1. Slow and steady wins the race here. We can’t just force feed hypertrophy. Increase calories sufficiently to get the scale moving. The faster you gain, the higher percentage of that new weight will be adipose fat tissue that we’ll just have to get rid of later.
2. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. As long as you’re able to continue progressing with core movements, It’s hard to see a legitimate reason for removing an exercise after 6-8 weeks that you’re still progressing on. If you’re getting stronger and refueling your body in the proper manner, the muscle growth will follow.
3. This might be a more appropriate time to introduce intensity techniques into some movements – Your recovery and work capacity is increased from the extra food. Don’t be afraid to throw in drop sets, supersets, running the rack, etc.
4. Monitor your fasting or PP blood glucose levels. If they start creeping up, perhaps pull back. Insulin sensitivity is your best friend…and your insulin staying elevated over a period of time is your worst enemy. Play it smart and put your health first. You can cheaply grab your starting values for fasting insulin, fasting glucose, and HbA1c for $30-40 dollars from Life Extension or other sites.
5. Keep up with a relatively moderate number of daily steps (or your preferred form of cardio) Somewhere in the 7-8k step range can be appropriate, although I like clients to end up around the 10k mark. This is related to the previous point regarding blood glucose. This can help extend a gaining period but more importantly help keep other health markers where they should be!
6. Protect your gut and digestion. No, this doesn’t mean taking random probiotics and drinking kombucha. Your body can’t use what nutrients you aren’t actually properly digesting and assimilating. This total overall increase in calories means more total work for your GI. Respecting food quality thresholds is the big step one for this. Prebiotic foods, targeted probiotics, and digestive enzymes are things to look at on this front.
7. This is the time to really enjoy food! When many people are dieting they’ll have to cut out some of their favorite foods. Maybe date nights can shift from sushi and Mediterranean to Italian, burgers, and the types of meals that are inherently higher calorically. Autoregulation is much more forgiving on goals going UP as opposed to goals going DOWN.
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