What do you need to gain mass?

Here at SST a lot of athletes come into our facility wanting to put on size and gain strength and ask for our advice to help get them there. While what we do in the gym is a HUGE part of helping them achieve this goal, what we preach to our athletes is that what they do with the 23 other hours they aren’t in our facility are just as if not more important if they want to gain size and strength.

The most common misconception with ‘bulking’ or the pursuit gaining muscle mass is that you can just go on the see-food diet (eat any food in sight) and you will put on mass. While this is true if you are in a caloric surplus (eating more calories than you are burning), it doesn’t mean you are going to the athletic size we want you to gain. You should have a professional help you to calculate your caloric needs to identify #1 if you are eating enough for your activity level and if so if we need to add more calories to your current regime to help you gain some healthy muscle mass. This is ESSENTIAL if speed and/or power is important for an athlete’s sport as if we are looking to put on size, we need to be cognisant of how this may affect their speed. We want to gain size and strength the right way to promote speed development, keeping our body fat levels in a good range for us to perform for our sport.

For this to happen you need to be eating adequate protein. A good rule of thumb is that you should be eating AT LEAST 1 gram of protein per pound of body mass and it is best to space this protein out throughout the day to keep us on the positive side of protein synthesis/degradation. While individual needs will vary for sport and training period this is a good rule of thumb to follow. Another way to think of this is to try and eat 40 grams of protein per meal, or the equivalent amount of two decks of cards of a high-quality protein source, as protein is the key macronutrient for muscle building. If we are wanting to put on size and to make sure we are eating enough, another simple trick we can use is to try and eat 3 meals before 3pm, and 5 meals before 9pm. If you follow these simple rules of thumb it should go a long way in helping you put on some healthy mass.

We also focus on our athletes avoiding highly processed foods and protein sources. The more nutrition we can get from unprocessed, home-prepared meals the better. Focusing on eating lots of vegetables (hitting all colours of the rainbow), adequate carbohydrates for specific goals and activity level, healthy unsaturated fat sources such as fatty-fish, olive oil, avocados, almonds, etc. and protein sources that used to run, swim, or fly is a great place to start. We need to know where our next meal is coming from, and if we are prepared and have meals ready-to-go then we are less likely to hit the drive-thru window. While supplements have their place in athlete nutrition, forming this foundation is key for preparing our athletes for the demands of their sport and our training programs and to create life-long healthy relationship with food.

Also don’t forget to sleep! Hitting at least 8 hours of sleep per night is essential for muscle recovery and regeneration. It is important to make sure this is un-broken sleep as well as this is when our best muscle-building takes place. Making sure our sleep hygiene is in check can go a long way to help us get those 8 hours, such as avoiding screen time before bed and getting to bed at the same time every night to name a few. Also making sure we are adequately hydrated can help with sleep, but also everything else. Most of our athletes who come in aren’t drinking enough water and this affects not only their performance in sport, but everything else as well.
While this article only starts to scratch the surface on what things we should be doing when we are wanting to put pack on some healthy mass, it should go a long way into helping lay a strong foundation!

Email Bskinner@sscanada.com to schedule a complimentary demo session!

Is Spot Reduction Possible With Regards To Fat Loss?

Up until a few years back I thought it couldn’t be done, but having witnessed all of our Fit and Lean 44 client’s progress, I can now say yes it is possible. A system called Biosignature Nutrition is used for all of our Fit and Lean 44 clients. The Biosignature Program is a blueprint of where an individual stores body fat and the correlation to the hormones in your body.  This protocol has been effectively used on thousands of people producing tremendous results; including spot reduction!  We measure 12 different body fat sites ranging from the chin to the kneecap.  Sites and their hormone relation are as follows:

Chin and cheek- Insulin

Pec – androgens

Triceps – testosterone and the mother of all scores

Subscap and Love handles- insulin

Umbilicus- cortisol hormone

Mid Axillary- Thyroid indicator

Quad and Hamstrings- estrogen and the most troubling site for


Knee and Calf- Growth Hormone(GH) and sleep patterns!

What Happens Next?

Upon diagnosing clients we determine their two major problem areas and they become our focus. 2 focal points could be a combination of GH and insulin, testosterone and cortisol, etc. Why do we focus on the 2 major problem areas and correct them first? Well, by fixing the most troublesome areas other hormones have a natural tendency to fall into place. This leads to not only spot reduction but fat loss throughout the body.

Let’s take a look at a specific example: Throughout the course of Fit and Lean 44 we have seen people who are very lean throughout their body but may be carrying extra body fat in a specific site or ‘spot’ such as their midsection.  This is a direct result of the hormone cortisol being too high throughout the day.  A simple modification to lifestyle or a supplement like schizandra can bring the score of this area down, resulting in a drop of body fat in a persons’ midsection.

To review; does spot reduction work?  Yes with the proper diagnosis, lifestyle and nutritional change in compliance with a proper exercise protocol!

PS…. take a look at this fantastic offer Butts & Guts – “Get your Fall Body on!”

10 Keys to “Getting Lean”

Hi, Steve Bodanis here from SST Hamilton. I thought I would get this info up just in time for your summer body planning.

10 Keys to getting lean in 2016!

  1. Lift weights – don’t sit on machines, do compound movements that recruit more muscles. Toning means increasing muscle and decreasing body-fat. 20 reps of 3lb Dumbbells doesn’t get you toned.
  2. Perform intervals 2x per week – My favorite is sprinting, but you can use bikes, treadmills, rowers. Ditch the slow cardio and get more results in less time. Also it’s not catabolic so it doesn’t breakdown your lean muscle.
  3. Set your protein intake – women generally get 1/2 or less their required protein intake daily. Start planning 5 meals a day with 20-30g protein at each meal.
  4. Carb Timing – Focus on getting healthy carbs after training sessions. Aim for a little more on hard training days and a little less on your off days.
  5. Good fats are your friends – you can get too much, but don’t avoid them. Adding nuts, seeds, avocado, olive/coconut oil, grass fed butter to your diet is healthy and necessary if you’re decreasing your daily carbs.
  6. Plan your meals ahead – spend 2 days a week preparing meals and having them packaged in the fridge ready to go.
  7. Don’t drink your calories – water with lemon or lime help to alkalize your body. Adding a cinnamon stick will help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
  8. Get sleep – 7-8 uninterrupted hours a night is optimal. Go to bed at a regular time and try and wake up without an alarm (if possible). Turn off TV/electronics, make sure your room is pitch black and set the temperature properly. This will help reduce cortisol and helps with insulin sensitivity.
  9. Be mindful – when you eat try and chew 10-15 times for each bite. Also add mindful breathing techniques. This can also help reduce stress/cortisol which is the enemy of getting lean.D
  10. Don’t get neurotic – use your hands to measure foods instead of trying to calculate every calorie.

Palm of hand for protein

Fists for vegetables – 1-2 every meal

Cupped hand for carbs – depending on body type and meal 0-2 Thumb for fats – 1 if you’re having carbs at meal or 2 if you’re not.

If you cheat it’s ok, just aim to get back on track next meal. 85-90% compliance will get you good, sustainable gains.

10_keys-to getting-lean

Hopefully this helps you get the summer body you’re looking for. If you need more help contact your local SST location.