For the New Year, Orange County based personal trainer Greg Burkett offers 23 quick tips for

massive muscle gain.

1. Eat more than you burn. This seems to be the simplest, but least followed of these tips. 90% of people trying to gain muscle mass under eat. The faster the metabolism the more you need to eat. At any time you’re not growing, it’s either the food your eating or your workouts.

2. Consume adequate carbohydrates and fats. Ask any bodybuilder how many grams of protein they eat a day, and chances are they’ll tell you. Ask how many grams of carbohydrates they eat and they’ll often not know. Your muscle is made up of protein, but carbohydrates are what carries the protein to the muscle.

3. Eat frequently. You can eat 10,000 calories a day, but if it’s dispersed over 2-3 meals you will NOT see the muscle gains you’re looking for. Try to eat every 2-3 hours. Snacks can count for a “meal” but make sure it contains several grams of protein and carbohydrates.

4. Make sure you eat 1st thing in the morning. During the night your body is in a fasting (starving state). First thing in the morning you need to eat to prevent your body from burning precious muscle. Fast and slow acting carbohydrates can be taken together to get a fast response. Aim for 40+ grams of protein for the first meal as well.

5. Make sure you eat close to bedtime. Once you go to sleep, you generally don’t eat for 6-9 hours. 2-3 hours after your last meal, your body has used up the majority of the calories you ingested. That means your body is feeding off of your fat stores and precious muscle. Eat a meal high in complex carbohydrates and casein (slow digesting) proteins. It will allow your body to “feed” off of the food for a longer period of time and save muscle wasting. The Casein will last in your sleep up to 6 hours.

6. Eat before you workout. Eating pre-workout (45 minutes- 2 hours prior) has a few benefits. For one, your body can start the process of protein synthesis (muscle building) during a workout. Secondly, your body relies on carbohydrates for maximum performance. Taking in slow digesting carbohydrates and protein will help the workout performance and muscle building process. (Again some Casein blended in here is of great benefit along with whey protein).

7. Eat post workout. The majority of people already know this. If your post workout meal is a shake, that’s fine. Try to intake 50+ grams of protein and 50-80 grams of fast acting carbohydrates post workout. You have an anabolic window of 0-60 minutes post workout for the best muscle building results. I recommend doing this within 30 minuets of workout.

8. Eat a solid meal AFTER your post workout meal. A lot of guys don’t follow this advice. Most post workout shakes contain fast acting carbs. Those carbs burn up within 1-2 hours . Eating a meal with more protein and slower digesting carbs will ensure you continue the muscle building process. 1-2 hours after your shake you should have this meal.

9. Try to have a balanced meal plan throughout the day. Your body is building muscle best when it’s most efficient. Going from 200 calories over a 3 hour period to 2,000 calories isn’t going to give you the weight you’re looking for. Figure out the number of calories you eat a day, and divide that by the number of meals you eat in a day. Example: 3,000 calories/5 meals= 600 calories per meal. Now, there’s always going to be a variation in total number of calories, but try to get a proper ratio of food, and as close to a balanced meal as you can. This keeps you insulin balanced and everything working in e better fashion.

10. Never blame the supplements for lack of progress. Supplements have different effects on different people. However there is NO supplement on the planet that will cause you to LOSE or NOT GAIN muscle. Any lack of basic progress is usually a result of not eating adequate calories. (Other then protein this trainer hasn’t used any supplements, maintains proper BMI and has competed) Proper diet will do it all for you.)

11. Do not OVERTRAIN. You build muscle by tearing down the muscle fibers and have them grow back bigger, faster and stronger in order to with stand the damage you just put them through. Once a muscle fiber is broken down there is no point in continuing to fatigue it. Train intense, but train smart.

12. Do not UNDERTRAIN. This ties in to the category above as well. You don’t want to overwork your muscle fibers but you do need to break them down in order for them to grow back. 20 minutes usually isn’t going to cut it for a workout.

13. Bigger body parts need higher volume. Larger body parts have higher numbers of muscle fibers, and usually more angles to be worked from. They tend to need more sets in order to fatigue all of the muscle fibers.
14. Smaller body parts need lower volume. Biceps, traps and triceps are usually some of the most over trained body parts because they get a similar volume to chest, legs and back. In reality they get stimulation from the bigger body parts, and have less muscle fibers so they fatigue more quickly.

15. Mixed rep schemes usually gives the best results. Your body is built with fast and slow twitch muscle fibers. Rep schemes of 6-10 reps generally hit your fast twitch (explosive) muscle fibers. Rep schemes in the 12+ range hit the slow twitch (endurance) muscle fibers. Your fast twitch muscle fibers are bigger, and more readily available for growth. Most sets should be in the lower rep range (6-10) but mix in higher reps intermittently.

16. Legs must be trained if you want or expect the growth advertised. A lot of trainees either don’t workout legs, or work them out half-heartedly. Leg mass can be responsible for up to 50% of your mass gains. A 15-pound mass gaining cycle might turn into 8-9 pounds gained without the growth of your legs. Legs need the highest workout volume of any body part. You walk, squat, bend over and use your legs consistently. They are used to stimulation more than any other body part and there for are the most resilient. They tend to need more resistant, intensity and volume than other body parts for this reason.

17. The back needs a mind muscle connection. Unlike most other body parts, you can’t see your back muscle, contract and expand. For this reason (amongst others) you need to have a strong mind muscle connection. You should always try to touch/squeeze your shoulder blades together. It ensures you’re squeezing the muscle.

18. For chest, the incline pressing movements will give you the fullest look in the chest area. The upper pectoral muscle fills out the top of your shirts. It’s a good idea to start each (or every other) chest workout with an incline pressing movement.

19. Make sure to hit each body part from different angles. Biceps has the inner and outer head, the triceps has three heads, the back has several smaller muscles, the shoulder has the rear, medial and front delts. They all need to be stimulated. For more info on this let me know and I’ll provide workouts that are done for each area of the muscle.

20. Get plenty of rest. Try to sleep a minimum of 7 hours of sleep, but shoot for 8-9 hours. If possible, take a nap during the day. You spike recovery levels while at rest.

21. Track your workouts. Try to log in what you did each day for the workout.

22. Take a picture to see results as they come. Also do measurements.

23. Last, but not least, ASK QUESTIONS. Anytime something doesn’t make sense, anytime something isn’t working, anytime something doesn’t feel right ask us or another knowledgeable source. Most trainers are willing to impart some knowledge to you. Don’t abuse them though. If you want allot be willing to pay for information. Doctors and mechanics don’t provide free information on how to get well or fix your car. You shouldn’t expect the trainer to. (Not the guy in the gym that’s a self proclaimed expert. He’s probley the worst one to ask.) The worst thing you could do is continue along without making progress and never asks questions on it.

About Greg Burkett

Fitness CounselorPersonal Trainer/MasseurMultiple Certifications