So you’ve paid 4 installments of $19.99 for Billy the Bulker’s “Ultimate Mass Short Cut System to Real Gains without Becoming a Human Pin Cushion” program featuring a 250lb bodybuilder at 4% bf screaming as he curls the fiddies. Your calendar is marked in black sharpie “Day 1” and in just 8 weeks you can get your tat of Bruce Banner, mid-Hulk without it being “ironic”… Whatever you may have bought into in the past, you’re wiser now and most likely have put together a pretty good program to soup up your size.
If you’re new to the bodybuilding/bulking season we recommend reviewing “Mass Factors Pt 1 and Pt 2”. If making progress is all about… well progress, you’ll need to continually find better ways to prevent plateauing. Victor Engonu, Pro Natural Bodybuilder says: “This is why it's important to keep track of your progress via notes, mirror, weight scale, logging food intake, recovery etc. By doing this, you'll know which factors play what roles in your effort to achieve the physique you desire. Once you have a record of your recent progress, the next step is to outline a list of things you believe are slowing your gains as well as factors that could potentially be helping your growth.” We spoke with Victor regarding the top 3 factors halting your results and the top 3 that you should continue doing.
A personal example of my top 3 gain-derailers were that I wasn't getting enough sleep. As mentioned in the first installment of "The Bulk", rest is one of, if not the most important, factor to promoting muscle growth. Being a full-time Masters student along with a training and normal life can make it difficult to get in more than a couple of hours of shut-eye per night but I have since revamped my sleep schedule for proper recovery. Another issue that wasn't optimal for my bulk was poor flexibility which indirectly affected growth by restricting my range of motion for max overload in certain exercises. I now employ 3-5 min of stretching after every gym session. The last thing that needed adjustment was my suboptimal training style. I began my bodybuilding career in a powerlifting gym where weight was heavy, reps were low, and rest periods were long. Although it did great for building my strength, it wasn't the best for muscle gain. Over the past years I have done away with training like a powerlifter and adopted traditional and current bodybuilding approaches resulting in some of my best development.
Keep Doing This!
Listing the factors that improve growth is just as important as those that slow it down. For me, consuming enough calories was never an issue as I always have an appetite and a semi-fast metabolism which means I can eat plenty to gain quality size. But I still keep an eye on net calories to prevent unwanted fat gain. I can also say my water intake is ideal for building muscle. During my recent contest season, I was drinking 3 gallons of water per day which not only kept hunger cravings at bay but also assisted with maintaining muscle fullness and promoting fat-loss. For a bulking plan, it assists with nutrient partitioning, toxin removal and overall health, all of which are crucial for muscle to grow. Aiming for 1-1.5 gallons a day should work fine to reap all of these benefits. Supplementation trial and error has also added to my progress. Figuring the best way to implement supplements into your bulking regimen can add additional stimuli for muscle growth. My go-to products include USPlabs ModernBCAA+ (during training), ModernPROTEIN (post workout), ModernPRE+ (Pre Workout), SuperCissus (award winning joint product) and Ultimate-T (cortisol control and testosterone support). You can't go wrong with USPlabs products but do make sure you have your diet and training in place first.
I hate to say it, but throughout all of the magazines, online sites and instruction from the top fitness trainers, there are no cookie cutter programs that will give you the perfect bulking plan. However, there is one way to ensure that your gains never cease and that's through good old trial and error. As long as you adopt and utilize the basics of clean bulking, you can customize the exact muscle building blueprint for you. So before your next workout, get into the habit of busting out the notepad to track and adjust the factors that may or may not be working for your Bulk!
Disclaimer The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of USPlabs or any employee thereof. Examples used within this article are only examples. USPlabs is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the authors of this article. Content contributors are not employees of USPlabs. Authors may have been remunerated by USPlabs.
The information provided in this article, as well as this web-site blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice for any condition. Always consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. By reading this disclaimer, you hereby agree and understand that the information provided in this column is not medical advice and relying upon it shall be done at your sole risk.