A lot of skinny guys want to bulk up and add quality muscle mass. With all the misinformation out there, it can be difficult to know what steps to take to reach these goals. The process is not complicated, but the more you know, the easier it is to succeed.
The difference between those who bulk up successfully and others who fail is preparation. Make certain that everything you do serves the purpose of bulking up. Every aspect of your bulking diet and your lifting program should make sense and serve to further your aims.
If you follow these five steps, you’ll be well on your way to building muscle and increasing your fitness levels.
One: Track your dietMost professional bodybuilders say “muscles are made in the kitchen“. What they mean is that without a proper bulking diet, you will suffer with sub-optimal results.
So how do you know if your diet is holding you back? It’s simple. Keep accurate records detailing everything you eat. With accurate data and a good nutrition-tracking program or service, you can easily keep track of:
- the ratios of macronutrients in your diet
- your daily calorie intake
- your fiber intake
- the ratio of saturated to unsaturated fats
- how your carbs rank on the Glycemic Index
Either use a spreadsheet to track your diet, or take advantage of one of the many free, web-based nutrition databases.
Read online workout and food logs for additional details.
Two: Get in shape
- live a sedentary lifestyle
- are a novice weightlifter
- lifted weights in the past but are now out of condition
You probably can’t jump right into a bulking program at full intensity. The full-body workout that you will use to maximize your progress is not for the faint of heart.
Before you begin your bulking routine, schedule yourself for two or three weeks of general purpose fitness training. Focus on these things:
- Increase your flexibility and range of motion
- Ensure you have sufficient joint mobility
- Work on your muscular endurance
Later, as you begin bulking, you will work out with high intensity. A few weeks of preparation will reduce your chance of injury and reduce the rate at which you accumulate body fat. Use this general fitness training period to review all the information available about bulking up; when you begin bulking in earnest, you will know exactly what you are doing and why. Also make sure you have the equipment you need to reach your goals, and learn how to use it.
Three: Design a Bulking Diet
Before bulking, you need to get your bulking diet squared away.
- Figure out how much protein you need to eat every day
- Determine the percentage of your total caloric intake that should come from dietary fat
- Use the Harris-Benedict equation to get a rough estimate of your total caloric needs during a bulking phase and use that number to determine your carbohydrate requirements
Read How to design a bulking diet for more information.
Four: Lift WeightsLifting weights while on a bulking diet is mandatory. If you consume excess calories without lifting, the vast majority of your weight gain will come in the form of fat. This is especially true for skinny ectomorphs.
Be sure to choose a bulking routine that features progressive overload. If you lift the same weight day in and day out, you will fail to add muscle mass. Progression and overload are essential to your success.
Five: Track your Progressfitness tracker so you can see, at a glance, how you are progressing.
Once your progress stalls, look into periodization to keep the gains coming as long as possible.
Unless you constantly challenge your body with new levels of intensity, your progress will stall and your bulking diet will make you fat.
Succeed at bulking up by leaving nothing to chance
If you follow the five steps for bulking up, you will have no grey areas in your bulking plan: everything will fall into place and you will succeed. Knowledge is power; if you don’t understand why you are doing something, you won’t commit to it and it may not work. Learn what to do, then follow through with things and make them happen!
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