It's no secret that to put on size you have to up your calorie intake. But Sydney-based personal trainer Lachie Brycki learnt the hard way that the 'eat everything I see' attitude is not always the best approach.
Standing at well over six foot, Brycki admits that he "had absolutely no idea what I was doing with my nutrition" when he first started working out.
In his high school years, the now-model was desperate to add mass, and his appetite for size left him resorting to unhealthy weight-gainers.
"Every morning before school I would pick up a 3L Full Cream milk from the shops and sip on it throughout the day. By the end of the day I forced myself to finish my packed lunches and the 3L of milk. I would then go home and eat dinner with my family as well as snacking as much as possible," the 26-year-old tells Men's Health.
Brycki read online that you had to 'eat big to get big' and during his younger years, that advice stuck with him. "I never limited anything I ate and just saw food as a source of fuel to grow.
"It took me a long time to begin understanding what is actually in the food we consume and how much is needed to grow, maintain or lose weight," he adds.
"Essentially I just overate for a long time and kept telling myself I was 'bulking', thinking that I was growing muscles whereas I was probably just putting on fat far too quickly."
By his late teens, he saw his body change after increasing the volume of his training and overeating. But he didn't get the results he was after.
"I grew significantly and quickly which has left my body riddled with stretch marks. I went from being a skinny 65kg ectomorph into a whopping 108kg ectomorph."
Carrying too much weight, Brycki felt unhealthy and struggled to perform on the basketball court and soccer field.
However, that lethargy was also the catalyst to take his nutrition more seriously.
"By no means was I 108kg of muscle but rather a tall, chubby kid with a large base. The more I educated myself about training and nutrition the easier I was able to manipulate my body composition over time. It has taken me almost a decade of trial and error to find what works for me, what foods react well with my body and help fuel it for training and what training methods stimulate the best growth for me."
Brycki has since overhauled his diet, following both a flexible approach while setting goals for macronutrients.
"As long as I hit these numbers, I can eat the foods I enjoy as well as hitting my target calorie goals. My current numbers are 200g of protein a day, 400 carbs and 80 fat.
"I am all about super quick and easy meals. I have a few go-to meals which will make up the majority of those numbers and then I can fill the gaps with the yummy foods that I want to enjoy to help keep me feeling mentally fresh and ensure this can be as sustainable as possible for as long as possible."
Having learnt from his personal experience, Brycki knows the secrets to packing on lean muscle, especially when you have a tall frame.
"The secret to putting on weight at any height is eating in a calorie surplus. The larger the surplus, the faster you will put on weight. I remember someone once said to me that people who struggle to put on weight are just under eating. The secret to growing or achieving in the gym is to be consistent with your training, increase the volume of your training over time and eat in accordance to your goals at the time.
"Keep track of things and there will be no guess work in what you do. Taller physiques will find it harder to put on muscle mass as they have a larger area to space it out over. This is why you just have to stay consistent with your training and eating and trust in the process. Don't be in a rush, because you won't be happy with how long it takes to achieve certain milestones. Set small goals and tick them off as you go."
While abs are made in the kitchen, Brycki has also been disciplined in his approach to exercise. Equally, he adds variety when he notices his growth start to stagnate.
"I'll train a certain way for a while and then mix it up when I get bored or feel I am plateauing. I tend to swap between power lifting and bodybuilding or hypertrophy work.
"I'll normally base my sessions around the larger compound movements and then break the latter part of the session into the accessory movements. I will also use a Push, Pull, Legs split quite often as I love how my body reacts to the increased volume."
Here's how Brycki mixes up his training day-to-day:
And while he has his training down pat, he also has some handy snacks in his arsenal when he needs to hit those macros on the run. Here are his go-to protein hits: