The Duel Nature of Diet: Up Your M*ASS, Part 2 of 3 by Louis Costa



By Louis Costa

(Make sure to catch up with Part 1: Guns or Butter here)

Strength sports are usually a difficult place to find “hardgainer” body types.  You will not come across many ectomorph physiques  (skinny guys) as our sport is dominated by giant goliath men and women ( Meso – Endomorphs)





This is not helpful to your performance and only causes excess fat storage!

There is a way to gain weight recklessly or responsibly and I’ve taken every route to that 300 lb. mark that you can.

Watch the pitfalls and follow the guidelines I’ve laid out and this can be a good way for you to reach gorilla status.




First and most overlooked: TRAINING


If your concern is gaining weight you probably aren’t that worried with keeping defined abs or chiseled jawline. You should be concerned with increased horsepower!

Nowhere on the human body can horse power be directly exhibited quite like the size of that giant butt of yours.  Men and women alike! NO, literally, increased strength = increased ass.   M*ASS !!!

You know what I’m talking about.

Does anything turn more heads than you bouncing your bulbous behind over to the  rack and start squatting a loaded bar deep with power and explosion? NO!

(Well, maybe that ——->)

Does any other exercise beside squat or deadlift add overall mass to the rest of your body ? NO!


SQUAT!  Is the king of M*ASS !  Followed closely by the Deadlift.


M*ASSive Squatting by Big Z

When people ask me how to get a bigger bench, I take a quick look at their physique and answer 95 % of the time:  YOU NEED TO SQUAT AND DEADLIFT!

The squat and deadlift force every muscle in your body along with your central nervous system to adapt to the heavy weight your moving.   It increases natural testosterone and growth hormone with every compound rep you pump out!

You don’t have to tell this to many strength athletes because we’ve figured out a long time ago that a bigger body is directly correlated to a bigger squat and deadlift.


But you may or may not be surprised with how many people almost refuse to work their legs and back or adhere to this simple principal:

Squat / Deadlift heavy = build more muscle on ENTIRE BODY!


If you aren’t willing to take it into your heart to believe in the squat and deadlift to change your physique from all arms and no legs, please refrain from reading the rest of this.

If you are willing to accept this time tested principal.  Please move on.


Another common misconception in gaining M*ASS is that MORE is always BETTER.


Arnold Deadlifting 710lbs.

This couldn’t really be further from the actual truth.  A LESS is MORE approach is actually much more beneficial to becoming stronger, gaining mass on your body and reaching towards your athletic goals.

Gone are the 3 hour marathon volume sessions of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

Did it work for Arnold ?  You bet it did.

Will it work for you ?  Probably not!


If you are a natural athlete that is concerned with gaining speed, strength and size you must think outside of the bodybuilding box of training.

Long before I met the merits of a noted strength coach Mike Westerling workout:  I realized my bodybuilding workloads were geared towards hypertrophy and muscle density and were extremely too high of a volume to really see maximum strength and weight gain.

Sure my little 20 inch biceps looked great, but was I at my absolute strongest ?  No

I needed to gain weight for that.


So I changed my workouts FROM something like this split:

Monday            Tuesday           Wednesday        Thursday         Friday         Saturday          Sunday

Legs/Back      Shoulders             Chest                   Arms                Off                Events                Off

TO the new M*ASS gaining split

Monday            Tuesday           Wednesday        Thursday         Friday          Saturday          Sunday

     Off             Squat / Deads           Off                     Press             Auxiliary           Off                  Events



A workout would look like this: Bodybuilding style  – 30 seconds rest inbetween each set


OLD Shoulder Workout:

  • Warm Up
  • Seated Shoulder Dbell Press 5 x 12
  •  Side Raises – 5 sets of 15 -20
  •  Upright Row – 3 sets of 10
  •  Rear Delt Dbell Raise – 3 sets of 10
  •  Shoulder Press Mashine – 3 sets of burnout failure 20 + reps



To evolve into THIS:

A much more low volume / strength intensive workout.  Rest at least 3 min. between each set.


NEW Shoulders / Press Workout

  • Log Clean once and Press – Warm up with sets of 3 until a near maximum weight is reached.
  • 1 or 2 all out sets of 2-5 reps.
  •  Drop the weight.  1 set of 15 – 20 reps.
  • Close Grip Floor Press – work up to 1 – 2 all out heavy sets of 3 reps.
  • 1 Tricep Exercise – 3 sets of 10
  • Abdominals or prowler for cardio.

Only about 10 all out sets, if that.


I say it time and time again.  Anyone can write a workout program for you.  It is not really what is written down that matters:  it comes down to the TENACITY in which you attack the workout that matters.


So make simple changes to your workout regimen to start.

  1. Lower over all volume of your workout.  Spend more time focusing all of your effort into 1 or 2 sets, rather than pounding your body with 25 sets of one body part.
  2. Increase rest time between the COMPOUND movements of your workout to 3 – 5 minutes.
  3. Always incorporate some High Intensity Sets or Cardio to keep your endurance / lactic threshold and stamina high.



M*ASSive Bowl of Taco Salad


Obviously when your trying to gain weight your workouts are not the first thing you think about.  DIET is becoming an increasing concern to strength athletes!

Diet is something that is new to the general population of strength enthusiasts and is something that is of no surprise to the bodybuilding physique community.


Here is how I usually start someone on a path to weight gain when they ask me to set up a diet plan for them.

To Reiterate one of my opening sentiments and make sure you all are listening –


To recklessly consume calories that have no nutritional benefit and will ONLY increase fat storage will NOT benefit your performance. 


That is not saying that weight gain in general will not help your performance.  Quite the contrary – A moderate increase in muscle mass with limited increase in fat composition will most certainly help a “hardgainer” increase strength and exerted force.


I use simple, basic rules with all of my clients for diet:

  1. Eat every 2 – 3 hours – Again, this principal is nothing new to bodybuilders, but most strength athletes adhere to the 3 meal a day system with protein shakes.
  2. Drink as much water as possible – Our bodies are most efficient, less injry prone and recover much quicker when we are properly hydrated.
  3. Carbohydrate:  The Pasta Pump – If we as strength athletes are high powered race engines, carbohydrates are our fuel.  There is no need to eat low quality fuels such as pastries, white pastas, bread or rice.  Stick to whole grains, any sort of bean, fruit or vegetable.
  4. Post / Pre workout nutrition is essential.  You must be eating quality carbohydrates and protein before/during/after your workout to reach peak performance AND start the proper recovery process.


Here is a sample of my Pre / During / Post workout nutritional plan.  ( Women I would recommend cutting these recommendations by 50% )

1 hour Pre Workout – 30 to 40 grams of moderate glycemic carbohydrate – Oatmeal with Banana or two pieces of wheat toast with jelly.  40 Gram  of whey Protein shake.

During my workout – Maltodexrin mix of 60 grams fast absorbtion high glycemic carbs with 40 Grams of fast absorbing protein.  If I am in a pinch I will usualy grab an apple or banana and eat 2 or three as the workout progresses.  I always have a Gatorade or some sort of sugary sports drink handy.

 Post Workout – 40 – 60 grams of carbohydrate maltodextrin mix or simple carbohydrate such as fruits mixed with 40 grams of isolate protein for fast absorption.


The major trick to gaining M*ASS is to gain weight over a period of time and not just instantly.  It is so much healthier to slowly watch your weight increase and it much easier to see the point when gaining weight stops increasing performance and actually starts to deter it.


BELIEVE ME –There is a definite point when weight increase ABOSLUTELY will detract from your performance.


Athletes / Strongman / Crossfit / Olympic lifters must stay athletic and explosive!

Carrying excess body mass hinders a lot of that explosive force at a certain point so it is very important to monitor not just your lifts but your overall health and conditioning to see the point when you should cut back.


Alright, so you’ve reached your potential for being big and strong.  You’ve broken powerlifting records, turned pro as a strongman and won Olympic Gold.


Guys you are tired of wearing sweat pants, squat till you puke tshirts and you would like to stop sweating, control your blood pressure and wear jeans again.

Learn all of the weight loss techniques and tricks you need in part 3 of the saga: The Dual Nature of Diet:  A.B.S. – Always Be Starving !


Stay Strong,


4 Responses to The Duel Nature of Diet: Up Your M*ASS, Part 2 of 3 by Louis Costa

  1. billy reds August 3, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

    Hey Lou great read.thanks.what do u think of most of your Caribs coming fruits with a little grains thrown will this affect performance?

  2. Randy Moore August 5, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

    Awesome article- it’s like you’re reading my mind! On the squat/ deadlift day would you rotate between weeks or do both on the same day?

    • ironmill August 6, 2012 at 5:10 pm #


      My suggestion and what I train my athletes for is to rotate heavy Back/Leg exercises on opposite week. So pick one exercise to squat with while dedicating the rest of the workout to Low back / Upper Back / Hamstring auxillary work followed the next week by a deadlift exercise to start with your aux. work focusing on quads the next week!

      Thanx for the comments! Much Appreciated!

  3. Lou August 6, 2012 at 5:05 pm #


    I think fruits are essential and a much better choice to supplement your diet for the antioxidant and micro nutrient value alone.

    whole grains are the staple of the strength athlete and athlete diet! But timing is everything! I am exploring carb backloading in my diet now with great results! Maybe look for an article on that coming up soon!

    Thanx for the comments. As always!

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