During this season of pandemic, most people worry about getting fat. Needless to say, losing fat or maintaining is the primary focus of most people. While that is true for majority, my goal as been to actually build muscle. Most of the times, I have avoided bulking because I didn’t now want to gain any bodyfat which is inevitable while trying to put on muscle. However, this time it was different. I was able to build muscle without getting too fat. I’ll talk about what worked this time, on this article.
One of the biggest problems for me while bulking is that body fat increases too with muscle. It is normal to gain some body fat while bulking. However, when you are so active in social media and create fitness content, you will surely have problem with any amount of body fat too. So, I decided to lean bulk.
Calorie count is necessary while bulking. If you’re having problem in counting your calories then you can go to tdeecalculator.net which will help you get the right amount of calories you need. My main concern is always weekly progress. Whenever I get up on scale, I want my body weight to increase by 0.5-1% only and on this basis, I manipulate my meals. Let’s say if my weight this week increases by less than 0.5% i.e. 350gms (75*0.5%), then I will increase my food next week. Similarly, if my weight increases more than 1% i.e. 750gms (75*1%) then I will decrease my food next week.
Usually, I don’t eat heavy in first half of my day. I save my heavy calories for evening food or dinner. I take majority of my carbs in the evening after my workout and the meal after my workout will be the heaviest.
Now, let’s talk about training. We tend to follow the trend of doing same 10-12 repetitions for each and every exercise. However, it is important to change the repetition range after certain cycle. For example, for 4-5 weeks I stay at around 8-12 reps for exercises and after that cycle I would periodize my workout and train at around 15-20 reps. The variation in repetition range after certain 3-4 weeks actually helps adapt periodically to different rep ranges and helps your muscles grow. You have to stick to a certain repetition for a certain time before you switch to another repetition range.
One of the major mistakes that people do is changing exercises very frequently and the downside of this is you cannot track your exercises. Let’s say if you do bench press for chest today and did machine press next week then, you cannot compare the performance between those two. And the main principle for muscle growth is progressive overload. You should be progressing weekly. So, stick to the same exercise for couple of weeks. Usually, I stick to same exercises for 5 to 6 weeks and I would change 25-30% of my exercise in another cycle with different repetition range. Majority of my core exercises are compounds, heavy weights, and free weights.
Another important thing is sleep. It is necessary to get enough sleep of 7-8 hours. Although our sleep cycle has been out of schedule, the least we can do is sleep for those committed hours. Your muscle recover when you sleep. Your body produces growth hormone when you sleep. Don’t sleep with breaks. Try to get one long uninterrupted sleep instead.
A healthy body needs 3-4 liters of water per day. Your body won’t perform well if you don’t drink enough water. Our body and muscles are made up of 70% of water. So, make sure you are properly hydrated.
If you think you are increasing too much of body fat, then you can do a minicut as well. But the goal of a minicut is not getting super lean. It just helps to shred some extra little fat. I bulked to about 78kgs and then after a minicut I dropped my weight to 74kgs. So, from this week I’m back to bulking again for the next 16 to 18 weeks.
These are the things that actually helps you in successfully bulking. Make sure that you are doing all these things.
Make sure to take this slow. Have patience because you cannot build muscles in a day!