It’s that time of the year again.. Start scrolling through your Instagram feed and see how many of your fitness friends are posting about #bulking or #thebulklife.
Every fall and winter many gym goers transition from maintaining their beach body to putting on size and strength.
If you are partaking in this annual fitness ritual, here are a few tips to help you optimize this mass building phase of your fitness.
Sure, pop tarts and cereal might fit your macros but are they really the best choice for your health? It doesn’t take a PhD to realize that pop tarts may not be the best choice if you are focused on health and fitness.
I know, I know.. You may be saying, "but wait how am I supposed to reach my caloric intake goals if I only eat clean?" It is much harder to eat 4,000 calories in clean foods versus not so clean foods.
Here are a few strategies to help you avoid the doughnuts and cookies in your quest to #getbig.
- Add more meals in. Try eating more frequently, it doesn’t have to be an insane amount of food but try eating every few hours or even every hour if you have a little harder time gaining weight. Add in a few extra “meals” or 200 calories and soon you have an extra 800-1200 calories in at the end of the day depending on how many you have.
- Look for more nutrient-dense foods. Things like avocados, ground beef, nuts, rice, and oatmeal are going to do more for you on a bulk than riced cauliflower and celery. And they're light on your budget. Two for one!
- Take actual notes of how foods make you feel and how they have impacted your progress, positively or negatively. This will help you learn what works best for you and your goals.
2. Track What You Eat
Tracking what you eat is essential to know exactly what you are putting in your body...
There are plenty of great apps out there to help and make it a very simple and painless process. Track your body weight and body fat percentage if possible as well.
If you notice a trend that you don’t like, head to your tracking app and see what you can adjust.
3. Lift like crazy
Heavy lifting is a part of packing on lean body mass. Lifting heavy will help release all kinds of anabolic goodies within the body. Push your body and challenge yourself with heavy compound lifts like deadlifts, squats, rows, overhead presses, and bench presses. You may even want to consider switching to a full body workout routine.
So instead of crushing your legs on Tuesday and not being able to walk for five days, you can train your legs three or even four times a week at a much lower daily volume. This allows for quicker recovery, which can lead to increasing the total weekly training volume of your legs.
Don’t overdo it. Your body needs time to recover from the heavy loads and stress you are putting it under. Make sure your recovery practices are on point.
- Sleep: This is extremely important, getting adequate sleep will help you tremendously in your quest for size.
- Eat consistently: Don’t skip meals, stay consistent!
- Move regularly: Light movement (walking, pulling a light sled, bodyweight movements, etc.) can actually help you recover quicker and help you feel better after a tough leg day.
5. Develop a Plan and Stick to It
As with any transformation or goal, a plan is an important key to success. There are thousands of workout and nutrition programs from great coaches all over the internet, pick one that sounds good to you and your goals. Now the most important part is sticking to it!
Remember, the best program is one that you can stick to.