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How to put on five kilos of muscle

Devour the carbs after training and more useful nuggets of information.

MOST DIETS, YOU’LL find, are about trying to lose weight but there are those who would give anything to be a heavier, more beefy, version of themselves.

Skinny people are just so for a number of reasons; they’ve a faster metabolic rate than chunkier guys or girls, they train harder, they’re endurance athletes and struggle to meet their required calorific intake or simply, just eat less.

Putting on weight can be just as hard as losing it, but follow our step-by-step guide and we’ll get you there, every gram of the way.

For this example, we’re going to aim to pack on five kilos because to do that will take up to three months, a not insignificant amount of time.

First, a little science. To build half a kilo of muscle requires around 3,500 calories. So a 500 calorie increase in your food intake every day will support this every week (seven days, 500 extra calories a day). If your body cannot build muscle this quickly, some of the weight gain will be stored as fat. That is why we need to exercise intensely.

If we gain half a kilo every week, we will have reached our target by week 10.

1)   Protein, now

You need to start ramping up your intake of protein, right now. You need more of this magical stuff than you think you need. That is turkey breasts, tofu, protein shakes, cottage cheese, eggs and lean meat. The more protein you have in your system the larger your muscles grow. It’s that simple. Your body has an amazing ability to break it down, however, so you need to keep topping up, every day.

2)   More meat

Dietitians say you should aim for between 1.3-1.6 grams of protein for every kilo of body weight, but we’re going to use that as the absolute minimum, seeing as that guideline is only to meet your daily requirements. Meat contains lots and lots of protein but also carbs and fats, which we are not going to ignore. Meat is nutritiously dense and will help you pack on muscle.

3)   Get training, hard

Jonny Wilkinson Training at the Telstra Stadium PA Archive / Press Association Images PA Archive / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

It’s not just a case of eating more, you have to train harder too, but the emphasis will be on working your major muscle groups. These include your chest, back and legs.  Add squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, bent-over rows, bench presses, dips, and military presses to your workout. Do two or three sets of eight to 12 repetitions in every session, with about 60 seconds of rest between sets. We suggest going to the gym four days a week, alternating the muscles you work on.

4)   Gobble, gobble

We’re into the eating and the training. Now we’re going to up the eating even more. 500 calories eh? Not so fast. That doesn’t mean five packets of minstrels and two large cokes. We’ll allow some ice cream and some beer (not 24 bottles of Miller).

5)   Devour the carbs after training

Post-workout meals with carbs increase your insulin levels, which, in turn, slows the rate of protein breakdown. So, have a good feed after training like a sandwich, a sports drink and some fruit to help pack in the calories you used during training.

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