Naturally lean? Even skinny? This doesn’t mean that you can’t gain muscle mass – it just means that you aren’t eating or exercising right. Protein synthesis is the process where your body stores proteins to build your muscle. The trick is to up your protein intake so you’re your body can store new proteins faster than it can break down old ones, and there’s more than enough to go on building your muscles, rather than going into producing hormones. You should split the rest of your diet equally between carbs and fats – there’s nothing wrong with fat, especially if your body’s going to be burning them up.
You should aim for one gram of protein per pound you weigh, so if you weigh 150 pounds, that’s 150 grams of protein for you. Don’t neglect the carbs though – you’ll need to increase those for energy, but also on days of downtime. Post workout carbs increase your insulin levels, which slows down the levels of protein breakdown, so have a banana or peanut butter sandwich.
This is vital, as what many people don’t realise is that you don’t put on muscle during your workout, but during the period after, as a demanding workout increases protein synthesis for a period of up to 48 hours after you hit the gym.
It’s also vital to keep up your nutrient intake, because if you don’t eat often enough, you’re unwittingly limiting the rate at which your body can build new proteins. Ideally, you should be consuming some protein – say, about 20 grams – every three hours. Nuts – even the humble peanut – can be a quick and easy way to grab some extra protein.
Combine these exercise and dietary tips with some supplements, easily obtainable online from reputable suppliers, and you’ll be well on your way to gaining some major muscle gains in next to no time.