Bulking can be a topic that gets a lot of people heated up! There are SO MANY different thoughts and beliefs as to the best way to do it, the best supplements to take, the best training methods for it, etc. In this article you will find what we have found to be agreed upon by many professionals in the industry that have lived the life and have seen it all done before both properly and improperly.
Remember, these are general “rule of thumb” points to get you started in the right direction. These are not strict and results may vary. Some individuals may have to increase/decrease certain amounts of Macros depending on their body types as well as cater their training and supplementation to their schedules and body types.
Nutrition is going to be the #1 key for you to build muscle this season. Nutrition is going to include your 3 macronutrients at certain amounts: Protein, Carbohydrates, Fats.
Protein: Most people do not eat enough protein throughout the day to support their muscle-building efforts! We’re going to have you set your protein goal at this:
1g-1.5g of Protein per 1lb. of bodyweight
If you are using any SARMs, ProHormones, Anabolics, or anything of that nature, you will be on the higher end of this range! If you are not taking anything of the sorts, you will be on the lower end of this range!
Carbohydrates: Carbohydrate intake can vary by person! If you are carb-sensitive, you’ll be on the lower end. If you have a fast metabolism and handle carbs well, you will be on the higher end. Here is the set Carbohydrate intake:
1.5g-2g of Carbs per 1lb of bodyweight
Fats: EATING FATS WILL NOT MAKE YOU FAT. Your body still needs fats for your general health and well-being, as well as bodily functions. Where people mess up is eating meals that are both high in fats and high in carbohydrates. So, your fat intake should be consistent and steady with each meal.
.5g of Fats per 1lb of bodyweight
HOW TO PORTION THESE OUT:
It would be extremely difficult to get all of these calories in with just eating 3 meals a day like the average person eats. Guess what? It’s bulking season and you don’t want to be average! Shoot for eating at least 5-7 times per day. This sounds like A LOT, but after a while your body will adjust and it will get easier and easier to get all of those precious calories in. You may have to eat every 2-3 hours, but this is the best way to ensure growth all day long and get the most out of your work in the gym.
Split up your protein evenly throughout all of your meals. If you need 240g of Protein and you plan on eating 6 meals per day, you’ll be eating 40g of Protein per meal. If you need 300g of Protein and you plan on eating 6 meals per day, you’ll be eating 50g of Protein per meal.
You need high carbohydrates in order to fuel your workouts and keep your energy levels high and to shuttle amino acids into your muscle tissues. Carbs spike insulin. Insulin is necessary for nutrients to be absorbed by the muscle tissues. Try eating lower-glycemic carbs throughout the day (oatmeal, sweet potatoes, brown rice). After a workout you can utilize higher glycemic carbs like white rice, white potatoes, and things of that nature (we recommend Ignition by 1st Phorm that will be covered later). Try to have your higher carbohydrate meals first thing in the morning and after a workout. If you’re eating 300g of carbs per day, ideally, you would eat approximately 150 of those carbs in the morning and after a workout, then split up the rest of the carbs evenly through the other meals.
You need fats to fuel hormone function and brain function. Try getting your fats from sources like Fish Oil, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Nuts, and then whatever fats come from your meats that you are eating. Try to keep them healthy and beneficial to the body—aka not fried foods. Also, try to limit fat intake around your higher carbohydrate filled meals. The fats will slow down the digestion and make it more difficult for you to become hungry again—not ideal when you’re trying to eat a lot of meals throughout the day.
Now, let’s apply macronutrients to specific individuals:
Example A: Josh
Josh weighs 180 lbs and has a decently low body fat % (if you have a high body fat % you probably should cut before you go into full bulk mode). Josh is trying to get HUGE this bulking season. Josh is not taking any SARMs or Anabolics, so his protein will be on the lower end of the spectrum. Here is what Josh’s Macronutrient set-up would look like:
Total Calories: 2,610-3,150
This is a good amount of Calories for Josh to make good QUALITY and LEAN muscle gains. This puts Josh in a great range to put on quality size, without an excessive amount of body fat being accrued.
Example B: Patrick
Patrick weighs 220lbs. Just like Josh, he’s ready to put on some size. Moderate amount of Body Fat but visible abs. Patrick is ready to get HUGE. Unlike Josh, Patrick is taking SARMs and/or other Supplements that increase his Protein Synthesis—so his protein intake will be on the higher end of the spectrum than Josh’s was.
Total Calories: 3,410-4,070
Patrick at 220 needs more calories than Josh did to grow. This puts Patrick in a great range to put on quality size, without an excessive amount of body fat being accrued.
Nutrition is going to the major key to unlocking your bulking season potential. Without a successful diet, you will fall short of your goal of making gains this offseason. The goal when bulking is not just put on as much size as possible. The goal is put on quality, lean muscle mass, and keep body fat at a minimum.
As mentioned earlier, THIS IS A GENERAL RULE OF THUMB for individuals to follow for Nutrition. This will get you headed in the right direction for your bulk.
You need to make sure that you are covering your basics of supplementation. Everyone should take a multi-vitamin, especially when bulking! When we’re bulking, we tend to ignore our fruits and veggies (micronutrients). Taking a multi-vitamin will help give your body the micronutrients it needs to fuel bodily processes and maintain general health and well-being. Also consider taking healthy fats like Fish Oils (Omega-3’s). These help ensure healthy cardiovascular, brain, muscle, and other organ functions throughout the body.
Pre-Workouts: Everyone loves a good kick in the butt pre-workout. Are they 110% necessary? Not really. But there are some that are beneficial to fueling your workouts and not just geared towards making you jittery. Look for pre-workouts that have a good amount of nitric oxide boosters and strength/endurance ingredients. If you need the extra boost in energy, get the crazy one! But make sure you’re also getting beneficial ingredients out of it- not just liquid cocaine.
Some key ingredients to look for in a pre-workout supplement that will help you grow are Beta-Alanine, Creatine, & Nitric Oxide boosters like Citrulline or Agmatine. Beta-Alanine increases blood carnosine levels, which in turn, increases lactic acid buffering. Basically, Beta-Alanine will help you push past your typical muscle fatigue and let you work out harder and longer than normal. Creatine (also mentioned below in intra-workout) is necessary for anyone looking to extend their workouts and keep their strength up throughout their workout. Creatine and Beta-Alanine paired together are extremely beneficial in keeping your muscles fueled throughout your whole entire training session.
Nitric oxide boosters have their benefit as well. These ingredients EXPAND your blood vessels, allowing more blood, oxygen, and nutrients to be delivered to your muscle cells doing your workout. Some common ones to look for are L-Citrulline, Citrulline Malate, Agmatine Sulfate, and Hydromax (glycerol).
Intra-Workout: During workout concoctions could be the #1 time where most people don’t do anything to help themselves grow. The big guy in the gym sipping on the blue stuff—He’s not just sipping on Kool-Aid. What are the best supplements to take during your workout?
Creatine, Carbs, & BCAA’s/EAA’s
Creatine is an absolute necessity if you are training hard in the gym and are trying to push your muscles to grow to their capacity. Carbohydrates during a workout (no, not potatoes and rice cakes), help fuel your muscles during training and keep them supplied with an energy source. BCAA’s/EAA’s ensure that your muscle protein synthesis is activated and that you are repairing and building up the muscle tissues that you’re tearing down during your workout.
Generally, the amounts of these products that you should be taken in can vary. Talk with a team member of ours in the store to dial in the necessary amounts and products for your needs.
Post-Workout is arguably the MOST IMPORTANT TIME to supplement with ANYTHING. After running your car out of gas, what you do? You go to the gas station and fill up. Well, treat your body the same way! When you run your body out of gas and tear it down like a maniac slinging plates in the gym, FILL IT UP WITH FUEL! The best supplements to take AFTER a workout, are going to be a fast-digesting whey protein isolate, and a fast digesting carbohydrate. We recommend 1st Phorm Phormula-1 and 1st Phorm Ignition. You CANNOT get a faster absorbing combination of protein and carbs, from anywhere else. Not Sour Patch Kids, not your local Burger Joint, and not Taco Bell. Phormula-1 is a 100% Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Isolate: meaning it is a pre broken down chain of protein fractions that essentially skip a digestion process when ingested, helping your body get them in the muscle and repairing immediately. Ignition contains highly refined forms of glucose. It is designed for glycogen replenishment. It creates a large insulin response 6x greater than normal sugar. This large spike in insulin shuttles the protein fractions from Phormula-1 into your muscle cells and it replenishes your depleted glycogen stores. You cannot find these products in food form, thus the BEST post-workout protocol is 1 scoop of Ignition with 2 scoops of Phormula-1.
Ahh. The ever-popular powdered meal replacements. If you struggle to get in all of your meals in food form, Mass Gainers can be extremely beneficial for you. After all, it’s much easier to down a liquid shake of 500-1000 calories rather than eat a meal when you’re not that hungry but you know you need to eat to grow. If you struggle to get in your meals with food, supplement with a Mass Gainer for 1 or 2 of your meals. If you live life on the go and don’t want to miss a meal, supplement with a Mass Gainer so that you don’t miss out on any calories.
GDA(glucose disposal agent):
GDA’s are beneficial to take for any high-carbohydrate meal… aka… most of your bulking season meals. What GDA’s do, is they basically help your body utilize the extra carbohydrates that you are taking in. They help shuttle these carbs into the muscle cell to be stored as energy for performance, rather than stored as fat. The best time we have found to take GDA’s is with your highest carbohydrate meals of the day. This is USUALLY, breakfast, pre-workout, and post-workout. OH! And cheat meals (; Not only will you be helping your body utilize these carbohydrates and prevent them from being stored as fat, you will also be helping your body stay more insulin-sensitive… which is a good thing.
What these products will do is increase the rate at which you can build muscle and strength and keep body fat at a minimum. These products can be SARMs, DHEA-based prohormones, Natural Muscle Builders, Test Boosters, and things of that nature.
SARMs (Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators) bind to the Androgen Receptors in your bone and muscle tissue. These products typical produce size results of anywhere from 5lbs to 20+ lbs, depending on the person and depending on diet and training. Unlike prohormones, you typically can maintain most of your gains that you make from these products. These substances bind to the same receptors that testosterone and other steroid-like molecules do, except they do not offer the same negative and bad side-effects as chemicals of that nature. They basically will help you build muscle mass, increase strength, increase recovery, increase protein synthesis, and help you take your bulking season to whole other level.
DHEA prohormones are testosterone derivatives that are wrapped in a liposomal delivery system to help them get absorbed by the body at a better rate than just taking regular DHEA.
Natural Muscle Builders include 5-alphahydroxy-laxogenin and Epicatechin. These ingredients are derived from PLANTS. They are all-natural and 110% safe for men and women to take. Some experts suggest that these ingredients will provide similar effects in the body as the steroid compounds Anavar(laxogenin) and Winstrol(epicatechin). These products will provide you that extra push you need to increase strength, put on quality muscle tissue, and ensure that your body is staying 100% clean and utilizing nutrients at a much faster rate than normal.
Testosterone Boosters can be useful for anyone over the age of 25 years old (not much of a need for anyone as your natural levels are already extremely high). What these products will do is exactly what they’re name refers to—they will increase your natural testosterone levels within your body. They DO NOT harm your natural production so you do not need to do a PCT after a Natural Testosterone Boosters. Test Boosters will help increase your strength and aggression in the gym, natural energy levels, and can aid in helping build some quality muscle mass this offseason.
Our most popular option and most results-driven options for Bulking Season Anabolics are SARMs—specifically: Ultrabolic, Legendary, & GH Max. Visit a store location to learn more about these individual products and how to best use them.
This is where this article gets tricky. There are VARIOUS ways to go about training for size. It also depends on how experienced of a lifter you are and where you are at with your muscular development. Below is what we’ve found to be a simple and easy to follow program. It’s a 5-day split. You need the 2 rest days for your body to heal and recover!
*** ”to failure” means to pause for a few seconds and then try to hammer out a few extra reps each set
*** incorporate abs into your workouts 2-3 times per week
Day 1: Chest/Triceps
Day 2: Back/Biceps
Day 3: Rest Day
Day 4: Shoulders/Traps
Day 5: Legs
Day 6: Arms
Day 7: Rest Day
1) Flat dumbbell bench press – 4 sets of 8-12 reps to failure (if you have any shoulder issues you may want to do something else, such as a pressing machine)
2) Incline bench press or dumbbells – 4 sets of 8-12 reps to failure
3) Decline bench press or dumbbells- 4 sets of 8-12 reps to failure
4) Pec deck flyes – 4 sets of 8-12 reps to failure
1) Skull crushers – 4 sets of 8-12 reps to failure
2) Reverse grip straight-bar pulldowns – 3 sets of 8-12 reps to failure
3) Rope pull-downs – 3 sets of 8-12 reps to failure (or do 2 sets of 8-12 reps and then 1 burnout set with lighter weight, as many reps as you can do)
1) 50 pullups (can use assisted machine)
2) Dead lifts – one warm-up set then 4 sets of 8-12 reps to failure.
3) Seated close-grip rows – 4 sets of 8-12 reps to failure
4) Lat pull-downs – 4 sets of 8-12 reps to failure
1) Preacher curls with EZ bar – 4 sets of 8-12 reps to failure
2) Dumbbell curls (slow negatives) – 3 sets of 8-12 reps to failure
3) Hammer curls – 3 sets of 8-12 reps to failure (or do 2 sets of 8-12 reps and then 1 burnout set with lighter weight, as many reps as you can do)
1) Shoulder press with DBs or Smith Machine – 4 sets of 8-12 reps to failure
2) Upright rows – 4 sets of 8-12 reps to failure
3) Front dumbbell raises – 3 sets of 8-12 reps to failure
4) Rear lateral raises – 3 sets of 8-12 reps to failure
5) Standing side lateral raises (super set with shoulder shrugs) – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
1) Squats (with a free bar or Smith Machine) – one warm-up set then 4 sets of 8-12 reps to failure
2) Leg press – 3 sets of 8-12 reps to failure
3) Leg extensions – 2 sets 8-12 reps with toes pointed IN (to hit outer quad sweep), then 2 sets 8-12 reps with toes pointed OUT (to hit inner quads) to failure
4) Stiff-leg dead lifts – 4 sets 8-12 reps to failure
5) Seated or lying hamstring curls – 3 sets 8-12 reps to failure (do non-weighted calf raises in between sets)
6) Weighted calf raises – 3 sets 8-12 reps to failure (or do 2 sets of 8-12 reps and then 1 burnout set with lighter weight, as many reps as you can do)
1) V-Bar Push-Downs 20, 20, 15, 12, 8 drop 8
2) Barbell Curls 15, 10, 8, 6 drop 6
3) Dumbbell/EZ-Curl Skull-Crushers 15, 10, 8, 8 drop 6
4) Hammer Curls 10, 8, 6, 6 drop 10
5) Overhead Cable Extensions 12, 12, 12
6) High Preacher Curls superset Reverse EZ-Curls 12/12, 12/12, 12/12
Cardio: To maintain good cardiovascular endurance and strength, keep cardio at a minimum… but you still need to do it!!! Perform 2-3 sessions per week of 20-45 minutes. If you’re a hard-gainer/ectomorph, do the least amount. If you tend to put on fat a little bit easier, do the max amount. The cardio won’t hinder your muscle gain if you’re supplementing and dieting accordingly.
When bulking, you are going to put on some body fat. It’s natural. However, if you feel like you are putting on TOO MUCH, it’s either a food option (you’re not eating clean sources) or you’re eating too much. To build size, you must be in a calorie surplus. If you are not growing, EAT MORE! Be patient, as you will not gain weight overnight. You must stay consistent with your diet and training and supplementation and the results will pay off in the end.
If you have any questions at all, feel free to visit one of our four locations and consult with one of our highly-trained Team Members. They can help you out and lead you in the right direction for your bulking season.
Happy Eating and Happy Training!
Let the Gains Begin!!!