Transformation is about winning the battle against your body’s natural resistance to change.
~Ajit Johal (2013 Mass March Winner)
For thirty days in March, four ambitious men embarked on a challenge to gain as much mass as possible. Each contestant used different methods of dieting, training, and supplementation in order to gain maximum mass in minimum time. At the end of the challenge, one contestant emerged victorious. Ajit Johal was able to gain 7.4 pounds during the month of March, edging out contestant Deep Dan by 0.4 lbs to win the 2013 Mass March competition. This is his story of transformation.
Ajit Johal, 2013 Mass March winner with 7.4lbs in 30 days
Diet- When it comes to gaining mass, your ultimate weapon is the fork. Failure to gain is the result of not using this weapon liberally!
At the start of the competition Ajit used the Cunningham equation to calculate the daily caloric requirements needed to gain mass. This equation takes into account resting metabolic rate (RMR), the thermogenic effect of food (TEF), and activity levels. In a nutshell, the equation determines all the calories your body needs to sustain itself during the day. You can adjust this number based on your desire to gain or lose weight. For gaining mass, calories in must be greater than calories out. The equation is as simple as a Hardy Boys novel, and the end result is just as predictable.
The following were Ajit’s numbers during Mass March;
Non-workout days = 4,000 calories
Workout days = 5,000 calories
His dietary plan to achieve these numbers was as follows;
5:30 AM – morning shake consisting of 1 scoop protein powder, 1 scoop Rexall-Greens powder, 2 Tbsp’s of flaxseed powder, 1 Tbsp of chia seeds ——– 300 calories
7:00 AM – post workout protein shake —– 120 calories
8:00 AM –high calorie breakfast (four eggs, three strips of turkey bacon, 1 english muffin , and a weight gain shake) —- 1000 calories
10:30 AM — weight gain shake consisting of 500 ml milk, 4 Tbsp’s almond butter, and 1 whole banana —– 780 calories
1:00 PM — Lunch (typically meat with vegetables/ small serving of carbs) – 500 calories
3:30 PM — weight gain shake —- 780 calories
5:30 PM — High Carbohydrate dinner consisting of spaghetti w/ meat sauce (whole wheat pasta of course!) — 750 calories
8:00 PM – High calorie meal, or weigh gain shake — 750 calories
Total Calories for workout days = 4980
Non-workout days were similar, but with 1 less weight gain shake and no post workout shake.
Ajit had about a 65-70% compliance to the above dietary plan. Periods of non-compliance were largely due to the sheer volume of calories that needed to be consumed, and that fact that his food choices were primarily clean. “Healthy” high caloric options such as cashews, beans, and almonds were instrumental in putting on “clean weight”. Ajit started and ended the competition with less than 15% body fat. While gaining mass was the ultimate goal, turning yourself into a fat slob is never a good thing.
Here is a small dietary change Ajit made to his diet half-way into the competition, which lead to a dramatic spike on the weigh scales.
At the beginning of the competition – Breakfast, which was the first meal post-workout, would look like this……
After 2 weeks and only 2.4 pounds, he changed his breakfast to this………
By consuming the majority of “carbohydrate calories” within 2 hours post workout, allows the body to push a lot of glucose into the muscles during an insulin spike. Insulin sensitivity is also highest in the morning, so flooding the body with calories during this time allows for some serious muscle growth. This phenomenon was taken from the “carb-back loading manual” written by John Kiefer.
Training – When it comes to the weights, go big or go home…. Stimulate all the muscle fibers you can!
Ajit followed the phase 3 hypertrophy program designed by Mike Mejia, co-writer of the “scrawny to brawny” mass gaining series. The program consisted of a four day per week (upper/lower body split) routine with a mix of heavy weight, low repetition work and some moderate load training to target all the different types of muscle fibers. Heavy weights and low repetitions stimulate the growth of fast twitch muscle fibers which contribute to strength. Moderate load training for higher repetitions targets type 2A muscle fibers, which do not have a large role in strength but have a large aesthetic growth potential. Basically these type 2A fibers are the “show muscles” seen on body builders but not on power lifters.
Supplementation – Supplements are the “extra ingredients” that make all the difference in gaining healthy mass!
Ajit supplemented with creatine , L-glutamine , and magnesium glycinate. For detailed information on how these supplements helped him pack on lean muscle mass check out www.exuberancelife.com.
Although Ajit fell short of his initial (albeit extremely optimistic) goal of 15 lbs, he was able to put on a respectable seven pounds of “clean” muscle. If gaining mass is your goal, Ajit recommends a high caloric intake coupled with high intensity training and proper supplementation. Remember that eating is your priority, treat it like it’s your job, and you will be watching the scales move in no time!
Ajit Johal is a registered pharmacist, and co-founder of a new health/wellness website created by healthcare professionals called www.exuberancelife.com.