Smarter Way to Add Muscle in the Offseason
Written by: BY STEVE STIEFEL, Staff Writer
many bodybuilders rely too much on carbohydrates when they're trying
to add muscle mass," George Farah says. "To add muscle
mass, you have to increase your total calories so that you're taking
in more than you need for maintenance." The easiest way to
do this is through carbs, Farah says, but that can be a mistake.
"When you eat an excess of carbs, they really help you put
on weight -- but a lot of that is water and bodyfat." Carbs
drive up your insulin release, making it easy for your body to stuff
those excess calories into fat stores. Carbs also carry water with
them, so they can make you look bloated and soft. You might end
up several pounds bigger, but most of what you've added won't be
says that the secret to offseason muscle gain is to bump up calories,
but to keep carbs moderate while increasing healthy fats, which
include flaxseed oil, fatty fish, peanut butter, avocados, olives
and olive oil. These are beneficial because, instead of being easily
stored as bodyfat, they enhance several processes in the body, such
as muscle growth and fat loss. They also enhance cognition and mood,
as well as heart health, and they help prevent muscle breakdown
and inflammation. "You should eat salmon two or three times
a week," Farah says. He recommends taking plenty of flaxseed
oil, either in pill or liquid form, because it's an easy way to
make certain you're getting healthy fats. "I always add flaxseed
oil to my protein shake."
fats are a great source of calories because they protect muscle
from breakdown and encourage growth. Providing your body with these
anabolic tools makes it easier to add muscle mass. "In addition,
you won't have as many pounds to diet off when you want to get in
shape," Farah says. "It makes it that much easier to display
all your hard-earned muscle mass."
knows what he's talking about. Not only has he helped several top-ranked
amateurs prepare for competition, including Dave Palumbo and Erik
Fromm, but he has also worked the magic on himself. "I added
eight pounds of muscle between the Night Of Champions and the GNC
Show of Strength in 2003." Farah weighed 218 at the latter.
"I was a little flat onstage, but when I filled out, you could
really see the improvements I had made."
FARAH'S OFFSEASON MUSCLE TIPS
Keep offseason carbs between 300 and 400 grams per day. "That's
a good range for almost every offseason bodybuilder."
Try to consume about 100 grams of fat per day, most of it from healthy
sources. Rely on fatty fish, avocados, flaxseed oil, nuts, seeds
and healthy oils, such as olive and canola.
Keep protein intake in the moderate to high range. "Eat a gram
of protein for every pound of bodyweight each day," Farah says.
"But you don't need to push protein as much when you're giving
your body plenty of calories. Save your high-protein diet for when
you're trying to strip bodyfat. Then you can push it up to a gram
and a half per pound."