The off-season is the perfect time to eat as much as possible and get big in a short period of time. While the average bodybuilder has to use a more careful approach to adding mass in order to earn as less fat as possible, when it comes to hard-gainers, it’s all about taking it to the extreme.
Although many of us pack on body fat by just saying the word ‘carbs’ out loud, hard-gainers need to make these nutrients the centerpiece of their mass-gaining season. During a bulk you cannot be afraid of carbs – carbs offer energy and stimulate the release of insulin, a hormone with great anabolic properties. Keeping your carb intake very high all the time can lead to substantial fat gain, but keeping it too low won’t do any good to your bulking efforts as well.
Here are 6 carb sources that all bodybuilders but especially the hard-gainers can use to put on massive size during their winter bulk.
Breakfast cereal – not the deadly sugary but the high-fiber ones – offer plenty of slow-digesting carbs that can fuel a long and heavy gym session. Oatmeal is another fantastic source of slow-digesting carbs for morning meals or post-workout nutrition, and it usually packs less simple sugars. Opt for old-fashioned whole oats instead of instant oatmeal brands.
Bagel can offer up to 40 grams of carbs and are easy to prepare and convenient to carry around. To avoid added sugars, make sure to choose a plain type and eat them with peanut butter and raisins or berries.
#3. Mashed potatoes
Whenever you want to consume an optimal source of energy-delivering carbs, mashed potatoes are the perfect choice. Especially after a workout, this high-calorie meal will help you get your glycogen levels back to shape and support a faster recovery.
Pasta should be a staple in any hard-gainer’s diet. Easy to prepare, goes well with lean protein sources and vegetables and given that you choose a whole-grain variant, it will provide you with a consistent, steady supply of energy to power through a grueling workout.
#5. White rice
Regardless of the popular dieting junk you’ve read so far, white rice is far superior to brown rice on all accounts and many scientific studies have proven that. A plate of plain, white rice and a good protein source is a basic must-have meal for anyone looking to bulk up.
Although they don’t offer that much total calories, bananas have a great carb content (up to 30 grams in one piece of fruit) that can be easily and directly transferred into energy and consuming them daily can boost your endurance and performance in the gym.
If you’re that 200-pound guy who wants to build a massive lean body, you’ll be tempted to dramatically increase your calorie intake in an effort to bulk up in the shortest time possible. Don’t do it. The smartest dieting advice you could ever get is this – never use shock tactics. Your body needs time to adequately adjust its metabolic process to your increased calorie intake, so don’t blast it with huge calorie boosts. Instead of going from 2500 to 4000 calories per day and causing a metabolic chaos, start slow and gradually progress to a higher number. That being said, your total daily calorie intake should consist of around 50% protein, 40% carbs and 10% fat. Happy bulking!