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If you are trying to build muscle you may think that you only need to eat more and train more, unfortunately it is a little more complicated than that.
Eating more may help gain muscle, but if you are not careful then you will gain a lot of fat too, which can be difficult to lose and will definitely ruin your whole aesthetic.
Read on to discover some bulking tips (read this guide for a more in-depth look at bulking effectively) that will help you to gain lean muscle with minimum fat gains.
#1: Eat clean
You may have heard the term “dirty bulking” before, which is basically when you will eat everything in sight in an attempt to build muscle.
When you undergo a dirty bulk though you will be consuming a lot of foods that will contain bad fats and sugar that will not only cause fat to be gained, but can also be harmful to your overall health.
What I would suggest is a “clean bulk”, whereby you will only eat foods that are considered healthy, and will provide you with a healthy amount of protein, carbohydrates and fats.
Some examples of clean foods include:
- Lean beef
- Brown rice
- Whole wheat pasta
- Sweet potatoes
#2: Keep track of your intake
How will you know what effect the foods you are eating are having on your body if you are not keeping track of what you consume?
You should write down exactly what you consume daily and then you can adjust your consumption accordingly depending on your goals.
For example if you are gaining fat then you will need to look at what is currently in your diet that is causing this.
There are various apps that can help you keep track of your intake, or you can go old-school and use a pen and paper, whatever you find easier.
#3: Get plenty of sleep
If you are training hard in the gym then you will need adequate rest too.
When you sleep your body will recover from those workouts and will also release HGH (Human Growth Hormone) too.
I would suggest that you aim to get at least 7 hours sleep every night.
#4: Give it time
If you are expecting to gain 10 pounds of muscle in a month then you are probably going to be disappointed.
The truth is the muscle growth is a slow process that can take a long time.
When undergoing a bulk, especially a clean bulk then you need to allow yourself at least 6 months to see any difference.
Instead of simply quitting if you do not see the results, perhaps you should try to see why you have not seen the results you were expecting.
#5: Keep track of your progress
If you don’t track your progress how will you know what you are doing is effective?
You should avoid weighing yourself daily as your weight will fluctuate, although you should weigh weekly. You should aim to gain around a half to a pound in weight each week.
It is also recommended that you take measurements of your chest, arms, waist, hips, thighs and calves to see if they are gaining in size.
If you are not seeing the increase that you would expect then it is time to review what you are eating and how you work out.
#6: Don’t overdo the cardio
Too much cardio will be bad news for anyone on a bulk, however to limit the amount of fat you gain while bulking then cardio will be important.
You could either perform low intensity steady-state cardio, which will usually involve using a treadmill or similar machine and using a low to moderate intensity, you could perform HIIT.
HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training will involve you working out using 100% intensity for a short period of time, with minimal breaks for rest.
I would stick to only 2 cardio sessions per week, and to never perform the cardio on the same days as your weight training.
#7: Supplement appropriately
There are certain supplements that you can use that can boost your bulking results. The problem is finding out which are the best to use for your goals.
My suggestion to you would be to stick to the following supplements:
- Pre-workout: To help give you an energy boost during the workout so that you can perform at 100%
- Creatine: Can help with your fat twitch muscle fibres, allowing you to perform those intense, short lifts with more power
- Whey protein: An essential supplement that can help boost your protein intake. Helping to provide your body with the nutrients it needs to recover and heal those muscle fibres
#8: Mix up those workouts
While it is important to stick to a routine when working out, for example going a certain number of times per week.
What is more important for bulking though is to avoid the same workout each time you visit the gym.
If you want to build muscle and strength then you need to constantly try to surprise your muscles. If you don’t then you will find that your gains will plateau.
I would suggest not only trying new exercises occasionally, but also different weights and numbers of reps, perhaps incorporating drop sets or supersets into your workout will work too.
#9: Give yourself a rest
Sometimes you will find that you are a little tired and in need of a rest, perhaps because you have had a few tough weeks at the gym.
If this occurs then rather than skipping the gym altogether, you should do a ‘de-load’ week, where you will perform your usual workout routine but at only 40-60% of your usual weight.
This de-load will allow you to rest without missing the gym entirely.
#10: Be realistic with your goals
Lets be realistic shall we, if you are expecting to look like Arnie after 6 months of training then you are going to be disappointed.
Gaining muscle is a long process that can take years to achieve a physique anywhere near our heroes.
Of course be inspired by these guys and gals, but they have had to work hard to achieve their goals and they most certainly did not achieve their bodies overnight.