Pretty much everyone who regularly hits the gym or is involved in a training programme wants to get a lean, muscular body. And we all know that achieving that is difficult and takes a lot of dedication and work.
There are so many different bulking programmes available that it’s all too easy to get lost in the information. Cut out all of the confusion and follow the rules listed below to bulk up safely, cleanly and effectively. It’s all about doing what you need for your own personal goal.
What is your goal?
Do you want to gain muscle or cut fat? Unless you’re very overweight or are just starting out on your weight training journey, you’re not going to lose much fat through gaining muscle. Pick your primary goal and stick with it. This helps you to focus much more effectively.
Always keep track of your progress
In order to gain muscle and keep it lean, you should be gaining between half and one pound every week. You must track your progress to see how fast you’re gaining, or whether you’re gaining at all. It’s helpful to stop you adding body fat that you don’t want or need.
Keep your calories controlled
When you’re bulking up, you probably will gain some fat. To gain muscle you must eat more calories than you’re burning, and this can mean some fat creeps in. Some people make the mistake of trying to stay lean by not eating enough calories while bulking up muscle, or by overdoing cardio. And while this might well help them stay lean, they won’t be gaining any discernible muscle.
On the other end of the spectrum of common mistakes are people who eat way too much to try and cram in the calories. This will, of course, lead to gain, but only of fat and not muscle. The best way is to eat just enough calories to gain muscle, and balance cardio with calories.
Keep up some cardio – just not too much
Two or three half hour sessions of cardio a week while bulking is important to keep your system going. You must maintain cardiovascular fitness, as it improves your heart’s ability to increase oxygen into your cells. This is necessary for the weight training you’re doing. A strong heart will allow to train much harder and will mean you burn more when resting than someone who isn’t as fit.
Are you getting stronger? Then you’re gaining muscle
An easy way to tell whether you’re gaining the muscle you want is whether you feel stronger. You can get stronger without gaining size, but it’s more probable that both come together. If you are bulking and find yourself losing strength, the balance isn’t right, and you need to adjust your programme.
Get enough R&R
Rest and recovery time are vital. Your workouts are stimulating your muscles, but they’ll still get bigger when you’re doing other things. Taking tine away from the gym and your training to rest and recover is essential. Weight training should be no more than five times a week for ideal results.
Consume enough protein
You should be eating between 1 and 1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight every single day. If you find it difficult to eat that much protein, you can include supplements and shakes to boost your intake.
Don’t stop eating carbs and fat
Both carbs and fat are necessary to properly support your muscles. It’s very important not to skip them. You should also pay attention to what you eat after you work out. To maximise results, it’s a good plan to drink a shake that includes whey protein and fast-acting carbs. Add in supplements such as glutamine (5g) and creatine monohydrate (5g) for extra effectiveness. This can really help to speed up your results.
Don’t get lost in all of the advice and programmes available on the Internet. Follow the tips above and you’ll be on your way to gaining clean, lean muscle mass with no extra fat.
About Surya Gabriel Iacono
Surya G. Iacono is a fitness and wellness expert and blogger based in London, UK. Surya’s fitness blogs are aimed at keen gym-goers and exercise fans already well into their journey and looking for tips, tricks and ideas to take it to the next level.