It’s so easy to get bodybuilding bulking wrong. Read on to get the facts on bulking the clean and healthy way.
Keyword(s): bodybuilding bulking
The number one goal for any bodybuilder is to build muscles.
And usually a lot of them at large sizes.
Bodybuilding bulking allows you to focus on gaining muscle mass and strength through strategic diet and training programs.
You are then able to go through a cutting phase which is basically decreasing your body fat percentage for your muscles to show more and create a leaner aesthetic.
Unfortunately, the bodybuilding world can be filled with a lot of confusing information, bad advice, and misconceptions over how to achieve certain things.
Science is always changing the way we look at our human vessels and if you don’t keep up with fact checking for your own body than you may suffer the consequences of slowing down your progress or making not much progress at all.
Check out these ten tips below to help your bulk stay clean and healthy for the best quality gains.
Eat in a Caloric Surplus for Your Body
Diet is the most important component of achieving a great shape and maintaining a healthy body.
The age old rule of thumb of “calories in versus calories out” still applies to losing and gain weight today.
Your body uses a particular amount of calories within a 24-period day performing daily actions, including walking, eating, working, etc. This is called your TDEE, or Total Daily Energy Expenditure.
Typically you can eat above or below your specific TDEE number to manipulate your body losing or gaining weight, as well as fat loss.
Knowing your exact total daily energy expenditure allows you to strategically eat more calories than your body burns for properly fueling, gaining and preserving muscle.
If you control your plate you can control your weight!
Choose Healthy Foods for Your Bodybuilding Bulking
A lot of bodybuilders have gotten the whole ‘eat a lot of food’ thing pretty much under control.
However, this usually comes with a very loose, unhealthy diet of them eating whatever they want.
Getting big does not, and should not, have to come with heart disease, diabetes or any other illnesses.
The quality of your food can help with controlling fat gain during your bulk.
Opt for Organic and Whole Foods
The sourcing of food is an increasing issue in the world.
With factors like GMOs and high sugar contents we need to be careful with our product selections.
Be conscious of where you buy your food items from and how they are made. Choose foods with fewer chemicals and high fructose levels.
Keeping it simple with whole foods that you can find locally and organically sourced will keep your clean bulk on the right track.
Count on Macronutrients
The reason why the quality of your food really matters comes down to macronutrient breakdown.
Mactronutrient content is how much percentage of protein, fat, and carbs the food product contains.
Protein is king in the fitness community. Researchers have found that higher protein intake can even help to lose fat while gaining muscle. It’s recommended to keep protein intake around .8-1 gram of protein per body weight pound.
Meanwhile, carbs are important for refueling deleted glycogen storages in the muscles after a heavy weight lifting session. Increasing carbohydrate intake at this time is usually beneficial. And fat help to regulate hormone levels and cholesterol levels throughout the process.
Eat a balanced diet that includes a majority amount of lean protein, fruits, vegetables, complex carbs, and healthy dietary fats.
You could really stunt your mass gain if you aren’t able to feed your muscles enough of everything that they need to grow.
Train Big or Go Home
What would bodybuilding bulking be without bodybuilding?
Weight training is the tool used to grow huge muscles to get your desired physique.
But you can’t just lift weights in a random fashion and think you’ll make a lot of progress. You need to damage and put tension on your muscles to initiate growth.
Muscles respond well to specific programming that help your body with gaining strength, mass, and endurance.
There are a few keys to building a workout that will be most beneficial during your bodybuilding bulking phase.
Use Rep and Sets Right
When you’re training for muscle hypertrophy, or size, you should be keeping your reps lower than you would for building endurance.
It would be best to choose weights that allow you to stay in the range of 8-12 reps for at least 3-4 (or more) sets.
Use some sets to lift as heavy as possible while focusing solely on pushing your muscles until failure.
Consider switching up and adding components including tempo, dropsets, pyramids and holds during lifting.
Add Variety to Your Exercises,
Your body will get used to the same thing if you do it over and over for a long period of time.
Be sure to switch up your workout and program every couple of weeks.
You can combine compound movements, like squats and bench presses, with isolation movements, such as leg extensions and bicep curls, for the best results.
Lift heavy for the gains!
Get Enough Rest
Muscles don’t get the chance to grow if they don’t get a chance to rest and recover.
Lack of sleep during bodybuilding bulking can result in loss of muscle mass, injuries and an increase in cortisol levels, which can cause you to store more fat.
Muscles are able to rebuild overnight after being broken down during training with adequate amounts of sleep.
Use the Right Supplements
You’ll run into a lot of mass gaining supplements that will promise you big size in shorter amounts of time.
Ultimately you could end up wasting a lot of money and putting some unnecessary substances into your body.
So being smart with supplements and choosing the right ones is important to your bulking journey.
If you’d like to keep your supplement programming simple and clean then you should stick with some of the basics for mass gain.
Here are a few products that you may want to consider buying to maximize muscle growth during bodybuilding bulk season:
Remember you don’t need to overdue using supplements. This could make your clean bulk into an unhealthy one.
Eliminate Excessive Cardio
If you’re a “hard gainer” you definitely don’t want to spend a lot of time pounding the treadmill while you’re trying to bulk.
Doing a lot of cardio can cause your body to pull from your muscle mass if you aren’t careful with how much you’re doing and how well you fuel yourself.
This isn’t to say eliminate cardio as a whole.
However you should be keeping it to a minimum of around one to two days of steady state cardio for no more than 30 minutes at a time.
You can also add other types of cardio into your programming, such as HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT can be very beneficial for your cardiovascular system during bodybuilding bulking while preserving some muscle.
Get creative and go for exercises like sprints, jumping rope or tiring flipping to add to your HIIT regimen.
Post Workout Nutrition
If your programming is on point then by the time you’re done a workout your muscles should be fatigued and depleted.
If you do not give them the appropriate post workout nutrition then you could put yourself at risk of atrophy, which is muscle shrinkage.
It has been a long time recommendation to eat a proper meal for muscle refueling within the first 30 minutes after you’ve finished your workout session.
Whether you choose to follow this rule of thumb or not, you still need to take your nutrition post workout into consideration.
Your muscles will need enough protein and carbs, as well as some fats, to promote mass growth.
Try to stick to lean protein, such as chicken and fish, complex carbs, such brown rice for healthy options. You can add in red meats sometimes and simple carbohydrates if you are able to monitor your body’s reactions well.
Most people opt for an easy meal with a fast digesting protein source, such as a whey protein shake.
Planning your post workout meals before your training session can be helpful for reaching your goals during a bodybuilding bulking phase.
Keep Track of Progress
Learning your body and it’s responses to certain foods, exercises and types of cardio is important to every bodybuilder.
Use tools to help your track your progress during your bodybuilding bulk to ensure that you don’t fall off of course.
Bring a notepad to your lifting sessions to write down weight, sets, and reps that you are lifting. You should be aiming to begin at the last numbers you tracked and lift more each time.
Make sure to combine different weight and body fat techniques for tracking your progress.
There are the most helpful tools for tracking your progress during your bodybuilding bulking
- A scale
- Bodyfat monitors
- Measuring Tape
- Progress pictures
Don’t let your gaining get messy by neglecting consistent check-ins.
Need help bodybuilding bulking?
You can be on your way to getting bigger and stronger by applying these tips above to your bodybuilding bulking phase.
Keep your nutrition in check, lift heavy, get some sleep and track your progress consistently.
Remember not to compare yourself to others. Be patient with your journey and remain focused on your goals.
Follow Protein Factory for all your bodybuilding needs!
Alex Rogers is a supplement manufacturing expert. He has been formulating, consulting, & manufacturing dietary supplements since 1998. Alex invented protein customization in 1998 & was the first company to allow consumers to create their own protein blends. He helped create the first supplement to contain natural follistatin, invented whey protein with egg lecithin, & recently imported the world’s first 100% hydrolyzed whey.