Ask Anthony Ellis - Part II
Real questions and answers by Anthony Ellis.
Anthony, I want bigger biceps! Your biceps are really huge, how did you build them? Any tips?
Believe it or not, I train biceps just like any other muscle, once a week with heavy weight. Some people may respond better with training them twice per week, but I have to stay focused on my main goal which is gaining overall mass.
If you want more bicep size, gain more weight. If you aren't gaining any body weight, then you won't gain much arm size either. Instead of focusing on bicep curls, focus on mass building lifts like squats, deadlifts and barbell rows. These lifts will add mass to your entire frame, including your biceps! This is how I did it!
I know that you recommend eating more calories to gain mass, but I seem to be getting fat. How do I gain muscle not fat? Help!
Truthfully, you will always gain some fat when on a high calorie diet. That's just an unavoidable fact, and anyone who tells you differently is misleading you. Though you cannot totally prevent fat gain, you can keep it to minimal levels.
The major reasons people gain large amounts of fat on a mass diet is usually because they are eating too many calories. Yes, you need plenty of calories to build muscle, but too many calories will simply be stored as fat. What I recommend is slowing increasing your calories in small increments while closely monitoring your body fat levels. If you notice that you are starting to gain more fat, then reduce your calories slightly. The other cause of excess fat gain is usually due to a large intake of simple sugars. Many people on a high calorie diet resort to sugary foods and drinks because they have a lot of calories, but what they don't realize is that the sugar is contributing to their "above average" fat storage. Just remove the sugar and replace it with starches or whole grains instead.
Anthony, I'm on a weight gain program, but I'm not seeing my six pack. I do crunches every day, but my abs are hardly visible at all. What am I doing wrong?
Everyone has the potential for great abs, but to see them you must remove the layer of fat covering them. To do this you should follow a lower calorie diet that focus on reducing your body fat levels. This is just the opposite of what is required to build large amounts of mass. To build mass requires higher calorie dieting, which will cause you to gain some additional body fat as well as muscle. Sorry, but that's the truth!
During my 12 week transformation, I first focused on gaining mass, and then later I focused on lowering my body fat levels to reveal my abs. I did not try to do both at the same time. If I had, I would have never made much progress either way.
Anthony, I have really small wrists. Is there anyway I can make them bigger like yours?
Unfortunately your wrists and ankles don't contain much muscle to develop. The size of those areas is determined by your bone structure and frame size, which is mostly hereditary and cannot be changed. If you have a small frame, you will have small wrists and ankles.
I have a small frame. My wrists and ankles appear larger because as I gained more weight, the muscles near those areas (forearms, lower calves) became larger and gave those areas the appearance of being slightly larger. . . an added bonus of packing on more mass!
Anthony I heard that you can bench press 300lbs! I not nearly as strong as you, will I be able to build muscle even if I can't lift such heavy weight?
Where did you hear that? I'm not quite up to that level of bench pressing, but don't be intimidated by the strength levels of others. It doesn't have any bearing on your training. To build muscle, you must work YOUR muscles at near maximum levels. That specific level varies with everyone, but no matter how strong or weak you may be, you can still push your muscles hard enough to spur growth. I did not start out at my current strength levels. I was much weaker, but over time, my strength increased. So will yours.
Anthony, I really don't have an appetite, and don't like to eat much - but I do like to workout. Would I still be able to gain weight if I just went to the gym more instead of eating more? Will this work?
No. Resistance training stresses and damages muscle tissue. Your body responds to this stress by building larger and stronger muscle fibers. Your body needs food to repair and build muscle tissue after you workout. No amount of training can make up for your lack of calories. Adding more workouts will increase the stress and damage, INCREASING the need for more calories, not reducing it.