It is wintertime and for any form of lifter that inevitably means that bulking season is upon us.
What exactly does that mean? Bulking season is the time where we try and add as much muscle as possible, with minimal fat. More muscle means more shreds in the summer.
The question remains: How do you do a successful bulk? How do you add as much muscle as possible without adding copious amounts of fat? Well, we are about to help you with that.
Here are the most important things to remember:
1. Firstly, and most importantly – you need to stay in a constant caloric surplus to achieve a successful bulk. Having extra calories running around your body means that your muscle will never have to go looking for fuel and will continuously grow. All calories that are not burned will be stored as reserves, and that is why most people gain small amounts of fat during bulking season (which is ideal). Staying in a caloric surplus can be difficult, that’s why taking a single serving of our mass gainers, Hyperbolic Mass or Fast Grow Anabolic, between meals is a great way to keep those calories nice and high. It takes about 3500 calories to gain half a kilogram, so get eating!
2. Spread your meals. A big mistake most lifters make when trying to bulk, is trying to condense most of their calories into three meals. The singular massive number of calories that is consumed per sitting will inevitably lead to fat storage, as your body can only utilize a certain number of calories at one time. Rather split your calories into 4 – 7 meals a day, e.g. if your daily calorie intake is 4000cal, try to split them up into three big meals of 1000cals each, with the remaining 1000cal split into four 250cal snacks between the big meals. This will lead to much better muscle gains, less fat gains, and a healthy body.
3. Protein, protein, and more protein. Protein is what our body’s need to grow. We are, after all, trying to gain as much muscle as possible, so keeping our protein levels high is essential during a winter bulk. We usually recommend consuming 1.7g of protein per kg of bodyweight, but for bulking season we recommend consuming 2g-2.5g of protein per kg of bodyweight. That might lead to a daunting total but utilizing BlueLabTM 100% Whey Protein is a good way to reach those protein targets. Adding protein loaded snacks such as protein bars, biltong, tuna, etc., is an easy way to get all the required protein in.
4. Add more carbs! Blasphemy, right? Although most people feel that carbohydrates are evil, they are greatly beneficial to our bodies. Carbs are our body’s main source of energy, which means that as long as your body has carbs to run on, it won’t use our precious proteins to stimulate the energy cycles. But all carbs are not equal – complex carbs are much more beneficial to us than simple carbs. Complex carbs regulate blood sugar levels; and ensure a sustained energy release. These can be found in Fast Grow Anabolic, Hyperbolic Mass, Muscle Fuel STS, and in our endurance range (which is also very applicable during gym sessions). Complex carb foods are e.g. seeds, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, rice, fruits, pasta (wholegrain), bananas, etc. Add some of these to all your meals, and maybe even in between meals to fuel your winter bulking.
5. Add healthy fats to your diet. Healthy fats, such as those found in avocados, nuts, salmon, whole eggs, chia seeds, cheese, and extra virgin olive oil can be greatly beneficial for a good bulk. Fats are higher in calories than carbohydrates and protein, and thus helps you gain the caloric surplus easier. Healthy fats also help regulate your hormones, keeps your heart healthy, and it supports cell growth – just as added benefits.
6. Utilize the mighty creatine for lower rep ranges. Everybody knows that creatine is a must-have for the gym, but it is even more important during bulking season where everyone focuses on lower rep ranges and heavier weight. Creatine increases our ability to lift heavier and to lift for longer. Different type of creatine also has different release and absorption rates. Try to get a mixture of them in before a workout, e.g. Hyper Cell Anabolic. It contains 4 different types of creatine, HMB, Essential Amino Acids, some extra carbs for increased absorption and energy, as well as β-alanine. All these components will offer you the best support for getting through those grueling sessions where you have to lift as heavy as physically possible.
7. Limit high intensity cardio sessions. Cardio is still a necessity when bulking. Cardiovascular exercises help to reduce myostatin levels, which limits muscle growth. In turn, the lower myostatin levels, the increased blood flow and oxygen intake, and the activation of the slow and fast twitch fibers is great for bulking. On the other hand, doing too much cardio at high intensities will interfere with your bulk by burning too many precious calories, making it harder to add muscle. Using our ALL9™ AMINO, or the EPIK™ BLUE JUICE, is great for getting the most out of you weightlifting-before-cardio sessions. With all the EAA’s, BCAA’s, electrolytes and hydration you need, those products will fuel you through those tough sessions. Cardio is also only necessary about 2 -3 times a week, so keep it in the program – but not too much.
There you are. Your bulking essentials for the winter. Try to do these as consistently as possible and there will be definite results in your future. Embrace the size, enjoy the food, take your supplements, and achieve your GOALS.
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