Bulking This Winter – Maximize Your Strength Correctly
It might seem like an easy feat. eat more, train heavy, but in truth, a good bulk is a challenge. Depending on your body type and your tendencies in the gym you may find that weight will come easy, but muscle will lag behind.
Growing stronger is something you will need to really practice – it’s something that takes time and dedication – just like if you were going to cut.
Bulking is not as simple as eating more and lifting heavier weights – but wouldn’t it be nice if it was.
In this guide, we are going to break down some of the most simple methods and steps you can take to build muscle sustainably throughout the bulking season.
Bulking vs. Cutting – Are You Doing it Right?
The first thing we need to address is the main difference between bulking and cutting. Obviously, a bulk means that you are trying to put on weight, but you are also trying to build muscle.
In fact, during a bulk, you can build more muscle than any other period of training. The surplus in calories and the extra energy you have will allow your muscles to work as effectively as possible.
Cutting, on the other hand, is the process of slowly taking the weight off the scale.
This is generally completed through a caloric deficit – that is, eating less than the body requires on a daily basis. This caloric deficit will teach your body to draw energy from stored nutrients, and over time, will cause the body to lose weight and burn more fat as fuel.
The biggest downside to cutting is that you generally have far less energy than if you were bulking.
A bulk is simple in the sense that you have the ability to train heavy and you have a surplus of energy – but how do you maximize this short period of time (usually 3 months) to put on as much muscle as possible, without feeling bloated or fat when you are finished? Let’s break it down.
Steps To Strong Bulking
1. Only Eat Complex Carbs
We can get all caught up in the effortless weight gain you can experience from simple carbs. Mass gainers generally contain maltodextrin, which can be a very easy way to put on muscle and provide the body with rapid carbs for energy, but it is not a sustainable way to put on weight.
Instead, I would suggest keeping your carbs to foods like oats, whole grains, fruit and vegetables to provide your body with a balanced serving of fibre and amino acids – along with the good carbs found in these foods.
2. Try Testogen
I’ve never been the biggest fan of test-boosting products, but trying Testogen I can really see the difference. The blend is built with ingredients that help to not only provide a short-term boost to strength (for workouts) but also help to balance hormones which can allow for the best possible levels of testosterone in the body.
Using a product like Testogen will allow you to grow stronger in an effortless fashion. For more information about Testogen or where to find it, visit this link.
3. Start Lifting Heavier
You always hear how high weight, low rep is the way to go – and if you’re smart about it, it really is. Lifting heavy will help to stimulate the muscle in a hypertrophic way, literally enabling the muscle to grow larger – especially when you are feeding your body with the correct fuel.
This is something you should work into. Don’t start with something crazy, a simple 5×5 scheme would actually be a very good starting point. You can find more information about 5×5 rep schemes here.
4. Sleep More
Not sure why most people choose to not get enough sleep, but most people will actually put a hindrance on their performance because they do not sleep the correct amount of time. This can be a huge downside to their performance.
Pretty simply put, if you are looking to grow stronger you need to be sleeping for at least 8 hours a night.
This extended amount of sleep will help to provide your body with adequate rest to recover from the strength training, but it will also help you to balance hormones – essential for growth.
5. Protein Before Bed
It seems smart to end on this final note. One of the most effective times to supplement protein is actually before bed. It seems that the rate of digestion slows and actually allows for the best possible absorption and in turn can help you to grow stronger – faster.
Consume your normal dosage of protein – around 20-30g prior to sleep will be plenty. I’d suggest going for a protein shake that contains hemp protein, as this protein won’t bother your stomach while you sleep and will contain a good serving of omega fatty acids which can also be a good way to balance hormones and allow for strength.
Keep it Simple – Do it Right
We started off by saying that bulking was not as simple as eating more and lifting heavier – and to a certain extent, this is true. If you want to bulk it makes very little sense to start off your day with terrible foods just because you want to put on weight.
Instead, moderate your calories and ensure that you are eating complex food sources like fish, chicken, beans, nuts and good, complex carbohydrates.
These foods will be low in fat and high in good calories to help your body build muscle without all the need to drop off 20 pounds of fat at the end of your bulk.
Let us not forget, the purpose of a bulk is to build muscle, not weight. The best way to do this will always be to eat good food with good sources of energy. Ensuring that the training you are doing is enabling your body to grow stronger is important. Do not forget simple methods for strength training. Keep your reps lower and maintain strength by recording your results.
This isn’t rocket science, but you will need to monitor your progress to ensure results. Supplement intentionally and do your best to stay on track in the long-haul. Enjoy the bulk.
Gabriello is a writer and strength expert best known for his science-based and practical approach to Exercise Physiology, Nutrition and Strength. After serving in a directors position for The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology Gabriello moved towards writing to help more people understand the importance of living a healthy life. Gabriello’s writings have been published in several languages on some of the largest health and fitness websites helping people learn, grow and understand the complex components of optimizing human performance in a simplistic way.
Gabriello also takes on specialized, high-performance athletes who are in need of strength, mobility and conditioning programming to optimize their fitness through his Earned Fitness program.
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