Bulking during the Autumn & Winter months has long been a tradition amongst bodybuilders throughout recent history.
My Bulking Experiences
You can consume bad food and train hard and get ‘positive’ results physically, but long term this plan will not work.
Over time will gain a lot of body fat and probably notice lots of other negative adaptations within your body e.g. fatigue, high blood pressure, bad skin & irritability.
I know because I’ve done it the ‘wrong way’ too many times, thus having to cut drastically and being back to square one.
1 step forwards, 2 steps back vibe.
My body fat has been over 25% previously because of my ambition mixed together with naivety causing me to gain weight at any means necessary.
I would eat anything which contained calories and think that I could train later and it would be ok. Unfortunately science and biology think otherwise. Do not use this excuse, please.
I got stronger, but I genuinely hated the way I looked and lost confidence in the process.
I will briefly explain how to do it most efficiently, effectively and healthily so you do not have to make the same mistakes as me and gain sufficient weight without bloating and going over the top.
This leaves you with a mountain to climb when you move over to the cutting phase.
A calorie surplus leads to weight gain, which means heavier weights can be lifted and therefore muscle can be built more efficiently.
How To Bulk The Right Way:
Step 1: Calorie Surplus
Whatever your maintenance calories are, you need to increase them by between 200-500 calories depending on your body composition and how much you currently weigh.
If you do not eat more than your body needs to maintain weight, then you will not be able to gain weight. Simple.
Step 2: Choose Nutritious Foods (As Much As Possible)
If you can eat a nutritional plan containing only healthy foods then that’s great.
For most of us mere humans though, it is almost impossible with so much temptation available.
One method I personally use is to aim for about 80% of your diet being food with good nutritional value.
The other 20% is then leftover for meals out, takeaways, chocolate or whatever your preference is.
Do not overdo it with the 20% though and be mindful of the calories you are consuming.
Step 3: Consume A High Protein Diet
A high protein diet has many benefits, but promoting muscle building and recovery is one of the macronutrients best superpowers.
Aim for around 1.4-1.6g of protein per lb of bodyweight as a rough estimate to be on the right track.
Step 4: Resistance Training 3-5 Times Per Week
Without lifting weights and including resistance training within your workout, then you are not likely to build any recognisable increase in muscle mass.
3 times per week is the minimum amount you should aim for.
Compound lifts such as bench press, squat, deadlift and lat pull downs should be the most significant and heaviest parts of your training regime.
Step 5: Apply Progressive Overload
Progressive overload is simply increasing the amount of weight you are using for each exercise that you do over weeks and months of training.
Just adding a few KG to your exercises week on week will make a huge difference in 3 months’ time.
In a previous blog I explained how you can gain muscle without gaining fat, but a general bulk will likely bring an increased body fat percentage.
The upside is, this method will lead to quicker results in increased strength and power.
It is not impossible to have an effective bulk without adding too much fat, but you have to be patient (Around 0.5-1kg of muscle per month) if you train as and eat as planned.
This is not now an excuse to eat everything and say ‘Yeah, I’m bulking’.
This is informal of safer methods. If you want to do it in a way which may not be the most nutritious, because you do not have the knowledge or resources to do it as effectively as possible, then you may need to navigate the bulk as suitable as possible.
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