How Long Should I Mass For?

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Clients are usually timid about massing (gaining weight) but eating in a surplus is the best way to go about building and growing muscle tissue. Not only do you typically have improved energy and recovery but the only way to gain is to be in a surplus.

With massing phases, the pro is you build muscle but the con is you add on fat. You typically can’t gain one without the other but ideally you would gain slowly, pair it with resistance training and hope to minimize fat gains. 

I’ve always found massing (building muscle) to be more challenging than cutting (losing fat). You may have to continue to eat when your stuffed full which is physically challenging, food no longer is appealing at that point. Mentally, you may have just worked extremely hard to get lean and reduce your body fat percentage substantially and now you’re intentionally bulking right back up. 

When massing I would recommend trying to increase your body weight at about 0.5%-1% weekly for 6 to 12 weeks. If very skinny maybe beyond that. Those who find it mentally tough to add love handles temporarily will opt for the slower gains, and smaller durations. Those that can handle some extra thickness, can shoot to gain a little bit quicker and longer. Either scenario, you have to understand that you will be adding on quality muscle tissue and once you go through another cutting phase you will look better and have improved body composition. 

It really helps to have a long term mentality over the short term. If you go through a quality muscle gaining phase, you will look better by the time you cut back down. You may be looking at a 6-9 month transitional period though. When determining duration you just need to be honest with yourself and what you think you’ll mentally be able to handle.


About the Author:

Taylor Carpenter is a nationally Certified Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist, and Fitness Nutrition Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Taylor was featured as a fitness expert in the first publication of NASM's "The Fitness Edge".
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