Without any doubt, bulking up fast without expanding your fat reserves is one of the most challenging tasks of our bodybuilding efforts. We assume you’ve already tried the “eat, eat and eat” approach and found that either that you couldn’t find enough time in your schedule to fit all those extra meals or that your percentage of body fat keeps rising together with the numbers on the scale. It sure isn’t easy to stuff yourself with 4000-5000 calories from good quality food every day while having a full-time job and a tough gym schedule. But could there exist a better way to add mass without getting fat at the same time?
You bet. And it’s all about having the right strategy before you start your journey to greatness – without it, you’ll only end up with plenty of visceral fat and a bag of excuses. Here’s how to eat to get huge while building some amazing lean muscle.
No junk food
It’s not that easy, unfortunately. If cheeseburgers were the answer, the world would have been a lot better place for bodybuilders. Sure, junk food will help you bulk up fast, but it will also provide you with a pair of love handles and maybe a double chin. And isn’t that kind of the opposite of what you signed up for?
The first thing you need to remember is that not all calories were created equal. Ignoring good nutrition won’t yield the results you want – it will only help you become fat and unhealthy. So instead of french fries and pizzas, you should opt for clean calories from whole food. And by whole food we don’t mean commercial weight gain shakes that are loaded with poor quality protein and tons of sugar.
Needless to say, protein should be the star of your diet. When bulking, you want to aim for eating around 30% of your calories from protein so that your body has enough amino acids for building new muscle tissue, as well to ensure efficient recovery and repair. And a big part of that protein needs to come from real food. Think lean meats, fish, eggs and diary. Your protein consumption should be roughly 2-2.5 grams per pound of bodyweight per day. Also, don’t run away from fat. Healthy fats will help you recover faster from your workouts and put on muscle mass, while keeping you lean. Consume an adequate amount of high quality healthy fat, such as the one found in olive oil, coconut oil, avocadoes, nuts and fatty fish on a daily basis. Then come the carbs. Each of your meals should be a combination of plenty of protein and at least 40 grams carbs. Actually, it’s best to keep them coming all day, spread evenly over six meals. Best choices include sweet potatoes, potatoes, oats, rice and whole grain bread. However, it’s pretty hard to get all the extra calories you need from whole food. And this is where liquid meals take over.
Over time, you’ll find out that a third of your meals should be consumed as liquids (the pre and post-workout shakes don’t count) if you want to keep your progress steaming forward. Liquid meals are ideal for bulking since they are rich in nutrients but take less time to be consumed and digested. Plus, they’re very easy to prepare and you can drink them on the go. So instead of spending money on poor quality weight gain shakers, you can make them yourself at home. That way you know exactly what’s in them and you can keep a better track of your calories. Here’s how to prepare the perfect weight gain shaker in less than 10 minutes.
- 3-4l of water
- Couple bags of frozen berries
- A tub of plain peanut butter
- A tub of protein powder
- A few cups of low fat milk
Now, blend 2 cups of low fat milk, 2 cups of berries, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and 60 grams of protein powder, and you have a meal of over 800 calories ready to consume. These meals can be easily adjusted to your needs and give you complete control of your weight gain, without increasing your fat reserves – of course, as long as you keep working out hard and heavy!
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So stay lean and keep on pumping!