You want to bulk because size is all that matters at this point, am I right?
Say goodbye to training abs, doing cardio or even looking at a salad. You want GAINS, and will do just about anything to achieve it.
I chose to write up this blog post for a couple reasons, and I think you’ll find them to be pretty clear here in a minute. Over my last 8 years of consistent training and living the fitness lifestyle overall, I can tell you with complete honesty that I’ve messed up – countless times.
I dove head first into the false advertising of mass gainers, I fell for the myth that I need a crap ton of protein to get big, and I completely ignored the most simple concepts that I now follow religiously today, and I wanted to share those with you!
Maybe this could be a “blueprint” if you will for a solid off-season bulk, so you don’t have to wonder if you’re doing it wrong. Let’s nail these main points down first and foremost shall we?
CORRECTION: You need a moderate amount of protein at the right TIMES to get big.
EXPLANATION: Ever heard of the term “Positive Nitrogen Balance”? Put in simple people language, this means that when your body is actively ready to use amino acids to rebuild and repair muscle tissue, those amino acids ARE THERE to be used.
Use this as an example: Let’s say you’re working on your car. The whole front end is up on jacks and your legs are sticking out from the front bumper with nothing but dirty rags and scattered tools around you. After noticing your socket wrench isn’t the right size for the bolt you need to take off, you reach down to grab the right one – ONLY IT’S NOT THERE.
Instead of quickly being able to switch out your wrench and get the job done, you now have to get yourself out from under the car, go to your tool box and search for the right size, further delaying your progress.
The right socket wrench is protein. Your tool box is your precious stored amino acids within your muscle cells. If protein is actively available in your blood stream WHEN your body needs it, it will not have to go look for it somewhere else! Don’t sacrifice your hard-earned gains!
-Studies have shown that 1g per pound of body weight of protein per day is enough to elicit new muscle growth. More than that would be counterproductive.
– Eat frequent meals every 2-3 hours during the day to keep a steady flow of amino acids in your blood stream.
– Your largest serving of protein in a workout day should be consumed about 1-2 hours post training. Only small amounts immediately post training.
CORRECTION: Growth is a constant PROGRESSION mixed between periods of bulking (growth) and periods of cutting (fat loss).
EXPLANATION: Picture to yourself a graph or a chart. In this chart you see the line going up from left to right. For most people, this is how they think growing occurs: “As long as I stay in a caloric surplus, those extra calories will go towards muscle growth and I’ll get bigger over time.”
While part of this is true, it’s only true in short periods. Your body is smart; SO smart even, that it’ll notice what you’re doing over time and work its hardest to keep you at a homeostatic level – meaning an even-keeled balance.
If you’re constantly shoving a ton of calories down your throat and gaining extra fat “trying to get big”, your testosterone will eventually take a hit, and your muscle gains will come to a screeching halt. Let’s not go there.
– Aim to keep your overall calories about 500-600 more than your daily energy expenditure. You can find this number or rough estimate by using a simple calculator many places online. Your specific number will have to be discovered by you.
– Do not aim to bulk for more than a 4 month period without taking a small amount of time to restrict some calories and change up your programming. Balance is always key!
– Keep your body fat under 15%, or around 10% to be safe. This will let your testosterone run full-force!
CORRECTION: You need to CONTRACT your muscles against a progressive resistance to get big.
EXPLANATION: I think this has to be my favorite myth because honestly it’s the one that 99% of people do not understand. There is a MAJOR difference between movements and contractions.
Movements can be described as exercises: Bench press, deadlift, squats etc, or even broken down by specific movements of the joints being used: elbow flexion and extension as an example.
Contractions have ALL to do with your muscles. Are you trying to work your joints OR build muscle? Yes, that’s what I thought…
SO WHY ON EARTH does it make sense for guys to grab the heaviest weight in the gym, lift it and SAY they are building their chest/legs/arms etc?!
News Flash: If you can’t feel it working, IT WON’T GROW.
For some of you this probably just blew your mind, and others, well you probably will ignore the above advice and continue bashing your joints until you have nothing left, muscles and all.
– Don’t just lift weights, contract your working and targeted muscle TO move the weight.
– Every exercise and movement should have a purpose in your workout. If you don’t know what they purpose is, then don’t do it.
– Getting big = lifting the heaviest you can while keeping CONSTANT tension on your targeted muscle, usually 40-70 seconds of tension per set. Control it, don’t let the weight control you.
Achieving the perfect “bulk” can be hard to come by, however with correct programming and a ton of intense effort to get to your goal, you can absolutely come close to perfection.
Remember to always reassess your efforts. Are you missing any meals? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you progressing on the scale and in the gym on a weekly basis? Knowing these things will give you variables to work with each time a plateau comes creeping up again.
Your Mindset Muscle Coach,