Bulking (not just) for beginners

Bulking (not just) for beginners

04-12-2015
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No matter if you are a beginner, a more experienced bodybuilder or a home warrior: if you set a goal of gaining weight and muscle mass, you will need an action plan. An action plan is a system which will help you reach your goal. Because, if you work out on and off without any serious plan, you can only hope for a better physique: unless you are a genetic freak, your chances for quick and spectacular results are meager. In this article we will give you a simple and detailed explanation on the most important pillars of bulking. These are the things that must be OK if you want to be successful in this sport.

The most important prerequisites of bulking

So, let’s see a simple overview on the things you will need in order to trigger muscle growth. Here’s the list:

  • Proper training
  • Enough rest
  • Proper diet
  • Supplements that match your goals
  • Realistic, still motivating goals.

These five prerequisites are inevitable so you can progress as quickly as you can, or, for progressing at all. Now let’s see these aspects in a little bit more detail!

The bulking routine

This title is a little bit misleading. Because the effect of a specific routine depends on several other factors as well. However, there are certain rules you should observe when compiling yourself a workout routine that serves your bulking goals the best (provided that the rest of the prerequisites are met).

Wait. Before we would go into any more detail: if you are just beginning weight training, you should definitely start with a general workout routine for beginners, no matter what your goals may be. You can read more about this here. This will prepare your body for the load. If you are over it and/or you already have some training experience, you will basically need a split routine with mostly basic exercises. You can find several split routines here. Let us highlight the three-day and the four-day split routines. These are well tried systems, so they are worth a try. But of course, if working a muscle group more times a week fits you better, here is an alternative for you.

Bulking (not just) for beginners

Which approach is better? There is no consensus on this matter. Both can work if you are doing them smartly. You may train by one system for a few months, then switch to the other. All that matters is that the rest of the prerequisites are met! And the next one of these is...

Enough rest

There are still folks today who are not aware of this, so we keep highlighting it again and again: muscles are not growing during workout. Workout will only give them the stimulus, i.e. a signal “telling” them that they need to grow if they “want” to handle such a load in the future. But afterwards, you should let them grow. It’s a bit like studying. The learning material is explained to you during classes, but you have to learn it at home, in peace. Muscles also get the “lecture” during workout. But recovery and growth will take place while resting, provided that your body is supplied with nutrients in sufficient quality and quantity. But we’ll talk about it later.

What are the correct proportions? It strongly depends on your individual disposition; the amount of sleep you get; whether you are a physical worker or you have a white-collar job; your diet; your supplements etc. But in general, 3-5 workouts a week and rest (i.e. no weight training) on the other days is a system that works. It’s recommended to really “rest” on these days. This means, you should not play football until you drop every day, and you should be careful with other aerobic activities as well.

IMPORTANT: this does NOT mean you should not even move your little finger! Light jogging, a little bit of cardio or any other sport activity once or twice a week might even do you good, provided that you compensate for the energy you lose this way. To sum it up: if you are bulking, you should have no less than 3 and no more than 5 workouts a week. Moderate aerobic or even more intense cardio activities are alright once or twice a week. Bulking doesn’t mean you should become a lazy bum; endurance should remain important even in this period. We are not gym rats but real athletes. So we will not sweat gallons if we have to run a few meters to catch the bus, for example.

Now let’s see the next prerequisite. This might be the most difficult of all, namely...

Proper diet

This is the Achilles heel for about 80-90% of the folks at the gym. They tend to forget about one simple question: What will you build muscles from? Your body cannot build extra muscle from nothing. This means: if you don’t supply your muscles with the necessary building material and energy, your results will be minimal. Of course, you will get more toned and your body composition may improve a bit, too, as your system is trying to adapt to the load. However, in the long run, you may have to face a plateau in your progress, or even overtraining. Many believe that success is decided in the kitchen in about 70%. In this respect, bulking entails exactly the same task for beginners and more experienced bodybuilders as well. Alright, this number may be a little bit exaggerated. Still it illustrates the importance of diet in bulking well. A bulking diet is essential if you want to increase your muscle mass in the shortest time possible. You can read a lot about this here. We strongly recommend you to read it, but the rough outlines are also presented in this article.

A bulking diet is essential

Proteins are the “building blocks” of muscles. You cannot build anything without building material. Plus, you will need energy, too. Have you ever seen a power tool that was running without any fuel or energy? See? Energy is provided by carbs and fats. Furthermore, even the best machine may have a breakdown without proper lubrication or maintenance. In the human body, this job is done by vitamins and minerals.

To sum it up: for building muscle mass, you need to increase your bodyweight. And this requires proteins, carbohydrates, fats and vitamins in the right amounts. And preferably in the right proportions. Without going into too much detail about this (because we already have in the article mentioned above), in general, we can say that you should eat a lot of meat, eggs and fish with healthy sides, not white bread or pasta made of fine wheat flour. You should not forget about veggies either; they contain fibers which are important for your health and digestion. There are plenty of articles and downloadable materials on this matter; it’s worth digging yourself through them, as these are virtually the key to your success! And most of all: you should consume more nutrients than what your body uses on a daily basis. Otherwise, how could you increase your bodyweight, and from what?

Now that your diet is alright, more or less, we can talk about the most important dietary supplements.

Supplements that match your goals

Wording matters a lot. Why? Because, if you are bulking, you should not take fat burners, hoping that they will get you lean muscle mass; you should not potter about taking amino acids separately; and no, creatine is not the most important supplement for you. Remember: building material, energy and lubrication. Proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins. These are the basics. Each of them is a must. So, your most important supplements are:

  • A mass gainer that fits your goals and body type the best; you can read more about this here; or
  • Proteins and carbohydrates mixed in the right proportion; and
  • A potent multivitamin complex, developed for athletes.

Provided that your diet and basic supplements are OK, then, and only then, you may add creatine, wonder pre-workout igniters (NO-boosters), testosterone boosters or magical amino tablets. But these should not be the most important ones. Always remember: building material, energy and lubrication. Without these, you will get nowhere, no matter how many extras you are tuning your “machine” with! It’s as simple as that. You shouldn’t waste your money on unnecessary stuff until the basics are settled.

Another important thing: A proper diet is essential. Why? Think it over: let’s say you don’t eat enough. You buy a weight gainer, hoping that it will help. But if you have no idea how much you eat, because you have never measured your food, it might happen that even with the weight gainer or protein, your daily calorie intake is STILL BELOW the amount that would be necessary for your system to build new muscle mass beyond maintaining itself. You can only grow extra muscles from extra nutrients. And then you might say the mass gainer “doesn’t work”. But the truth is, your daily calorie intake is still below the amount that would be necessary for your body to grow. To sum it up: Use supplements smartly!

Use supplements smartly!

Realistic, still motivating goals

You wouldn’t believe how important this is, and how much your goals matter, too. Many tend to set their goals too high. This would not be a problem in itself; but it can be a problem if you want it too quickly or, if the goal is too distant, because it will not be motivating after a while. We suggest that you think in shorter time spans as well. Set a quarterly, a half-yearly or a yearly goal. You may also have a weekly plan, especially for the weights you use. To sum it up: set your goals first, and you may adjust them to your progress along the way. Your goal should be achievable within the given period, and challenging at the same time, so you need to work for it. Otherwise, you won’t be motivated. Ideally, you love training, so training itself is your motivation. But if you set a more serious goal, you should definitely break your plan down to partial goals. These smaller goals should be achievable, but still motivating. When you hit the gym, don’t try to be Arnold right away. You may set it as a long-term goal – although this may overlap with the “unrealistic” category – but you should have a short-term goal first, for the next few months, for which you can work day by day. This is more important than you might think!

Now it’s your turn!

Train hard, but not too much. Have enough rest. Eat right. Don’t buy all kinds of unnecessary stuff, but take the basic supplements. Set achievable, still motivating goals. If these five things are OK, nothing can stop you from reaching the goals you have set!



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