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How to Build Mass

So you don’t need to lose a ton of weight.  In fact, you need to put on some muscle mass!  And most of the people on P90X that you’ve seen were fat and needed to lose weight …. Will P90X work for you?  Great question!  And the answer is YES!  In fact, that’s exactly what I’m doing myself during Round 4.  I started Round 4 at 208 lbs, but my goal is to build lean muscle mass and finish the round at 220-222 (a gain of 12-14 lbs).  There are some key things I will focus on to help me reach that goal, and those are the same key things you will need to focus on if you wish to gain muscle mass with P90X.  And what are those things?  I have them listed below.

Things that are critical for building muscle mass while going through P90X:

  1. Lots of calories = No matter how hard I workout, I won’t build mass unless I am taking in a surplus of calories.  I want to do it right, with the right foods, so I’ve been working with a sports nutritionist friend who used to be a powerlifter, and I have developed a BULKING DIET that you should check out when looking to build clean muscle mass without adding a lot of body fat.
  2. Eat often = I will be sure that I eat every 2.5 – 3 hours all day, and that at each meal / snack I get a good balance of protein and carbs to give my muscles all the fuel they need to repair and grow.
  3. Creatine = Creatine allows the muscles to work harder during contraction, and it causes the muscles to volumize slightly with more fluid, which allows the muscles to recruit more nutrients for recovery after a workout.  This supplement has been studied intensly for years, and most agree that there are no detrimental side effects of using it.  Before you decide to use it yourself, do your own research though!
  4. Pre-workout = I will be using a pre-workout while building mass.  The combination of caffeine, creatine, and arginine (which is an amino acid that causes vasodilation) will help my muscles get more blood flow and nutrients both during the workout for increased strength and endurance, as well as after the workout to speed recovery.
  5. Results/Recovery = Replenishing what my muscles have lost during the workout is critical.  If I leave them depleted, they won’t grow.  I want to reload them with nutrients as quickly as possible after my workout, and R/R will do that for me.
  6. Decrease cardio = Cardio that is too often or too long in duration will impede the mass building process.  I don’t want to let my cardio conditioning fade, so I will still do 2 Insanity workouts per week, but that’s it.  The rest of the time I will either be lifting big or resting (so the muscles can grow).
  7. Heavy weights = I am looking back over all my old worksheets and going UP on every weight in every exercise!  I want to fail before rep 8 on everything.  If I can get 8 reps, I will up the wieght more!  I will also increase the weighted backpacks / vest for pullups and pushups.  For pullups, it’s realistic to shoot for the 8 rep range, but on pushups I can’t get enough weight in the pack to make that possible.  I will still plan on making it impossible to do more than 15-18 pushups by weighing myself down.
  8. Longer rest between sets = Since the P90X lift days are circuit-style (with nearly no rest between sets), I will make use of the pause button a few times during those DVD’s to let my heart rate drop back down.  This will allow me to push harder on each set and lift bigger!  I will typically add about 10 minutes to each lift routine by taking small pauses between the sets.
  9. Rest = I will make sure I get a good night’s sleep (as often as possible LOL!) because muscle growth is at it’s peak while a person sleeps.

Do you wonder if this will really work?  You’ve seen my pics, right?  I look pretty muscular at 220 lbs with very low body fat.  There were no trips to the gym in my routine.   You’ll hear people say you can’t add mass with P90X and that you need to be in a gym doing squats, dead lifts, and bench press.  Well, I haven’t been in a gym in 2 years and I beg to differ!  The muscles don’t care if you are in a gym or in your living room.  What makes them grow is to push them to failure, and then fueling them correctly with nutrition and supplements to help them recover and grow.

So stick to that plan, focus on your goals, and you can expect to build muscle mass with P90X.  BRING IT!!