The Four Laws For Growing

1) Food

The most important part of your recovery phase is going to be the food you eat and when you eat it.

We learned a long ago that the more protein constantly floating around the bloodstream, the more opportunities for the muscle to use it, particularly when paired with a low-glycemic carbohydrate. In other words, you need to be eating frequently throughout the day, and you need to eat high amounts of protein in every single meal. What are high amounts?  No less than 1.5 grams per pound of body weight. See protein, eat it!

If you’re one of those guys who are always claiming that you eat a ton of food, and still can’t gain weight, you’re mistaken. You just don’t really know what eating a ton of food is. When my athletes are trying to gain weight, they have three to four days out of a week that they consume upwards of eight thousand calories a day. Now that’s a lot of food!

If you really think you’re giving it all you got in the stuffing-my-face-for-size department, don’t give up hope.  Keep your protein high and your low glycemic carbohydrates higher. You need to eat to grow, and if you’ve got the metabolism of a hummingbird, you need to eat a lot!

Rules for Big

  • Eat at least your weight in protein every day.
  • Eat six to eight times per day.
  • Make protein the staple of every meal.

Start consuming about 50 grams of high-glycemic carbohydrates and 30-50 grams of easily digestible protein 15-20 minutes before you begin training, while maintaining consumption throughout the workout in order to stimulate insulin and load the bloodstream with sugars.  This type of “pre- and peri-workout” nutrition has been proven to lower interleukin-6, which is a catabolic inflammatory cytokine highly stimulated in the muscles during exercise. In layman’s terms, bring down IL-6, bring down stress, which we both know (or should know) does not help in building muscle!”

Consume another 40-50 grams of high-glycemic carbohydrates and an additional 30-40 grams of easily digestible proteins immediately following your workout to further improve your anabolic threshold, further increase protein synthesis, and keep glycogen levels up to par.

2) Supplements

If you’re really serious about packing on the pounds, you may want to strongly consider the use of supplements if you’re not already doing so.

When it comes to supplements, there’s a good deal of confusion and hype that can negatively influence what you use and how you use it.

For the sake of getting huge, we’re only going to talk about the supplements that I believe will pack the most punch for your money, and that are absolutely proven to work when it comes to building muscle mass.

Protein – By and large, protein is the most important supplement in your arsenal. Unless you’re able to eat solid meals as outlined above, you’re absolutely going to need to add an additional protein supplement to your grocery list.

Choosing a protein like Nitrean is a surefire way to know that you’re getting what you’re paying for!  It is an excellent tasting, clean, and highly bio-available product that obviously stands out in the crowd.

Carbohydrates – Wait?  Supplement carbohydrates?  That’s right, and usually in the form of dextrose, maltodextrin, or waxy maize. Trust me…it’s a lot easier to knock down some Nitrean with a 50 gram serving of dextrose or waxy maize immediately following a gut buster, than it is to eat five pieces of white bread and ten egg whites.

It’s especially convenient to mix up a solution of the two so that you can sip on it while you train.  This will greatly aid in the prevention of muscle catabolization and will decrease fatigue. Opticen is a great choice for a post workout, combined carbohydrate and protein hit. You’ll get 35 grams of carbohydrates and 40 grams of protein per serving.

BCAAs – Branch chain amino acids make up approximately 35 percent of your total muscle mass and are quickly depleted during intense weight training.  By supplementing them before, during, and after your weight training, you’re preventing catabolism and encouraging protein synthesis, which is muscle growth!  Yes, you get a good amount of them from the high quality proteins that you eat, and even more so from a good protein supplement like Nitrean.  However, supplementing BCAAs is a cost-effective way to saturate your muscle tissue and save on excess calories.

Creatine – People can argue all they want, but anyone who has used creatine knows that it works.  Does it build muscle?  Not really, although some research does suggest that it may aid in protein synthesis.  Does it aid in building muscle?  It absolutely does.  Without getting too scientific, creatine plays a role in the creation of ATP, which is the chemical energy on which muscular contraction is based.  The more creatine available, the faster your body can produce energy, which means increased intensity and decreased fatigue during weight training.  Better stimulation to the muscles = better muscular response! Check out AtLarge’s Creapure Creatine Capsules for a convenient way to supplement with Creatine.

Fish Oil – If you’ve spent any time reading about health and fitness, then I’m sure you’ll have come across the benefits of omega-3’s, especially from fish oil. They’re downright ridiculous!  However, for the sake of muscle building, I’m only going to name a few.  They can help to decrease inflammation, and we’ve all had achy joints and mad trigger points. If there’s a supplement that can help decrease joint pain, and in return, allow you to move heavy loads properly again, you should probably take it!

Fish oil may also help to increase focus and elevate mood.  Feeling a little down?  Not going to make the gym?  Maybe that wouldn’t happen if you were taking your fishies. Fish oil may increase insulin sensitivity and can aid in the body’s metabolism of carbohydrates, allowing more carbs to be stored within the muscle tissue (and not your waistline). It also aids the heart and cardiovascular system, aids in preventing stroke and certain types of cancer, and has been proven to help prevent and treat many mental disorders among children.  Get on it!  You can grab some here – Fish Oil Capsules

3) Sleep

Let’s face it…you’re busy. You wake up around 9 a.m., eat a bowl of Cheerios with skim milk, throw a granola bar in the backpack, and head out to school or work. You get to the gym around six, check out some girls, do some bench press, and hit the shake bar. You get home, play some Halo with your online crew, and hit the sack around 1 a.m. with a stomach full of Lil’ Caesar’s Hot n’ Ready.

You don’t have time for sleep, I get it. I also get why you’ve got the chest of a Calvin Klein underwear model and the arms of a marathon runner. You need to sleep!

Hopefully, your diet and workout are a little better than I projected.  However, if you’re not sleeping, you’re not growing. When and how we sleep is when and how our body repairs. Would you like spotty healing for 4-5 hours, or intensive full blown healing for 7-9 hours?

When you sleep, your body produces the growth hormones responsible for allowing your CNS and muscular system to adapt to the training you’ve performed that day, also known as Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand (SAID).  This happens when we sleep, so it’s obvious that if you want to adapt–or in other words, to GROW–then you need quality sleep!

How do you get it?  Here are a few rules to follow:

  • Reduce alcohol and stimulants.
  • Reduce spicy foods and foods that are high in saturated fats several hours before bed.
  • Avoid large meals directly before bed.
  • Eliminate all lights and shut off your computer.
  • Meditate.
  • Supplement with ZMA (can be a wild ride the first two or three nights).
  • Wake up earlier.
  • Be consistent.

It seems simple, but it’s often the little things in life that take you the furthest.  Count sheep, do yoga, pray, read the Anarchist’s Cookbook, whatever you gotta do to relax.  Nobody gives a damn but your body, so get some damn sleep!

4) Soft Tissue Work

Hopefully you’ve recently read Nick Tuminello’s Upper Body Warm-Up and Lower Body Warm-Up articles and were somewhat introduced to the art of foam rolling.  If you haven’t, do so when you’re done here and learn a little something about warming up!

You can take similar principles and apply them greatly toward your recovery.  More specifically, utilizing SMR (Self-Myofascial Release) techniques helps to unlock adhesions and allow blood flow and muscular contractions to function as normal.  If your muscles are locked up with trigger points, then your movement patterns will be greatly flawed. Your mobility will suck and only continue to worsen, and your active muscles will become hypertensive and overactive, while your inactive muscles will begin to atrophy and become more inactive, providing your body with zero aid for movement.

As this happens, your performance will obviously decrease and you’ll be primed and ready for injury like an X-51 Hypersonic Cruise Missile.  If you undo the damage by utilizing SMR techniques, allowing your muscles to heal and become balanced again, you’ll significantly increase your muscles’ ability to do their job.  Therefore, you’ll stimulate more motor units, yielding a better opportunity for growth.  As a personal side note, SMR techniques and dynamic mobility have become the cornerstone for my training. Since implementing these methods over the last two years, I’ve been able to increase performance much faster than before, decrease pain like never before, and increase size without feeling like Frankenstein.

Start taking ten minutes prior to every workout and roll your tissue out!  If you don’t know how, considered purchasing Nick Tuminello’s DVD on Self Myofascial Release, or just do some of your own research.  However you go about it, just start doing it, all of it!

Self-myofascial for Hips and Glutes at Nick Tuminello’s Training Facility

Wrap Up

Ok, let’s reiterate a few strong points that’ll get you shopping in the big and tall department in no time!

  • Change your programming modalities frequently; however, when following a program, be consistent!
  • Focus on speed and power during every rep of every set!
  • Don’t write your own programs.  Find someone who knows what they’re doing when it comes to programming and listen to them.
  • Don’t beat the crap out of yourself every single day.  Too much stimulation is just as bad as too little.
  • Don’t ever walk into a gym for bicep day.  Please, just don’t be that guy.  Be the guy who bends bars during deadlifts and hogs the squat rack with front squats and rack pulls.
  • Eat like the biggest animals in the world, not like the smallest.
  • Be smart about your supplements.  Buy what you know works, and spend the rest of your money on good food!
  • Sleep and grow.
  • Give your muscles a little ghetto spa treatment.  Foam roll and stretch.  It’ll be the best thing you’ll ever do.

Now go, do yourself a favor….lift something heavy!

A Little Somethin’ for Reading the Whole Thing…

I’ve provided three different hypertrophy routines for you to give a go – a three, four and five day split!

Full Body 3-Day Split

Note: Day 1, 2, and 3 are separated by one off day while Day 3 and 1 are separated by two off days.

Day 1

Begin with a proper 20 min warmup including dynamic mobility and foam rolling – full body

Movement Set/Rep Recovery Load % 1RM
1. * Box Squat 6 x 4/2 x 8 120 sec 80-85/70
2. Floor Press 8 x 3 90 sec 85
3. Chest Supported Row 6 x 6 60 sec 75-80
4. Push Press 5 x 8 90 sec 70-75
5. Weighted Chin 3 x 8 45 sec 70-75
6a. ** FB Neutral DUmbell Press 3 x 10 30 sec 70
6b. ** Bent-over Lateral Raises 3 x 8 30 sec 70-75

* Perform 6 sets of 4 reps at 80% of your 1RM, then lighten the load to 70% of your 1RM and perform 2 sets of 8 reps.

** Perform set (a), rest 30 seconds, perform set (b), rest 30 seconds and repeat.

Day 2

Proper 20 min warmup minutes including dynamic mobility and foam rolling – full body

Movement Set/Rep Recovery Load % 1RM
1. Walking Barbell Lunges 5 x 20 (10/side) 120 sec 70
2. Incline Dumbell Press 6 x 8 90 sec 75
3. Neutral Grip Pulldown 8 x 4 90 sec 80
4. DB Lateral Raise Cheaters 5 x 8 60 sec 70-75
5. Single Arm DB Row 3 x 8 45 sec 70-75
6a. Weighted ½ Dips 5 x 4 60 sec 80
6b. Barbell Curls 5 x 4 60 sec 80

Day 3

Proper 20 min warmup including dynamic mobility and foam rolling – full body

Movement Set/Rep Recovery Load % 1RM
1. Sumo Deadlift 5 x 6 120 sec 80
2. Bench Press 6 x 4 90 sec 80-85
3. *Pullup 6 x 4 90 sec 80-85
4. Upright Row 5 x 8 60 sec 70-75
5. Incline Neutral DB Press 3 x 8 45 sec 70-75
6a. Leg Extension 3 x 10 30 sec 70
6b. Single Leg Barbell RDL 3 x 8 30 sec 70-75

* Add weight to your pullup if necessary, and if body weight pullups are still too difficult, move to prone wide grip pull downs.

Upper/Lower 4 Day Split

Day 1 Lower Body

Proper 20 min warmup including dynamic mobility and foam rolling – Lower body and back

Movement Set/Rep Recovery Load % 1RM
1. Broad Jump 4 x 4 90 sec Body Weight
2. Sumo Deadlift 5 x 6 120 sec 80
3. *BB Bulgarian Split Squat 4 x 8 60 sec 70
4. Romanian DeadLift 3 x 8 60 sec 70-75
5. Hack Squat (Full ROM) 3 x 15 60 sec 60-65
6a. Weighted Jump rope 4 x 45 sec 45 sec Body Weight + 15-20lbs
6b.  Seated Calf Raise 4 x 10 45 sec 70

* This works best when utilizing a barbell and elevating the forward foot 3-4 inches.

Day 2 Upper Body

Proper 20 min warmup including dynamic mobility and foam rolling – Upper body and hips

Movement Set/Rep Recovery Load % 1RM
1. Incline BB Press 5 x 6 90 sec 80
2. Neutral Grip Pulldown or Pullup 4 x 6 60 sec 80
3. FB Neutral DB Press 4 x 8 60 sec 70-75
4. Bent-Over Lateral Raise 4 x 8 60 sec 70-75
5. Barbell Push Press 4 x 8 60 sec 70-75
6. EZ Bar Curls 4 x 6 45 sec 70
7. *Single Arm Preacher 2 x 25 60 sec 40-50
8. Russian BB Twist 3 x 16 (8 each side) 60 sec 70

* Only perform this movement if using a Hammer Strength type machine, selectorized machine, or a cable attachment.  If you only have dumbbells and barbells available, move to a standing single arm supinated dumbbell curl, possibly adding a forward lean.

Day 3 OFF

Day 4 Lower Body

Proper 20 min warmup including dynamic mobility and foam rolling – Lower body and back

Movement Set/Rep Recovery Load % 1RM
1. Box Jump 5 x 3 90 sec Body Weight
2. Front Squat 5 x 6 120 sec 80
3. Elevated DB Reverse Lunge 4 x 8 60 sec 70
4. Weighted Squat Jumps (Dumbbells) 3 x 10 60 sec 60
5. *SHELC 3 x 8 60 sec Body Weight
5a. Weighted Jump Rope 4 x 45 sec 45 sec Body Weight + 15-20lbs
5b.  Seated Calf Raise 4 x 10 45 sec 70

* If 3 x 8 is too easy with two legs, move to using one leg at a time.

Day 5 Upper Body

Proper 20 min warmup including dynamic mobility and foam rolling – Upper body and hips

Movement Set/Rep Recovery Load % 1RM
1. 1- Board Press 6 x 3 120 sec 85-90
2. Chest-Supported Row, wide grip 5 x 6 90 sec 80
3. *Weighted ½ Dips 4 x 8 75 sec 70-75
4. High Pull 4 x 6 60 sec 70-75
5. Single Overhead DB Press 4 x 8 60 sec 70-75
6. Blast Strap or Ring Pushups 3 x failure 45 sec Body Weight
7a. Weighted Chin 3 x 8 60 sec 70-75
7b. BB Rollouts 3 x 8 60 sec Body Weight

* Serious forward lean

Day 6 and 7 OFF

5 Day Body Part Split

Day 1 Quads

Proper 20 min warmup including dynamic mobility and foam rolling – Lower body

Movement Set/Rep Recovery Load % 1RM
1. Front Squat 4 x 6 60 sec 75
2. Walking Barbell Lunges 4 x 20 (10/side) 60 sec 70
3. DB Squat Jumps 4 x 8 60 sec 70-75
4. Hack Squat 4 x 15 60 sec 60-65
5. Leg Extensions 3 x 12 60 sec 65-70
Free Time Calves 2 movements > 30 reps, < 50reps

Day 2 Chest/Triceps

Proper 20 min warmup including dynamic mobility and foam rolling – Upper body

Movement Set/Rep Recovery Load % 1RM
1. Incline DB Press 4 x 6 60 sec 75
2. Floor Press 5 x 6 60 sec 75
3. FB Neutral DB Press 4 x 8 60 sec 70-75
4. Incline Cable Fly 4 x 10 60 sec 70
5. Weighted Dips 3 x 8 60 sec 70-75
6. Supine DB Extension 3 x 8 60 sec 70-75

Day 3 Back/Biceps

Proper 20 min warmup including dynamic mobility and foam rolling – Upper body

Movement Set/Rep Recovery Load % 1RM
1. Weighted Pullups or Supine Pulldown 4 x 8 60 sec 75
2. T-Bar Row 5 x 6 60 sec 75
3. Neutral Grip High Low Cable Row 4 x 8 60 sec 70-75
4. Single Arm DB Row 4 x 10 60 sec 70
5. * Bicep Death March
6. ** Preacher Curl Up Set

* Use an EZ Bar and one pair of DB’s: EZ 10r, DB 20r, EZ 8r, DB 16r – 60 sec rest- EZ 8r, DB 16r, EZ 6r, DB 12r – 30 sec rest- EZ 6r, DB 12r, EZ 4r, DB 8r, EZ 2r, DB 4r – DONE

** Start with a weight you can perform easy for 6 reps.  Do 6 reps as fast as you can, add 5lbs, repeat: focus on speed and eliminate all recovery time between additions.  Reach the peak and drop back down by 5lbs performing only 3 reps again for speed until you reach starting weight.  One set only.

Day 4 OFF

Day 5 Hamstrings

Proper 20 min warmup including dynamic mobility and foam rolling – Lower body

Movement Set/Rep Recovery Load % 1RM
1. Sumo Deadlift 4 x 6 80 sec 75-80
2. Romanian Deadlift 4 x 8 60 sec 75
3. Barbell Glute Bridge 4 x 8 60 sec 70
4. SHELC 4 x 10 60 sec Body Weight
5. Seated Hamstring Curls 3 x 8 60 sec 70-75
6. Free Time Calves 2 movements > 30 reps < 50 reps

Day 6 Shoulders

Proper 20 min warmup including dynamic mobility and foam rolling – Upper body

Movement Set/Rep Recovery Load % 1RM
1. Barbell Push Press 4 x 6 80 sec 75-80
2. Lateral Raise Cheaters 4 x 8 60 sec 75
3. Upright Row 4 x 8 60 sec 70
4. Face Pull 4 x 10 60 sec 70
5. Seated Arnold Press 3 x 12 60 sec 70-75
6. *Single Arm DB Shrug 4 x 8 60 sec 70-75

* Heavy forward lean.

Day 7 OFF

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: