By Myprotein Writer
Let’s face it, food makes virtually everything better, yet the problem with most delicious foods is the fact they are packed full of calories, and therefore are more likely to result in you gaining unwanted body fat.
If you’re looking to really step up your game and take your physique to the next level, building muscle will be one of your primary objectives.
When some people bulk however, they resign themselves to the fact that they are going to gain fat in the process, and so they kiss their abs goodbye for the next few months – yet things don’t necessarily have to be this way. Yes, in order for you to increase your muscle mass, you are going to have to ensure you remain in a constant caloric surplus, as a deficit of any kind would result in weight loss.
Despite this, you can still effectively bulk up and gradually increase your muscle mass, whilst keeping fat gains at an absolute minimum in the process. If you’re looking to bulk up and hold on to your abs and vascularity, here’s a look at a few handy tips designed to help make your lean bulk successful!
#1 Resist Temptation to ‘Dirty Bulk’
When some bodybuilders, or simply just individuals looking to get shredded, reach their targets and allow themselves to enjoy delicious and greasy foods, it’s common to binge and go from one extreme to the next.
Some bodybuilders, after depriving themselves of junk food for so long, will often opt to perform what is known as a ‘dirty bulk’ over the next several months, usually during the winter months.
✓ During these periods copious amounts of junk food may been consumed while still incorporating heavy training – however, a large amount of mass and fat will be gained in a relatively short amount of time.
This could be seen use it promotes binge eating, plus of course, your meals should primarily be healthy and balanced, rather than packed full of junk, and secondly, it can result in you gaining weight too quickly, which means you may get stretch marks.
✓ In terms of bulking, ensure that 95% of your meals are fresh, healthy, and nutritionally balanced, although if you do feel like the odd cheat meal now and then, don’t sweat it, just make sure it’s a one off for that particular week.
A lot of bodybuilders will avoid cardio like the plague during their bulking phases, as people often (and incorrectly) talk about how cardio kills gains and how doing cardio will eat away at muscle tissue.
In reality, cardio will not eat away at muscle tissue at all, as long as you are smart and know what you’re doing.
Ideally you should perform 2 – 4 low intensity steady state cardio sessions per week, as these will help keep your heart rate in the target fat burning zone, meaning that the vast majority of your energy fueling your workout, will come to you in the form of body fat, as opposed to from muscle tissue.
✓ Cardio not only helps to keep body fat percentages under control, it also improves circulation, which in turn assists with oxygen and nutrient delivery to the muscles, allowing them to repair themselves more efficiently after you train.
#3 Weight gain supplements
Believe it or not, but some bodybuilders actually struggle to get enough quality calories into their bodies when bulking, especially if they’re lean bulking and trying to minimise fat gain.
To help them hit their daily calorie targets they will consume a weight gain shake once per day, and will count it as one of their meals.
✓ Weight gain supplements are ideal as they are rich in protein, they contain healthy fats, they’re rich in carbohydrates, and they contain amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients which are essential for the growth and repair of muscle tissue.
✓ One shake can contain several hundred calories, helping you to hit your daily macros with as little amount of hassle as possible.
#4 Protein Intake
As well as calories, another vital component of any muscle-building routine is protein.
Protein is vital for muscle growth and repair, and without it, it doesn’t matter how hard you train, or how much you eat, you simply aren’t going to make any real progress at all.
Aim for 1 – 1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight, and make sure you spread it out throughout the day, getting no more than 45g max per sitting.
To help make things a little easier, whey protein shakes throughout the day, and a casein protein shake before bed should ideally be consumed each day.
Now that you’re bulking, your energy levels should be through the roof, so there really isn’t any reason why you shouldn’t be pushing yourself to your absolute limits each and every time that you train.
Choose weights that really test you, and aim to train to failure for each working set.
✓ You may also wish to consider supersets, drop sets, and even giant sets, to really give your body one heck of a workout.
✓ The idea here is to shock the muscles into new growth, so make sure you are pushing yourself each and every single time you train, and make sure you never grow complacent.
Take Home Message
Gaining mass whilst staying lean is not easy – but if you’re willing to adapt in order to achieve, then you’ll gain the results!