No Nonsense Q & A with Vince Del Monte (Part 3)

By

Vince Del Monte, WBFF Pro Fitness Model, Certified Fitness Trainer
and Nutritionist and author of No Nonsense Muscle
Building.

No Nonsense Q & A with The Skinny Guy Savior Vince Del Monte

If I’m a skinny person how do I gain muscle and weight without any protein shakes or buying stuff from the net?

The same way the great bodybuilders of the 60s and 70s did it – hard work, quality nutrition, sleeping 8 hours a night and eliminating daily stressors.  Who ever said you need to buy stuff from the net to build muscle anyways?  First off you need to be prepared to eat like a bodybuilder if you want to build muscle – five to six meals a day, protein and veggies with every meal and clean carbs like yams, oatmeal, whole grain bread, brown rice, beans, fruits and veggies are the top sources.  Next, you need to find a weight training program for at least three workouts a week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday is a good start.  Finally, the most important thing in building muscle is creating a mind-muscle connection which comes from proper form.  If you’ve never been taught on how to lift weights consider working out with someone more experienced or hire a trainer who can put his/her hands on you and ensure you’re working the muscles and not just moving weight.  Keep reading everything I put up on my blog too.

Which exercise should be done with proper technique to make my arms grow?

Here’s a little secret: for roughly every inch of size on your arms you gain be prepared to gain at least ten pounds of overall weight.  That’s a rough estimate.  So if you’re 150 pounds with 13 inch arms you need to climb to 160 pounds to have 14 inch arms.  Focusing on the big movements like chest presses, dumbbell presses, bent over rows etc will build up your arms but then you can always include some isolation moves to really target them.  Incline biceps curls and preacher curls are favorite for biceps.  Between the two moves you get the stretch and a peak contraction, 2 critical elements of bicep growth.  For triceps, stick to dips and close grip presses because those two moves allow you to go heaviest so you’ll recruit the most muscle mass.  Small increments each week add up over time.  Just keep plugging away and they’ll have no option but to grow.

Decline Close Grip Presses awesome way to increase arm size

Should I take a day off after a hard workout even if I don’t work the same muscles? Or would I be better off training 45min everyday working on different muscles? eg Monday Chest,Triceps,Shoulders Tuesday Back,Biceps Wednesday Lower Body OR Monday first workout , Wednesday second workout?

I could write a 300 page book just on program design options.  There are SO many and they all have pros and cons so the key is to pick one method and learn as much as you can from it.  When you’re first getting started I prefer full body workouts three times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Then after six months of full body workouts we progress to a 2-day split for another six months and that might looks like: Day 1: Chest, Shoulders, Tris, Quads.  Day 2: Back, Bis, Hips, Abs.  And we rotate those 2 workouts every 2nd day for 6 months.  Then after a year of training we get you into a 3-day split.  After 6-months of a 3-day split we’ll start up on a 4-day split.  I don’t recommend 5-day and 6-day splits until you have at least 2-3 years of training behind you.  You need to scale up the volume while doing your best not to lose intensity in the workouts.  Hope that helps.

Do you have to be in a calorie surplus in order to gain muscle and if so, how much? Is there a way to be in a calorie surplus without putting on fat?

Good questions.  According to science, yes, you need to be in a caloric surplus to gain weight and muscle.  How much?  I’ve seen plans that recommend you stay anywhere from 200 calories to 1500 calories over your daily metabolic rate.  The answer lies in trial and error.  If you’re a young guy with a soaring metabolism then you might be able to afford a higher daily intake with minimal fat gain.  If not, you might have to be more cautious and conservative and start 200-500 calories over your maintenance. How do you calculate your daily caloric needs?  There are several ways of calculating these numbers. One of the best known formulas is the Harris-Benedict equation for estimating the resting energy expenditure or REE (which is the same thing as basal metabolic rate or BMR).

Harris-Benedict Equation:

For men: BMR (REE) = 66 + 13.75(weight) + 5.0(height) – 6.76(age)

For women: BMR (REE) = 655 + 9.56(weight) + 1.85(height) – 4.68(age)

That’s ONE method!  And even though it’s super fancy, it’s just an estimated guess.  You can also just take your bodyweight and multiply it by 17-22 and that can be your daily caloric needs.  Add more or remove depending on how your body is responding.

To gain muscle without fat is much more challenging but possible – you simply need PERFECT nutrition.  This will require you to get a food diary, food scale and start number crunching and weighing in once a week to monitor your changes from a oby composition stand point, not just scale weight standpoint.  I would start with “The Easy Method.”

That was my 1st fitness show back in 2005 when I placed 17th of 35 guys.  About 171 pounds in that pic.

You’ve written that cardio should be done on an empty stomach or after weight training.  If you do cardio after weight training, when should you take your post-workout supplement – between weight training and cardio, or after cardio?

By post-workout supplement, I am assuming you mean a shake with with eight branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) or whey isolate protein along with some simple carbs like dextrose or honey.  Since the body will burn carbs for fuel if it has access to them, you definitely want to hold off on that shake until you are done with both your weights and cardio.  Since that is awful long time to go without eating or drinking anything, you should have some BCAA powder or a little bit of whey protein (150-20 grams should be fine) after weights, but before you start cardio. I just throw these supplements into my gym bag and carry them everywhere.  This will prevent your body from scavenging your own muscle tissue to get amino acids for fuel, since without glycogen (stored carbs) in your system, there is the risk of the that taking place.  It’s not a bad idea to have either BCAAs or some whey protein even before an early-morning cardio session to prevent that catabolic event from happening.

When do you take glutamine and creatine, and which supplements do you consider your staples, or most important?

I always have to qualify this question because my staples today are not the same staples when I transformed from “Skinny Vinny” eight years ago.  When I gained my first 41 pounds of muscle I did it with only creatine, protein powder and a multi vitamin and some fish oils (but not very many).

Today I’m 226 pounds (as of yesterday) and I’ve been experimenting with many more supplements than I used to.  Why?  I’m curious, nothing more and I have the financial means to justify certain curiosities.  Keep note that I monitor any new supplement I take because if it’s not making a difference I have no problem dropping it.

After a few years of experimentation, my staples have increased to BCAAs, creatine, glutamine (sometimes), Greens, fish oils, sometimes digestive enzymes, glucosamine, MSM, ZMA, protein powder and of course my multi. Lately I’ve been getting everything from http://www.BlueStarNutritionals.com Seems like quite a few but most of them get mixed together at two times of the day: breakfast and post workout.  Lately I’ve been mixing creatine (5-10 grams), BCAA (5-10 grams), Greens (1 scoop), honey (2 tbsp), 1 scoop of Iso-Smooth, 1 tbs Udo’s Oil and having it within 5 minutes of waking up.  I also have this within 5 minutes after my workout.  Real food follows both those shakes shortly after.

If you want to take glutamine, you could take it up to four times daily: breakfast, pre and post workout and before bed.  Take 10-20 grams each time (I find this stuff only works at high dosages).  In terms of creatine, take it at breakfast and post workout.  In terms of BCAAs you could take them with glutamine: breakfast, pre and post workout and before bedtime at 5-10 grams a dose.

None of this stuff is necessary to build muscle but it certainly gives you an edge.  You have to understand my nutrition is almost perfect, I train at a very high level and I sleep 8-9 hours a night so these supplements help optimize my nutrition and training.  If you had to pick only one supplement to  begin with I would say fish oils.  Take 1 gram per percentage body fat.  Omega Blue is the one I’m using right now.

How do I get boulder shoulders?

My hands are getting tired so I’m going to share a video of some of my shoulder training tips with you:

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END OF Q&A

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Okay folks, I enjoyed those questions, keep them coming and be sure to use the “Search” feature on my blog to dig out old articles and Q & A because you may find your question already answered in detail  Some of the questions I receive have entire blog posts dedicated to the subject so be sure to take responsibility of your results by doing your own homework and research.

I’m always here for you though.  Keep kicking butt and making yourself proud!

Vince

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Comments

23 thoughts on “No Nonsense Q & A with Vince Del Monte (Part 3)

  1. Hi Vince,

    I have a few interesting questions I’d like to talk about. But before I do, here’s more story:

    Back in high school, I use to workout for 1.5 years from 9th-10th grade but I quit because I felt more insecure and had lost passion doing what I did. Plus I gained more fat than muscle. I done MMA after and it felt very fun but I had to give it up due to distance.

    After high school I started to workout again, from my first year of college to the end of my second year. Summer was very hot; I wanted to save money from going to the gym; and bodybuilding still made me feel insecure (the need to build muscle and look good was the mindset I’ve been picking up).

    However, since I’m done with my third year of college, I was thinking of exercising again for this reason: exercise releases endorphins, improves health condition, makes the mind feel relaxed and confident.

    Onto the questions:
    I start feeling insecure when I have the desire to become muscular and stay muscular, how do I fix that?
    95% of my mind gets focused on improving my bodybuilding game, how do I spend my time and energy on other matters in life?
    If I start bodybuilding, will it impede with my chances of having fun, living a social life, learning about other things to build character, working, practicing for my paralegal career or attracting women?
    Can I have 2% of my mind focused on bodybuilding while 98% is on other factors?
    Is it expensive and time-consuming to buy food and count calories?
    And my only method is do warmup cardio everyday for 10 minutes, and maybe lift weights with the same amount of lbs. This one is to feel and think healthy.

    I appreciate the advice. Thank you so much and have a great day!

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  2. @Vince

    Thanks Vince,
    I eat diary products only in the mornings. Also each day I eat at least 600g of veg. Out of 5kg I gained, 500g was fat. This week I noticed that my weight has stalled so I added additional 250kcal to my daily kcal intake. I have to admit that there are times when I do intentionally spike insulin but its only before and after workout ( I follow Berardi’s advice and my pre and post drink consist of maltodextrin, glutamine, protein, bcaa and creatine). Except for that i only eat whole food, and complex carbs.
    To be honest I am afraid putting carbs away, mainly because I feel really terrible when not taking them. My brain just ‘stops’ working. I have got no intellectual abilities at all… will see what happens
    One more time, thanks!

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  3. Hi Vince,

    Well, I used to weight 165 lbs and on 2009, I decided to change my life. I found out that I was borderline diabetic and did not want to live the rest of my life taking medication. I now weight 118 lbs. I lost 40 lbs in 4 months, following meal plans and doing boot camp. We moved from Houston, Texas to Jakarta, Indonesia on August of 2009. I hired a trainer here, but he sucked! Of course, there were no boot camp classes here. The only class that I liked was spinning. My trainer in Houston gave me a mass building workout to do from Monday thru Thursday. I just got so bore doing the same routine repeatedly. I did not gain any more weight but I was not losing any either. Finally, on March of 2010 I started doing interval training, which I love doing because it is different every day. I stopped doing the mass building workout, I now just do the interval training using my own body weight, and sometimes I incorporate weight to the workouts…at least twice a week. My arms and abs are looking nice but I do not know what to do about my back. I do many push-ups…and I try to incorporate reverse push-ups as well. What else can I do to make my back look fit? Should I just go back to doing mass building again? Please help!

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    • @Juany. Happy to help you but next time can you break up your paragraph into sentences… it’s hard to read that big block of text!

      Want to lay out your entire program and I’ll take a closer look? It’s hard to reply based on what you told me. Thanks

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  4. Great interview Vince. I really like the info on arm growth and what to expect bodyweight wise when looking to increase the size of your arms. Also, killer video man!

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  5. Hi Vince,
    happy belated birthday

    I really appreciate this Q & A!

    quickly come to the point.
    I am female and have trained for 8 months.and the fat percentage came down from 29% to 20%.
    Now I just cant come down and stick to 20%…And the six abs i still cant see them. I am eating clean except cheat day.
    I have just shifted to 1000 calorie challenge,the metabolic phase already.3 day weight training.
    Maybe my cardio workout not intense enough?or some food that I take make my stomach to hold up the fat?

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  6. Vince,

    Happy belated birthday!

    Thanks for sharing your supplement tips, always interested in hearing what is working for others. I’m really glad you emphasize the importance of nutrition and that the supplements just give you an edge… too many people rely on supplements without proper training and nutrition then wonder why they don’t get results.

    Nutrition is key!

    Chris Cannon

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    • @Chris. Once you get to a higher level of training and experience then supplements make a bigger role. ESPECIALLY if you get your blood work taken and figure what where your body is lacking. I recently talked to a guy who got his blood work down and found out he was deficient in selenium… ONE stupid mineral and after he treated that his testosterone levels skyrocketed THREE FOLD. Gains went through the roof. Everyone should get their blood work analyzed if they are SUPER serious.

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  7. could it be my workouts? am considering going back to full body workouts, for 6 months, to increase growth, i am too inexperienced i feel to stick to advanced split muscle workouts, is this wise?

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    • @Jame. Your instincts are often right. I think you should go with your gut on this one. Full Body Workouts and start recording your progress in a training log. A training log is like a road map that you draw and if you take a wrong turn you can look back and see what went wrong. Without a training log you’re basically going to get lost along the way and have zero clue at what’s working and what’s not.

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  8. Isn’t 1 gram per bf for fish oils a lot ? like say i’m at 13%, isn’t 13 fish caps a lot ?

    I read that the upper safe is 3 grams per day ?

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    • Do some research on this topic if you don’t trust me. It’s your body and you need to convince yourself, I’m not going to try and convince you. Higher dosages of fish oils are strongly recommended.

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  9. Hey Vince,

    Firstly, I’d like to wish you a happy 31st birthday. You’re an inspiration and I’d like to make a profession out of an area I’m passionate about.

    I’d like to know about fish oil/healthy fat content as well. How much do you propose someone takes in a day?

    Also, I’d like to know if there’s any way to lean out your face. I’ve been reasonably lean before, but my face ne’er seems to get that visible cheekboned look I’m after. Does that mean that I need to reduce calories and diet down even further, or is it impossible for some to actually lose the fat around one’s face?

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    • @Clement. I think your face will lean down as you lose water and overall weight. Not 100% sure but I know my face leans out FIRST during my cutting phases. I don’t notice it so much but people tell me all the time, “Holy, your face looks different!” Hope that’s a good thing.

      Dr. John Berardi and Charles Poliquin have a lot to say about essential fatty acids and the benefits are endless. I recommend 1 gram per % body fat of fish oil. A really high end product I use from Canada is http://www.ascentahealth.com/ Get the HP one which stands for high potency. I’m not financially invested with them in any way. Also, Blue Star’s Omega Blue at http://www.bluestarnutritionals.com is another one I use. High EPA and DHA (800 mg and 400 mg)

      In terms of long term health, metabolism, reduction in joint pain… fish oils are a STAPLE of any serious bodybuilder.

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  10. Hello there,

    How many caps of fish oil do you recommend daily?

    How many sets for the chest day ? and i read that you’re supposed to double them for back day ?

    when doing dips, should you lean forward? and what muscles do dips hit ?

    thanks.

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  11. Hi Vince,

    I have been training for 2 years plus and I feel my muscle gains have been moving very slowly for the past year. I know the fact that when you have been training for a while, muscle develops super slowly.

    My weight gain during bulking phases has been slow, sometimes I don’t gain any weight in a week to week basis. Is it realistic to force a 1lbs gain per week by eating more food everytime I don’t gain any weight?

    I wonder if just eating more to gain a 1lbs a week would just result in fat gain instead. I dare say that my nutrition is very good and my weight training is intensive. I am followoing MYM currently.

    Thanks a lot for reading.

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  12. Hey Vince,
    First of all thanks for your help and support. Right, i seem to know what I am doing now but ,nevertheless, I’d appreciate your comment. I used to be (or maybe still am), some sort of skinny-fat. I lost 10 kg in 3 months ( from 78 to 68 kgs) and dropped to 10% bf. Now I am bulking up ( clean bulk, 50 meals a week, maybe one cheat meal a week, just dont feel a need for any more). I have put up around 5kg in 5 weeks, and bf increased to 11. Should i be concerned?
    I am not going to hide that my biggest problem is fat on my stomach and breasts ( if it wasnt for that I would be over the moon with what I’ve done). Anyway, would you recommend doing anything for those breasts or just continue bulking till i get to 14-15% and then cut down?
    One more time, thanks for all your help!
    Regards,
    Franz

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    • @Franz. Your body might be high in estrogen and you first off, again I’m guessing, you should cut out any diary or soy products from your diet. JACK UP your greens. I’m talking 10 plus serving a day to alkalinize your body and ensure your absorbing your carbs.

      Also, have a BIG cardio day every 72 hours to deplete your glycogen. If you’re gaining fat while bulking, your body is transferring carbs to fat stores… not muscles. Plain and simple. You’re probably eating your carbs and spiking your insulin at the WRONG times of the day. Cut all carbs from your diet, except fibrous ones like veggies, except for pre workout and post workout and see what happens.

      This is CRITICAL info you gain and you need to conduct this experiment on yourself or you’ll continue to struggle and guess your way to who knows where…

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  13. why do u gain musle more wen bf is down.

    that171 is my goal !! 😀

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    • @Joe. Because your more insulin sensitive which means your body transfers your calories to your muscle tissue instead of your fat stores more efficiently.

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  14. Q) I have been training for best part of year, and found i had made substantial gains in the beginning as my whole body was shocked into growing, i now find im stuck at 75 kgs (bodyweight) and cant put on any more weight, is it still possible for me to develop muscle ? i eat regularly, protien shakes but im in a job where im doing heavy cardio for 3 and a half hours ( postman) so im burning it all off and cant keep weight on, any tips advice?

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    • @James. It would be interesting to see if you stopped your heavy cardio for a week to see if you gained some muscle. You’re definitely not done growing so throw that thought into the trash. I wold focus on packing some nutrient dense foods with you: nuts, dried fruit, blend oatmeal into your shakes, fish oils, avocado and try to eat some pasta and beef each day. That will keep you growing and help you determine if it is in fact a nutritional issue. Hope that helps.

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    • @James. Natural peanut butter and jam on bagels is great too!

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