Once again, our friend Anthony from groombuilder.com is here to whip you into shape for your big day. He’s already showed you how to lose weight. Now he’s going to show you how to gain it back: this time as lean muscle mass. Get ready to work, brohamulous.
Looking good for your wedding is about more than just your suit, your shoes, and your haircut:
It’s also your physique. It’s what’s under your suit that counts.
This is one of happiest days of your life. But it’s also incredibly nerve-wracking — there you are, standing with the love of your life in front of all your friends and family. A photographer is probably taking pictures, and someone might be video taping the ceremony. There is going to be a lot of evidence of how you look at this moment. You want to feel confident, but that’s hard if you’re disappointed with your body.
Depending on how you feel about yourself now, you may have a lot of work before the big day. If you’re skinny, for example, you’ll want to add muscle so you can fill out your suit and look great. But you want to add muscle without looking like a blimp.
In order to bulk up just the right amount, you’ll need to add lean muscle mass. We’ll show you exactly how you can do that in time for your wedding. We’ll show you what you should really focus on to be ready for your wedding and your honeymoon.
Muscle Gain: How It Actually Works
To gain muscle, do you just eat more? Lift weights? How does it actually work?
Let’s get right to it: If you want add lean muscle mass — without looking like a blimp — there are two major things you need to remember:
1. Progressive Overload
“Progressive overload” is a fancy way of saying, “Do a little more each time you exercise.” That could mean doing: an extra 2 reps of each exercise; an extra set; 5lbs more per exercise; 30 seconds of rest instead of 60 seconds. With progressive overload, you’re constantly stressing your muscles—which forms them to grow—and stimulating your hormonal system to fuel that growth.
2. Calories In > Calories Out
When you’re trying to lose weight, you want to burn more calories than you take in. When you’re trying to gain muscle, you have to reverse the equation and take in more calories than you burn.
If you’ve struggled to gain weight before, chances are you’ve simply overestimated how many calories you ate and drank while underestimating how much you’ve burned. Stop estimating: keep a food/drink journal for just a few days and see how many calories you actually consume.
To find out how many calories you burn each day, use the Cunningham equation. It factors in your lean body mass, protein intake, and exercise levels, each one of which can drastically impact your daily metabolism. (If you have an active job, for example, you’ll have to eat more than someone who works at a desk.)
A muscle building rule of thumb: eat 500 calories ABOVE your metabolic rate to add muscle; if you’re still not seeing results, slowly increase your caloric intake further.
PLEASE NOTE: Eating a caloric “surplus” will lead to weight gain, but if you don’t exercise, that leads to FAT GAIN too. Instead, we want to have a caloric surplus WHILE building muscle and minimizing fat.
“So… how do you stay lean?!”
I’ve talked about this before [link to ultimate fat loss article], but grooms have to do everything correctly. Why? Because you only get one opportunity, and you’re spending a lot of money, time, and effort to get it right. If you don’t gain weight correctly, you might show up to your wedding with a belly and double-chin. Not the look you planned on.
Is it possible to get lean while building muscle?
Yes. It’s A LOT harder and requires much more dedication, but it’s very possible. Here are some critical rules to keep in mind:
First, to stay as lean as possible as you gain weight, you should workout AT LEAST 3x a week and each workout should focus on total-body exercises (which I’ll list below) and muscle gain.
Second, eat healthy, nutritious foods (which I’ll list below) at least 90% of the time— that way, every calorie you eat offers you nutrients to accelerate your muscle gains and improve your repair and recovery.
Third, push the throttle on BOTH your “calories in” AND your “calories out.” For example, let’s compare two people…
Groom A: Eats 2500 calories per day. Burns 2000 per day.
Groom B: Eats 3500 calories per day. Burns 3000 per day.
Which groom will build more muscle while staying leaner?
The answer is Groom B.
When you do more and eat more, all those calories will be dedicated to your muscles, to your exercise, and to your recovery. That’s what we want. In the next article, I’ll show you how to do it.