If I had a dollar for the number of times I’ve been asked “How do I build more muscle?” I would be retired on a beach and spending 8 hours a day learning the guitar with my son 🙂
The musclebuilding conversation between athlete and coach usually goes something like this:
Athlete: Coach, how can I put on some muscle fast? I’ve been killing it in the gym lately but I still look the same!
Coach: You need to increase your calories.
Athlete: But I eat a ton already!!
Coach: How many calories are you eating now?
Athlete: I have no idea.
Coach: Then how do you know if you’re eating enough?
Athlete usually changes subject at this point.
Here’s your key takeaway of today’s newsletter (please hardwire this into your brain): To build muscle, you need to consume more calories than you expend. Having a constant surplus of calories from whole foods helps to create an environment conducive to building muscle. It’s certainly not the only factor (we’ll cover the other laws in the coming weeks), but it’s quite possibly the most critical. And to know if you’re eating enough, you need a system of tracking.
As the old saying goes; What gets measured, gets done. And measuring calories is no exception to this rule. Whether you are trying to build lean muscle or lose fat, you need to measure how many calories you are consuming daily if you want continued, ongoing success. As your body changes, so will your caloric demand and that needs to be adjusted accordingly. Here are a few tips to help ensure you are measuring your calories accurately.
- Use an app such as My Fitness Pal or Cronometer to track your meal serving sizes and measure calories accurately
- Use a quality digital kitchen food scale to measure all your food
- Measure all starchy carbs (sweet potato, rice, potato, etc.) after cooking
- Measure meats after cooking because fat weight gets lost during the cooking process
- Vegetables and fruits can be measured raw and uncooked
- Don’t try to guess weight! Always use your scale to measure!
Strong Athletes eat large quantities of REAL FOOD, drink REAL WATER and use only the highest quality nutritional supplements available on the market. Don’t waste all your efforts training by undereating and depriving your body of the critical nutrients it needs to recover and build.
We’ll cover more musclebuilding laws over the next several weeks but for now remember this: