How Many Calories Are Enough Calories
The easy part is understanding that you need to eat more calories than you burn. The hard part is knowing exactly how many calories that is. Unfortunately, it is not a cut and dry answer. Everyones body is unique. This lends to difficulty in standardizing the exact number of calories needed when bulking. Daily caloric needs depend upon several factors including age, gender, body weight, activity level, and genetics just to name a few.
Eating too few calories when training for bulking is one of the biggest mistakes your clients can make. Bulking does not lead to well-defined abs. Bulking leads to gaining weight and packing on extra mass to build overall strength. A general rule is to consume an excess of at least 2,500 calories per week. This should lead to about one pound of gained mass per week. The extra calories consumed are necessary for your clients desired results.
Formulas to calculate your clients total daily energy expenditure can be helpful. TDEE is a measure of the calories required per day to support normal function. You can then add on extra calories from here to promote bulking. Such a formula can be useful to recalculate your clients weight as it changes during their bulking phase.
How Much At For Bulking
A diet rich in healthy fats is a good way to make sure youre taking in enough calories. Theres also evidence to suggest that healthy fats, like omega-3s, can help increase muscle protein synthesis the process of your body building muscle.2 Consuming about 30-35% of your daily calories from fat is ideal.3 Fats are also important for the storage of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E and K.
Myth# 2 Dirty Bulking Produces Better Results
There is a common misconception in the bodybuilding community that the more you eat the more muscle gains you invariably make.
This is based on the assumption that muscle gains scale with increased calories.
In reality, there is a definitive cap for muscle gains.
Lyle Mcdonald and Alan Aragon have both produced their own individual models which show the ideal rate of muscle growth for natural lifters.
In Lyles model, you can see that the maximum rate of muscle growth is approximately 0.5 lb per week.
This assumes youre a novice to training and are eating enough to gain 0.75 lb 1lb per week.
For the majority of you, however, a more realistic rate of muscle growth will likely be half that.
What does this mean for you?
Whilst you need to eat more, dirty bulking isnt beneficial and will cause unwanted fat gains.
Bulking and cutting is inherently bad for you as shown in studies, this is known as the yo-yo effect.
I would recommend taking a more long-term approach, whether that be a recomposition or a clean bulk.
Also Check: Is Atkins Diet Gluten Free
Establishing Your Calorie Target
Before embarking on a bulking diet you should first establish what your goals are.
How much muscle do you want to gain, what is an acceptable amount of body fat to accrue, and what time do you have available to complete this bulk in.
As you can imagine, a 50kg guy who has 12 weeks to gain 15kg is going to require a completely different calorie target to a 70kg guy who is looking to gain 3kg within 4 months.
A common bulking rule of thumb is to find your maintenance calorie target and adding 500 calories to that.
But if you are looking for more accurate results then utilising the precision nutrition calorie calculator is a much more effective move .
What Foods To Eat To Bulk Up Muscle Building Foods
Bulking up is a complicated process, well bulking up correctly is complicated!
Most people are either way too enthusiastic in their calorie intakes or way too conservative.
But its not just about getting your calories right, its also important that you are eating the right foods.
In this article, we are going to look at what foods to eat while bulking up i.e. muscle building foods.
Read Also: Mediterranean Diet Food List For Weight Loss
Maybe Dont Bulk At All
Heres a plot twist: Maybe you shouldnt bulk at all.
If you try to bulk up anyway, youre going to find it nearly impossible to objectively evaluate whether the weight you are gaining is more muscle under your existing layer of fat or just more fat on top of what youve already got, he writes. Thats not a good look. So, instead, use this opportunity to get a head start on next summers prep by slowly beginning to drop some of that body fat. Youll set yourself up for significantly better progress in the long term!
There are also some other advantages to losing fat before bulking: Less body fat means better insulin sensitivity, so you might find it easier to gain muscle and absorb nutrients once youre lean. Also, if youve got a fair amount of body fat, youll look more muscular after trimming down than when you started.
But hey, were not doctors, so chat with a physician or a sports nutritionist to work out what will be best for your sport.
When Should You Be Eating
Knowing which foods you need to eat in order to gain more muscle is one thing, but it is just as important to have a good understanding of when to eat.
In order to build muscle mass, you need to ensure you are eating a high-calorie diet, and that your calorie intake exceeds the calories you’re burning during your workouts.
This means eating moderate portions regularly during the day. Aim for a nutritious meal for breakfast, lunch, post-workout, and dinner, with healthy snacks in between.
Breakfast and post-workout are good times to give your body that much-needed glycogen energy boost, so ensure you eat complex carbs with these meals so you can sustain your body throughout the day.
We dont tend to be as active after dinner. So try and avoid complex carbs for this meal and focus instead on a good protein kick.
There is quite a lot of controversy relating to the belief that eating late at night is detrimental to anyone looking to reduce body fat and increase muscle mass.
It’s true that people tend to make poorer food choices, opting for a sweet treat or something greasy to quench a craving, but the important thing to think about is. Do I really need to eat?
If you have been eating nutritious meals of good portions, regularly throughout the day, then the answer is probably not.
If you have been quite active since you ate dinner, and you are hungry, then your body needs some sustenance. Choose wisely, things like mixed nuts and seeds or yoghurt are good options.
The Power Of Whole Foods
Theres a war raging on in the bodybuilding world, a war that has lasted for several decades. One side fights for clean eating, the other for If It Fits Your Macros . And thats just the bodybuilders. If you turn to the world of strength training, youll see a variety of other diets, ranging from keto to paleo to carnivore to see-food diets .
Most of these diets have an advantage or two, but the best way to get the benefits of all of them without any of the needless restrictions or potential downsides is simply to focus on eating whole foods. A good rule of thumb is to get around 80% of your calories from whole foods, with 20% of your calories coming from whatever.
In practice, that usually means eating a good breakfast but letting yourself having some cream and sugar in your coffee . Then eating a good lunch but not worrying about how many calories are in the sauces you like. Then finishing the day with a good dinner but having some dessert afterwards if youve still got calories to power through. And if you want to eat at a restaurant a few times per week, no problem, just order the dishes that include a hearty source of protein.
A good bulking diet is built on a foundation of whole foods, but that doesnt mean you cant include some regular indulgences. Its okay to have a margarita after work. Its okay to eat white rice instead of brown rice. Dont sweat the details, but do get the foundation right.
Other Things To Bear In Mind When Trying To Gain Weight
Calorie content of each major food group:
1g protein = 4 calories1g fat = 9 calories
Sustainable weight gain
Remember that you cannot gain 10lbs of lean muscle in one month – its simply not possible – so the weight gain you see on the scales will most likely be a combination of muscle, fat and water. If youre doing the right kind of exercise and eating healthily, realistically you can hope to gain around 1-2lb of muscle per month, with the rest being a mixture of glycogen and fat.
Supplementing your diet
Even if you love your food, it can be difficult to consume enough calories through your diet alone and it certainly isnt cheap. If you find that you are physically unable to eat that much due to your lifestyle, your appetite, your finances or some other factor, be sure to invest in a good quality weight gain supplement. Here are some of our favourites:
- If you want to get big, you need to eat big.
- Use the Harris-Benedict equation to calculate your basal metabolic rate.
- Work out how many calories you need to consume to maintain your existing weight by adding your level of physical activity into the equation.
- Consume at least 500 calories on top of that each day to ensure consistent weight gain in your bulking diet.
- Dont fill up on junk food: eat a balanced diet with plenty of protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to ensure that you stay healthy and build muscle, not fat.
- Use a weight gain product to supplement your calorie intake.
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Your Weight Is The Same Or Dropped
If your weight stays the same, you add a little extra food to all your meals. It can be 50 grams of extra meat, some more rice, or a fresh potato. Remember that vegetables do give you many extra calories, so focus on getting fresh beef, rice, and potatoes.
Continue the diet for another two weeks and recheck your weight! If it hasnt gone up, you keep adding extra food.
It is crucial that you stay patient in this process and dont give up.
How Long Should This Program Be Followed For
Even though this program has heaps of great information, it is geared toward a bulking routine. This program should be followed for as long as you wish to bulk.
Now the question is how long do you want to bulk? A good rule of thumb to ask yourself is, “Would I be comfortable in public without a shirt?” If the answer is no, ask yourself why. Is it because you are too skinny, or too fat? If you are too skinny, then it’s obvious you want to continue your bulking routine. If you are too fat, then you want to stop bulking and start cutting.
It is not unusual to bulk or cut for years straight. If you start bodybuilding at 6-foot-0 120-pound then it may take a couple of years of bulking before having to cut. Likewise if you start at 400 pounds it may take a couple of years of cutting before having to bulk.
As for how long the workout routine should last, I recommend doing it for 12 weeks followed by a week of rest before starting it over again. Of course 12 weeks is not set in stone, you must listen to your body. If you feel worn out after 10 weeks then take a week break then. Proper weightlifting is all about listening to your body, as everyone is made differently.
“If you start bodybuilding at 6-foot-0 120-pound then it may take a couple of years of bulking before having to cut.”
Fall In Love With Carbs
So, what should you eat? Great question. Let’s start with carbohydrates.
After all, when most people think about getting in shape and slimming down, their first instinct is to cut carbs. While this is normally a great strategy, building muscle mass requires a different thinking process. And yet carbs are important for mass, especially lean muscle.
The key is to eat the right kind of carbs. Because if you skimp on carbs, you’ll experience less energy during workouts from lack of energy.
The best strategy is to eat a simple carbohydrate an hour or two after a workout. This will help drive the nutrients your muscles need into your bloodstream while also stimulating the release of insulin, which is also vital for post-workout muscle repair.
Good carbs for building mass include rice, potatoes, bread, pasta, and oats. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to incorporate large portions of these foods into your meals in order to bulk up quickly.
The Best Foods To Eat While Bulking
What are the best foods for faster, leaner, and healthier muscle growth? It might seem like a simple question, and it is, but if we want to build a great bulking diet, we can go pretty deep with it.
For example, junk food is high in calories and easy to digest. Great for gaining weight, right? Absolutely. But its also full of empty calories, its low in protein, and it may make our digestive systems weaker over time. New research is even showing that foods that are higher in saturated fats and fructosewhich is common with junk foodare more likely to be stored as visceral body fat instead of as muscle .
Fortunately, there are quite a few great bulking foods that make it easier to eat more calories, are great for stimulating muscle growth, are great for our health, and that can improve our digestion over time.
Furthermore, building a good bulking diet isnt as simple as just eating a lot of healthy food. For example, the best bulking diets tend to be quite high in foods that break down into glucose. Lower-fibre starches, such as white rice and pasta, are great for this. Thats not common in most other pop-culture diets, such as ketogenic diets, low-carb diets, or paleo diets. This makes bulking diets unique.
Without further ado, here are the very best bulking foods.
Foods To Eat And Avoid
Like with any fitness diet, there are certain foods that you should eat and ones you should avoid. Bodybuilding diets are no different.
Make sure that your custom meal plan avoids foods such as alcohol, added sugars and deep-fried foods. These can negatively impact on your ability to build muscle, offer few nutrients and can promote inflammation.
Instead, your diet should focus on consuming any of the following food groups:
Meats, poultry and fish: Sirloin steak, chicken breast, salmon etc.
Dairy: Cottage cheese and low-fat milk
Grains: Oatmeal, bread, cereals, rice and quinoa
Vegetables: Tomatoes, leafy greens, corn, peppers and mushrooms
Fruits: Bananas, pears, apples and peaches
Nuts: Walnuts, chia seeds, almonds and flax seeds
Oils: Avocado oil and olive oil
How Much Food Should I Eat
Again, this really depends on your body type. If you are an ectomorph, I suggest you eat 6-8 small meals a day. Eat about a 500 calorie meal at 8 AM, then again at 10 AM, 12PM, 2PM, 4PM, 6PM, 8PM, 10PM. Notice that the meals are evenly spaced by two hours because your body can only digest so much food before it all gets disposed out.
An ectomorph should try to eat twenty five to thirty times their body weight in calories and one and a half times their bodyweight in terms of protein. If you are an endomorph, eat 6 meals a day, with a two and half hour interval.
Make sure that you eat quality food such as rice, pasta, steak, white chicken breast, turkey and so on. Avoid fatty foods and junk food or you will get fat in no time. If you are a mesomorph, make sure that you eat 6-8 meals a day, with a two hour interval between meals.
The Skinny Guys Bulk Up Meal Plan
If the idea of eating 3500+ calories a day still has you scratching your head, fear not! Weve created a fully comprehensive BULK UP meal plan for all you skinny guys out there looking to add some serious size to your frame.
Welcome to the Skinny guys bulk-up diet plan. The perfect meal plan for Ectomorphs looking to pack on some serious muscle size and weight!
How To Bulk Up Without Supplements
While the unsupervised use of steroids is not allowed by law, it may be permitted for use by specific patients. However, it must be recommended and administered by a medical professional. Steroids, to put it simply, are synthetic forms of different hormones that are known to promote muscle development, how to bulk up without supplements.We must not forget though, anabolic steroids can be quite harmful to your body, especially in the long run, how to bulk up without supplements.
Consider Calorie And Carb Cycling
Try to eat more calories and carbs on training days than during your rest days.
We know that theres no shortage of folks who say so long as your calories are the same at the end of the week, it doesnt matter when you eat them. That said, if youre interested in gaining muscle and strength most optimally, theres a strong argument to be made for calorie cycling.
Research has found that endurance and strength athletes perform better when they eat more carbohydrates on days they train because it keeps glycogen stores optimal. short term overfeeding combined with exercise might help maintain thyroid and hormonal health.
Eat more when youre training. Itll probably get you stronger and help you train harder than you would otherwise, and that means more muscle.