The world-famous Braemar highland games gathering is held in Scotland every summer.
While there have been Gatherings of one sort or another at Braemar since the days of King Malcolm Canmore, nine hundred years ago, the Gathering has been run in its present form since 1832.
It brings together a collection of athletes in all disciplines. This includes the famous strongmen who take part in a collection of events that range from tossing the caber to the tug of war.
These guys have colossal frames and lift the heaviest weights known to man. And to be able to do this, they need a high level of muscle mass and it got us thinking, how have strong men built such high muscle mass levels and what can we learn about nutrition from them.
Obviously genetics plays a role in these huge guys frames. If you're from a lineage of tall thick boned Vikings you're going to be blessed with a frame to match.
But that being said, genetics isn’t the be-all or end-all, we have a huge part to play in things that we can control.
And that's what we can learn, is that to build bigger muscles, the energy has to come from somewhere. It won’t just magically appear out of thin air you need to consume it in the form of food and drink.
Our bodies are a store of energy in simplistic terms and to increase or decrease the size of the store we have the option to effect two variables, what we put in and what we expend.
What we expend is harder to manipulate as we are pretty efficient burning machines due to millions of years of the evolutionary process making us the most efficient survivors of that period.
What we can really affect is the input side and that's where you need to focus if muscle growth is your game.
Finding the sweet spot when your kcals are above what you expend on a daily basis is the key. Nutritionists talk about 500kcals above your daily expenditure is the optimal range. Any less and growth is impeded and any higher and you will put down too much fat.
Using a calorie tracker tool is crucial to your success, as the old saying quotes, if you can measure you can manage.
We see a lot of novice athletes hitting the weights hard or fiddling with their macros but forget to make sure that the amount of energy they are consuming is high enough. This is the fundamental practice to achieve growth.
Eddy Hall, the world's strongest man was said to have consumed 12,500 calories when he was competing and obviously this is extreme but was necessary to help him build the level of muscle needed to become world champion
This being said, not everyone we know wants to look like a strong man, but using the extreme archetype as a case study is normally a good place to start and helps us get our point across so get to work.
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