Muscle Palace

Saturday, October 14, 2017

How To Eat To Gain Muscle Mass - Diet Strategies For Hardgainers

Muscle Building Diet Plan for Hardgainers

Hardgainer is a person that works out hard with weight but has a hard time putting on muscle. Hardgainer is often referred as an ectomorph. It is much easier to create a bulking diet program for someone that does not struggle to gain weight, but what about hardgainers? What diet strategies should they follow?

Due to physiological and metabolic differences between ectomorphs and other two body types (mesomorph and endomorph), ectomorphs need to train and eat differently to gain muscle mass more easily. 

There are three different phenotypes when it comes to body composition:

    - Ectomorph is naturally skinny and has a hard time gaining muscle and weight.

      - Mesomorph is naturally built and has the tendency to gain weight easily and can also lose weight fairly easy.

    -  Endomorph is naturally heavy and has an easy time gaining weight (more fat than muscle) and very hard time losing weight.

Hardgainers Ectomorphs Body

In most cases, endomorphs and mesomorphs need to eat less food than an ectomorph in order to gain weight or muscle mass. But even if you're a real hardgainer you don't need to eat everything in sight if you want to gain muscle. I don't agree with the "bulking" approach. Your goal should be to gain lean mass, not fat mass. The diet strategies in this article will help ectomorphs gain lean muscle mass, not fat.

It can be very frustrating for ectomorphs to train hard and eat right and not progress. Perhaps the biggest roadblock to reaching their bodybuilding goal is getting enough calories. This article will outline strategies to get enough calories for ectomorphs to build muscle mass.


Undereating is one of the main reasons why some hardgainers don't gain muscle mass. In this case, you just need to increase your caloric intake. It is possible for everyone to gain muscle no matter what their genetic predisposition may be. It might just be harder for some people and that is why they are called hardgainers. 

While the typical person gets great results on a caloric intake that equals their lean body mass times 12, the hardgainer is better served by taking is as much as 24 calories per pound of bodyweight. Therefore, if you are a hardgainer and weigh 150 lbs, your caloric intake should be about 3600 calories (150 x 24). 

The key thing for a hardgainer to increase muscle mass is to minimize their caloric expenditures and maximize their caloric intake. This is very important because the metabolism of a hardgainer is a furnace that burns calories at all times and there is a risk that the muscle will be consumed by the body for energy purposes if not enough calories are supplied.

Simply put, you are going to have to eat a lot to grow. There is no way around that. The main factor that determines whether you will gain muscle mass is your caloric intake (how many calories you consume every day). 

In order to maintain your current body weight, take your total body weight and multiply it by 15. For example, a 200-pound person would consume 3000 calories a day. This is a basic way to determine your maintenance caloric intake. A good starting point for ectomorphs is to set your calories to 500 calories over maintenance.

Remember, you want to gain lean muscle mass and not fat. It would be easy to gain weight by just eating junk food all day, but you would most likely gain more fat than muscle. Instead of eating everything that is high-caloric, try to eat clean, nutrient-dense foods. In case you don't gain weight at 500 calories over maintenance then increase your the number of calories you consume.


1. Eat protein with every meal - Chicken, lean beef and turkey, tuna and other fish, egg whites and protein supplements. 

2. Eat unprocessed carbs - Unprocessed, low glycemic carbs such as oatmeal, sweet potatoes, rice, whole grain pasta. 

3. Eat good fats - Dietary fat is very important for proper body functioning and hormone production. Good sources of fat include almonds and almond butter, peanuts and peanut butter, avocado, olive oil, and eggs.

4. Eat several smaller meals - It is not healthy to eat to the point of vomiting. Instead of eating three huge meals, eat 6-7 decently-sized meals that will make you feel full but not bloated.

5. Your macronutrient ratio should be 50:30:20 carbs/protein/fats - You need to consume at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. Rest of macronutrients you consume would be carbs and fats.

If you are consuming 3000 calories, this would equate to:

   a. Carbs = 375 grams
   b. Protein = 225 grams 
   c. Fats = 67 grams

6. Consume carbs around your workout - Lifting weights increase body's need for glucose, that is why you need to eat carbs before and after your workout.

7. If you aren't gaining weight increase your caloric intake - While some people might be able to gain muscle mass on 3000 calories, you may need to eat more than that. Monitor your weight and body fat percentage so you can tell whether or not you need to consume more calories every day than you are consuming now.

8. A cheat meal from time to time won't kill you - Having on or two cheat meals in one week will not kill you and can be psychologically refreshing. Remember that you are a hardgainer so a little excess of calories here and there most likely won't be stored as fat. 


Homemade mass gainers could help you to reach a total number of calories that you need to consume to gain muscle. You may not have the appetite to eat 6-7 solid food meals a day, so in order to get the caloric intake you need, you can implement shakes. I am not talking about just a whey protein shake, but rather a meal in the form of a shake. A healthy high-caloric meal that consists of protein, carbs, and fats. 

Here are ingredients that you can use to make your own mass gainer:

   - Whey Protein
   - Oatmeal 
   - Skim Milk
   - Peanut Butter
   - Banana
   - Eggs
   - Honey

These shakes can be used for 2-3 of your daily meals. An example daily meal schedule could be:

Meal 1 - Solid Food Meal
Meal 2 - Homemade Mass Gainer
Meal 3 - Solid Food Meal
Meal 4 - Homemade Mass Gainer as Post-Workout Shake
Meal 5 - Solid Food
Meal 6 - Protein Shake

If every of these meals consists of 500 calories you could easily reach a 3000 calories goal. 

Supplements as part of your diet could of great help and speed up the process of muscle building. Anyway, there is no need to waste your money on unnecessary supplements. Check out the list of 3 Best Muscle Building Supplements.

If you are following a good muscle building routine and adapt all these diet strategies then you will start gaining muscle mass without problems, even as a hardgainer. 

How To Get Bigger Shoulders - Tips and Shoulder Workout for Mass

Shoulder Workout for Mass

One of the most important things for a great V-taper is big shoulders and the main mistake that lifters make is doing the same workout over and over and many of them are neglecting one or two shoulders heads.

You need to focus on all three heads, front, medial and rear shoulders because if one head of the muscle is lagging you won't build proportional good-looking shoulders.

The best way to force your shoulders to grow is to mix your workouts from time to time. Don't let your muscles to adapt to the same exercises and weights over and over. Make some changes from time to time, shock your muscles. 

How to get bigger shoulders:

1. A lot of heavy shoulder presses using a barbell or dumbbells (80 - 85% of 1 RM) in the first place. Don't forget to lift with a good form.

2. Do more side laterals - it is a great exercise for building up your shoulder muscles. 

3. Perform upright rows with a wide grip which allows you to work the muscles on the outer edges of your shoulders which will help you build wider shoulders.

4. Hit rear shoulders with bent-over lateral raises which is very similar to side lateral raises, but you perform them while bent over.

5. Perform more wide-grip pull ups on your back day which will also work your shoulders along with biceps and back muscles. 

6. Focus on the medium number of reps (8-12) instead of a higher reps number.

One very common mistake that lifters make when training their shoulders is that they are using too much weight and perform the exercise with very poor form. Try to improve your form, use a full range of motion. 

When performing lateral raises don't just swing dumbells at your side, slower the eccentric phase and try to focus on hitting your muscle with lighter weights. Leave your ego at home, you are in the gym to build muscle, not ego.

 Check out this great tutorial:

Mass-Building Shoulder Workout:

1. Standing Military Press - 3 sets x 6-8 reps

Exercises for Bigger Shoulders

2. Side Lateral Raise - 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Mass-Building Shoulder Workout

3. Upright Barbell Row - 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Shoulders Workout for Mass

4. Bent Over Lateral Raise - 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Shoulders Workout for Mass

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Sergio Oliva 'The Myth' - Workout For Big Arms

Sergio Oliva Workout

Sergio Oliva is one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time, the only bodybuilder to ever beat Arnold Schwarzenegger at Olympia. Even he was known for his rivalry with Arnold, they were good friends and the Austrian Oak always respected him a lot. In one interview after Sergio's death Arnold said:

"Sergio Oliva was one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time and a true friend. A fierce competitor with a big personality - one of a kind"

'The Myth'  as people often call Sergio Oliva, is still well known for the incredible size and perfect definition he had. Sergio had the biggest arms among all famous bodybuilders of that time.

As a huge fan of Old-School Bodybuilding, I recently got a very old bodybuilding magazine in which I found his old photos and arms workout.

Sergio loved doing supersets on arms days and he recommended them to all lifters that didn't try doing biceps and triceps supersets. He favored supersets because they are a time saver and as he said they made him attack his arms more fiercely and forced them to grow faster.

He considered a Barbell Biceps Curl as the most effective exercise for biceps. Doing heavy curls with a rep range from 6 - 10 and with a good form was his secret for building a big biceps. The key is in performing the curls using a full range of motion and without using a momentum to lift a barbell.

Sergio Oliva Biceps Curl

To get a pump he used to do a superset of Barbell Biceps Curls with Dumbbell Biceps Curls which he performed with lighter weight and from different angles.

Sergio Oliva Arms
Seated Dumbbell Biceps Curl
Sergio Oliva Arms Workout
Triceps Pushdown on Lat Machine

Sergio Oliva Workout
Lying Barbell Triceps Extension

Another exercise that he used to build his huge biceps was Preacher Curl either using Barbell or Dumbbells.

Some of the exercises that he used for building his triceps were Triceps Pushdown and Lying Barbell Triceps Extension.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Benefits of Whey Protein to Build Lean Muscle Mass

Best Type of Protein

Protein supplement, especially whey protein, has many benefits for all gym goers that want to build lean muscle mass and burn fat. Whey is a milk-based protein which has the highest biological value amongst all proteins. 

When it comes to building lean muscle there is nothing more important than getting the right amount of protein.

Every lifter knows about the importance of high-protein diet and about the role protein plays in muscle building. In order to gain muscle mass, you need to consume more protein than you break down during the workout. That makes whey protein one of the best and fastest sources of protein to include in a post-workout meal.

The reason why whey protein is so popular as the post-workout meal is that it has a higher amino acid content and is the most easily absorbed by the body compared to other protein-rich sources.


1. Great source of high-quality protein 

It is a complete, high-quality protein, containing all of the essential amino acids. Consuming only one dose of whey protein will fuel your muscles with about 30 grams of very digestible high-quality protein.

There are three main types of whey protein powder:

- Concentrate 
- Isolate 
- Hydrolysate

Concentrate is the most common type and also the cheapest. 

2. Whey protein promotes muscle growth

In order to build muscle mass and strength, it is very important to consume a high-protein meal right after the workout. That helps to avoid the breaking down the muscle tissue and promotes muscle growth.

Because of its quality and fast absorption whey protein is probably the best source of protein to consume after a workout and anytime when you think that you didn't consume enough protein for the current day.  Supplementation with whey protein may help you to count your daily protein intake easier and to prepare high-quality protein meal faster.

3. Whey protein is low in calories

This is also one of the benefits for building lean muscle. Whey protein has a great protein to calorie ratio. Although it is very important to consume more calories than you burn when building muscle mass, consuming whey protein will help you build lean muscle and get ripped. 

The 3 Best Muscle Building Supplements - The Only Supplements You Need to Build Muscle Mass

Supplements to Gain Muscle Mass

When it comes to muscle growth there are three main criteria that must be met: eating more calories than you burn, consuming more protein than you break down and an exercise program that is challenging to your muscles.

It is possible to meet these criteria without taking supplements, so you must know that you don't have to buy any of them. Still, some of those supplements may help you gain muscle mass faster and easier. 

You must know one thing before you buy any dietary supplement - the vast majority of supplements do absolutely nothing. That said, not all muscle building supplements are worthless. There are some of them that are scientifically proven to help you build muscle. Of course, they can't change proper diet and training and can't give you results as fast as anabolic steroids, but they are still worth buying if you want to gain muscle mass.

In this article, I will mention only muscle building supplements and three of them that are scientifically proven that they work. Many people wasted a fortune on supplements that didn't work, so don't make the same mistake. 


Best Muscle Building Supplements

Your muscles need more protein than you break down and beside protein-high diet, protein supplements can be very helpful when it comes to muscle building. 

Protein supplements can make a fast and easy snack and can spare you much time. Of course, whole foods can give you all the protein that your body needs but it is faster and easier to make a protein shake. Especially after hard and intense workouts when you don't have much time before your muscle tissue starts breaking down.

The best type of protein powder is whey protein because of its fast digestion which is very important for your muscles after the workout. Casein protein is very good for consuming before bed because it digests slower and it fuels your muscles with high-quality protein while you sleep.


Best Supplements to Gain Muscle Mass

Creatine is a substance that naturally occurs in our muscle cells. As a supplement creatine has been popular since the 1990s and has been the subject of hundreds of studies since that time. 

Hundreds of scientific studies have proven that creatine:

- Support Muscle Growth
- Improves Muscular Strength 
- Improves Muscle Recovery 
- Improves Performance During High-Intensity Training 

The best part is that creatine does all these things naturally and safely.

Creatine can be found in many forms including monohydrate, hydrochloride, ethyl ester and others. Still, the most proven and cheapest form of creatine is Creatine Monohydrate. Even it is the cheapest one, it is probably the most effective one amongst all forms of creatine.

All of these facts are backed by research. You can check out results of some studies as a proof that creatine works:

  1. Earnest, C. P., Snell, P. G., Rodriguez, R., Almada, A. L., & Mitchell, T. L. (1995). The effect of creatine monohydrate ingestion on anaerobic power indices, muscular strength and body composition.a> Acta Physiologica Scandinavica, 153(2), 207.
  2. Kilduff, L. P., Pitsiladis, Y. P., Tasker, L., Attwood, J., Hyslop, P., Dailly, A., ... & Grant, S. (2003). Effects of creatine on body composition and strength gains after 4 weeks of resistance training in previously nonresistance-trained humans. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 13(4), 504-520.


Beta-alanine is a naturally occurring non-essential amino acid that comes into a body through foods that are high in protein. Although it is on this list Beta-Alanine Supplements can't compete with Protein and Creatine supplements when it comes to building muscle mass. 

So why I put Beta-Alanine on this list? It has many benefits that help muscle building:

- Improves physical endurance 
- Increases effectiveness of creatine
- Delaying fatigue during intense training

Those are some of the benefits of supplementation with Beta-Alanine but it still on the 3rd place on this list for a reason. Even it can help you build muscle mass you should first have whey protein and creatine monohydrate and if you think about another supplement to break muscle plateau I recommend buying Beta-Alanine.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Top 8 Foods Highest in Protein for Muscle Building

Foods Highest in Protein

What is PROTEIN?

Proteins are long chains of amino acids, which are probably the most important nutrients that we get from our diet. 

Why we need PROTEIN?

We need to eat plenty of protein foods every day to keep metabolism running, our energy up and our blood levels stable. Athletes need to consume more protein than average people, especially athletes that are lifting weights.

Why athletes need to consume more PROTEIN?

Athletes spend more energy than the average person and they need additional nutrients to recover from intense physical activity. Protein plays a very important role in every athlete's diet, whether running sprints, swimming or lifting weights. Most famous nutrient, protein, helps repair and strengthen muscle tissue.

What can happen if you eat too little protein?

- Low energy and fatigue
- Poor concentration
- Mood swings
- Trouble building muscle mass
- Trouble losing weight
- Low immunity

How much protein athletes need?

The recommended daily intake of protein for an average person is 46 grams for women, and 56 grams for men. If you want to gain muscle that wouldn't be enough to fuel your muscles for growth.

Many fitness experts say that 2 grams of protein per one pound of body weight are necessary for muscle gain, some say even more but they are all wrong. You won't build more muscle if you consume more protein that your muscles need. 

The recommended daily intake for athletes is 1.2 grams of protein per 1 pound of bodyweight. That is enough to build muscle and you won't have an excess of protein that will be stored as fat. 

You also need to focus on other nutrients, like carbs and fats so if you consume 1.2 grams of protein per 1 pound of your body weight every day, believe me, you have it enough to make your muscles grow. Just focus on other nutrients, on your training and rest. Proteins don't build muscles all alone.

Best Exercises to Build Muscle Mass Fast

What are the best sources of protein?

1. FISH 

protein-rich foods

      Fish that are high in   protein per one fillet (85 g):

Tuna (22g), Salmon (22g), Halibut (22g, Perch (21g), Cod (20g).

Seafood is an excellent source of protein because it is low in fat. Fish like salmon is little higher in fat but is heart-healthy kind of fat - omega 3 acids.


foods that are high in protein

Turkey and chicken breasts are probably the best source of lean protein. Darker meats are also good but they are higher in fat than white meat. 

100 grams of chicken and turkey contain about 30 grams of protein.


protein-rich foods

Cheese high in protein per ounce (28g):

Parmesan (10g), Low-fat Swiss Cheese (8g), Low-fat Cheddar (6g), Low-fat Cottage Cheese (5g).


Beef and veal are the meats that are higher in calories than white meat but they are still very good sources of protein. Per 100 grams of lean beef or veal equals about 36 grams of protein.

5. EGGS (Especially Egg Whites)

protein-rich foods
1 Large Egg contains about 7 grams of protein. Whole eggs are high in protein, but egg whites are almost pure protein. They are also loaded with healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.


Peanuts are the highest in protein in comparison with all other nuts. They are also loaded with healthy fats and they are very rich in calories. One ounce (28 g) contains 7 grams of protein, with 159 calories. You can also try peanut butter, it is very delicious and very good for muscle growth with quality nutrients and a high number of calories.


Shrimps are low in calories but loaded with many nutrients including selenium and vitamin B 12. Like fish, they also contain plenty of omega-3 fatty acids. A 3 ounce (85 g) serving contains 18 grams of protein with 84 calories. Very good source of lean protein and also very healthy food.


Whey is a type of high-quality protein and it is very effective at building muscle mass. Only one serving (30  or 35 grams) of Whey Protein Powder can contain about 27 - 30 grams of protein. Great source of fast-digesting protein very useful as a post-workout meal. 

Check out more about Whey Protein Supplements and other great muscle-building supplements in another article:

Best Muscle-Building Supplements to Build Muscle Mass Fast

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