Trying to bulk up properly can be frustrating. It is a fine balance between food and training that takes experimentation, hard work and effort to achieve. The good news is that bulking up doesn’t have to be difficult. Tired of the endless bulk and cut cycles without seeing the results you want? Then read on to find out how to bulk up the right way – without gaining unwanted fat!
Eat the Right Amount of Calories
As with any diet, proper nutrition needs to be at the forefront of your bulking plan. One of the grey areas of bulking is the amount of calories needed to gain the muscle you are looking for. Bulking does not give you license to eat an abundance of fast food or excess calories. The bulking process is a science, no different from the weight loss and cutting process.
As a rule of thumb, a good place to start in terms of how many calories are needed for your bulk is to multiply your bodyweight (lbs) by 16. This will give you the target number of calories. Once this number is found, you then need to properly balance them out between macronutrients.
Eat the Right Foods
Now that you’ve got the amount of calories you need to consume calculated, it’s time to figure out how to distribute them. Start with your protein count first since protein is the building block of muscle growth. Aim for one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.
Next up, calculate your fats. Aim for fats to make up 25% of your calories and try to keep this number constant. In fact, proteins and fats should remain constant throughout the bulk, while your carbohydrates can go up or down.
Basically you are using carbohydrates to fill your remaining calorie count. It is also vital to make sure you have enough carbohydrates to fuel your body or else the body will start using protein – the exact opposite of what you want to happen for muscle growth!
Here’s an example macronutrient breakdown for a 190lb male who wants to know how to bulk up the right way:
- Calories: 16×190 = 3,040 total calories
- Protein: 1×190 = 190 grams of protein or 760 calories
- Fats: 0.25×3,040 = 760 calories or 84 grams
- Carbohydrates: 3,040 – 760 – 760 = 1,520 calories or 380 grams
Fell free to check out this handy Macronutrient Calculator below to measure your personal daily intakes.
The final element in how to bulk up the right way is to train accordingly. If it’s size that you are looking for, then focus on hypertrophy. This entails 3 to 5 sets of an 8 to 15 rep range. If it’s strength that you want, then you’ll need to lift heavier weights for a lower amount of reps.
One important tip: don’t over train. If you are keeping to your calories and macros while busting your butt in the gym, there’s no need to work out hard every day and break down everything you are trying to build up. Eat right, train smart, and you’ll be bulking up in no time.