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Although it may seem strange to talk about how to gain weight as we approach the holidays (where people typically gain weight without trying very hard), the simple fact is that, for athletes and bodybuilders, the winter (when it’s cold outside and you’re covered up) has always been one of the primary times that trainees focus on muscle gain.
You can worry about being lean and having a six pack when it’s warm and you don’t look stupid being mostly nude. The winter is a good time to pack on some muscle mass and justify all that Halloween candy (“I’m bulking, bro”).
But in the same way that many diets fail for a lot of reasons, there are equally common reasons that trainees fail to make the muscular gains that they desire. I want to look at several of them, addressing potential solutions along the way.

 Why Cutting Carbs Won’t Help You Build Mass

The reason why cutting carbs is so ineffective is actually a lot simpler than you think. There are pretty much only two things that don’t contain any carbs at all: meat and water. Not only are you not going to chow down on chicken, salmon and beef for every single snack and meal, but you can’t. Not if you want to maintain basic biological functions.

There’s a reason you’re supposed to eat a variety of foods; you can’t get good enough nutrition from just one kind of food. You wouldn’t be able to get enough calories even if you chose to follow a low-carb diet. Calories are an important part of building muscle.

 Calories In And More Calories In

Put simply, you can’t build mass if you don’t eat enough. You need all the macros – carbs, protein and fat – and you need a lot of them. If you’re putting yourself through intense fitness training, you’re going to burn through tons of energy – and fast. You need some calories left over for your body to use in the msucle building process after you’re done expending.

 If You Eat The Right Carbs, You’ll Be Fine

Just because you should eat more calories – and carbs – doesn’t mean you have to eat a ton of junk food to fill in the gaps. Carbs from whole foods like fruits, vegetables, animal proteins and even dairy and grains, are good for you. Some are higher in calories, but they’re good calories. At least if you compare the calories packed into a bag of chips. Don’t fall for the myth that carbs from whole foods are bad just because they’re sugar. As long as you’re eating healthy food, along with the occasional treat, you’re going to be fine.

If you want to gain muscle, eat. Don’t pay attention to the “diet experts” who say low-carb is the way to go. The more sustainable calories you eat, the more your muscles will be able to grow. It’s the combination of intense workouts and healthy eating that’s going to get results, not some fad theories about how food affects your body.

No Cardio

This is a huge mistake that I see all the time and 99% of the time men fall victim to the no cardio approach in the off season. They justify it by saying “I don’t want to lose any size”. Well, I am here to tell you that three 30 minute cardio sessions a week will do wonders for your bulking phase. By incorporating a cardio routine into your workout program, your appetite will go through the roof, which will make it a lot easier to eat clean healthy food.

You also will improve your cardiovascular system, which is critical when lifting heavy. I have seen countless guys fail to reach their desired rep range because their cardiovascular system failed on them. They were strong enough to get those extra 2 reps but were too out of breath and had to rack the weight. Sooner or later you will start losing muscle if you don’t reach your desired rep range. If you want to put on that size start, then start doing some cardio.