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Want to Build Lean Muscle Mass? Here's how I went from "Scrawny to Brawny"

James Ellis - Scrawny to Brawny Transformation

Over the last several years I've had a lot of people sending me messages in my social network inboxes to ask me what they can do to add good quality muscle mass to their bodies. That is a great question and seems to be one of the most common questions I get to be honest. Not only is it a great question, but I suppose I’d be a good person to ask as my personal fitness testimony is of me going from very scrawny to brawny, haha. Keep reading on if you want to learn my several pieces of advice to help you not only put that mass on, but do it much more quickly too.

James Ellis - Scrawny Track Picture

James Ellis - Scrawny Cross Country Picture

​I used to be a very scrawny kid and actually graduated High School at 5'10" and only about 135 pounds. I was able to eat everything in sight and was just never able to gain weight. I even had a weight lifting class my senior year of High School and I still wasn't able to change my body mass much at all. It wasn't until my sophomore year of college that I really began to study the anatomy of the muscles and learn more about supplements too. It's through all the knowledge that I've learned and implemented into my training that I was able to take my body from 135 pounds to as much as 195 pounds of lean muscle mass.

As I mentioned above, my sophomore year in college I really began to study and break down the anatomy of the individual muscles in order to learn how to train them most effectively. As I learned the functions of the parts of each individual muscle I was able to find out how to train those parts for optimal results in the area of strength and growth. Furthermore, when I was studying for my NASM personal trainer’s certification I learned that I needed to be training in a certain rep range and take a specific amount of time between sets in order to get more muscle mass. The rep range I am referring to is called 'Hypertrophy Training' (mass building). Hypertrophy Training means you are focusing on 3 sets of 12, 10, & 8 reps (meaning first set is 12, then for the second set you add weight and do 10 reps, then for the third set add weight again and do 8 reps), and you are only resting for 60-90 seconds between sets.

Now that you know a bit about the Hypertrophy Training style, lets take a look at what my weekly training split looks like:

Day 1: Back & Burnout Biceps

Day 2: Chest & Burnout Triceps

Day 3: Legs

Day 4: Shoulders

Day 5: Arms

Day 6: Weighted Abs & Non Weighted Obliques

I absolutely love this training split, because it gives my primary and secondary muscles plenty of recovery before they are trained again. One of the most common mistakes that people make when they are trying to add muscle mass is over-training and simply not allowing enough time for the muscle to build and recover before training it again. So, stick to the training routine above and you should have plenty of recovery time.

Another common mistake that people make is simply not knowing what they are doing in the gym and as a result they are under-training, and/or not training the individual muscle parts FULLY. It can be quite difficult to explain how I train every intricate part of every muscle in a blog or even in a basic conversation as I need to be able to show people some of the incredible exercises that I do in the gym. It's nice to be able to show the small tweaks in form, and how the intensity and pace looks as I’m doing the all of the exercises in my different workouts. That’s actually why I filmed my ‘Scientific Training Methods’ workout video downloads as this was the perfect way to show people all that I've learned over my past 18 years of training and I’m hoping to put even more training videos out soon.

James Ellis - Bodybuilding Videos

To date I've filmed six full length workout videos (Back, Chest,

Shoulders, Arms, Legs, & Abs) in order to show people exactly what I do in the gym to add good quality mass to my body. If you'd like to learn more about all of these videos than simply click HERE.

Another great way to add mass is to make sure you are eating in a way that will help you to get that mass. I suggest getting on a diet where you are focused on a high amount of good lean protein (chicken, turkey, fish, and egg whites). More specifically you want to get at least 1 - 1.5x your body weight in grams of protein as this will give your body much more to feed off of for that muscle growth. Ex. If you weigh 100 pounds then you would take in 100 to 150 grams of protein per day. I realize that 1 - 1.5 times your body weight in grams of protein can seem like a lot of protein to take down in one day, but you'll want to spread that protein though about 5 or 6 meals that you'll be taking in throughout the day. If this seems like way too much eating for you, then you might consider replacing a couple of meal with some protein shakes.

I know that for some, planning out your own diet plan can be frustrating and overwhelming and as a result people often fail to put anything into action in the first place. So, if you are interested in a diet that tailored for you and your specific needs then feel free to check out the diet and training company that I started with my diet coach, Michael Orr at: . Message us there and mention that I sent you through this blog posting and we will be sure to give you a great deal on your diet & training plan.

Diet and Training Plans

While we are on the subject of food I'd like to also suggest that you start focusing on eating foods that are actually up to PAR. The truth is, men today have a much lower testosterone count then men had even 20 years ago. Why? Because now we have a lot more preservatives in our foods (so they will last longer), and because most of the farm animals that we get our food from today have been feed growth hormones so that they will produce more milk or meat. The foods today are much less nutritious than they used to be because our farmers are more focused on mass producing crops and animals output through the use of unhealthy growth enhancers that they spray on the crops or give to the animals and we actually suffer in the long run because of these practices. So, my suggestion to you is to begin eating organic foods as this is a great way to ensure that you are feeding your body fuel that is more of a premium grade as your body is a Corvette, not a Pinto. You might even want to consider starting your own garden of fruits and veggies as this will ensure that your veggies aren't getting pesticides sprayed on them. One of my friends even has his own chickens and he eats the eggs that they lay.

As I mentioned above, the men today have a much lower testosterone count then that of the men even 20 years ago due to the terrible food practices that are happening these days. So, if you are in your mid 30's or older and are starting to feel unmotivated, super tired/low energy all the time, and perhaps wondering if you are depressed, you might actually have low testosterone levels. Men typically hit what is called andropause (the male menopause) in their late 30's or 40's and this often confuses guys and makes them thing that they are just depressed. If you are feeling that way, then I would suggest that you go and get your testosterone levels checked by a doctor as they might want to get you going on monitored testosterone therapy in order to get your testosterone levels up to a healthier and more active level. This will make all the difference in the way you feel and in your performance in the gym too.

Well, I hope this blog helped you to get a much better insight on different things you can do to build muscle mass. I believe that my advice helps you to achieve your health/fitness goals much more quickly too. Keep coming back here to Physically Fit Blog for more of my future blogs. If you have decided that you'd like to download my body part specific weight training videos where you will not only see exactly what I do in the gym, but you’ll learn my Scientific Training Methods, then I'd suggest getting on that right away as I have an amazing LIMITED TIME SALE going on that you don't want to miss. ;-)

P.S. I also just posted a Physical Fitness Vlog titled, "Want to Build Lean Muscle Mass", where I talk about many of these same point in video format. You can check that video out HERE.

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James Ellis Fit


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