What is the number one advice lifters get when they want to pack on new muscle tissues? “BULKING”.
What exactly is bulking? Bulking is the muscle-gaining phase that every pro-bodybuilder goes through on a periodic basis. Bulking phase involves the consumption of more calories than your body needs for a set period of time, commonly for 4-6 months. Feeding your body additional calories supplies all the necessary fuel to boost muscle size and strength while weight training.
Your body doesn't understand if you are on bulking phase of the cutting phase, it responds to the diet you supply. Gaining some extra fat is a side effect of bulking phase which needs to be cut down to achieve that aesthetic greek god body.
Types of bulking
- Dirty bulk
- Clean bulk
Dirty bulk: It’s relatively easy to follow. You are not concerned about the quality of calories, instead, your focus is on meeting the daily caloric requirement through any source. A dirty bulk involves consuming high-calorie foods, including junk foods, to promote quick weight gain.
Clean bulk: Clean bulk is for lifters who don't want to compromise with their lean physique. Imagine consuming not so tasty clean meals six times a day, it’s far more difficult than people estimates. A clean bulk follows a moderate approach of being in a caloric surplus.
Through this article, we are going to cover the tips to help you keep your body fat levels in check while gaining mass.
1- Set Realistic Expectations
We encounter far too many young lifters who expect to see drastic changes within 3-4 weeks of getting on the bulking diet.
Gaining muscle mass should be considered like running a marathon, not a 100m sprint. You need to stay patient and consistent throughout the journey.
Before you start your bulking phase it’s important to put on some sensible goals. Your gaining goal should be in accordance with your experience.
Beginner: 1 to 1.5% total body weight per month
Intermediate: .5 to 1% total body weight per month
Advanced: .25 to .5% total body weight per month
2- Rely On Eating Clean Food
Lifters trying to bulk up follow a simple principle, ‘Eat more!’ but they usually lack the fundamental insights to optimize other factors like the right macronutrient ratio, exercise pattern, maintaining optimum hormone balance, etc.
Before you start your bulking journey it’s important to educate yourself about the optimum food sources and meal preps.
Dirty bulk will lead to ‘Fat Hyperplasia’, it’s when your body starts to increase the number of fat cells as a result of overeating.
3- Eating Moderate Calories
Bulking is not about gulping down as many calories as you can, most of the lifters are not even tracking the number of calories they are consuming in the bulking phase, a big mistake.
Natural lifters need a moderate surplus to avoid gaining too much body fat.
There are dozens of equations to calculate the number of calories your body requires to start gaining weight and every unique body has its own requirement. We suggest you visit a dietician to analyze your body’s calories requirement and to help you with the meal plan but if you are not willing to invest in a diet planner then here is the general thumb rule to floor:
- Calculate your daily maintenance calories through active calorie tracking
- Shoot for 300-500 calories above your daily maintenance.
- Track the progress for a week
- Did you start to see a change in your body? Amazing, follow the diet for the next two weeks before shooting calories by another 200.
If you are an easy gainer then you should increase the calories by only 200-300. Hard gainers may require to increase the calories by 500-700 (initial phase only).
4 – Setting Up Your Macros
Tracking the total calories is just a first step towards change, now it's time to define your perfect macronutrient ratio.
Protein: We will keep it simple, just try to consume 1 gram of protein per pound of your bodyweight.
Do not throw in all the protein in single or two meals, it’s important to spread the protein in every meal of the day. Post-workout meals should be high in protein but other meals should also contain at least 30 grams of lean protein.
To kick start the day I usually suggest my clients to add a scoop of whey in morning coffee as well.
Carbs: Carbs are essential but they work better if they are planned well. Include complex carbs throughout the day but keep your post-workout meals high in carbs for better recovery.
Carbs plays important role in pre-workout meals as well, they replenish the glycogen reserves to help you train harder and get big results.
Fat: Fats are not as bad as you think. Your body needs fats to regulate many hormones and also keep you satiated for a longer period of time.
Fats are a dense source of calories which makes them a perfect solution to hit your caloric goals.
5- Lift heavy
What is the major reason for getting on bulking diet? To get bigger. How do you get bigger? By lifting heavier weights and progressive overload.
Bulking phase is a perfect time to work on muscle strength and hypertrophy, it’s a phase when you feed your body in surplus.
Start to track your progress with weight, pay more emphasis on progressive overload, and train till failure.
Training till failure not only helps your muscle grow bigger but will also prevent the accumulation of extra fat.
6 – Sleep 7-9 Hours Per Night
A good night’s sleep is the most crucial part. Sleep helps your body in many different ways, it helps in better recovery, proper rest, more energy, and better cognitive functioning.
Lack of sleep will stun your recovery and overtraining causes catabolism, which prevents muscle growth.
Sleep deprivation may cause cortisol to increase while decreasing the secretion of testosterone, IGF-1, and growth hormone. Together, it appears a lack of sleep favors the loss of muscle mass, decreases your recoverability, and increases fat mass.
7- Skip The Processed Foods
You can not expect a clean weight gain if you are eating those double cheeseburgers and fries will certainly get you to your calorie goals.
With every meal, eat plenty of veggies and lean meats. When choosing your carb source, pick foods like potatoes, yams, rice, whole grains, oats, etc.
8- Stop Relying On Mass Gainers
Many guys rely on mass gainers to get into the calorie surplus which is not a good idea.
Mass gainers are high in calories but they usually lack quality ingredients. The best solution is to prepare your own mass gainer shake at home. It’s always easy to find a mass gainer recipe on google, natural mass gainer shakes will also be a cost-effective solution to stay in a caloric surplus.
9- Natural Testosterone Boosters
Testosterone is a primary male hormone that helps in packing muscle mass and staying lean. Supplementing with natural testosterone boosters may help in accelerating muscle gain while avoiding fat accumulation.
We at Warriors Nutrition created a natural testosterone supplement SURGE that contains a blend of the finest quality natural ingredients that will benefit you in many different ways.