With Summer officially ending this Friday, bulking season is just around the corner for most of us. Or maybe you cheated on your diet a little too much during vacation and just decided to use “an early start to bulking season” as an excuse to keep you from feeling like crap about yourself. Or maybe that’s just me. My weight gain was totally intentional, I’m just bulking okay?!? Besides we’re talking about you here. So before I get completely sidetracked realizing just how far off my diet I got on vacation, let’s move on to TheFitExpo’s Top 3 Tips for Bulking Season.
- Carbs are your friend:
The primary goals of any bulk should be to add two things: size, and strength. Carbs have been shown to effectively help you reach both of these goals! In terms of size, it’s important to be in a caloric surplus when you bulk. This means eating more calories than you burn. As many of us have learned the hard way, carbs are an easy way to get in extra calories. While it’s true that one gram of fat (9 kcal/g) contains more calories than one gram of carbohydrate (4 kcal/g), carbs are also much more quickly digested. This allows you to eat more sooner, making it easier to get yourself in a caloric surplus! An increase in carbs will also help you to keep your muscle glycogen stores full, resulting in increases in both strength and endurance! This will allow you to work harder in the gym, resulting in more long-term gainz!
2. Make sure you get in enough protein:
More accurately, make sure you are getting in the right amount of protein. While some go wild with protein as soon as they decide to bulk, many more incorrectly assume that they’re getting enough protein in without ever actually tracking their daily intake. With so many studies out there recommending anywhere from 0.8-2.0 g of protein per lb of bodyweight, it can be very confusing to make sure that you’re getting in enough protein. While I won’t get into exactly what protein intake is optimal for you, know that anything under 0.8 g isn’t going to cut it for someone serious about adding size. In fact, if you’re training hard daily, you probably be closer to 1.5 g/lb than 0.8. Different people require different protein intakes, but assuming that you’re eating enough protein without ever tracking is one of the biggest oversights you can make. Do some more research to figure out the optimal protein intake for you, and then get an idea of what that much protein actually looks like in a day’s worth of food. It’s up to you whether you want to track daily or not, but it’s important to understand the difference between how much protein you generally eat and how much you actually need.
3. “Keep it Clean”
I’m not here to contribute to the “clean eating” vs. “IIFYM” debate. That argument will rage in until the end of time on its own. At the end of the bulk, the goal is to gain as much muscle as possible NOT as much weight as possible. This can be difficult to remember at times, especially for me. We’ve all heard tales of friends eating whatever they want and gaining 10 lbs of muscle with minimal fat gain from a “dirty bulk”. Look… I’m not saying your friend is for sure lying, I’m just saying that a true dirty bulk not going to work for the majority of the population (and your friend is most likely lying). Eating a lot of “clean” foods will likely result in you eating fewer calories, preventing you from overdoing it too much and adding a ton of fat. If you’re really struggling to fit in enough calories to gain weight, feel free to throw in some pop tarts, ice cream, and other junk food when needed. There’s nothing wrong with eating food that is normally considered unhealthy when you are trying to eat in a caloric surplus, though it’s often easy to eat way more of these foods than you really need.
There you have it! 3 tips for a successful bulk! BULKING SEASON IS HERE! Eat up! Let us know how your bulk goes and be sure to tag us in your progress pictures @thefitexpo!
Thanks for reading,