James Haskell: How to get muscle definition
Ten top tips to help men gain muscle and women shape and definition, by James Haskell…
I have just finishing writing my latest book, which is a definitive Lean Gains Bodybuilding Programme 12 weeks of tough training but it will definitely work if you follow the plan assiduously.
I say this with even more confidence than usual because with this programme we have teamed up with not one but two, specialist nutrition companies to absolutely nail the one key piece of the jigsaw that virtually everyone else forgets or ignores, namely the nutrition element, which is vital.
Nutrition essentially comprises some 65% of any successful training programme. Without the right nutrition to fuel your body whilst training, you are essentially just wasting your time, as you just won’t get the results you want.
It’s staggering how many people train whilst ignoring this key element. It’s like Adam without Eve. The moon without the stars. Day without Night.
So as a taster of what’s in the book I thought I would highlight ten key things that men need to do to develop lean muscle to get bigger and what women need to do to tone up and develop shape.
- Consume More Calories
Start looking at how many calories you are eating a day. Make calculations [The book explains exactly how to do this is very simple steps] of what you actually eat and not what you think you eat or tell others.
It is often surprising exactly how much you consume when you work it out. If you are not eating enough calories, you will not gain muscle regardless of how hard you train. To gain muscle you must consume more calories than you burn in a day which can be even more difficult if you are a hard gainer with a very high metabolism.
In order to build new muscle, you must eat more calories than your body burns off, creating what is called a caloric surplus. To gain mass, you should strive to eat around 18-20 times your bodyweight in calories. The extra calories will be used by your body to repair muscle tissue that is damaged during the heavy workouts and to build new muscle.
Now, when I say eat, I do not mean just anything. All calories are not created equal. In other words, some types of calories are not equal to others for gaining muscle. For example, if I said that you need to eat 2,000 calories per day to gain weight and you eat 4 bags of potato chips each day, do you think you would gain muscle? Not likely.
The majority of your weight would be fat. Why? Because potato chips, like most processed junk food, contains empty, totally nutrition-less calories. These foods do not provide you with the correct nutrient breakdown essential for gaining muscle.
- Do weight resistance training
Weight training involves the use of equipment that enables variable resistance. This resistance can come in the form of “free weights” like barbells and dumbbells, machines that use cables or pulleys to help you lift the weight and bodyweight exercises like pullups or dips.
For anyone trying to gain muscle, several things must be done.
One is to train with heavy weights. Using an appropriate weight, you should only be able to do 4-8 reps. Using heavy weights and low reps puts your muscles and nervous system under much more stress, stimulating more muscle fibres, which will cause rapid muscle growth.
For maximum muscle gain, the focus of your workouts should consist of free weight exercises. Not machines or bodyweight exercises. This is not to say that you should not use machines or bodyweight exercises, but they should not be the focus of your training.
- Eat More Protein
Without protein, your body will not be able to build new muscle. Years ago, a higher carbohydrate and lower fat diet was the rage, recommended by professional bodybuilders and trainers. They claimed this was the only way to eat for muscle gain.
Unfortunately, the only people gaining muscle on that type of diet were a genetically gifted few. The rest just got fat!!
Carbs serve mainly as energy for the body, while protein provides the necessary amino acids to build and repair muscle. For muscle growth, carbohydrates are not as essential as protein and fats. High quality protein, which the body breaks down into amino acids, should be the centre point of all your meals. There are many studies that show intense exercise increases demand for amino acids, which support muscle repair and growth. To build muscle, you should try to get at least 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight.
Whether you believe it or not, the fact is: High protein diets build more muscle when incorporated with intense training. Low protein diets do not. End off! Only protein can build muscle. Carbohydrates and fat cannot.
- Eat More Often
To gain weight, you will be eating a large amount of calories. Unfortunately, your body can only assimilate a certain number of calories at each meal. For our purposes, eating three meals per day is not beneficial. If you had to eat 3,000 calories per day, then you would end up eating 1,000 calories at each meal. The average person can only use a portion of those calories. The excess will be stored as fat or removed from the body.
To enable your body to actually assimilate and use the 3,000 calories you will ingest, you have to reduce your meal size and increase your meal frequency. Splitting your calories into smaller, more frequent portions will enable food absorption and utilisation of nutrients . I always eat six meals each day, evenly spaced out at three-hour intervals.
My goal is to provide my body with constant nourishment throughout the day. So if it typically takes about 2.5 hours to digest most meals, want to be eating another meal just as my last meal is leaving my stomach. I do this because my body is constantly in need of nutrients to repair itself.
I do a lot of damage during my workouts and completely stress my system. My body is trying to “adapt to the stress,” but in order to do this, it needs consistent fuel.
If I ate only three meals per day, then my body would be without nutrients for about six hours between each of those meals! This is unacceptable for skinny guys. Without food, your body will quickly begin to breakdown muscle tissue for energy.
- Eat More Fat
If you want to gain muscle mass, you must eat enough dietary fat. Dietary fats play an essential role in hormone production, which in turn is responsible for growth and strength increases.
I have never gained muscle on a low fat diet, though many people still believe that eating fat makes you fat. This is absolutely false. In fact, there is a very popular muscle gain diet that been around for years, called the “Anabolic Diet” that requires you to eat only fat! Butter, bacon and heavy cream are all on the menu. Though quite extreme, this diet does work.
Most people are overweight because of a diet high in simple carbohydrates, not from eating fats. If your diet is too low in fat, your body will actually make a point to store any fat it gets, because it doesn’t know when it will get more. A low-fat diet will also lower testosterone levels, something we do not want when trying to gain weight.
Studies have shown that dietary fat has a direct relationship with testosterone production. An increase in dietary fat intake seems to bring on an increase in testosterone levels. The inverse is also true. A decrease in dietary fat intake is usually accompanied by a decrease in free testosterone levels.
However, you don’t want to increase your intake of saturated fats. Saturated fats are what cause disease and coronary problems. Though you will always have some saturated fats in your diet, your main focus should be to increase your intake of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs).
EFAs are unsaturated fats that are necessary for thousands of biological functions throughout the body. Because they cannot be manufactured by the body, the must be provided by your diet. These fatty acids not only help increase testosterone production, but they also aid in the prevention of muscle breakdown, help to increase your HDL level (good cholesterol) and assist in hormone production.
To get your recommended amount of EFA’s, I recommend supplementing your diet with either Udo’s Perfect Oil Blend (which combines omega- and omega-6), or Cold-Pressed Flaxseed oil (which is mostly omega-3).
- Drink More Water
To make sure that your muscles stay hydrated, you must drink plenty of water. Dehydration can happen easily if you train hard. A dehydrated muscle, takes longer to repair itself than one sufficiently hydrated.
Drinking a sufficient amount of water not only increases your vascularity (more visible veins), but it will also help to quickly remove toxins from the body. Protein generates metabolic waste products that must be dissolved in water. Without enough water, the kidneys cannot efficiently remove these wastes.
- Take a Multi-Vitamin
There are many supplements and specific muscle gain enhancing products that I recommend using in my book, but I have to remember that this is only the 10 most important elements of a successful mass program. So, I have to keep this brief and to the point. All of the other products will help, but they are not essential. So, I will only touch on two vitamins supplements: Multi-Vitamins and Antioxidants.
If you want to gain muscle, you must make sure that you are not deficient in any vitamin, mineral or trace element that your body needs. I know many people are going to disagree with me, but I believe that in this day, we absolutely need to supplement our diet with vitamins and minerals. I know that those who are against using vitamins are going to say that if we “just eat a balanced diet. . . “, You know the rest.
Well first, eating a balanced diet is easier said than done. America is the most overweight country in the world. Most people don’t even know what a “balanced” diet is. Balanced with what Experts will continue to spout, “eat a balanced diet,” while Americans feast on nutrition-less fast food and sugar.
- Take Antioxidants
An antioxidant like Vitamins A, C, E, Glutathione, Glutamine, and Selenium are essential in preventing free radical damage, which is accelerated after the heavy trauma of weight training. Antioxidants protect other substances by being oxidised themselves. Here’s a good antioxidant blend that I also use.
- Rest More Often
Rest is the most overlooked “skinny-guy secret.” If you don’t rest, you won’t grow. Your body does not build muscle in the gym, it builds muscle while resting!
The key to successfully gaining weight is eating enough calories, training hard and then resting. No diet adjustments will make up for lack of rest. If you train hard in the gym, then you should be resting your muscles as much as possible. If you do not give them time to rest and repair, you will not grow.
- Be Consistent
The secret to gaining muscle mass is CONSISTENCY.
Follow the rules, stick to the game plan and the results will follow as night follows day, providing of course you don’t forget the nutrition aspect!!