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Bulking Cycle

This section is for the people who are interested in just bulking up; which in simple terms means eating more and training heavier in order to gain muscle mass and weight. A bulking cycle is mainly for the people who are naturaly skinny or have problems with holding weight due to an unbalanced or unhealthy diet. It can be also useful for people who desire to gain size on a particular muscle group that they have previously missed out, have struggled with or belive that they can improve on. The bulking cycle should basically consist of training hard, eating well and having plenty of rest.

Like everything, there is a right way and a wrong way to do things. I see many people who in an attempt to gain weight just start eating everything in sight, and thus, either overtax their digestive systems, thus not being able to eat several times a day, and/or simply start gaining too much body fat, as the case is for those without a hardgainer metabolism.

In order to gain quality weight the food and nutrients have to be of a high quality nature. Basically eating fatty foods like bugers, chips, take-aways and snack foods like fizzy pop and chocolate will not help in a bulking phase what so ever. These high fat, high carb, high sugar foods will immediately get stored as fat in the body which is not what you are trying to achieve. Gaining weight and muscle mass is not about gaining inches of fat at all, its about gaining even size in all areas of the body, thus making you heavier, giving you more power and energy to lift heavier, and grow bigger!

In this bulk up/weight gain guide I'll teach you the bulking up rules to gaining some solid muscle weight while minimizing fat gains.

Step one:
Start eating around 1.5gs of protein per pound of bodyweight spread out over the entire day.
Depending on how much you weigh is going to mean that you may have to eat 6,7 or even 8 meals a day, but it is neccesary for muscle growth and repair.
Protein sources should come from lean low fat sources like chicken, turkey, lean red meats, tuna, egg whites, mackarel, and salmon etc

Step two:

Increase your carbohydrate intake to between 1.5-2 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight spread out over the entire day.
In order to gain muscle, a carbohydrate increase will be required to keep your energy levels high, and thus fuel your workouts, and in order to help shuttle the amino acids from your proteins into the muscle tissue.
The key thing to ensure that muscle mass is maximized as opposed to fat gain when consuming carbohydrates is to ensure that your intake of them is mostly from low glycemic index ones (slow digesting/released carbs) like brown rice, oatmeal, pasta and sweet potatoes. Limit the higher glycemic complex carbs rice pudding and simple carbs fruit for after the workout when the body needs fast released carbs and proteins in order to quick start the recovery and re-building process and also to help refuel the energy stores (glycogen levels in the muscle and liver) that have been drained. Carbohydrates should be split up evenly throught the day, lets say for average guy weighing 200lb, he will have a rough intake of 300/350gs of carbs, over 6 meals thats about 60gs of carbs per meal, preferably complex carbs, low GI as explained above.

Step three:

Increase your intake of GOOD fats.
Some fats are necessary to ensure good hormonal production and thus muscle growth. Eliminate all fats and see your testosterone levels take a dive. The body needs fats like the Omega Essential Fatty Acids in order to ensure proper hormonal production and brain function. These oils are essential because the body cannot manufacture them and they help with many things like enhanced recovery due to reduced inflammation, enhanced nutrient partitioning due to their ability to neutralize enzymes necessary for fat storage (so this means more calories go toward muscle production and less to fat) and even help with enhancing your mood!

Cardio

During the bulk up stage cardiovascular exercise should be limited to 2-4 sessions per week of 20-45 minutes at the most. This is because we are trying to gain weight and let the body have maximum time and maximum intake of nutrients to recover properly. Doing cardio will hinder repair time and maximum opurtunity for muscle growth as it i will be a secondary set of muscles that now need to recover and recuild.

Supplements for bulking up

Basic useful supplements for bulking up are multi-vitamins and minerals, omega 3 fish oils as with all bodybuilding these supplements are pretty mandatory.
The next handy supplement would be protein shakes, these are quick, easy and convienient for an active person who may struggle to find time at work to eat a meal or two when it is needed. A good weight gainer protein powder would be a better choice whilst on a bulking cycle as they will have a  high carbohydrate level as well as a high protein level thus giving you exactly what you require instead of missing a meal. One last supplement i would reccomend would be creatine, creatine increases exercise performance, muscle size, and strength. It is naturally produced in the body but only in small quantities, supplementing with more gives you the advantage of increasing the energy output thus traing harder and gaining even more mass. One more supplement i nearly forgot to mention is amino acids. Amino acids are the essential building blocks of Proteins, nine of which cannot be manufactured by the body and therefore have to be obtained through food intake or supplemented. You can buy these in powdered forms individualy or in capsules as a collection of amino acids. One example of an amino acid is L-Glutamine, this amino acid is essential for speeding up the recovery of damaged muscles and also helps with muscle aches and pains caused from weight training.

Rest

Do not neglect the important aspect of rest and recovery. You need 7 - 9 hours of sleep each night in order for your body to run efficiently. Getting less sleep than an average of 8 hours per night will cause all sorts of problems with your body, deprived hormonal production, muscle loss, fatigue, unrepaired muscles leading to even more problems including overtraining, aching, loss in muscle size etc
Basically without sleep, your body will not grow, leading to no gains which is totally the oposite to what your trying to achieve!

Conclusion

Eat well, train well, sleep well and you will gain size and weight. Be motivated, disciplined and put care and consideration into everything you do, it matters because there is no other way of doin this, if you want it, put in the time and the effort you will reap the rewards.

Time

The bulking cycle should be continued until you reach your satisfied goal, this could be when you gain two stone in weight or have maximised your muscle growth that is genetically possible. This could be from 2 months up to 6 months or even more, it is totally a personal preferance. When you have completed this stage and wish to commence to the next stage which is the cutting cycle many changes will have to be made and it becomes alot harder with dieting and training etc Have a think about it before you make the decision about cutting up, because if you do not have the dedication and the discipline to diet well its best off staying at the end stage of your bulk cycle and keeping your body that way. The decision is yours, but if you do wish to commence then move on to the cutting cycle page, good luck!