Tis’ the Season for Size & Strength

There is a magic formula for adding lots of muscle in order to become bigger and stronger and the three components are:

  1. Eat Lots of Food
  2. Get Lots of Rest
  3. Lift Lots of Heavy Weights

There is no better time for the college baseball player to take advantage of this size and strength formula then the holidays. Finals are over and you’re heading home to get some quality home cooking and catch up on all the sleep that has escaped you during the previous semester.  To make it even better aside from catching up with friends, family and buying some christmas gifts your days are relatively free to do as you wish.  So lets take advantage of these precious weeks and make some gains!!!

Let’s look at these elements individually.

1. Eat Lots of Food:  This is the easiest one since you will be heading home to your parents who will feed plus it is the time of year there’s always a surplus of food lying around.  We need to apply some rules here since we gain the right kind of weight.  The goal is to add extra muscle mass that will help us put more velocity on that ball whether you are throwing it or hitting it.

  • Protein First – this is the building block of muscle so ensure that you are eating this at each meal.  Try to ensure that most of o your protein comes in th form of real food like turkey and save your protein powder for certain times of the day like post workout – more on this later.

Gives you amino acids and makes you go to sleep – Perfect!!!

  • Go Nutty – we need a surplus of calories to add size and good fats in the form of nuts are great since they are calorie rich and good for you .  This time of they are typically lying around the house and various x-mas parties.  Try to stay away from peanuts (not an actual nut – it’s a legume) and focus on almonds, cashews, walnuts, macadamia and pistachios.  These are great any time of the day except post workout.
  • Workout Nutrition – Follow this sequence when you lift weights
  1. Eat a meal 2 hours before the gym
  2. Mix a recovery shake that has at least 30 grams of carbs (sugars) and 20 grams of protein (whey) and start drinking this as you start your workout and finish before your done.
  3. Mix another recovery shake and drink it after you are done within 30 minutes of finishing your workout – try not to gulp it down but rather make it last for about 10 minutes as you get ready to leave he gym.
  4. About 60-90 minute after you finished your last rep consume a meal that has carbs and protein.  Turkey sandwich’s are great here.  Make sure they are real food items – no more shakes.
  5. Nap
  6. Continue to eat every 4 hours

Those are the basics but here are a couple of more tips on the nutrition side of things

  • Eat a minimum of five meals
  • take fish oils – just omega 3’s – 5-10 grams per day (Ascenta is your best brand here)
  • drink plenty of water – 5 liter minimum
  • Stay away from really sugary foods like those candies as much as you can.

#2 -Lots of Rest: When you sleep your body is very anabolic which means that it can build muscle.  The Cuban national weightlifting team is required to sleep 10 hours at night and take a 2 hour siesta in order to optimize their training.

Strong like bear means you must sleep like one

Your levels of growth hormone are at their highest about one hour into your deep sleep  If you follow baseball you have heard a lot of controversy about players taking illegal forms of growth hormone in order and you only have to ask Mr. Bonds about the benefits of growth hormone. We are going to do it the natural way by getting lots of restful sleep. Here are some tips for resting over the holidays

  • sleep in a very dark and slightly cool room
  • try to maintain a regular sleep schedule
  • take magnesium and zinc before bed – the supplement called ZMA is great for this but you can make your own with 20-30 grams of zinc, 400-500mg of magnesium and 10 mg of B6.  The crazy thing is that this supplement (ZMA) was developed by Victor Conte who ran BALCO – another link to Mr. Bonds.
  • Read some fiction before you go to bed – don’t stimulate your system with video games or ay electronics for that matter.  Gradually bring your system down by reading in order to keep that brain sharp for next semester – try something funny.
  • Static Stretch – besides being good for overall mobility and preventing injury going through a series of stretches will also bring your system down a couple of notches.  Be sure to hold each stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds to tell your muscles that it is time to relax.
  • Nap – when you take your siesta be sure that you do it right and find a place that you can lie down in a dark and quite room.  On days that you lift try to time your nap after your workout.  Go for either less than 30 or more than 90 minutes due to our natural sleep cycle.  If possible go for the more than 90min.
  • Chill Out – the holidays can be crazy which can cause us to stress and become catabolic which makes our bodies eat away at muscle and store fat.  Avoid stressful situations and enjoy the time with friends and family.

#3 – Lift Lots of Heavy Weights :This is the only stress that I want you to place on your body over the holidays because it is what sets in motion this “cascade of events” that will make your body build more muscle.  I am not going to go into exactly what you should do in the weight room since that goes well beyond the scope of this article but below are some guidelines.  If you need a program for the holidays or anytime of year contact me at: graeme.lehman@gmail.com

Your only “stress” over the holidays

  • Lift heavy weights – the only way to make your body add muscle (which it naturally doesn’t want to do) is stress it with heavy weights.  We will back off with an “easy” but for now push your body and its ability to be strong.
  • Hit large muscle groups – squats, deadlifts, presses and rows should dominate your program
  • Frequency – lift often but not too often – 3-4 days per week should be good
  • Get in and get out – treat your lifting session like a job since it is the only thing that you have to do over the holidays.  If you are in the gym for more than 60 minutes you are making friends and not gains.

Follow these basic components and you will slap on muscle that if nothing else will help you fill out your uniform better. Graeme Lehman

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One comment

  1. Brendan

    Hi Graeme,
    I’ve read all your posts about what lifting to do for the lower body and speed, but what about the upper body? I’ve read Eric Cressey’s concerns regarding Olympic lifts for pitchers, so what’s an athlete to do?
    Thanks,

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