If you’re looking to get big, you need to start bulking. Common sense will tell you that you need to eat more food, and it would be right. However, there’s a lot more that goes into a proper bulking strategy.
Dieting is complicated enough when you’re just trying to remain the same weight. It becomes a lot harder when you need to pack on mass. When it comes to bulking up and adding mass, you need to do your research and figure out the ideal diet plan for your body. It’s a lot harder than it might seem at first glance.
To start, you’re going to have to familiarize yourself with what it means to bulk up. There’s a lot of calorie counting and planning involved. It’s hard work, which is why it’s important to start off strong.
1. Hit a caloric surplus
If you want to gain mass, you’re going to have to into a caloric surplus. All the exercising in the world won’t mean much if your body doesn’t have the necessary building blocks to support massive growth. To properly fuel your body, you’re going to need to up those calories by quite a bit. A surplus of calories is your only chance of getting bigger.
To introduce more calories to your diet, you’re first going to have to figure out how many calories you’re currently consuming on a daily basis. If you’ve ever counted calories for a diet, you’ll know how difficult it is to determine how much food you’re actually eating. The good news is that adding more calories is a lot easier than removing them. You don’t have to worry about accidentally adding a few more.
Take note of all the food you consume each week and try to roughly gauge how many calories you consume. This is crucial if you have a specific weight goal in mind. You need to be able to add the right number of calories every day for optimal muscle growth. This requires some knowledge and planning, so make sure you’re prepared to put in the necessary effort.
2. Think ahead
Gaining mass is pretty simple, in theory. Unfortunately, it’s a lot more complicated when you actually get down to it. You have to put in a lot of thought and effort into creating your ideal figure. Getting the right amount of food in your system is easier said than done. It might seem simple on paper, but there’s always a catch. Eating tons of food is only easy up to a point. After that, you’re going to have to figure out how to consistently consume an excess of calories.
Our bodies have several mechanisms in place that regulate our eating habits. If you’ve ever stuffed yourself with food due to a very good dinner, you’ll know that it leaves you absolutely full. You can’t take another bite, and the mere thought of more food makes you feel sick. This only lasts for a short time period and you’re quickly back to normal. However, you’re probably not going for seconds any time soon, even if you still have room. You basically forget about food for a short time. Then, a long while passes and you see that you haven’t eaten anything else since.
When you’re planning for a large caloric surplus, you’re going to want to take advantage of these windows of opportunity to add some more food into the mix. Though, it’s not something that will just come to you. You need to plan ahead and prepare your extra meals. Have a schedule for some of the high-calorie and protein-rich foods you plan on eating throughout the day. Set an alarm for a specific time of the day when you plan on having your protein mix. Remember to grab a bag of almonds on the way back home whenever you go to the store or work. Taking advantage of periods when you’re not full will take some effort and planning.
3. Don’t miss breakfast
We’ve all heard about the importance of having a proper breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day, after all. Getting some food inside your system as you start your day will help you have enough energy to function and allow you to perform optimally throughout your workday. However, there’s a lot more to it than that. Eating a proper breakfast can help kickstart your metabolism and help your body regulate food intake in a healthier way.
The type of food you have for breakfast is very important. You can’t just load up on carbs and call it a day. This would inevitably lead to a crash and leave you feeling tired throughout the day. You need a healthy mix of different nutrients that will give you energy and allow your digestive system to work through it at a steady pace.
Aim for a solid dose of protein and healthy fats. They’re the essential building blocks that your body needs and will slowly metabolize and give you a good head start for the day. This doesn’t mean that you should neglect your carb intake. Just makes sure you get the right carbs to start your day off. While any carbs will do the job and give you energy, complex carbs are preferable. They take a while to metabolize and won’t cause a sugar spike. A moderate amount of carbs will also stimulate amino acids to enter muscle tissue and provide allow it to build muscle faster.
Oatmeal and whole cereal are always good options for breakfast meals. If you prefer something more concrete, eggs and white fish are recommended as well. While bacon and eggs aren’t the healthiest choices, there’s no reason you can’t treat yourself from time to time.
4. Do a clean bulk
Everyone knows that calories are calories. There isn’t much difference between the calories in a soft drink and the ones that come from a steak. The soft drink probably has more of them. In theory, you should be able to eat as much of any food as you like and maintain a good bulk. As long as you’re getting the necessary calories, it shouldn’t matter, right? Unfortunately, it’s a lot more complicated than that. There are such things as clean and dirty bulks.
Dirty bulking is what you would call the above line of thinking. You eat what you can and only worry about the calories. This is going to be effective, at least until a point. The main problem with dirty bulking is that you’re not going to get the kind of mass that you’re aiming for. You will certainly end up in a caloric surplus, but there’s no guarantee that it will be all muscle. In fact, if you don’t watch your protein and carb intake, you’re a lot more likely to simply end up getting fat. This isn’t the kind of bulk you want most of the time.
A clean bulk implies a relatively balanced diet. You’re introducing the exact right nutrients that your body needs to build mass. For most people, this just means eating regular “healthy” foods and trying to up the protein content as much as possible. However, clean bulking can get a lot more intricate and precise when you do your research. With a clean bulk, you’re aiming for the most optimal mass gains with minimal unnecessary fat. You won’t be overshooting your calorie goals and you’ll very likely gain an ideal amount of muscle. The only downside is that you have to be very vigilant. You need to count your calories regularly and make sure you’re not overdoing your meals.
It’s possible to gain the same amount of muscle from a ten per cent increase in calories as with a fifty per cent increase in calories. The leftover calories between them would simply add fat to your body and it wouldn’t give you positive results. Not to mention, a dirty bulk often adds too many carbs, slowing you down through insulin spikes. Stick to clean bulking for the best results.
5. Fuel your workout
The most important periods to watch out for are the pre and post-workout times. This is when your body demands the most nutrients. It’s also where most of your muscle mass will come from. If you’re doing all of your core bodybuilding exercises during your workout, your body will be craving protein. Tiny muscle fibres will break and your muscles will react by bringing in amino acids to rebuild them and make them bigger. They will take these acids from other parts of your body, which means your other muscles might get broken down. If you supply an adequate amount of amino acids during the workout, your body will utilize them instead of breaking down muscles.
Your body needs to be fueled right before and after your workout for maximum effect. So opting for some quality pre workout protein shakes is a must because you need to consume a healthy dose of protein before your workout so your body has something to work with. What kind of protein you consume depends on your main fitness goal. If you’re looking for lean muscle, you would probably be better off with pure protein. If you want to build some healthy weight, consuming mass gainer protein would be the better option. It all depends on what kind of progress you’re aiming for. After the workout, your body will be drained and practically begging for protein. This is why it’s necessary to take a second dose to help it recover and heal from the exercise.
6. Eat right at night
Common sense will tell you not to eat a lot of food right before you go to bed. It’s probably a recipe for restless sleep and very early morning cravings, right? It’s a bit more complicated than that. There’s a lot more that goes into your evening meals than you might think. You aren’t forbidden from eating food before you go to sleep, but you need to know what kind of food to pick to gain healthy weight.
As you move into night time hours, you’re going to want to avoid foods that digest very quickly. If it can cause a quick surge in blood sugar or get your stomach upset, it’s not the right food for this period. Your goal isn’t to get a lot of sugar in your system, nor do you want to stimulate lots of digestion.
Foods that are very slow-digesting in nature can help support muscle growth. This is because the overnight period is crucial for muscle building. During this time, your body secretes the largest amount of growth hormone during its twenty-four-hour cycle. Combining this natural rise in growth hormone with adequate nutrients can help bolster muscle-building efforts.
Your digestive system isn’t fully functional during the night. As you fall asleep, it starts to slow down, but it never grinds to a halt. This is part of the reason you want something that will digest slowly. Anything that’s quick to digest would just end up being partially digested and it would upset your stomach. A slow release of protein and fats would allow the slowed digestive system to adapt properly and take in all the nutrients it needs.
Avoid having too many carbs before you go to sleep. Insulin is a natural antagonist of the growth hormones, meaning it would suppress muscle building during this time. Stick to lean food like steaks, red meat, cottage cheese, and nuts. They will keep you full enough to avoid late-night snacking, while also giving you everything you need to ensure optimal overnight absorption of nutrients.
Getting on a mass building diet is never simple. You need to really put in the effort to consistently consume more food and keep that food on a tight schedule. More importantly, the food you eat needs to be healthy and good for consistent mass gains. If you’re stumped on where to start your mass-gaining strategy, the aforementioned pointers would be a good place to start. As long as you dedicate yourself to training and adding the right kind of mass, you’re going to find that it’s a lot easier than you first expected.