Bulking up and building muscle is not rocket science – it’s actually pretty easy. The hard part however, is to follow your bulk up routine precisely, stay on track and do whatever it takes not to ruin your bulk up plan. There are mainly three reasons why healthy individuals fail to bulk up and build muscle:
1. Not following a correct diet. Bodybuilders often complain that they can’t gain weight, but if we take a closer look at their diets we’ll notice that their diet is either low in calories or high in calories from wrong type of macro nutrients.
2. Not pushing hard enough. By hard I don’t mean 30 sets per muscle group. You don’t have to kill yourself but you need to push your body out of the comfort zone if you want to look extraordinary.
3. Not taking enough rest. No need to say more about this one – your body grows while you rest, not in the gym.
Here are some guidelines to follow when designing a bulk up routine:
– EAT, EAT, EAT – you can’t gain weight if you don’t eat enough calories. Your body is like a machine, it needs energy in order to run. Lower the calories and the body starts to burn it’s own reserves so it can continue working. Eating enough calories doesn’t mean you should eat junk food. If you really can’t gain weight, try eating quality calories every 3-4 hours.
– Increase the protein intake. No protein = no muscle. Proteins are the building blocks of muscle tissues and the body needs them to repair damaged muscles after an intense workout. A good rule is to try and eat a minimum of 1 gram of protein per pound – for those that have difficulty bulking up this amount can climb up to 2 grams/pound.
– Increase the amount of water you drink. Try drinking a gallon of water a day.
– Your workout routine should be built around the big, compound exercises like deadlifts, squats, rows, bench press, standing shoulder press and pull ups. Doing multi-joint exercises will ensure that more anabolic hormones are released by the glands in order to repair the damage.
– Drop the number of exercises to only 2-3 per muscle group. (3 for the large muscles like legs and back and 2 for smaller muscle groups like arms and shoulders)
– Drop your cardio sessions to 2 times a week.
– When trying to bulk up choose a simple training split – the simpler the split the better. Try doing an upper/lower spit or a classic push/pull/legs split. An upper/lower split would look like this:
– Rest/light cardio
– Lower Body
– Upper Body
Rest on Saturday and Sunday and start the next week with Lower Body.
– Take enough rest. Try to get at least 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
– Last but not least – use some supplements. If used correctly, bodybuilding supplements can be very helpful in a bulk up cycle. The basic supplements you should use are protein powders, fish oil and a multivitamin/multimineral supplement. I recommend Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein for its quality and taste. If you have the finances You can also buy creatine, amino acids and a nitric oxide supplement. Just remember, supplements are just that – an addition to your diet, you can’t build muscle if your diet is not in check.