As I will be entering a lean bulk again next week, I decided to write so you can gain lean mass with me!
I will divide this article into three parts, as I think there is more to it than just eating endless amounts of food.
Before I explain about the diet part of bulking, I want to mention that this does not mean going on a diet.
Your diet is what you eat on a daily basis, whether that is healthy, or whether you eat McDonalds burgers five times a day. That is your diet.
The aim when bulking is to put on muscle while gaining as little fat as possible. However, a lot of people forget the part about keeping fat gains minimal.
These people think it is Ok to horse in as much food as they can and get as big as possible.
It is understandable and easy to get carried away with bulking. I have done it myself many times and it often ends badly.
Other people often use bulking as an excuse to let go completely and say “It’s cool bro I’m bulking”. These people often call themselves hard gainers and think to add muscle you have to eat everything in sight. You don’t need to go ‘all in’ when bulking to the point where you’re gaining a kg a week because most of this will be fat.
Why is this a bad thing? Because your body functions better at a lower body fat percentage.
So how are you best bulking?
The first thing you want to do is find out your maintenance is. This is also known as your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure).
You can get a fairly good estimate from online calculators and go from there. Just to be clear, this is how many calories you burn in a day and how much you can eat to stay the same weight.
When you find out your TDEE, start by slowly increasing calories above it. Most would recommend only going 300 calories above your TDEE, 500 at the very most.
Usually in the form of fats and carbs. You can’t just eat more calories you still have to keep track of your macronutrient intake. If you see yourself gaining more fat than expected cut back a bit.
Think of the long term here, the less fat you put on in your bulk, the less time you will have to spend cutting. Aim to gain 1 to 1,5 kg per month; anything more is likely to be nothing but fat.
Now that we have our diet sorted, it’s time to look at our training.
In my opinion this is a time when training gets a lot more enjoyable.
You can see the weight on the bar go up and you’ll start to hit some PRs. Most people will not gain any muscle or strength on a cut so now is the time to do so.
Muscle grows as a function of progressive overload. Progressive overload is an increased amount of stress on the muscle over time. You see a lot of people trying all this mad fancy stuff to “confuse the muscles” and they forget the main thing which is progressive overload.
Your focus should be on adding weight to the bar over time while keeping proper form. To make it
very simple take the bench press for example:
Week 1 – Bench press 80kg
Week 2 – Bench press 82,5kg
Week 3 – Bench press 83,75kg
Week 4 – Bench press 85kg
And so on. Same goes for every exercise.
More often than not I hear people say they are going to buy/or have bought weight gainers.
To be really honest with everyone, unless you have a serious problem with getting calories in, weight gainers are a waste of time. It’s a lot cheaper, tastier and better to just eat food.
As supplements go, I recommend just buying Creatine monohydrate, one of the cheapest supplements you can buy. You should have no problem getting your protein in with so many calories. More often than not I struggle to not go over my protein during bulks.
I hope this article was helpful, if you wish to know more about bulking or if you would like one on one coaching during your bulk, click here to purchase my online coaching.