So You Want to Add Some Muscle? Lessons from a Powerlifter

Doc Deadlift

Article By Doc Von Derwin [Editor’s Note: Our resident Meat Head]

So you want to get serious about adding muscle. Then get ready for one hell of a ride that guarantees constant soreness, an uncomfortable amount of dieting, and nonstop attention from the opposite sex… or the same sex if you are into that kind of thing (it’s 2015 after all). This article will assume you have the essential knowledge of most lifts and an understanding of proper gym etiquette. Feel free to use your favorite search engine whenever confused, and while you are at it, look up synonyms for “large” so you won’t be thrown off when fellow gym members start referring to you with these words instead of your name.


Step 1: Assess your weaknesses. Do your abs show? Can you do a proper pull-up? Do you get winded walking up a flight of stairs? Identify your starting point and start by making attainable, yet challenging goals. From here you can begin building your plan of attack and start kicking ass one rep at a time.


Step 2: Reallocating your diet. Once you’ve identified your goals, you’re going to need to start eating your way towards them. If it means eating less or eating more, change in physique is incredibly reliant on how and what you eat. When it comes to gaining weight, the key is about being a beast in the kitchen. Let’s say the goal is to bench 300 pounds. The closer your body weight is to 300lbs, the lighter the lift will feel because your body is accustomed to carrying more mass. When you start cutting body weight while maintaining lifting intensity, you bench will stay the same but now you have to deal with rumors about the lifter with six pack ab’s and the ability to throw smart cars like softballs.


Step 3: The bulking diet. If your goal is to be huge like some sort of discount Tom Hardy, then get ready to eat… a lot. A veteran bodybuilder would eat 12 eggs a day (hardboiled or fried), a pound of 4% cottage cheese, and gallon of whole milk a day. Not to mention a decent amount of lean red meat consumption. You need all the protein you can get while cutting out as much sodium and sugars as possible. Fats are permitted in this diet but only if they are easy to metabolize like dairy fat. These food items are ideal for gaining mass but you can tailor it to your taste or health needs. Just be sure to include other standard issue health items; carrots, potatoes, whole wheat pastas, other vegetables, you get the picture. No shit foods like candy bars, fast food, anything deep fried, or soda which is the equivalent poison. Don’t drink soda… at all… ever. Soda is awful. Seriously, don’t drink it.


Step 4: The bulking workout. Three days a week should be dedicated to heavy lifting exercises. Monday: Heavy bench day. Tuesday: heavy leg day that includes squats and deadlifts as well as 500 reps of circuit training. Friday: squats, deadlifts, cleans, and bench mixed with biceps, shrugs, calves and pushups. You will most likely need to buy a whole new set of shirts about 3 weeks due to constant sleeve blow outs. You still need to maintain a large amount of intensity. Think heavy and painful 5 sets of 5. Somewhere throughout your week you need a bicep/tricep circuit training day that has 800 reps and needs to be finished in 45 minutes. Fast and with a lot of intensity like a Jason Statham movie.


Step 5: The cut. For those of you looking to gain that Bruce Lee lean appearance along with strength to vault over walls like a parkour expert, you need to be ready for a very painful process. More painful than Mufasa’s death in the 1994 classic The Lion King. Once you get your size and strength to where you want, you need start cutting back on sugars and sodium even harder than before, but now you cut out as many fats as possible. Start drinking fat free milk, take the yolk out of your eggs, and switch over to 2% cottage cheese. The combination of tuna and salsa will be your closest friend and you will hate vegetables more than a fussy 5-year-old. Fun fact: Broccoli and chicken was Tom Hardy’s constant meal when cutting for the movie The Warrior. By the end of filming, he hated broccoli and chicken.


Step 6: The cutting work out. Now we think about intense high rep workouts. 2 days a week is you power lifting exercises where you focus on which ever exercises work your weakest muscles, 3 days out of your week include 800-1000 reps of circuit training routines. Design them for legs, biceps/triceps, and various other muscles that shape your body to the proportions of Arnold Schwarzenegger from the first Terminator film. Resting must be kept to a minimal between circuits. To picture the intensity of these workouts, think of the last level of any video game where you are not only fighting two armies but also ISIS, Freeza from Dragonball Z, the Green Bay Packers, and a million fire ants that united as one in the shape of an even larger fire ant. These work outs are design to build/tone your muscles and burn more calories. This combined with your incredible dieting will start giving you that lean super soldier appearance.


Step 7: Reflection. These are the key steps to shaping yourself into a high octane monster that is able to stand in front of the mirror and know what it’s like to be sexually attracted to themselves. If you are having trouble getting motivated or find yourself cheating too frequently, try reading “The Iron and the Soul” by Henry Rollins. Once you have done that, read it over and over again to realize what it takes for you to stop being your own worst enemy. People are able want so much for themselves and very few are able to put forth the effort to achieve it. If you really want to add muscle or lean down then you can’t be afraid to put in the work.