Three Steps For Beginning To Bulk Up
Bulking up is – in so many ways – similar to losing weight, it’s often hard to dive into this conversation without delving into specifics. Even so, in those specifics it is often a hairline’s difference between a story of failure, and that of success. Nonetheless, for the novice in bulking up, three simple steps can set you on the right path to getting bigger, while staying healthy.
Step One: Recognize That Diet Is Critical
Trainers often say: muscle isn’t made in the gym, but in the kitchen. Though how you make your muscle in the kitchen is a complex system of eating enough calories, through the right foods.
Two common errors people make when trying to bulk up are eating too few calories, and eating junk. Simply drinking protein shakes and eating bad food is – and never will – balance well with any workout routine. Even working out six days a week will do nothing for a person trying to bulk up, as your body will be constantly playing a game of catch up with the type and amount of energy it has to burn.
People just beginning should be counting calories for the first few days to begin training themselves to consume enough calories to build healthy muscle mass. Calorie counting need not be a routine practice, only in the initial building process so beginners can have a baseline (of sorts) to then add 500 more calories per day to give their bodies more fuel to work with.
More calories cannot only be consumed through foods, but liquids as well. Whole milk, adding coconut oil, almond butter, and even olive oil are easy and healthful ways to mix into shakes, or even just add to meals.
Though it isn’t just about eating more, but what you are eating more of.
Protein is critical in the muscle-building process. Unfortunately, the amount of protein builders need is often a matter of differing opinion. None of the experts really seem to agree, and different amounts impact different athletes in even different ways. For novice builders, consuming 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body weight is a good starting point. (Builders that do not know their body fat percentage can adjust to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of total body weight.)
Beyond quality proteins, following the principles of the Paleo diet seems to work best for beginning builders: quality meats, vegetables, minimal glutens and processed carbs; mixed with calorie-rich foods such as whole milk, rice, oats, legumes, lentils, sweet potatoes, nuts, avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, and almond butter.
Step Two: Implement a Muscle-Based Work Out Plan
The most important step in building a muscle-based work out plan is to work on building strength. With a stronger body comes more muscle mass.
A lot of body builders suggest breaking the body down into segments and working on them over different days of the week (example: leg day). The PROBLEM with splitting your routine based on body part is that your body doesn’t function like that. Isolation exercises can be a good starting point for the novice beginner but focusing on a full-body compound routine that involves the following movements is ideal for people attempting to build body mass: squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, bench presses, bent over rows, body rows, dips, push ups, pull ups, and barbell training is very beneficial. Click here for a SMART split routine by Pharmafreak.
How many sets and reps to do can get a little complex. But once builders find themselves adjusting to their new diet and exercise routine, a general guideline of reps with their goals in site is:
1-5 reps (strength and power)
5-8 reps (strength and some size)
8-12 reps (size and some strength)
12+ reps (muscular endurance)
Builders should start at a comfortable weight and add five pounds each week, waiting around 30secs to 1 minute between sets (although really just do the next set when ready); and always focus on stimulating, not completely annihilating, the muscles.
Lastly, there is the dreaded truth about cardio training. Cardio is important for a person’s overall health, though if you are serious about getting bigger and stronger, long-distance and large amounts of cardio training will only hurt you. Try mixing in sprints and interval training instead of traditional long 1hour cardio sessions.
Step Three: Don’t Forget Downtime
Your body needs recovery time to build and rebuild its muscles; just as it needs a chance to process those added calories you are putting into it. Rest and relaxation are just as important as muscle-building workouts and a healthy diet to the process of bulking up.
Making the choice to bulk up and gain healthy muscle-weight may seem daunting. But when it’s broken down into these three steps it seems almost a natural process. A healthy, protein-rich diet; a combination workout routine with focus on building strength; and an adequate amount of sleep and relaxation is sure to help you bulk up, in a big way.