Summer is officially over and you know what that means: bulking season has arrived.
If you want to pack on as much muscle mass as possible before cutting season and know what you should eat when bulking, you need to arm yourself with the best tips and tricks for packing on size.
Category by category, I’ll break down the tips and tricks to achieving success this bulking season.
Tip: Try the 5x5 System
If you haven’t started creating a workout for yourself or if you’re looking to change things up this year, the 5x5 System is one way to go. It’s simple and highly effective.
The idea behind the 5x5 System is to perform five sets of five repetitions of an exercise. Ideally, those would be the major lifts (squat, deadlift, chest press, shoulder press). The trick is to use enough weight to ensure you struggle with getting that last 1-2 repetitions up.
Here’s an example workout using full-body exercises:
- Chest: Incline Barbell Press: 5 sets of 5 repetitions
- Chest: Flat Bench Dumbbell Flys: 5 x 5
- Triceps: Rope Pushdowns: 5 x 5
- Abs: Cable Crunches: 3 x 25
- Quadriceps: Squats: 5 x 5
- Hamstrings: Romanian Deadlifts: 5 x 5
- Quadriceps: Leg Extensions: 5 x 5
- Calves: Calf Raises: 3 x 30
- Back: T-Bar Row: 5 x 5
- Back: Weighted Pull-ups: 5 x 5
- Biceps: Preacher Curls: 5 x 5
- Abs: Oblique Crunches: 3 x 25
- Shoulders: Military Press: 5 x 5
- Shoulders: Rear Delt Fly: 5 x 5
- Calves: Calf Press: 5 x 5
- Forearms: Wrist Curls: 5 x 5
- Rest or light cardio and abs
- Stair Stepper (30 minutes)
- Abs: Hanging Leg Lifts: 3 x 25
Trick: Hit The Gym With a Lifting Partner
In this way, you’ll be able to use more weight, allowing you to start feeling the pressure around repetition number three. You should be fighting for those last two reps. The workout buddy has your back for motivation and safety.
Tip: Increase Your Protein Intake
If this isn’t your first rodeo then you already know how important it is to eat, eat, and eat some more. Size is the goal; however, your diet can determine whether the majority of that size is coming from muscle or fat.
Fat gains, to a degree, are inevitable during a mass-focused bulking season. The goal is to minimize fat and maximize muscle so that when you start cutting, you can lose the rest of the fat and focus on defining the muscle you’ve built.
First, protein is the building block of muscle mass. A successful bulk is going to require two grams of protein per body pound.
You should stock up on chicken breasts, fresh fish, lean pork cuts, and eggs.
In addition to those whole food sources, a high-quality whey protein supplement can ensure you hit your protein goals each day. If you’re looking for a solid and great-tasting protein supplement, I’d suggest going with Whey.
Trick: Don’t Neglect Your Carbohydrates or Fats
Try sticking to complex or low glycemic carbohydrates for the day, with the exception of post-workout, when you can utilize simple carbs to offset cortisol levels and replenish muscle glycogen through carb cycling.
When it comes to fat, keep it healthy. Stick to the omega-3 fatty acids you’ll find in salmon, coconut oil, and pumpkin seeds. As always, eat plenty of vegetables.
Tip: Know What Supplements To Take While Bulking
There’s no question here: Whole food is the foundation to bulking up; however if you want to solidify success, especially as a hard gainer, supplements are going to be extremely useful.
Yes, you’ll be eating a lot but you’ll have those days when life happens. You’ll get busy. You’ll miss a meal. This is when supplements can ensure you stay within your caloric means.
A high-calorie mass gainer is packed with protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. In other words, exactly what you need to meet your caloric goals.
Trick: Harness Creatine Monohydrate
Speaking of creatine monohydrate, if you are on a mission to build muscle and are spending your days lifting heavy, a creatine monohydrate supplement is a no-brainer. It is one of the most well-studied supplements out there for its benefits for lean muscle and strength gains!