Gaining mass without a lot of excess body fat is a typical dream for most people. The stage of gain that most bodybuilders and athletes go through to attain this is called ‘Bulking’. But, there is always concern when looking at a bulking routine that it might be designed for people who are using a little extra help. Maybe that program is designed around less rest time because the people using it are recovering faster than an average person might.
Well instead of tossing together a program that not everyone can use, we decided to provide some of the best guidelines for good, clean, bulking.
- Focus on one thing at a time – gaining muscle. During a bulking phase you should not simultaneously be trying to shed pounds. That is very counterproductive.
- Use a tracking method. You need to check your weight weekly to track progress. If your goal is 1 pound a week how will you know if you are meeting it without proper records? Also you should track what you are lifting and ingesting.
- Watch your calories. You want to gain muscle, not pounds of fat to go with it. Some people bulk by eating everything in sight. Instead of going overboard, work smarter not harder. Track your calories and eat just what you need to gain and maybe just a little more than that. Also make sure you are getting plenty of protein throughout the day. Ideally you want to consume 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.
- Do light cardio. Cardiovascular health is important because that involves your heart and blood flow. Ideally you want to do only a little bit such as two or three 30-minute session each week. This will help with being lean while gaining, but the primary goal is more maintenance than increasing your cardiovascular fitness level or dropping fat.
- Get lots of rest. Tossing around big, heavy weights and gaining muscle means damaging muscles through hypertrophy. Those muscles will then need proper rest which is at least 7 to 8 good hours of sleep at night. On top of that you should get at least 2 to 3 days off from the gym per week to not overtax your system.
- Always drink a protein shake within 30 minutes of your workout. Include Creatine and glutamine to the shake during the bulking phase. To go with that eat good carbs such as fresh fruit and dextrose. This is the most crucial time to intake food and supplements to help spike a natural growth hormone increase and get the body to grow safely.
You can split your body over a variety of days and routines. But, there are basics for bulk lifting. Go heavy with reps in the 5 to 8 range on the heaviest weight you can handle. Go compound with big exercises that work multiple muscle groups. Go intense and grind out maximum effort on the last set of each exercise. Go home; don’t overtrain by staying at the gym grinding out too many sets. Do your work and then get to eating and recovering to grow properly.