Here’s what worked for me…
- If possible, implement the Anaconda Protocol. If not, be sure to drastically increase your caloric intake around your workout times…pre, during, and after. This would be a time you would want to use a high quality whey isolate shake.
Personally, I think BCAA tablet blends aren’t as effective as straight L-leucine powder. The L-leucine is fairly inexpensive and you can add it to other meals during the day, not just around workout times.
Buy a high quality trail mix (comprised mostly of nuts, seeds, and a little dried fruit…none of that M&M’s mix). Have a large handful between 2-3 of your daily meals…that should add quite a few calories per day from high quality sources
Have a cheat meal within a couple hours of your hardest training days…I’d start with 3 per week or so, and adjust from there. This will naturally cycle your overall calorie intake, so it’s higher on tougher training days.
Use a control day…lower your carbs on one day (a non-workout day…I would have a fairly large serving at breakfast…fruits, Ezekiel bread, oatmeal, etc and then only vegetables the rest of the day), but keep your protein intake high (or even higher than your normal intake), and the same for fats. You’ll consume a little less calories on this day, but the majority will be from proteins and fats. I believe that if you constantly bombard your body with massive amounts of food day after day, the high influx beomes less effective. Your body adapts to nutrition, just like it does, weight training. Plus, it will give you a break from stuffing your face every single day. You won’t lose muscle mass in one day!!!
Get stonger! I have yet to see anyone who has gained a significant amount of strength, not gain muscle mass…IF, IF, IF they’re eating enough.
Nothing fancy hear…do enough to control body fat levels, if you’re concerned with adding body fat. It sounds like you’re doing a ton already. I would think your current cardio levels are more than enough to minimize fat gain. Any time I’ve ever added a significant amount of muscle, I’ve also put on some body fat.
A simple trick I used to measure my fat gains, was to measure the circumference of my waist directly around my belly button. It’s a crude method, but does the trick to keep your from gaining fat too quickly.
I used this scale:
The maximum acceptable gain in inches around your waist EVERY 2 WEEKS is about 1/8 of an inch. That would mean about 3/4 of an inch gained over a 12 weekperiod, which isn’t terribly bad.
I wasn’t doing near the amount of cardio you’re doing. I hardly did any…maybe 15-20 minutes of moderate treadmill running after each weight training workout. You want to do as little as possible, while still getting stronger, bigger, and recovering between workouts. It’s a totally individual thing, which you know.
I won’t comment on this, other than…Putting on muscle is a serious grind!! Of course it depends on your current training experience, but in my opinion, it’s much, much harder than losing body fat. You have to be vigilant in your efforts, always strive to increase performance, and live the bodybuilding lifestyle 24/7.
These are some of the things that have helped me in my quest for size. Everyone’s a little different, and I hope a couple of the things I said are helpful.