How to Gain Muscle and Not Look Bloated

Q: For ectomorphs who want to gain lean muscle while staying cut and avoiding the bloated look, what do you recommend when it comes to weights?  A lot of guys who have the gift of being naturally defined and lean tend to think that if they do high reps, with semi heavy weight, it will produce results.  Is there a better method to superior gains?

Answer: High reps will get you cut, but only if you do high reps with low rest periods.  Ectomorphs tend to be naturally lean, however, so ectomorphs shouldn’t overemphasize high reps.  

To get the ripped and muscular look, ectomorphs should concentrate on increasing muscle tone or the hardness of their muscles.  Muscle tone comes muscle tension.  The higher the tension, the greater the tone.  The heavier the weight, the greater the muscular tension, and thus the greater the muscle tone.  So if you’re an ectomorph then you should emphasize heavy weight with lower reps.  This is will give you a hard and dense look, not the bloated look that many bodybuilders have.

Q: You discuss in your article common dietary mistakes many skinny men make when trying to build muscle mass. Elaborate on what you mean by eating too clean.  This is a critical part of many fitness enthusiasts.  Cut the sugar, fats, greasy foods, junk foods, etc.

Answer: Ectomorphs need to eat more in order to gain more muscle.  They need a calorie surplus to overcome their fast metabolisms.  The problem with eating clean is two-fold:

1.         You’re not eating enough calories to grow
2.         You’re not motivated to eat the food, because it doesn’t taste good.

This doesn’t mean you should go on all junk food diet, but you need to stimulate your appetite so that you’re motivated to eat enough to gain weight.  You have to eat some fat, because saturated fat contributes to hormone production.

There are some ground rules to bulking up, however.  For one thing, the only liquid you should be drinking is water. You can drink milk if you're not lactose intolerant.  But avoid soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, coffee, tea and juices.  You're ingesting a lot of calories, which will overload your digestive system.  So you need to drink a lot of water to make sure your digestive system is running smoothly and not sluggish.

Also try not to include fried foods as part of your bulk diet.  The trans fats that are created from frying foods will interfere with your metabolism and prevent you from gaining quality muscle. Fast food is fine as long as it's quality fast food. Chipotle and In-N-Out Burger is better than Taco Bell and McDonald's

Q: Breakfast:  Some people may not be “breakfast people” due to real reasons, such as sensitive stomachs in the morning, or getting to work and not wanting to rush the meal.  Can people start their calorie intake an hour or so after waking and still have ideal results?  Or is it imperative one eats right away after a night of fasting?

Answer: It’s not imperative that you eat breakfast right away.  You can actually extend your night time fasting further by eating brunch instead of breakfast or lunch.  But if you skip breakfast, then you’re missing out on a big chunk of calories.  You have to make up for those missing calories with later meals, brunch and dinner.

Fasting and intermittent fasting is all the rage now, but fasting is best for fat loss, not for weight gain.  If you want to skip breakfast because you have to get to work and you don’t want to get up early to cook up a full on breakfast, then drink some coffee in the morning.  This will help you get through the morning on an empty stomach.  Eat a hearty brunch or lunch and a hearty dinner.


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