Ask The Trainer #64 – Adding Mass As A Natty


Dear Chad,

Thank you very much for the kind offer to help. I’ve been natural all of my life and have a difficult time adding mass. I was wondering if you had any ideas as to how I can add more mass? I lift weights 6 days per week and train each muscle group 2 X per week.

Thank you in advance!



Hi, Joe,

Glad to hear you’re keeping things natural brother! You’ll thank yourself later on down the road! What you’re describing is very common among natural bodybuilders in particular. In most cases, it’s an issue of overtraining or lack of recovery time.

It sounds to me like if you’re lifting 6 days per week, and training each muscle group twice per week, that is too much volume for a natural bodybuilder to make significant progress.

Here are my thoughts. If you want your muscles to grow progressively larger and stronger, something within your workout must progressively increase as well. That something is the intensity level you reach and the amount of recovery time you implement between your intense workouts. This is used to compensate for the increased stress on your physiology, which is a result of the increases in strength you’ve worked up to. This is also where many people get very confused.

People make the mistake of thinking that as they grow stronger, they should increase the duration of their workouts to make further progress. This doesn’t work because the body has a very limited supply of biochemical resources to allow for recovery and growth to take place.

People who practice this strategy, inevitably end up overtraining. Consequently, their progress comes to a complete stop or they actually regress in their progress.

At this point, changing up exercises or routines won’t help much because your body will still be overtrained, having not yet regained the valuable biochemical resources required for growth to occur.

Chad ShawI suggest beginning a workout plan in where you train all of your muscle groups over the course of 3 nonconsecutive days during the week.

For example, you could train Back & Chest on Monday, Legs on Wednesday, then Arms and Shoulder on Friday. Select 2 exercises for both biceps and triceps, 3 for chest, 3 for the back, 3 for shoulders (1 for each head of the deltoids). Then, select 3 exercises for legs and 1 exercise for calves.

Perform 1-2 warm-up sets on each exercise, then 1 very difficult working set where you force your muscles to work until failure. For upper body exercises, shoot for 6-10 reps. For leg exercises, aim for about 12-15 reps. Limit your workouts to no longer than 45 minutes to avoid overtraining.

The way to tell if you’re overtraining is by determining whether or not you’re becoming stronger workout to workout. Keep a training journal and write down every exercise you perform. Also, record the amount of weight, as well as the number of repetitions you perform.

Every time you go to repeat any of your workouts, you should see increases in the weights you’re using, the repetitions you’re performing…or both. As long as you’re seeing this happen, you’re moving the right direction!

If you’re not seeing advances in your weights and/or reps, you will want to REDUCE the volume and duration of your lifting sessions to allow your body to recover the necessary resources for muscle growth to occur once again. However, the thing you do not want to reduce is your intensity level!

Anything you can do to increase the difficulty of an exercise moment to moment will make it more effective! My favorite ways to do this are by lifting heavier weights, slowing down my rep speed and pausing with the weight at the end of an exercise when the muscle is in a fully contracted position.

As for supplementation, Kre-Alkalyn creatine is the main staple of my supplement regimen. I feel it helps me with recovery and growth more than just about any other supplement. I also find that taking GlutaZorb before and after workouts speeds my recovery quite well.

One of my favorite supplements is Test Charge. I find this product really helps with my overall stamina in and outside of the gym. My strength surges when I take this product.

I hope that my advice helps you out, and I wish you all the best in achieving your goals!

Prove ‘Em Wrong,
Chad Shaw

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