Posted 2 years ago

Increasing muscle mass over time

Are you frustrated that your physique isn’t changing? Have you been lifting the same weights for a long period of time?

Here’s the thing – in order for you to gain muscle mass, there are three key things that MUST increase and change over time:

(1) The weight on the bar
Do you want to know what people with amazing physiques all have in common? They train very hard and are also incredibly strong. As such, if you want to develop an elite physique, you should always train hard, and work towards getting stronger over time.

There are two main principles that you can focus on to ensure you are meeting those strength gains: you can look at the weight that you are lifting, and/or at the number of repetitions you are performing with a given weight on a specific exercise.

Of course, it goes without saying that having a log-book and being meticulous with your session planning is critical for this to work.

As such, when writing out your workout, pre-plan the weight you will be lifting for each exercise and establish how many reps you’ll be aiming for too. This will give you a crystal-clear goal for each set and will ensure you leave nothing in the tank.

“But Vaughan, what happens when I’m strong enough to hit those target reps and more?”;

Well, first of all, if you had aimed for 10 reps and upon completion realise “there’s more there”, KEEP GOING! But ultimately, that’s when it’s time to increase the weight on the bar for that lift ahead of your next session.

I always advise clients to make these increases small: add an extra 2.5kg-5kg total, so that you’re not compromising your performance and execution. Leave your ego at the door! Work on these increases slowly and methodically and I can assure you that after 6 months your strength will have surpassed any limits you thought you had.

(2) The food on your plate
As you get stronger, your body will require more calories to perform at its best in the gym, as well as to recover appropriately from the work it has done. Given that performance and recovery are critical to gaining quality muscle mass, it follows that your calorie intake will have to increase to match the body’s energy demands.

It’s at this point you are probably asking yourself “When and how often you should I increase my food intake?”. Which leads me onto the third factor that must change and go up over time for you to gain muscle:

(3) The number on the scale
When and how you choose to increase your calorie intake should always be strategic, which is why at VW Physique we place so much emphasis on collecting as much data about the body as possible.

Of course, decisions about changes in food will be made for a variety of reasons, but the first thing to look at is the number on the scales, by asking yourself the following:

  • Is it increasing over time?
  • Has it stalled for the last 1-2 weeks?
  • Are you gaining roughly 1-2kg per month?

The truth is that if your weight isn’t increasing, you are probably not gaining new muscle mass. As such, if you find that your body weight has plateaued, a simple strategy could be to aim to add an extra 100-200 calories daily across the week. However, please bear in mind this will always be person dependent, and that this is just an average estimate.

Since your protein intake will always remain constant, I’d advise you increase your carbohydrate or fat intake accordingly, and then patiently await the body’s response. To truly know if your increase has been effective, track your body weight daily but focus on the weekly average – this will give you a true reflection of any increases/decreases that have resulted from the changes you’ve made.

In summary, all of the three factors – weight on the bar, food on your plate, and weight on the scale – must increase for you to be sure that you’re gaining new muscle mass over time. If you’re only nailing two out of the three, it simply will not happen.

If you are doing all of the above and are still struggling to gain muscle, be sure to get in touch with me via email and book in for a free coaching call where we discuss how I can help you get this right.

Vaughan Wilson Bsc Hons