Fall is just around the corner, so it’s about time to put away those swim suits and get ready to beef up for the winter.
With this winter’s bulk, we’d like you to keep 5 tips in mind that will help you immensely.
1. Consistency is Key
When you go to start a bulk, you’re making a promise that you are in it for the long haul.
Eating above maintenance levels for long periods of time gets tiresome and time-consuming. But you cannot stop half-way.
Adjust? Yes. Stop? No.
Protein cannot drop
Protein intake during your bulk is especially important. Every. Single. Day!
While you can fiddle around with your carbohydrates and fats (so long as you keep your calories above maintenance), letting your protein number drop will put your body in an uncomfortable state.
Your daily routine needs to be developed to ensure that your protein needs are met.
Mini-tips on maintaining protein
The hardest part comes not from your daily plan, but when your daily plan gets upset:
- Going out and just know there will be low protein but lots of carbs (Italian, birthday parties, etc)? Double up on protein throughout the day beforehand — you might not get much protein once you leave the house.
- Similarly, drink a bonus protein shake before going out to dinner. Sometimes the portions of proteins at restaurants aren’t enough, or it gets really expensive if you need to get double meat.
- Treat weekend meals like it’s a weekday. All too often, our meal plans go out the window for two out of the seven days — and that’s a ton of lost opportunity.
The most successful bulks are done by the most stubborn and consistent people who go insane finding the right plan, and then stick to it.
2. Bulk cooking
If you’re not bulk cooking a crazy amount of protein and carbohydrates each week, you are doing it wrong!
Once a week (Sunday is usually a good day), get it going. Grill, bake, or cook the following:
- ~6-8 chicken breasts,
- 1-2 pounds of turkey,
- 2-4 cups of rice,
- whatever type of potato you enjoy,
- stir-fry some veggies,
- and any beef and fish you can afford.
You can even bre-bake some quiche for your eggs.
Invest in good Tupperware
We prefer to use “Snapware” – it’s more expensive, but will keep your food good and fresh all week.
Bulking on the easy lane
Now you’re ready to just grab some food and microwave it.
Sounds like a pain? It is – until you see how much time is freed up during the week. This is how the best athletes do it!
The rest of your food can come from quick and easy cans of tuna, Pop Tarts, oats, fruit, protein shakes, and your favorite fat sources.
3. Weight gainers are mostly garbage
The idea of using weight gainers to help you bulk up is a good one, but the problem is that most of them are terrible for you.
Some people do great with loads of cheap maltodextrin, which is in nearly every weight gainer. That’s fine as long as you make it fit your macronutrient plan in terms of carbs and fats.
Beware the amino acid spiking
The biggest problem with have with weight gainers is the protein number. You see, weight gainers are notoriously dosed with extra amino acids like taurine, glycine, glutamine, and even creatine.
Those are great ingredients, no doubt. But the problem is, when they’re added to weight gainers, they get added to the final protein number! And unfortunately, glutamine is not real dietary protein that will help you build muscle.
This is discussed heavily in detail on PricePlow’s amino acid spiking article. The point is, that 60g of protein in your weight gainer is likely not 60g of real protein.
The best kind of weight gainer is a homemade one:
- Protein powder (that isn’t loaded with filler)
- Fruit / berries
- Peanut butter / nut butter
- Some spinach if you dare
- Add some cinnamon
- Milk, water, and ice
4. Weigh your food and count your calories
Is that really 50g of protein in the chicken on your plate? Do you know for sure?
Food scales are cheap, and calorie counters are free on the web. As the old saying goes, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”
So start measuring, and start tracking your progress. Getting too fat? Adjust down a bit. Not gaining weight? Add more calories.
When you’re putting your newly-bulk-cooked away, you’ll get used to pre-cutting and dividing it into proper portions.
Eventually, you’ll be so good at this, you won’t always need that food scale (but it’s smart to use anyway).
What if they’re not clean?
It’s more important to stick to your macronutrient plan than it is to eat “clean”. Sure, in a perfect world, we eat nothing but yams, chicken, and green veggies.
But in the real world… we like to enjoy our bulks, and if that involves enjoying some fatty BBQ or throwing down a few Pop Tarts, then by all means do it. Just don’t let it interfere with your protein intake, and don’t let it ruin your macro goals too much.
5. Are you really training like a beast?
I’m going to call you out right now.
I’m going to say that you really aren’t working out hard enough. Your workouts are too short, you’re not ever going to failure (and beyond), and your program has gotten stale.
Maybe it’s time for you to get a new workout partner, or to talk to them about some new motivation. Tell them that you want to start pushing it a bit. You can ice your shoulders afterward.
Get some pre workout motivation
Or maybe you just need a new pre workout supplement (see below for a free sample of Nitramine).
Whatever it is, work out harder, lift heavier, and put your body under some real muscular stress!