Tis the season to Bulk!
The leaves are going brown on the trees, the mornings are getting dark… this can only mean one thing surely? Yes – it’s time to BULK. Bulk is a term used by gym-goers and body builders to describe a period of time they are going to train hard and eat bigger with a view to growing MUSCLE.
One of the biggest misconceptions in the industry is that it’s possible to ‘just convert the fat into muscle.’ This technically is not right. Muscle only ‘grows’ when it is exercised hard to exhaustion. It’s worked, it tears, it repairs and as a result – it grows.
During the bulking period, in order to grow muscle you need an excess of calories to fuel this work, otherwise, your body will resort to using your muscle as an energy source instead.
The excess calories should come in the form of protein and amino acids (the building block of protein & muscle) or good fat’s.
BODY BUILDING CYCLES
Have you heard the saying, ‘summer bodies are built in the winter?’
Well it’s true – the more muscle you pack on over the winter during your bulk, the easier it is to rip up, and the bigger or leaner you will look when you strip the fat away in the summer.
So here are a few tips to get you started with your winter bulk:
- Don’t be scared of fat.
It’s such a dilemma to be in. We want to get bigger, but we don’t want to put on fat that will be hard to shift during the run up to summer. But try thinking of fat differently – in these circumstances, it’s a means to an end. Eating as cleanly as possible is the best way to reduce the amount of fat you gain, whilst increasing the amount of muscle you acquire during your bulk.
2. Swap your carbs.
During any bulking cycle we would recommend ordering rice or sweet potatoes with your Pro Gains order, but during the winter you can throw in some wholemeal pasta or new potatoes too. These have the faster-acting carbs, which you would normally avoid during a cutting cycle.
The best way to start would be to add an extra meal a day to your order, and pick potato or pasta as the carb source. This will increase your daily intake of calories by 500 on average, while increasing your intake of higher GI carbs.
3. Eating big at night.
Your body grows and repairs at night during sleep, and the biggest growth happens the two nights after resistance training. So for optimal growth during your bulk this season, you need to remember this. So if you have trained chest and biceps on a Monday, then it’s on Monday and Tuesday nights that your actions will result in the most growth in that area. You need good quality sleep and a decent amount of carbs and protein in your system while you are sleeping. (The right amounts for you depend on many factors like your size and metabolism). This is why you need to work by trial and error.
Eating a Pro Gains meals at night, along with your protein shake would be a great way to ensure a good balance of the nutrients required for optimal growth. Monitor your weight for two weeks and if it’s not increased, throw in an extra meal a day to what you are eating. This will give you a good balance of extra protein, carbs and fat to aid in your bulk season.
Read our 6 quick tips on better here.
4. Train two muscle groups at a time only.
One of the biggest mistakes people make in the gym, is over training and not enough rest. You grow during the rest period, in the gym you will break the muscle during the rest period it will grow and repair. Typically you should train one muscle group PER WEEK! Allowing enough time between sessions for you to grow and repair.
A good guide is;
Chest & Biceps Monday
Quads & Hamstrings Tuesday
Back & Calves Thursday
Shoulders & Triceps Friday
You only need 50 minutes to reach exhaustion on these groups, which is another ideal amount of times. Going over 50 minutes will increase cortisol production in the body and be counter productive.
5. Cut down on the cardio but do not forget it.
Many people will stop cardio all together during the summer, but it good for both your health and your routine to keep some cardio in. Even if it’s just a walk when you would normally do some HITT. Instead of it being 5 times a week, make it twice. You will be thankful for it, when you start to cut summer time. Also evidence shows light cardio can increase growth hormone production, which is the golden elixir of youth and body composition.
6. Throw in some extra cheat meals.
You will hear many people talk about clean bulking, which is where you eat extra calories but they always come from good sources. During a cutting cycle, we would recommend a cheat day once a week. But during a bulking one, this can easily be twice a week. You will stay on a better eating pattern, if you do not neglect your treats. Pro Gains Meals are an excellent way to eat cleaner, and healthier. But your cheat meals are equally important to success. Just do not cheat EVERY day!! That’s not going to work & you will just gain too much fat, stripping during the summer will be hard.
We hope these tips will help you to achieve your goals this winter bulk, and remember Summer Bodies are created in the winter. Now is the time to increase you calories, cut down on the cardio and make sure you sleep like a baby.
A Bulk cycle with Pro Gains is so easy, an extra meal or two in your order and you’re on your way!!
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