other gym goers, there’s enough germs going around in the gym.

But if you are over the contagious part and are over the worst part but just are not at 100%, you probably need to get back in there.  Even if you don’t get a full workout in and do lighter than normal you should get back in there.

Now, be smart about it, don’t try to hit a new PR when you are not operating at full capacity, but what happens when we spend too many days out of the gym is we start getting out of the habit, and it’s harder for us to get back into those healthy habits once we are better.

And we often think if we can’t give 100% in the gym then there’s no point in going, sometimes this applies to just feeling tired as well.  A workout that is 50% effort is still better than no workout.

So the next time you are tired or are slightly under the weather, get in there and do some workouts, you will find that you will probably feel better afterwards.  Check out our free video course on getting buff.

 

Trying To Increase How Much You Lift?

 

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Photo by Form on Unsplash

Who doesn’t want to be able to lift heavier right? I mean chances are you if you are in the gym and pushing yourself, your goal is to lift heavier and increase the amount you can lift. But maybe you’ve leveled out. You’ve been trying to increase how much you lift but it’s just not working out.

Well have you focused on an area that could quite possibly make you stronger all the way around? What am I talking about? Your core.

So much of our overall strength can truly stem from our core. Many of our lifts come from our core, it’s somewhat of our base and foundation for all of our lifts. So by increasing its overall strength, we can increase how much we can lift on other lifts as well.

So what are some of the best ways to strengthen your core? Well there’ s a lot more than just planks for building a solid core.

Reverse ups are a great option to build your core.

Squats, both front and rear squats can greatly aid your core and lower back strength.

Starfish crunches and ab wheel roll-outs are a couple of other great exercises, that allow you to build your core.

So regardless of how you do it, focus on building your strength and watch your other exercises improve as well. If you are looking to get started, check out free video course that includes 5 days worth of home workouts.

Why You Are Not Gaining Muscle

 

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Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

When it comes to building muscle it can be frustrating when you don’t see the results you want. But why is it so hard to put on lean muscle mass? After all, you are faithful to get to the gym, to exercise, and work your ass off, but still your results are just sub par. What are you missing? Or should you just give up?

Well it’s probably something you are doing outside the gym that is affecting your gains. So what is it?

It’s your nutrition. I know you might ask what that has to do with building muscle, but it has everything. This was something I completely missed when I first started out on my workout journey. I lifted consistently and saw little to no mass gains. I wanted to transform from skinny to buff, but all I got was skinny to a little less skinny.

When you are trying to put on muscle mass you’ve got to be eating for it. Your muscles can’t grow from nothing. They have to have something to feed off of in order to grow.

If you already struggle with keeping weight on, then the addition of lifting to this is going to add quite a few extra calories that you will need to pack in. While the range varies according to your age, height, current weight and activity level, typically it ranges between 3,200 and 4,000 in order to gain weight. And you want to aim to gain weight while you are lifting and lifting hard.

So before you throw in the towel and get frustrated with your results, make sure you get your nutrition on point. It’s not hopeless. Check out our free video course on how to start getting buff.

This One Thing Can Get You To Your Fitness Goals

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Photo by Meghan Holmes on Unsplash

Do you struggle keeping to your fitness goals? Is it difficult to stay on track? You do awesome and kick ass for a week or two but then fall off the band wagon?  If so this one thing can help you stay on track. Now I’m a firm believe that there are no quick fixes and it takes time to build muscle and get in shape.  But this one thing is the closest thing to a hack.

So what is it? Meal prep!

Meal prep is hands down one of the most important things to keep you on track? Why?  Because if your food intake start to go downhill, chances are your gym workouts will follow suit. You’ve got to be taking care of what you put in your body.

But that’s hard! I mean just meals alone we’ve got 21 a week, plus our snacks!  And time is crunched.  All the more reason to prep! You have to go grocery shopping anyway so I’m not even going to factor that into your time.

So when you are ready to meal prep, lay everything out so you know what you have.  Cook all your meats, cook your veggies, and cook your carbs.  Add them together and put them in those throw away tins that you can throw in the oven.  Add sauces and seasonings to each and you are done! Throw them in the freezer and don’t worry about your meals for the week.  The same can be done with your lunches.

If you think this takes too much time, it actually saves time by cooking it all at once, and what’s more when your food is on track and you don’t have to think about it, you tend to stay more focused on your other fitness goals as well.

So take a half this weekend or whatever day you have off and get your prepping done.

Don’t Have Time for the Gym?

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Photo by Tibout Maes on Unsplash

One of the biggest reasons I hear that people don’t hit the gym is that they don’t have time. I get it, life is busy. I run a business, work full time, have 2 kids, it gets busy. Something comes up at work and you have to stay late, and there goes your gym workout.

But just because you can’t get in a full workout doesn’t mean you should abandon it all together. There are so many options for you to do in order to still get a workout in.

First of even if you can only work out for 10 minutes, that’s 10 minutes more that you would be getting. Don’t underestimate what you can accomplish in a short time.

There are tons of workouts you can do from home with no equipment (check our our free video course to see 5 days worth of workouts to get you started).

What happens if you completely skip it today, is it gets easier to skip it tomorrow, and then the next day and the next. But when you get your workout in, even if it is a short one, it keeps you on track.

So next time you think about skipping your workout, get something in.