Whether you cook each night or once per week, have all your meals ready in advance so you can pack a coolbox and head off for your daily journey. You must never miss meals, because you body needs a constant supply of nutrients to support recovery and growth. Generally, you need 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight and for carbohydrates you should start between 2 and 2.5 grams, but over a period of time this can be increased to 4g, depending on your fat gain and how you respond to the increase in your calories. Also ensure you are drinking adequate amounts of water. Have these between meals, and not too much during as it can decrease hunger, causing you to eat less.
This all depends on how long you have been training for. Basically, advanced techniques like forced reps or drop sets can be used about 3 months after you have started training because that is when you typically hit a plateau. So if you feel like you need something changed, if strength or muscle gains have come to a halt, then advanced techniques may be good for you to try. Forced reps, where you have a training partner help you through a few additional reps after hitting initial failure, are a good place to start as long as you do not overdo them.
There is a reason why it is called junk. The calories are of the lowest quality and filled with fat and sugar. High-fat foods tend to blunt your appetite for hours and you stop eating on schedule and fail to keep a steady flow of aminos heading into your muscles. In order to maximise absorption for optimal mass gain, you need to eat smaller and more frequent meals of quality calories. Five thousand calories in one sitting does not equal 5,000 calories spread throughout the day.
Never eat too much junk food when trying to add muscle mass, because extra fat will be gained. Some junk foods is allowable once a week, but remember “You are what you eat”. So eat healthy, nutritious, low-fat bodybuilding foods.
Skeletal muscle is the most abundant tissue in the human body, so the fact it serves as the primary amino acid pool supplying the body with proteins in times of need is no surprise, especially when your bodily systems are under conditions of stress, including dieting, heavy training and injury. Scientists have been very interested in the pathways that mediate muscle wastage in such conditions. Recent research indicates hyperexpression of myostatin is a key player in this response. In the most basic sense, myostatin in the body acts as the brakes for muscle growth.
Glutamine, the most abundant amino acid in skeletal muscle, is depleted during and after heavy stress. Years of research has demonstrated supplementing with glutamine before and after your training sessions leads to greater protein synthesis and decreased catabolism.
Evidence indicates the muscle-sparing and anabolic effects of glutamine supplementation are a direct outcome of its ability to inhibit myostatin, essentially taking the “brakes” off muscle growth. In a study publishes in Amino Acids, researchers showed that when muscle cells were exposed to TNFα (to induce catabolism) and supplemented with glutamine, the process completely reversed the hyperactivity of myostatin and therefore halted catabolism.
Since its genetic discovery in 1997 supplement research and development teams have been on a dedicated search to fine safe and effective compounds that inhibit myostatin. Remarkably they have discovered a well-known amino acid can effectively reverse the negative impact of myostatin hyperactivity. Although this study was completed in vitro (in a controlled environment such as a test tube or Petri dish, not in a living organism), it provides a powerful mechanism for the muscle-sparing effect of glutamine, therefore reinforcing the importance of pre and post-workout glutamine supplementation.
Heavy incline barbell presses are a well-known chest-builder, but they can be dangerous if you are training alone. Done in the Smith machine, they will hit your upper pecs through a full range of motion with less risk of injury. You can work in some partials to train weaker parts of the movement. Finish off with a set of incline presses with a huge drop set, removing plates and getting right back under the bar each time you hit failure. This technique flushes the muscle with blood and takes you well past failure. Partials and drops on the incline Smith should help your chest a great deal.