By Brad Shaw, Fitness Editor | UPDATED: 11:28, 31 March 2020
How to Build Muscle and Bulk Up
With the winter months close upon us, now is the time when most gym buffs look to add on some pounds to turn into muscle before cutting the fat again ready for Spring so as to show off those rippling abs once again.
One misconception regarding this process is that people assume adding some bulk and muscle growth can be a quick process.
Although there are two core principles around this, 1. Consuming enough food to put you in a calorie surplus and 2. Lifting heavier to trigger Hypertrophy ie. Muscle growth. So all in all it’s about eating right and lifting big to get bigger.
The concept sounds easy but put into practice, there are pitfalls at every turn.Please please please don’t make the mistake of falling into the trap of eating crap foods though as many seem to think this is the way to bulk fast.
What not to eat to get bulked
A diet of monster milkshakes, fatty fast food, equal unclean calories, meaning these calories simply lead to excessive weight gain and minimal muscle growth. Yes you will gain extra calories but at what cost? Your body will suffer and could run into long term health problems with carrying too much wasted fat. Remember a healthy diet consists of good-quality protein, fibre, carbs, essential fats, and antioxidants.
How to trigger Hypertrophy
To get that all-important muscle growth your going to need to optimise your body’s natural anabolic state (muscle-building] hormones)
Plan to make a long-term strategy of nutrition and training, around two to 4 months should be suffice whilst gaging your key markers such as body fat and muscle.
One other thing to implement in the support of your training should be ensuring you get plenty of good-quality sleep
Take into account when trying to bulk is your body type, your body type will influence how you respond to your diet and training.
Depending on your body type you should take into consideration of planning your diet plan and muscle building programme
There are three types of people, Endomorphs, Mesomorphs and Ectomorphs. You can pretty much realise which one you are from the following:
Endomorphs typically gain weight and store fat easily (like myself who looks at a cake and puts on weight), these types of bodies need to be extra careful that they don’t balloon instead of bulk up.
Mesomorphs always tend to gain muscle quickly. (lucky so and so’s).
And, Ectomorphs, those with a fast metabolism who struggle to gain weight, you will definitely need to consume a lot more calories.
If you are unclear though of which type you are, you can work out how many calories you will need should work out your resting or basal metabolic rate (BMR) using an online calculator.
One more thing to look into is calculating the macronutrient breakdown of your diet.
If like me you struggle working out the calories and grams of each macronutrient you’re eating each day try downloading the MyFitnessPal app, this has been super beneficial in helping me decide which food I should be choosing to eat on a day to day basis.
So in general follow these steps to bulk up nicely:
1. Count calories
For muscles to grow, they need to be fed
2. Power with protein
You’ll want to eat enough, but not too much as too many extra calories (even from protein) will only add fat.
An average office worker (desk bound) needs 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight, but if you’re hitting the gym regularly you’ll want to be hitting 0.7 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
Most people focus on the importance of protein when trying to build mass, but carbs play an important role in building lean muscle. Carbs drive nutrients into your bloodstream to feed muscles while stimulating the release of insulin. This helps your muscles start the post-workout repair process.
Big guys incorporating cardio into your strength training workouts may result in greater fat loss
Skinny guys should avoid cardio as it could decrease your strength gains and muscle growth while burning more of your body’s precious calories.
5. Weights for muscle mass
Set up your training schedule to either train the entire body in a single workout or concentrate on the upper body one day and the lower body the next. Don’t try to isolate one muscle group in a single session.
Lower the number of reps and increase weight, doing between six and 12 reps with a lower number of total sets.
Use heavier weights and slow, controlled movements to complete each rep.
Each set should last between 40 and 70 seconds to ensure you are tensing your muscles long enough to stimulate their growth.