Well, it’s that time again for the seasoned lifters amongst you. The nights are drawing in, the days are growing shorter, the leaves are on the turn, and there’s a distinct chill in the air. Yep, fall is upon us, which means that winter won’t be far behind. With the changes of the seasons comes the start of bulking season for many a lifter. As we spend more time indoors, and covered up with more layers of clothing, we can use this as an excuse to pack on as much muscle mass as possible, before stripping it away come spring. However, bulking up isn’t just a case of eating until you feel sick. No, there’s an art to bulking properly. Here are 4 fool-proof nutrition tips for bulking.
Do NOT dirty bulk – If you had the choice between steamed broccoli and grilled chicken breast, or XL cheese and bacon burgers and fries, we know which many of you would probably consume if given the choice. A lot of bodybuilders in the off-season when bulking up, use this as an excuse to ‘dirty bulk’. A dirty bulk is basically where an individual will eat thousands of calories per day, without being mindful of where the calories come from. They’ll train hard in the gym, but will eat an abundance of junk food in order to bulk up. Sure, they gain a little muscle, but the majority of weight they gain is fat. Sure, the odd cheat here and there is fine, but 99% of the time, try to get your calories from healthy, nutritionally balanced meals and nutrient-dense foods.
Consider a mass gainer – To build muscle, you need to create a caloric surplus. The problem is that too many calories above maintenance will result in too much body fat being stored. Not only that, but some lifters physically struggle to eat that much food per day. The solution comes in the form of a mass gainer shake. These supplements contain protein, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, fats, and carbs and are high in calories. A mass gainer a day will help you reach your daily macro requirements without stuffing your face with food.
Be wary of too much fiber – Fiber is very good for you. It’s great for your digestive system, it helps to reduce LDL cholesterol, and it can promote healthy bowel movements. The only downside to dietary fiber when bulking, is the fact that it promotes satiety, so it keeps you full for longer. When bulking, you need to take in more calories than your body needs to maintain itself. If you feel full, you’ll struggle to consume enough.
Eat little and often – When you’re bulking, you’re going to need to consume several thousand calories. This doesn’t mean that you should eat an enormous meal for your dinner and graze throughout the day. To keep your metabolism ticking over, and to fuel your muscles, you should eat smaller meals throughout the day. Ideally, you’ll want to be taking in 6 – 8 meals a day. This sounds extreme, but 1 – 2 of these meals can be from supplements, I.E a protein shake or mass gainer.