I tend to see people working really hard in the gym but yet they seem to get no results. Such as a lot of people who are skinny and want to gain more size, or people who want bigger legs or arms.They train the muscle but still no growth. If you are incorporating progressive overload and getting adequate rest then the main reason for this is you diet.
HOW TO BULK
In an earlier article I posted the topic about how to lose fat. I talked about calorie intake and how it is essential for weight gain or weight loss.I will discuss how this same calorie intake is responsible for muscle growth as well as getting you stronger.
Food is basically energy. We obtain our energy from food ofcourse. Without food life would cease to exist. It’s like how important gas is for a car.Without the gas the car would not be able to move. Same thing with us.
The energy in food is measured in something called calories.Calories is the amount of energy in food. So let’s take for example a carrot that consists of 100 calories compared to a piece of chicken that is 200 calories. The chicken is higher in calories. Therefore, it possesses more energy.
Now you body burns a certain amount of calories for the day. This is because you body requires energy to move. So as we move we burn energy or calories to do what activity we are required to do. Similar to the car and the gas. The car burns gas to move from one destination to another.
So at the end of the day you body burns a certain amount of daily calories and you consume a certain number of daily calories. In order to bulk up and put on size and muscle, you need to surpass you amount of daily calories burned.
Let’s say you burned 2500 calories today that means the body required 2500 calories of food to fuel it for its daily activities.That means if you consume 2500 calories then you are just providing the body with the amount of calories that it is using up right away. So you will neither grow or lose anything.
If,for example, you consumed 2200 calories and you burned 2500 calories then you will lose fat and some muscle. This is because the body requires 2500 calories of food to fuel it and you only consumed 2200 calories. Therefore, it has to get energy from somewhere else. And in this case it is fat and muscle.
But if you consumed 3000 calories and you burned 2500 calories then you are providing the body with extra energy and with this extra energy, the body can use it to grow. This will allow you to get bigger in size and also stronger. It is possible to get stronger in a caloric deficit but you can risk fatiguing you body since it is not getting enough energy.
When bulking it is important to note that you may see that some fat may come along with the muscle and you must know that it is natural. It is okay to see an increase in body fat when bulking.
This is because, for example,if the body only needs 2500 calories of food and you consumed 3000 calories then the body has no current use for this excess energy and this energy will be stored in you body. But when bulking this extra energy is required to help the body grow.
So if you have been training really hard in the gym and you struggle to see any results muscle or strength wise you may need to increase you calorie intake.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I INCREASE MY CALORIES BY?
I say increase you calories to about 200-500 calories over the number of calories you burned for the day.If you go over the 500 calorie mark you will gain body fat too quickly and this may not be good for you liking.
With this calorie surplus of 200-500 calories you will gain size in a steady way and you will not gain an excess of fat too quickly.
I tend to bulk for about 3- 4 months and then after I would try to shred back down using a caloric deficit to have a more leaner and muscular look. I discussed the caloric deficit in a previous article. It was entitled ‘ Can I eat and still lose fat?’
CALCULATIONS FOR DAILY CALORIE INTAKE
To calculate the number of calories you want to consume in order to bulk up you should multiply you body weight in (lbs) by 16-18
On a day you are not as active multiply you body weight in lbs by 16, so for example I weigh 180 lbs , so (180 x 16=2880 calories)
On a day you are semi active you can multiply you bodyweight by 17, for example ( 180 x17)
On a day you are very active you can multiply you bodyweight by 18, for example (180 x 18)
In order to bulk you would want to stay in a constant caloric surplus every day. If you don’t you weight will be constantly fluctuating. If you miss a day or two in between where you are not in a calorie surplus it is okay but try you best to stay as consistent as you can.
SOME INFO ON BULKING
– CONSUME CARBOHYDRATES – I know to most people carbs seems like a bad thing because people often confuse the term that ” Carbs make you fat”.
From reading my content about calorie consumption we understand that this is not true. The importance of carbohydrates when bulking is that carbohydrates help water to be drawn into you muscles causing you muscles to ‘swell’ making you look bigger, so you muscles look bigger although it may feel a little on the softer side.
When consuming carbohydrates the body converts it to glycogen. This glycogen gets stored in the muscle as well as liver. A muscle tissue consists of cells ofcourse which use glucose for energy. This glycogen will be converted to glucose for energy for the cells of the muscle when the muscles is being worked. Part of the structure of glycogen consists of water so basically water is part of glycogen.
This is why carbohydrates help water to be drawn in the muscle when bulking giving you a bigger look. If you notice that yesterday, for example, you muscles looked a little bit bigger than today it doesn’t necessarily mean you lost muscle provided that you are eating properly. It simply means you didn’t consume enough carbs for the day so you muscle glycogen levels are a bit on the low side. So once you ‘carb up’ you will be good to go! Also it is important that carbohydrates are about 40-45 % of you diet especially when bulking.
CONSUME ENOUGH PROTEIN– So may of us have heard the great bodybuilders say to ” consume 1 gram of protein for 1 gram of bodyweight”. Although this might be great advice this can be quite difficult for some of us.
Imagine if you weigh 200lbs , should you consume 200 grams of protein everyday? That’s quite a tough task. It is okay to consume about 20-30 grams of protein below you bodyweight and still gain and repair muscle. I have personally done this and I am personally still growing muscle. This is done by many others as well. I currently weigh 180lbs and I am consuming about 140-150 grams and I am still gaining muscles but try to stay in the 20-30 grams below body weight range.
Protein is important for you to build muscle tissue as well as strength, so it is very important in you diet. For those of you that struggle to get in enough protein in you regular meals I recommend buying a Whey Protein supplement. I personally do not get in enough protein from my daily meals so I use a protein supplement.
You can take it about 1-2 times a day. For those of you that have a protein intake close to you body weight and you just need the supplement for a few more grams of protein I say once a day. But those of you who have a really poor protein intake I recommend twice for the day. Maybe for breakfast with a meal and dinner with a meal.
These supplements tend to be low in calories as well and I tend to take mine with water. If you are interested in purchasing any Whey protein supplements check out here.
You also want a protein intake at about 40-45% of you diet.
CONSUME YOUR FATS – We often consider fat a bad thing since consuming too much fatty foods makes us fat ofcourse! But there are also good fats that exists and these are important for important body functions.
Fats are important to help keep our brain healthy and it is also very important for protection of our internal organs. They also help you to gain a bit of muscle and provide us with energy as well.
Fats only need to consist of about 10-15% of our diet. You do not need to consume a lot of fats in you diet but it’s also a very big part of you diet and for regular body functions.Some good fats you can consume are like avocados, nuts, fish, dark chocolate and a lot more!
I hope this information helped you guys to understand the principles of bulking and I hoped it helped you in your fitness life one way or another. Thank you guys for reading!