If you were to browse the web on weight-related topics, 9 times out of 10, the articles you found would be based almost exclusively on weight loss. Every single day there are millions of people constantly struggling with their weight and looking for viable and effective solutions to help them get in shape and shed those excess pounds. Whilst it is very important to ensure your weight is healthy and under control, that does not always necessarily mean you may need to lose weight. Sometimes people may struggle with their weight for the opposite reasons, as they may be vastly underweight and may need to gain weight for medical reasons. Other times, people simply wish to bulk up and gain weight because they may be looking to increase their muscle mass and build lean muscle. Whatever your reasons for gaining weight may be, the important thing to remember is that you must do so in a healthy and controlled manner. Here’s a look at a few vital things you need to know if you’re trying to bulk up.
You should focus on healthy and balanced meals
Some people when trying to bulk up, will use the process as an excuse to binge eat and to consume as much junk as they like, which is not healthy. When you’re bulking up, it is vital that you consume plenty of nutrient-dense foods and ingredients to help nourish your body and give it what it needs. Remember, we need vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients for countless health-related reasons as they play essential roles in countless physiological processes internally. Without the necessary nutrients, our bodies will not function as well as they should, and our health will deteriorate and suffer. Not only that, but you will find it much harder to build muscle, and you will likely store excess body fat instead. The odd treat here and there is fine, but 90% of the time, make sure your meals are healthy and balanced.
Healthy fats are essential
For gaining weight, healthy fats are essential for countless reasons. Healthy fats help strengthen the heart, they lower harmful LDL cholesterol levels, they boost brain health and brain power, they boost the metabolism, and they help strengthen numerous other major internal organs in the process. They are also very useful because 1g of fat contains 9 calories, as opposed to carbs and proteins, which contain just 4 calories. To bulk up and gain weight, a caloric surplus must be achieved, and getting enough healthy fats is therefore essential. Great sources of healthy fats include: coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, oily fish, whole eggs, grass-fed protein, grass-fed dairy and organic nut butters.
You must create a caloric surplus to gain weight
Whilst most people struggle to lose weight, some people are the exact opposite as they may find it easy to lose weight, and it difficult to gain weight. In order for you to bulk up, you must ensure you have created a caloric surplus, which basically means you must be taking in more calories than you are burning off. A lot of people make the mistake of simply aiming for slightly more the recommended daily intakes for adults of their gender, which is not always the best strategy. You see, different people are different sizes, and so they need different amounts of calories. A 5ft 8 man who weighs 190 pounds, may only require 2300 calories per day for maintenance, whereas a 6ft 4 man who weighs 240 pounds will need closer to 2800 calories per day. You can work out your daily calorie requirements by using online calculators and tools. When working out your calories for the day however, you must also make sure you factor in exercise and physical activity, as if you are very active, you will burn more calories so you will need more than average.
Exercise can help or hinder your progress
When you are trying to bulk up and gain weight, the type of exercise you are doing each week will play a role in the results you see. For example, if you are trying to bulk up, performing strenuous cardio 4 – 5 times per week will have the exact opposite effect, as cardio burns calories. If you are training with heavy weights, with a fairly low volume however, you will find it easier to build muscle and therefore increase your overall mass and size. The key here is to train according to your goals and targets.
Your workouts must be productive
Sadly, bulking up isn’t just a case of drinking a protein shake or mass gainer, and then sitting on your butt shovelling potato chips into your mouth. If you wish to bulk up and increase your overall muscle mass, you must ensure that you are training hard in the gym. When you step foot into the gym, you must make sure that you have plenty of energy, that you are focussed, and that you are driven. If not, you may as well not bother. Building muscle is very, very hard, so you must make sure you push yourself a little harder every time you train. If you performed 10 reps on a certain exercise the previous workout, try to get 11 or 12 reps, or throw a few additional pounds on the bar and aim for 10 reps again. Always push yourself and always aim to better yourself in some way or another, even if it does mean doing 1 more rep or using a little more weight. If your workouts are easy, you aren’t pushing your body enough and you just will not grow.
Mass gainers are useful
When bulking, there is no substitute for whole food, so if it comes down to groceries or supplements, groceries will win every time. If however, you can easily afford both and can see yourself realistically utilizing both, you may wish to look into a good quality mass gainer to help you pack on the size. Mass gainers contain proteins, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and healthy fats, and provide a lot of calories per serving. If you are struggling to eat enough calories per day, try drinking some of them instead. A mass gainer shake can provide several hundred calories at a time, whilst some may provide more than a thousand calories per serving, which certainly makes life a little easier.