Getting fat can be a slow and challenging process, and in my opinion, it is even more difficult than losing weight. Getting a cat (aka gaining weight) through a bulking phase means eating a LOT of food, all the time. I’ve compiled a list of tips to help you bulk up effectively and gain as much muscle as possible without gaining too much fat. Gaining fat is inevitable every time you gain weight, but if you follow these tips, you can still maintain a lean physique during your bulking phase.
Now, depending on their metabolism, some people can eat whatever they want and still gain weight without turning into pigs (gaining weight). Let me tell you, those people are rare for one and two, which is extremely unhealthy, even if you don’t gain fat. Third, getting your calories and macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fat) from unhealthy sources is not as effective for gaining muscle. 20 grams of protein from a big mac is not as high a quality protein as 20 grams of protein from grilled chicken. Consuming 2000-5000+ calories of clean food is what makes the bulking phase so challenging, it’s a lot of food. You have to eat all day and you won’t feel like eating part of the time. But I can promise you it will be worth it. You will stay relatively slim and feel much better throughout the entire process.
Gain weight slowly!
Aim to gain between half a pound a week and a maximum of 1 pound a week. Gaining muscle is a slow and complicated process. If you are trying to gain more than a pound per week, you will most likely gain more fat than muscle. You can only gain muscle so fast, so don’t try to go any further as you will only gain too much fat. Now, there are exceptions. If you are gaining a pound a week and notice that you are not gaining any more, then I would say increase it. If you can gain 2 pounds a week and experience minimal fat gain, then great, keep going. But I would say that most people just can’t do this. To avoid getting too fat, do yourself a favor and take it easy.
Increase your calories slowly!
This advice goes hand in hand with gradually gaining weight. DO NOT go from eating 1400-2500 calories a day to more than 3000-5000 calories a day at night. This will only scare your metabolism and cause you to gain more fat than you want. My recommendation would be to take it easy and increase your calories by 500 each week until you reach your calorie goal. Slow and steady wins the race.
I still do cardio!
A common mistake I see every time someone bulks up is that they stop cardio altogether. While doing high intensity cardio every day is not a good idea, you should still do low intensity cardio at least a couple of times a week for a few reasons. Doing cardio every day at high intensity is a bad idea because you’re trying to gain weight and burning more calories just means you have to eat more. Doing low intensity cardio at least twice a week is a good idea because cardio increases your metabolism (which means you’ll be hungrier and able to eat more) and is great for maintaining cardiovascular health. Low intensity cardio will also help you burn the fat that you have accumulated during your bulking phase.
Keep your macro nutrients in check!
When you are trying to gain muscle mass, it is CRUCIAL that you maintain your macronutrients in the proper way. The macronutrients are proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Each of these macronutrients plays a crucial role in building muscle and none of them should be neglected. 8-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight is recommended while bulking up. So if you weigh 200 pounds, you should eat between 160-200 grams of protein a day and no more. Don’t get the misconception that you need more than 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, it is complete BS Your body can only use so much protein and too much (more than 1 gram per pound) is bad for your kidneys and can be stored as fat. In the case of fat, 30-35% of calories should come from fat. Each gram of fat has 9 calories. So if you eat 3000 calories a day, you would do (3000 X.30) / 9 = 100 grams of fat. That would mean that 900 calories (100 grams of fat x 9 calories per gram) come from fat, which would be 30 percent of the 3,000 calories. The rest of your calories should come from carbohydrates. Carbohydrates and protein have 4 calories per gram, so divide your remaining calories by 4 (since carbohydrates are 4 calories per gram) and eat that many grams. So if you are eating 200 grams of protein a day (200 X 4 = 800 calories) and 100 grams of fat a day (100 x 9 = 900 calories) and you are eating 3000 calories a day, you would do the equation (3000-1700 ( combined calories from fat and protein) = 1,300 calories / 4 = 325 grams of carbohydrates per day.
I know all of this information may seem overwhelming and difficult to accept, but I can promise you that once you get the hang of it, you won’t want to stop. Gaining muscle mass can be tricky, but it is essential to creating the physique of your dreams. Not to mention, the more muscle mass you have, the easier it is for you to lose fat and maintain a healthy weight. Follow these steps and I can guarantee that you will gain muscle while maintaining your relatively lean physique.