How to Get Bigger and Toned in a Few Months

by James
(Clinton, NY)

Question: I'm 22 and have been working out off and on for about 3 years.


I'm 11% body fat and 163 pounds. I've got a decent chest, but not a strong back or shoulders. I have good endurance.

I try to go workout at least 3 days per week for an hour, but sometimes may only get out 2 a week b/c of classes.

I used to want to get strong, but now am more interested in completing a healthy diet to get big and toned.

I'm interested in building Legs, back, and arms. I'm not taking supplements right now, but I usually take creatine, protein, and bcaa's.

I would like to hear your opinion on how to get big and toned. I read a lot that a good diet involving a lot of protein(200+g/day) with a 3500 calorie diet on workout days is good.

I am going to be a military pilot after May, but have a few months of free time before I leave. I would like to spend this time training hard and getting bigger, but not losing any time on my mile and a half.

1) Any good diet plan you can recommend?
2) Any good workout plan you can recommend with this diet for bigger arms, leaner body?
3) How many times a day and week should I be running to keep the fat off and run time down?

I have the kind of body that if I continued to go to the gym, I would get bigger. It's hard this year to be able to get to the gym so it's been rare, but I have a few months that I can kill and I want to use them in the right way. Any suggestions? I would highly appreciate it.

Answer: First off, thank you for all of those additional details you provided!

Quote: "I try to go workout at least 3 days per week for an hour, but sometimes may only get out 2 a week b/c of classes."

You'll be fine with 2 or 3 days a week, don't sweat it. To be honest, people who spend less time in the gym, are able to build muscle faster, because you're actually allowing your body more recovery time.

The building process actually happens AFTER your workouts, so don't worry much about only getting to workout twice a week. You'll be alright.

Quote: "I would like to hear your opinion on how to get big and toned. I read a lot that a good diet involving a lot of protein(200+g/day) with a 3500 calorie diet on workout days is good."

A lot of articles in the bodybuilding industry are mostly geared toward younger naive teens. Having said that, sports nutrition supplements like to push the idea that most people must consume a lot of protein, way more than what's actually required.

1 gram of protein, for every 2 pounds of body weight, is plenty.

Also, you mentioned 3500 calories a day. I wouldn't worry about counting calories. Just eat healthy foods, and have a balanced diet.

Eat when you're hungry. But most importantly, eat healthy foods. If you do that, you won't have to worry about calories.

For workouts, go to our workout routine section. Several free workouts to choose from!

For diet plans, it's pretty much common sense. Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and get your omega fatty acids. Try to get 4 to 6 meals a day.

How many times to run? Well, you seem to enjoy running, so do it every day, or every other day. As long as you are consuming enough food each day, you'll still build muscle.

How to know if you're getting enough food?

Eat when you're hungry. Your body will tell when it's time to fuel up. And as long as you stay active, you'll be using that food to properly fuel your muscles to keep going.

You'll soon discover, that building muscle and getting lean, is all very simple. It's just a matter of actually sticking to it.

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