What Is Bulking?
If you’ve ever asked yourself why am I not gaining muscle? Bulking may be the fast, effective technique for you. Bulking is the one time you want to aim for a calorie surplus. Think bringing on the healthy gains in an effort to build a bulk amount of muscle mass. It’s usually followed by a period of “cutting” to shed excess water or fat that was gained during the bulk. This pattern is often used by bodybuilders to get the insane bulking definition and muscle tone they’re known for, but it's a fitness technique that is becoming more mainstream.
Building muscle without gaining fat is a tricky endeavor. The technique used for bulking is one way to make sure you are making healthy gains for bigger muscles and a stronger physique. In order to bulk, you’ll need to consume more calories than you burn. However, not all calories are created equally. You want to make sure that you are giving your muscles all the nutrition they need to bulk up quicker than normal. Putting an emphasis on healthy, unprocessed foods rich in healthy grains and protein to make sure you’re giving your muscles the best nutrition for bulking.
10 Simple Bulking Tips
Ready to look cut, gain muscle and give yourself the freedom to pack in more calories? Here are some simple tips to make gains in bulk technique work for you.
- Stock Up on Protein
- It's how to gain muscle for skinny guys & gals. Getting enough protein in your diet should be one of your top priorities when you’re bulking.
- Do not favor carbs or fats over protein––you’re more likely to gain fat rather than build muscle.
- Get Enough Sleep
- Sleep is a must for muscle recovery. It doesn’t matter how much you workout or what you eat––if you don’t get enough sleep it means putting your body and muscles through greater strain while bulking.
- Give your body the time it needs to recover between workouts. Sleeping at least 7-8 hours per night is important to reduce stress on your body and keep you feeling your best for that next workout.
- Get Lean First
- You’ll be facing an uphill battle if you’re not fit to begin with. Getting lean first can get your bulk off to the best start.
- Start by testing your body fat percentage using the proper calculator. Ideally, you’ll want to start within the “fit” body fat percentage range to get the most out of your bulk.
- When you’re in a lean state, your body has already been primed for muscle growth, as opposed to fat storage.
- A lean bulk body will lead to better muscle definition because you’ll have less body fat.
- Make Your Calorie Consumption Progressive
- When it comes to adding more calories, think ramp instead of elevator. Ramp up your calorie consumption throughout your bulking period.
- Make a plan to add calories in your day-to-day slowly. This is how to bulk up without getting fat.
- As your training progressively builds, support it with an increase in healthy calorie intake.
- Increase Your Workout Frequency
- A good bulk up workout means slowly increasing your reps per workout.
- Again, think ramp, not elevator. A slow steady increase is key to reduce the strain load on your muscles while also making them work.
- Start with lower reps, and start increasing them as you progress. Ideally, you should aim for 12 - 20 total weekly sets per exercise.
- Mix Up the Compound Exercise Reps
- For a bulking up workout, try compound exercises to build muscle, strength and lead to gains. Rep volume will range depending on the move.
- For single isolation moves you want to do 8 - 15 reps to target specific muscle groups.
- 1 - 3 sets of reps is good for other muscle groups, and for more complex muscle groups like your shoulders and back you can go for up to 20 - 30 reps on compound moves to max out their bulk workout.
- Mountain Climbers: This is a great low-impact, high cardio movement that is ideal for a warm-up HIIT exercise.
- To Start: Get into the push up plank position with your arms straight. Then pull up your knees towards your chest as you alternate legs. Do 10-40 fast-paced climbers for each set.
- For beginners: You can pause and hold at the top of the movement to increase down-time.
- Advanced HIIT core exercises: You can increase the angle at which the legs cross the body within the move.
- Max Out Muscle Fatigue
- With proper technique you can focus on training muscle groups to near the point of absolute fatigue.
- Some bulking tips include pushing your muscles to the max can lead to bigger gains.
- Maintaining focus on your technique is key. Sloppy form won’t do much for your bulking goals and could increase your risk of injury.
- Don’t Skip the Carbs
- Another reason to like bulking nutrition: you can include the carbs! Your body needs extra energy during a bulking phase and complex carbs should be a central part of your diet.
- Embrace the complex carbs! Include a healthy portion of complex carbs in your daily diet to make sure your muscles have all the energy they need to keep up with the increased frequency and demand of workouts.
- Just be sure to steer clear of processed carbs. Junk foods filled with processed carbs are more likely to lead to getting fatter rather than creating a long-term energy sustenance.
- Track Your Progress
- Get out your calendar! Tracking your progress is an absolute must when you’re bulking.
- Here are some things to keep track of while you are bulking: daily calorie intake or foods eaten, workouts, reps, sleep, weight, and body measurements––particularly in areas you are focusing on like arms or chest.
- Tracking will help you keep visibility of where you are at, and allow you to adjust your goals as necessary.
- There are also some great fitness apps out there that will help you keep tabs on your bulky gains as well as offer insights to keep you on track.
Max Out Your Bulk with High-Quality Supplements
Bulking is a great way to help you gain large amounts of lean muscle mass quicker. But how you get results is all dependent on your nutrition and workout regimen. Not eating properly or skipping workouts can be extremely detrimental when you are trying to use the bulking technique to add muscle. You do not want to end up hurting yourself working out or gaining weight in the wrong way. Supplementing your diet when you need more protein is a great way to recover from workouts faster and add more calories in the right kind of way. Protein powders that offer egg white protein are preferable to make sure you are getting all 9 amino acids while keeping your protein intake lean.