By Charles Glass
Q: I am currently 5-foot-8 and 157 pounds. I would like to add some size to my frame, but want to do it right. I was wondering if you could recommend a training program to me. Also, I would like to take in 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight, but I do not know how many grams of carbs to take in per pound. I would like to gain weight without putting on excess fat. I am currently around 14% body fat and would like to stay close to that until I put on some size. Then, I can bring that down to something more presentable, like maybe 10%.
A: I usually recommend a very similar type of training program for anybody starting out who wants to add a lot of mass and build a solid foundation that you can continue to add on to for the rest of your life. Stick with the basics! The biggest mistake I see with beginners is that they usually want to do an advanced routine that features a lot of isolation movements. This is like trying to decorate a house that only has a frame up and is still missing the masonry, drywall, plumbing and electricity. Build a solid foundation with a program made up of the classics. Try this:
Incline Dumbbell Presses
Lying Leg Curls
Do four sets of 8-10 reps on days one and three after warming up, and on lower-body day (day two), perform four sets of 12-20 reps on everything. Following the third day, you can take either one or two days off before starting again, depending on your energy level. Don’t try to rush things by skipping the rest days. You need those days to recover or else you won’t make good gains. You have a good plan to take in 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. I would try to eat double that amount of carbs. So, if you are going to eat about 300 grams of protein a day, consume 600 grams of carbs. Just make sure they come from good sources like rice, potatoes, oatmeal, cream of wheat and low-glycemic fruits like apples and strawberries. If you find yourself gaining too much fat, cut back on the carbs a bit, but keep the protein where it is. It’s probably not entirely realistic to think you can gain a significant amount of muscle without also adding a bit of fat along with it. As long as that fat gain is minimal, don’t get too upset about it. And I wouldn’t get too caught up in numbers, either. Go by what you see in the mirror, because ultimately it’s all about what you look like. If you are happy with what you see in the mirror, it really doesn’t matter what the fat calipers or the scale says.