Fundamentals for Growth
Adding size is simply a matter of taking the right approach to four variables: training, diet, supplementation and rest. Here’s an overview of each.
By: Joel Stubbs, IFBB Pro; Photography by: Blake Little; Model: IFBB Pro Joel Stubbs
[Q] Hey, Joel. I want to get bigger, but I work with moderate weight and reps almost all the time. Am I limiting myself? Is it true that if I want to grow, I’ve got to use big weights?
[A] Are you limiting your potential for growth? Yes, clearly. Getting big muscles requires big weights. Furthermore, your body has likely already gotten used to the moderate weights, so there isn’t any real shocking or stimulation going on with the fibers. So again, you are limiting yourself. Find a partner who can spot you on some heavy, compound exercises like bench presses, squats and overhead presses, and then take them to the limit. Of course, you should make sure to properly warm up before any heavy lifts, and pyramid up in weights while decreasing reps. Leave the moderate-weight sets for squeezing more blood into the muscle after your heavy work.
[Q] Some guys I know like to sip a shake with protein and carbs during a workout to start the recovery process early. They say it helps to better rebuild the muscle. What do you think about shakes during workouts?
[A] Well, it’s a good idea for limiting catabolism, or muscle breakdown. I’d suggest adding branched-chain aminos, glutamine and creatine to a workout shake so that while the blood is in high pumping mode, it can shuttle all the nutrients to the muscle group being worked. Then get some fast-digesting whey (I consume 40–60 grams) with fast-digesting carbs (60–100 grams) immediately after your workout to drive up insulin and kick-start protein synthesis.
[Q] Joel, my goal is to someday have a back like yours, so I follow all your training advice. What are your favorite supplements for adding size?
[A] Adding muscle isn’t just about training hard in the gym, although that’s an essential first step. What you put into your body makes all the difference, as does getting sufficient rest. A sound supplementation plan can make a ton of difference in achieving your bodybuilding goals. As you probably know I’m a MuscleTech-sponsored athlete, and I use all their products. The results speak for themselves. I like Mass-Tech, CryoTest, Cell-Tech Hardcore, naNo Vapor and Prototype-216. These are foundation supplements for building and thickening your body structure. In bodybuilding, as you know, size does matter!
Joel’s “Big” Philosophy
“Gaining size is pretty simple really. Eat plenty of the proper foods that nourish the body and feed the muscles. Focus on lean proteins like eggs, sirloin, chicken breasts, turkey and powders along with complex and fibrous carbs like whole grains, oatmeal, vegetables and brown rice. First thing in the morning and post-workout are good times to add fast-digesting carbs. The rest of the time you should focus on complex carbs. Rest at least 7–8 hours at night and try to take a catnap in the day if you can. Train each time like there’s no tomorrow. Do the best you can each time you work out, making sure the muscle group is tortured well. Then, of course, you can’t forget the replenishing supplements that help the body to recover and get ready for torture again the next day or next workout. These steps are fundamental but most important if you want to see changes with your physique.”