The mass phase in muscle building and the “memory effect” of the fat cells

If you look at successful fitness models and bodybuilders, you can see that they always have an impressive muscle volume with a minimal body fat percentage (KFA) of well below 10% and perfect muscle symmetry .

Each of these three goals is difficult to achieve individually. A well thought-out training plan, a balanced diet that is geared towards short-term or long-term training goals and a lot of self-discipline are basic requirements. Achieving all of these “intermediate goals” at the same time is perfection , which many strive for, but is rarely achieved.

If you strive for this perfection and if necessary even want to be successful as a fitness model , you should split your training into mass phase and definition phase and yourself thus set milestones. The purpose of the gradual parceled out muscle building training is to work through the training goals individually so that the training is designed more efficiently and progress can be achieved faster and more effectively.

The mass phase when building muscle

In order to achieve fast and effective muscle building, a significant excess of calories is beneficial. Muscle growth is an energy-intensive process that takes place particularly effectively when the body receives more energy from food than it actually needs. Another requirement that favors muscular hypertrophy is a slightly positive nitrogen balance, which is usually increases linearly with the uptake of proteins and provides precise information about whether the metabolism has enough amino acids available to enable muscle building.

In the bulking phase, it is important to supply the body with a lot of energy and thus support muscle building. That it is easier to gain weight in the bulk phase and e.g. Fat accumulates through carbohydrates is a side effect that is unfortunately almost inevitable.

Rule of thumb for diet in the bulking phase

  • approx. 1-1.5g protein per kilogram of body weight (1g protein = approx. 4.1 kcal)
  • approx. 3-5g carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight * (1g carbohydrates = approx. 4.1 kcal)
  • approx. 1g fat per kilogram of body weight * (1g fat = approx. 9 kcal)

The diet of an athlete with a body weight of 80kg should be composed as follows in the mass phase, depending on the metabolic type:

  • approx. 120g protein (= 500 kcal)
  • approx. 400g carbohydrates (= 1640 kcal)
  • approx. 80g fat (= 720 kcal)

The total energy requirement of the athlete would be around 2900 kcal per day. Nutrition physiologists recommend a distribution of 50/30/20 (as a percentage of the total energy requirement of a person) of the three primary macronutrients, carbohydrates, fats and proteins. However, these values ​​vary among others depending on the somatotype (body type) and physical activity of a person.

In our article on the memory effect of muscle cells, you can get a detailed overview of why the body quickly gains muscle mass again after a long break from training:

If the muscle is no longer used, the body dissolves and metabolizes the proteins and water from the “superfluous” muscle cells and the volume of the cells decreases. Here, however, the cell is not completely broken down! Among other things, the “brain of the cell”, the cell nucleus, is preserved and with it information about the former capacity and volume of the cell .

What applies here to muscle cells also applies to fat cells and all other cells in the human body: A cell usually disappears. not complete.

So if you put on fat in the bulk phase, which is completely normal in view of the overcompensation of energy, you should consider that these fat cells can be “emptied” during a diet in the definition phase, but never completely disappear .

That means: If you put on too much fat, a later definition of the muscles becomes more and more difficult, since emptied fat cells visibly cover the muscle above a certain number. In addition, you will put on fat again faster if you let the training drag and neglect your diet.

Pay attention to how your body reacts to the increased carbohydrate and fat intake and correct it downwards if the body fat percentage rises too quickly.

Eat a “clean” diet despite increased energy intake: Lots of long-chain carbohydrates (grain) distributed throughout the day and short-chain carbohydrates (monosaccharides such as glucose) only shortly before and shortly after training and immediately after getting up.

Consume as few saturated fatty acids as possible and cover your fat requirements mainly with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which include Prevent vasoconstriction.

You can find more on the subject of mass gain and fat through carbohydrates as well as other articles on the subject of nutrition in weight training under nutrition.

Of course, we are also interested in your experiences and suggestions on the subject of mass building and fat gain. The comment function is just waiting to be used!
Good luck with gaining mass!

Build muscle and burn fat at the same time?

One of the most common questions that arises in the fitness world is the question of building muscle while burning fat at the same time. The real art of strength training is building lean muscle mass. The physiological differences between these two training goals couldn’t be greater, so that a parallel combination of both training goals actually turns out to be impossible.

Fat burning is a very complex process that takes place in the body at any time, but can shift significantly depending on the respective training intensity. The following graphic shows you in a breathtaking way the connection between the type of energy supply and the respective training intensity.

Energiebereitstellung Grafik

If we look at this challenging ray of color, one might think that fat burning is highest during cardio training, while it is almost ignored during maximum strength training. Of course, this is only partially correct.

You also burn fat with maximum strength training. But the primary energy supply has to function mainly through the anaerobic lactic and alactic energy supply during high-intensity loads. Doesn’t that happen because e.g. if glycogen is not available, your performance will suffer. The oxidation of fatty acids cannot provide sufficient (fast enough) contraction energy during maximal strength training. You can find out why this is so and how you can combine fat burning and muscle building at the same time in our detailed Hypertrophy Guide .

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