January 10, 2010

Muscle Gaining 101

Which dude in this world wouldn't look good with more muscle on his frame? Most guys would want more muscles but don't know how to gain them. Here's a short course for you guys! All the basic knowledge you'll need to know to go from


to this!


Firstly, you need to weight train. This might be obvious to some but honestly, I have guys asking me, "Can't I build muscles just by doing sit ups and push ups at home?". Sorry to say, but the answer is NO! So here's a beginners' schedule for you guys.

Monday - Chest & Biceps
Bench Press - 2 warm up sets (WU) and 5 working sets (WS)
Incline Dumbbell Press - 4 x WS
Standing Barbell Curls - 2 x WU, 4 x WS
Concentration Curls - 4 x WS

Wednesday - Back & Triceps
Underhand Barbell Rows - 2 x WU, 4 x WS
Chin Ups - 4 x WS
Deadlifts - 2 x WU, 4 x WS
Lying Triceps Extensions - 2 x WU, 4 x WS
Bench Dips - 3 x WS

Friday - Shoulders & Abs
Seated Dumbbell Press - 2 x WU, 4 x WS
Upright Rows - 3 x WS
Dumbbell Lateral Raises - 3 x WS
Giant Set (Go from one exercise to the other with minimum rest in between) - Seated Tucks, Leg Raise, Incline Crunches, Incline Reverse Crunches, Cable Crunches - Complete cycle once

Sunday - Legs (oh nooo!)
Barbell Squats - 2 x WU, 4 x WS
Leg Extensions - 3 x WS
Stiff-Legged Deadlifts - 1 x WU, 4 x WS
Lyling Leg Curls - 3 x WS
Standing Calf Raises - 1 x WU, 4 x WS

For warm up sets, perform each set with a light weight (not too light, buddy) for 15 reps. Then, for each working set, choose a weight which allows you to do 8 to 12 FULL and complete reps until failure for each set. This means that you can't do more than 12 reps even if you want to. If you can do more than 12 reps for each set of that exercise, increase the weight by 5 to 10 lbs.
If you're not how to do a certain exercise, click here. You don't have to do each workout on specific days. Just make sure that the order is the same and there's a day's rest in between each session.


Cardio is necessary for fat loss. However, if you guys do follow this programme, something tells me that you're on the skinny side of the scale. Yet, you should still perform some cardio because

"Do some cardio year-round; your body becomes more efficient in utilizing fat than if you do no aerobic activity at all."
-Dorian Yates, 6-time Mr Olympia

Thus, do some light cardio (jogging, swimming, biking, etc) once or twice a week for 45 minutes per session and on non-gym days. How light is light? Well, try talking. If you could have a comfortable conversation, then that's light enough. And if your cardio equipment is able to read your heart rate, aim for 120-140 beats per minute.

Oh, and look around too. You might have weird stares from other gym users if you're talking to yourself. :)

Diet & Nutrition

Guys, don't ignore this part. I've seen guys who work out like beasts in the gym but make no progress because they don't watch their diets. It's really simple. I'm not going to give you guys a fixed diet, because I understand that many of us have schedules that vary from day to day and it's hard to get the same food in each meal each day. Thus, just follow these few tips.

1. Take in 5 to 6 meals a day, each spaced 2-3 hours apart.
2. Consume a high protein, high carbs, medium fat diet.
3. Preferable protein sources: Chicken, fish, beef, egg whites.
4. Preferable carbohydrate sources: Brown rice (if possible), wholemeal bread & pasta, sweet potatoes, potatoes.
5. Preferable fat sources: Nuts, vegetable oils, egg yolks (limit to max. 3 per day, cause of high cholesterol content).
6. Avoid sugars! Yes, even when you're gaining mass, sugars are bad EXCEPT right after your weight training workout. That is the only time simple carbs will be beneficial to you.
7. Learn to cook. It's not that hard, bro. Simple egg/tuna meals will take a few minutes to prepare and will provide all the nutrients you need. And fret not, Cooking With Fabby sections coming soon!
8. To gauge if you're eating enough to grow, weigh yourself each week and write it down. If you're not gaining anything for 3-4 weeks, increase your portions.


I always have friends asking me, "Is it necessary for me to take those things?". The reason they asked me so is because to them, supplements seem like drugs and is only meant for hardcore bodybuilders. That's completely wrong! To beginners, really, get some supplements. I'm recommending the cheapest and most basic ones around. It won't bust your wallets and it'll contribute wonders to your progress. Here's a recommended basic stack (stack = supplement combo) for muscle builders.

Fast-Acting Protein + Glucose + Creatine Monohydrate
This mix of supplements is intended for your post-workout nutrition. Take it immediately after every weight training workout to help your body recover faster. Creatine is THE MOST value for money supplement in terms of results per dollar ratio.

Recommended fast-acting protein: Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard

Creatine Monohydrate: There are barely any differences between brands when it comes to creatine monohydrate. Just look for brands which get their creatine from Creapure (a German creatine manufacturer and yes, not all brands manufacture their own creatine).

Creatine Loading
Creatine works best if you saturate it in your muscles first. To do so, when you first get your hands on your bottle of creatine, take
4 servings of creatine for the first 5 days.
5 grammes per serving.
at least 3 hours between each serving.
And ALWAYS consume it with 30 grammes of glucose. The glucose is intended to spike your body's insulin so that it could absorb the creatine. If it doesn't, it'll come out when you take a dump and because creatine absorbs 50 times it's body weight of water, what comes out will be watery too. After the initial 5 days, take a 5g serving everyday, even on non training days and yes, with glucose for 3 weeks. After 3 weeks, stop taking creatine for a week and after that, repeat the loading process.

Glucose: Just get it from the nearest grocery shop.

Mass Gainer
Mass gainers are invaluable tools that will help you get those calories in when you're short of time or food.

When to take: With a meal if the meal is not big enough. Or take it instead of a meal if you're rushing for time but haven't had your meal yet.

Recommended mass gainer: Universal Nutritions Real Gains

Multivitamins are to ensure that you get every single micronutrient you need to maintain a healthy body.

When to take: Every morning with your breakfast. This will soon form a habit and you won't need to remind yourself to take your multis every morning.

Now let's talk about the most overlooked part of building muscle - rest & recovery. Your body is only going to grow when you're asleep, not in the gym. In the gym, you're only going to stimulate your muscles...to grow at night. To ensure you're getting enough rest, get at least 7 to 8 hours of nocturnal sleep each night.

Quick Tips
Here's a small dose of little things you can do that will make big differences.
1. Change the workout schedule to fit what's available in your gym BUT always perform squats, deadlifts, bench press, underhand barbell rows and upright rows. These are the most effective muscle-building exercises.
2. Take beef. No, don't think that you can replace it with chicken, eggs or anything else. Beef is a one-of-its-kind protein source. I'll explain in the next S.E.X.Y tips. But in short, it'll make a world of difference. Consume beef once a day.
3. DON'T do cardio on an empty stomach. Have a light breakfast before it. Again, will explain in S.E.X.Y tips.
4. Consistency. It matters.
5. Keep a log book so you can track your progress. Just grab any empty spiral-bound book and write your schedule like this:

So there you go, your basic guide to building some muscles. Any questions you wanna ask? Just write it as a comment for this post. And follow this blog for more tips!

Now let's end this post with some inspiration:

Mhd Faisal Mat Hassan, Malaysian bodybuilder

Mr. Beckham

Chris Evans aka. The Human Torch

Reagan Kang, young Malaysian bodybuilder

Me. :)


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