Winter isn’t just about gaining the most amount of mass you can whether its fat or muscle. Bodybuilders need to work on gaining lean muscle mass all year round, not just gaining fat. Stick with the basics in the winter. It’s good for your body to have an easy couple of weeks before ramping back up in the spring.
In terms of nutrition, there are a couple of areas to boost in the winter. For one, your immune system will be more taxed in the winter to fight the flu and winter colds. One way to support your immune system is to add a probiotic. Greek yogurt and glutamine are other great ways to add natural gut support.
Winter is a great time to add vitamin D when we’re not getting enough sunlight in the cold air. Vitamin D is available in capsules or in food sources like salmon, mackerel, eggs, and fish oil. Other lean protein sources like venison, boar, bison, and lean cuts of beef are great for increasing your protein intake and adding amino acids for energy.
Healthy fats are necessary for healthy brain function, especially in the winter when seasonal depression comes out. The brain needs polysaturated, monosaturated, and saturated fats to function properly. Good sources of fat include coconut oil, butter, nuts, and marbled meats. Omega 3 oils are important to be transformed into DHAs that are necessary for brain health.
Winter Mass Building
There are different types of mass building. There’s lean muscle mass, fat mass, and over “mass” mass. When it comes to bodybuilding, the goal is lean muscle mass. However, to have a good overall size and shape, a small amount of fat is necessary. To do this, you’ll want to make sure that you’re gaining fat and muscle mass in proportion to each other. This means that your calories and your diet program are working in tandem – building fat and muscle together, then cutting afterwards.
For most current bodybuilders, you’ll want to keep your body fat between 12 and 16 percent. If you want to keep it lower, you can, but adding the extra calories will help build your muscle. If you’re less than 200 pounds, add about 400 calories. If you’re over 200 pounds, add about 600 calories. If you’re an extreme mass builder, add as needed.
For mass building, you want to use an exercise plan that’s designed around building muscle strength. Muscle strength is when the muscle fibers become stronger and thicker through exercise. That means lifting heavy with less frequency. For a good combination of strength and size that works to build mass, use between 8 and 10 reps. After building mass through strength, you can work up building mass through size and hypertrophy.
Muscle hypertrophy happens when muscle tissue breaks down through working out in a way that increases the size of the muscle when it repairs itself. To increase muscle hypertrophy, increase your reps and shorten your rest time. This increases the amount of muscle growth hormones by stressing your body to a larger degree.