Is there such a thing called 'Bulking Season' and are we about to enter it? As Summer fades and the colder weather sets in we associate this time as being acceptable to eat more and lift heavier weights when you are in the gym, but is there a secret to gaining weight and are you doing it properly? I personally don't like the term bulking as it encourages people to just eat whatever they want and this mostly involves eating sugary, refined rubbish to gain weight. Is this the right way to go about increasing muscle mass? Here is what I think...
In order to gain muscle mass you must put your body into a calorie surplus so that these additional calories can gradually increase your weight. The trick however is knowing how much to have on a daily basis and this can firstly be calculated by working out your BMR (basal metabolic rate). Once you know this number you can then check your daily activity level and what you approximately burn throughout your day including workouts. Now the fun part, you can add on however many calories you see fit as a calorie surplus which might be anything from 300 - 1000 depending on body type.
Randomly plucking out a high figure calorie diet is the worse thing you can do, this stuff is down to a science and you need to be accurate otherwise you will likely put on body fat which you don't want to do.
Use A Weight Gainer
The first option you might want to consider is using a weight gainer protein shake that contains extra calories. This is possibly the easiest way of gaining those calories your body desires without having to prep or cook anything. However do not use a weight gainer that is going to contain over a thousand calories and bloats you out. Be careful which one you go for because in order to gain muscle mass you make sure you eat enough. Bloating yourself with a large calorie protein shake might make you feel too full for your next few meals, so choose wisely and always speak to myself or Tom for advice.
Do you train hard enough in the gym? Simple question and most of you think you will do, but I guarantee you don't and this isn't me being arrogant. Your training needs to adjust when wanting to grow and the best way to grow is by hitting heavy compound movements. Making leg training a priority and for some of you this will mean hitting them twice per week and not just once. Performing exercises likes squats, deadlifts, lunges, rows, bench press etc will release human growth hormone within you that signals the body to grow. Hitting these exercises over biceps curls is going to help you grow faster and make you a lot stronger.
Eating is important and so is training hard, rest however gets over looked sometimes but this is equally as crucial to you gaining adequate muscle size. How often should you rest per week is a very good question and it really does depend on how you are feeling and what you have been doing. When you lift heavy weights you might find yourself feeling more tired than usual and therefore you should look to schedule more rest days than normal. Why rest? Well, rest in order to grow so that your body can heal itself making it stronger than before. You will grow best when you give yourselves time away from the gym and lifting weights.