T Nation

Golden Rule for Gaining Mass

If there was one Golden Rule to gaining mass and strength it would be the CALORIC BALANCE rule. Take in more than maintenance and gain, take in maintenance and maintain, take in less and lose.

This is the single most important rule for beginners to advanced to know, apply, and always remember!

Let's put it this way to really put it in perspective: you could eat 8 perfect meals/day, plus take Grow!, Surge, creatine, glutamine, multi's, arginine, whey, casein, ZMA and tibulus. On top of this you could follow a perfectly designed program, hit the heavy basics hard and frequent, neither over or under train, do it just right. Even with ALL of this going for you, if you are taking in even 100 calories less than you require for growth...guess what? NO GAINS! ZERO! maybe some strength but NO MUSCLE OR WEIGHT GAIN!


Aren't you the guy who thought someone was joking when they gave advice to squat if you wanted to increase muscle mass even in your arms?


Why did you post this?


Rich and compelling, thank you!


This post shatters an entire paradigm in weight training. He should be hired to write for T-Nation immediately


I beg to differ. If you are eating 100cal less than you require, but are timing your foods (nutrient-wise, and time-wise) correctly, you will put on muscle, and lose fat too. You might not gain 1lb of muscle a week, but you'd still gain.

But that's just my opinion.


How can you make a statement that someone WILL put on muscle while losing body fat? You can't make blanket statements like that because it isn't true, definitely not in all cases. A newbie just picking up a weight for the first time might gain a small amount of muscle with decreased calorie diet, but it damn sure won't happen across the board.


So, how do you calculate your energy balance? By the minute, hourly, daily, weekly, yearly? Don't you think that matters in the equation? I'm quite sure that you are missing the whole point with nutrition timing.


I posted a joke about one-armed incline reverse grip cable curls with a 5-5-5 reps cadence packing serious mass on your biceps PEAK. A joke!! Then buddy replied very seriously about not being able to build the peak etc etc.

I didn't know if he was joking or if he really was stupid enough not to realize I was joking! I guess he wan't the only one. LOL:)


What if you had negligible bodyfat?

The very idea that you can have a perfect caloric balance is ludicrous.

Our bodies are so much more complicated than that. I suspect if you could come close to the mythical balance your metabolism would change and you would be out of balance again.


Thank God. There are too many fools that are serious when they say dumb shit like this.


There's a nutritional approach somewhere (I think I read it on John Berardi's page) that has you eating the carbs you need post/pre workout, at a slight caloric surplus on the days you train. On your days off you eat lower carbs and at a caloric deficit. The theory is you put on muscle and burn fat on different days. Will this work for everyone? I don't think so, as nothing works for everyone.

I agree with Zap that it's impossible to know our exact caloric needs, and that even if we did, and reached equilibrium, our body would blind-side us and change.


How do you know the exact time your body will need the fuel for growth? There has to be a sustainable fuel source available for continued muscle growth.

I think more people would be better off understanding their own body as opposed to trying to regurgitate something someone said once. Which, by the way, doesn't make it so.


To inform beginners/intermediates struggling with their gains of why they are. To remind advanced lifters of just how important this rule is.

I LMAO everytime I hear questions like "Chad, should I take 60 seconds rest between each excercise or superst the two then take 60 seconds off?" IT DOESN'T FUCKING MATTER IF YOU AREN"T EATING ENOUGH.

Or "What would put on more mass, 10 sets of 3 squats or 5 sets of 6? Can I still recover from this if I'm doing deadlifts in the same week? What rep-cadence should I use?" IT DOESN'T FUCKING MATTER IF YOU AREN"T EATING ENOUGH.

Sometimes we all lose sight of the simplest and most important aspects of a program. The Golden rule is THE ONLY guaranteed way to add mass and strength. THE ONLY.


Instead of scoffing at the simplicity of my post, take what I wrote, evaluate your own caloric needs and you may find the reason you can't get your bench or your bodyweight over 185. :slightly_smiling:


To gain mass you gotta eat more, thats rocket science.


LOL. As a not quite yet former fat boy, I'm a good 20 lbs over that on both counts :frowning:


So I was close! It's uncanny how I can determine the physical make-up of a person just by the tone of their posts!! LOL


You're 6' 195! I have jogger friends heavier than that at that height that don't lift! Take my dietary advice please, put on 30 lbs and then you might look like you lift weights.

I'm trying to help here!!


Thank you for your constructive criticism! You don't know anything about me e.g. goals, BF% .... so shut up. Not everyone is a fag bodybuilder that is concerned overall mass you see. For your information, I'm a rugby winger.

My bodyweight in my profile is also a few months old.