As a member of the Guyana National Team, I competed in the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Bodybuilding and Fitness Championship last weekend in El Salvador, where I placed second in the male physics class.
After the silver medal, I got feedback from the judges who ultimately said I needed to add a bit more width and muscle mass to my frame in order to win the elusive gold.
Immediately I started researching how I could continue to build lean muscle mass in order to win next year’s CAC Championships. If you’re like me and planning to add muscle mass to your body, here are some tips you can use to achieve your goal.
Enjoy a lasting routine
Start with a routine that you like so that you can do it consistently. Often times people don’t reach their goals not because they don’t have the perfect routine, they fail their goals because they get frustrated and give up.
In order to continue to force your fabric to adapt, you have to challenge it. This is the principle of progressive overload. There are different ways to achieve this:
1) Increase the weight on the bar, but you can only do it for so long
2) Increase the number of repetitions at the same weight
3) Once tray number 1 and 2, increase the volume by 5-10% and start again. Simple but if you just do this basic principle, you will progress for several years without anything extraordinary.
Use sufficient intensity
It is probably a good idea to avoid going too far in failure as this tends to induce undue fatigue in relation to the imposed stimulus. Most sets should probably be taken within 1 to 3 reps of failure to maximize stimulus and minimize fatigue. Free weight compounds generally need to be moved away from absolute failure, and machine isolation exercises can be brought closer to failure with less fatigue.
Eat enough protein and calories
For protein, 1.6-2.4g per kg of bodyweight seems to be enough for most people to maximize their gains. However, there doesn’t seem to be any downside to eating more. So if you like more, eat more. Also being in a slight calorie surplus, about 10-20% above maintenance, helps.