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      FITNESS TIPS FOR 11/29/2000                  

10 Quick Tips To Increase Muscle Size
by Chris Aceto

Muscle mass is the straw that stirs the drink in the sport of 
bodybuilding. Talk all you want about symmetry, shape and 
definition, but in the final analysis, muscle mass is the 
defining element of a physique. The mass building equation 
has three components: a correct diet strategy, hardcore 
training and high tech supplementation. It's not rocket 
science, but there are tricks to it, nonetheless.

To save you time and trouble, I've complied 10 tips to jump 
start anabolism and create a positive nitrogen balance - to 
increase muscle mass, you need to take in more nitrogen 
via protein and training than you excrete through the 
natural metabolic process.

1. Emphasize the Negative

Muscle growth is the logical byproduct of muscle contraction. 
Much emphasis is placed on the concentric phase of a lift 
where the muscle shortens as it contracts. But the stretching 
of the muscle during the eccentric, or negative, phase where 
the muscle lengthens while maintaining tension can directly 
cause muscle hypertrophy, too. Emphasizing the negative is 
an easy technique to overload muscles and promote radical 
gains in mass.

2. Eat Fish

Fish containing higher amounts of fat - salmon, for instance - 
provide us with the ever popular omega-3 fatty acids. Why is 
this important? The omega-3s make the muscle more 
sensitive to insulin; hence, they fuel glycogen storage and 
amino acid entry into muscles while also preserving glutamine 

3. Increase Sodium Intake

I'm not kidding. Sodium is an essential mineral that is an 
absolute must for muscle growth. Sodium has a bad rap 
because it can cause water retention - anathema to contest ready 
odybuilders. On the plus side, sodium enhances carbohydrate 
storage and amino acid absorption while also improving the 
muscle's responsiveness to insulin.

4. Stop All Aerobics

Aerobic exercise has a detrimental effect on mass building. 
Aerobics interfere with strength gains and recovery while 
burning up valuable glycogen and 
branched chain amino acids (BCAA). Adding mass is the best 
way to upgrade your resting metabolic rate (RMR); is the RMR is 
elevated, more calories are burned and it is easier to stay lean.

5. Lift Explosively

The amount of force a muscle generates is proportional to the 
amount of muscle growth you'll be able to create. Force is defined 
as mass (the weight you use) multiplied by acceleration (the 
speed at which you push a weight against resistance). To generate 
more force, then, progressively increase your poundages while 
lifting explosively - in this context, you actually increase speed 
during the second half of the rep.

6. Dramatically increase your calories for three days

You will never achieve a positive nitrogen balance with a low 
calorie diet. It takes raw materials - carbs, protein and fats - to 
build new muscle mass and support recovery. Increasing your 
calories by 50% (from 3,0000 to 4,500 per day, for instance) 
for three days can spur growth while adding little if any bodyfat. 
The key is to limit the increased calories to a designated three 
day period; you'll be able to stimulate growth by improving muscle 
sensitivity to insulin and by providing more carbs for glycogen 
storage. If you are in a overtrained state - and if you're not g
aining any new muscle mass, this is probably the case - the 
additional calories will promote anabolism before fat storage is 
able to kick in. That's why you want to limit the 50% increase to 
a three day period. After that time, return to your typical intake 
of daily calories; you'll have stimulated new growth without 
adding unwanted fat.

7. Rest

Many bodybuilders are unable to pack on mass because they 
are always training and, therefore, always recovering from 
those grueling workouts. Taking a couple of days off can restore 
glycogen, increase anabolism and allow hormonal indexes 
such as testosterone and cortisol to return to optimal levels.

8. Eat in the Middle of the Night

Anabolism depends on an excess of calories. As you are well 
aware, bodybuilders eat four to six times per day to increase 
the absorption of nutrients and to provide a steady influx of 
carbs, protein and fat. Expanding on the four to six meals per 
day plan is to include a protein drink in the middle of the 
night that can encourage additional growth. 

9. Increase Strength Through Powerlifting

Your muscles respond to training in three ways. When you 
train with high reps (more than 15), there is an increase in 
endurance with no substantive improvement in size or 
strength. The six to twelve rep range - the range that all big 
bodybuilders rely on - promotes an increase in both size 
and strength. Powerlifters generally stay with low reps, two 
to four per set, which supplements strength with slight 
variances in size. However, if you set aside one week of 
training to pile on the weights with low reps the subsequent 
improvement in strength will make you stronger when you 
return to the six to twelve rep routine. Here's the formula: 
More strength equals more tension on the muscle equals 
more growth.

10. Supplement with the Big Three: Glutamine, Creatine 
and BCAA

Glutamine is known as the immunity amino. If you are overly 
stressed from dieting or training, the immune system kicks 
in, releasing glutamine into the bloodstream. Having low 
levels of glutamine will inhibit muscle growth - that's 
why supplementing with glutamine is important.

Creatine is associate with added power and the ability to 
produce more adenosine triphosphate (ATP) - the chemical 
fuel source for training and growth. Supplementing with 
creatine allows bodybuilders to raise creatine levels in the 
muscle - therefore enhancing strength and ATP - without the
unwanted fat that you'd be saddled with by getting all your 
creatine exclusively from food.

(BCAA)Branched chain amino acids act as a handy fuel source 
when glycogen stores are low. Adding BCAA to your 
nutritional program will increase your nitrogen balance while 
preventing the dreaded catabolic state that derives from 
overtraining or overdieting.

This article was published in Flex Magazine, November 
1997 issue. To contact Chris Aceto, write to him at 
P.O. Box 557, Old Orchard Beach, Maine, 04064


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