Do You Want To Put On Muscle Mass? - Here's how

My job is to produce better athlete's while encouraging our members to also become better leaders on their team. A part of this job is to also field questions about health, sport, and everything in between. Besides deflecting the obviously silly "Don't get too big" comments when our athletes begin their training, I regularly hear, "how do I get big?" Obviously, if a large group of individuals are trying and struggling to get bigger, most people wont get "too big" on accident. But that does pose two viable question that needs answer -

Why would an athlete need to gain weight?
How can you (or your athlete) gain healthy weight?

The first question is more black and white in its answer so I want to start there. In terms of performance we see that a lot of sports benefit from heavier and more muscular athletes. There are the obvious combat sports like football where being bigger gives you leverage on your opponent, but then there are the not so obvious sports. Take baseball pitchers for example. There is a trend in baseball where pitchers are heavier than they've ever been - and I'm not talking about fatter. In the 1960's the average weight of pitchers was at most 190 pounds, by the 90's we averaged 200 pounds, and within the past decade we average 206 pounds for the average pitcher.

Likewise, average fastball velocity has climbed from 90.8 in 2008 to 92.1 in 2015. I dare you to find one high school pitcher who wouldn't love to add nearly 2 mph to his fastball. Researchers have looked at pitchers from high school to the MLB and have shown that there is a steady climb of lean muscle mass, as well as a climb in pitching velocity between these two groups and the steps between (see graph below)

Obviously throwing mechanics are huge in baseball, but I can (with the support of research) say that you can add velocity to your throws by simply gaining muscle. The reasoning is simple, however, the process is more daunting.

To answer the second question in a non in-depth post style format is nearly impossible - but here I go.

The first step to adding muscle mass is an understanding of how our body uses calories (metabolism) and what drives up the response to growing muscles (protein-synthesis). Generally, eating more calories than you burn (surplus) allows for weight gain while eating fewer calories leads to weight loss. The stress we put on our bodies and even the sources of food we eat can affect some of the gain and loss (muscle gain/fat loss). Consuming enough protein (.75-1 gram per pound bodyweight) is a basic way to ensure enough resources for protein synthesis while also increasing or focusing general caloric intake. This is also an easy thing to begin consuming in higher quantity because of our general resources to these foods:
  • whey protein
  • beef jerky
  • animal protein - meat like beef, eggs, or chicken
  • milk products
  • nuts
That being said, protein requires roughly 25% of the calories from the food source to digest itself. In other words, if you consume 100 calories from protein roughly 25 of those calories get burnt during digestion. This means that gaining weight is hard to do with protein alone. That's when we need to turn our head towards another readily available macronutrient - CARBS

Depending on your goals and personal preference carbohydrates can be your best friend, worst enemy, or that guy that work with but have never really paid attention to and don't plan on it. For those who are trying to put on as much weight and muscle mass as fast as possible, you need to incorporate as many different types as possible. The majority of your carbs need to come from higher fiber more complex sources such as:
  • oats
  • potatoes
  • vegitables
  • high fiber pasta/bread
  • rice
Around times of activity such as sport or exercise we still need to incorporate plenty of simple chained carbohydrates like:
  • gatorade
  • candy
  • sweets
Unfortunately I cannot tell you exactly how much of each to eat because I don't know you personally. Some of us respond very well to higher carbohydrates and gain lean weight fast, while others don't have that metabolic output and need to encourage muscle growth as strictly as possible. If you aren't gaining weight and you think that you eat "so much food" I will guarantee that you don't. Whereas some of you think that you pay attention to what you eat, except for the few pints of ice cream you have every few days.

The greatest thing that you can do for yourself is to watch how food affects you and - this is extremely important so pay attention - stay consistent. Nothing will work as well as consistency. There is no supplement, no workout routine, and no witch in the woods with some magic spell that will work better than consistency.

Now, if you are interested in more than just a simple post with general rules of thumb then you can join us for our MUSCLE GAIN CHALLENGE for the summer.

The cost is $125.00

You get: 
Event shirt
3 Nutrition seminars with diet advice
body fat testing
weight management
3 containers of protein
shaker bottle

The person who gains the most lean muscle mass percent will win our prize package worth hundreds of dollars from our sponsors:
Endunamoo Strength & Conditioning
Metabolic Nutrition
Keeno's Jerky
Heff's Burgers
Champion's Clinic - Stu Chapman
The Summit Cryotherapy 
Kotis Design

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About Me

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BS, MS - exercise Physiology
EPC - Board Certified Exercise Physiologist

Published Thesis
The impact of three different forms of warm up on performance

The Effects of Glucose Supplementation on Barbell Velocity and Fatiguability in Weightlifting - A pilot study"

The Accute Effects Of Different Squat Intensities on Vertical Jump Performances
The Accute Effects of Different Squat Intensities On Jump Performance

Graduate from Midwestern State University, founder of Endunamoo Barbell Club, and Endunamoo Strength and Conditioning. Working to help athletes physically reach their goals and achieve scholarships while spiritually pouring into as many people as possible on all platforms.