Mass building aka hypertrophy, the process of increasing muscle strength and size, is a popular goal for many fitness minded individuals. Unfortunately, many people believe that doing P90X for 90 days will turn them into the Hulk. P90X is not a system designed for mass. It’s designed for overall fitness, which means that ultimate gains in targeted areas, like speed, strength, flexibility, and muscle growth, are compromised to provide a program that improves all your body’s physical energy systems during one 90-day effort. In a training cycle for mass, we should target hypertrophy even at the expense of other fitness goals.
Since P90X is a well rounded program meant to boost power, strength, endurance and to lose weight while gaining lean muscle, we will need to customize the standard program to maximize our muscle gains. Since maximizing muscle is our primary goal, we need to tone down the cardio to both lessen the stress on our bodies and to lighten the calorie burn. Keeping some cardio in the program keeps the body conditioned so it’s better than simply skipping the cardio. This will purposely reduce our calorie burn so you must take that into consideration when gauging your calorie goal.
Building mass doesn’t occur overnight, you must undertake a strategic muscle-building plan, assure the body gets the nutrients it needs by adopting a healthy diet, and incorporate essential periods of rest. Regardless of your body type, with a little effort and a calculated plan, anyone can build mass and strength.
Pump It Up
In order to grow muscle, the muscles must constantly be subjected to new challenges. The ideal way to increase muscle is to adopt a strength training program that utilizes a low rep/heavy weight combination. High intensity training allow the muscles to be properly stimulated with fewer sets. Be sure to incorporate compound exercises and use free weights when possible. Free weights allow for a greater range of motion, meaning more muscles will be used during training sessions while compound exercises allow you to work multiple muscle groups with one movement. While you want to train hard, your body benefits from rest. Alternate the muscle groups you focus on each day, allowing ample time for each group to recuperate before return your focus to it. For maximum results, use a range of 4 to 8 reps in 16 to 20 sets per muscle group, pushing each set to exhaustion. Avoid training more then 2 body parts in a single day or you may over work your muscles and stall your progression.
Feeding Your Muscles
It’s not enough to work your muscle, you have to feed them too! Building muscle typically requires increasing your caloric intake 300 to 500 calories beyond maintenance level. Upping your protein and carb intake is particularly important since protein helps to reinforce and build muscle, while the carbs will give you enough energy to get through your high intensity workouts. Be careful to choose healthy food options like lean red meats, pasta, and fresh vegetables even as you increase your daily calorie count. For optimum absorption and assimilation of the nutrients you ingest, schedule 5 to 6 meals each day at two to three hour intervals. You should target to eat at least 1g of protein for each pound of body weight, and the protein also needs to be divided evenly throughout the day.
Get Your Beauty Sleep
Allow your body to rest and recover when necessary. The high intensity workouts associated with building mass taxes the body. Make sure you allow yourself time to rest and recuperate. This include getting a good night’s sleep before heading back to the gym. It’s difficult to pump hard and remain focused when your body isn’t well rested. Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night.
Give Yourself a Helping Hand
Many bodybuilders incorporate nutritional supplements into their mass building routine. Considering picking up a whey protein isolate (to help strengthen muscle), creatine (to boost energy during workouts), and the P90X recovery drink (to help your body recovery post workout). Adding supplements to your daily workout/diet plan may help guarantee that you’re getting everything you need to keep your body working at its best.
In a TeamBeachBody article called Gaining Mass with P90X By Steve Edwards, he gives a 90 day P90X hybrid schedule to maximizing your mass building. Below I’ve taken his hybrid schedule and created a PDF document with this schedule.
Also I came up with this simplified one week schedule that I plan to do for the next 60 days.
Every final P90X Recovery Week I ALWAYS use Shakeology for the last 3 days. It makes perfect sense during the P90X Recovery Week because the workout intensity is lower. Shakeology helps me shed a little extra weight, but more importantly, re-energizes me for the next Phase. This works even better with a mass gain schedule, since we are bulking up so much in the main phase.