There is a misconception out there that food causes muscle growth.
But we need to understand this so that we can:
(1) Build muscle at an optimal rate
(2) Not get fat in the process
Getting this right will put an end to constantly getting fat every year with the belief that you “have” to eat more calories than you actually need to build muscle.
Food doesn’t actually CAUSE muscle growth. Let me explain that…
A bodybuilding workout doesn’t PRODUCE growth. It simply STIMULATES it. This stimulation is the cause that starts the whole process.
It begins a process in the body where it recovers from the damage caused to the muscle tissue and, if the stimulus was of a high enough intensity, puts more muscle back than was there before the workout. We called this OVERcompensation.
So a workout STIMULATES growth. It does not PRODUCE it.
Whatever amount of growth that was stimulated represents the maximum benefit that can be reaped from that workout. Nothing you can do can add to that.
I’m gonna use some rather meaningless numbers here just to illustrate the point.
Let’s say 10 units of growth were stimulated by a particular workout. 10 units, therefore, is the maximum growth that can occur during the following days of rest.
Now, it IS possible to NOT hit that 10 units i.e. to achieve suboptimal gains; and the main cause would be lack of calories and/or protein.
But also poor sleep, insufficient water consumption, training the same muscle too soon, (which will interrupt the recovery process) all can contribute too. So you may hit 6 units of growth instead of your full 10.
On the other side, however, there’s nothing that’s going to make you exceed that 10 units. Why? Because only 10 units was stimulated by the workout.
Eating enough calories/protein will OPTIMIZE your results i.e. allow you to hit 10 units, but all the food and supplements in the world won’t make your gains SUPERoptimal. You just can’t get 12 or 20 units out of that workout.
So stop the massive overeating. No matter what the bodybuilding mags tell you, it’s making you fat. Worse still, people see their guts getting bigger with this approach and still keep going because, “You have to add fat to add muscle”. No you don’t.
Now, I know what your next question is…
“But Mark, how do I know how much is enough? How do I know what that sufficient level is?”
Well I got you covered. Use the FREE calculator I created to find your sufficient Calorie and protein requirements. Bear in mind that these figures represent a starting point for you. Use them for a few weeks and assess your results. If you have added any fat (do a body fat % test), reduce your Calories by ~100. If you haven’t gained any muscle, add ~100.
No person or calculator can look into your body and tell you to the last gram how many Calories and Protein you need exactly. Only God could do that. But my calculator comes pretty close 😉
download it here | web version here
So I hope you now see the pointlessness of overconsuming food in an effort to put on muscle. Simply optimizing your diet will allow you to gain all the muscle you are going to get. Anything beyond that will just make you fat…and that’s a fact.
Train With Intensity!
You may be interested in this: Top 30 Foods that Build Muscle
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Good point. Just today I used your calculator and realised I had been undereating for the past 6 years. I’d like to overconsume now to try to catch up, but I know those will be fat gains. I’ll stick to 300cals above maintenance to keep my 6pack.
Good to hear, Ren 🙂
since MANS helps out with keeping fat from accumulating will adding splenda or stevia ruin it because they might cause insulin spikes?
Correction: 6 months*
Nice article, I have had the best improvements in my body by restricting calories, I rarely eat more than 1500 calories a day and I see results constantly, most days I don’t eat until mid day and I maintain a weight of 15 stone and my body looks good. Some days I eat a lot less than this as I don’t eat unless I am hungry, I don’t count calories, protein, carbs etc. I eat mostly meats and saturated fat from coconut oil, I eat moderate veg and hardly any carbs and drink only alkaline water or green tea and a daily multi vitamin and cod liver cap.
Another thing guys need to keep in mind is that (aside from beginners) most guys can only add a few ounces of muscle per week… so maybe 5-6 pounds per year (if they’re lucky). So you may not see any noticeable gains for weeks or months. Basically, if a guy is adding a pound of weight per week, then he’s probably eating too much.
@Jesh. I don’t think they do cause insulin spikes.
This is the article I referenced above, btw: How Fast Can You Build Muscle, Really?
Consistency is the key, be patience and don’t give up…..it take time to build muscle without going to the dark side…….
Thx for the reminder………