The holidays seemed like the perfect kick start to a bulking diet. A half ton of calories in the form of pumpkin pie and glazed ham is enough fuel to fill out that XL Barbell Club Tee. This may have been your plan, but shoveling more poundage than a nor'easter isn’t going to do you any favors. So, put down your cocoa puffs and double cheese with bacon, we’ve recruited Victor Egonu, natural pro bodybuilder, to get you the recipe for rock hard mass.
Take a look at your previous bulking plan and jot down what you liked and didn't like, and what could be made better. For me, I didn't like the fact that I was overeating and stuffing my face at every opportunity I got with a "more is better" mentality regarding the calories I was consuming. The end result was that I gained more fat than muscle mass, not my intention. So, I went back to the drawing board and revamped my methods with a new plan to add quality size. I think the most effective way to add lean muscle mass while keeping body fat gain to a minimum is to alternate between a bulking phase and short cut phases interspersed throughout known as "periodic" or "cyclical" bulking. I also like to manipulate 4 factors to ensure I reap the most from the plan and they are nutrition, training, recovery and cardio.
Cyclical bulking is typically divided into cycles of 3 phases. A strength phase, a mass/hypertrophy phase and a short cut phase. Ex: If you want to do a 4 week cycle= 1 week strength, 2 week mass, 1 week cut. I personally do 8 week cycles which are 3 week strength phases, 4 week mass and 1 week cut. After two-8-week cycles, I will take one week off from the weights (optional, but a de-load week should be structured in at some point to maximize recovery).
Factor #1 (Nutrition)
When it comes to the 4 factors, the first and most important one should be nutrition. To gain size, you need to eat a surplus of calories (macros of protein, carbs and healthy fats) to facilitate growth. A good rule of thumb is to multiply your bodyweight by 17-20 to get an idea of the range for a caloric surplus zone. Next, it's important to set up an optimal carbs/protein/fat macro ratio to track your food. 45% carbs, 35% protein and 20% fats seems to work well for most. So here's an example:
Body weight= 180lbs….180x17=3,060 calories. 0.45x3000=1350cals. 1350/4=337.5 g carbs. 0.35x3000=1050cals. 1050/4=262.5 g protein. 0.2x3000=600cals. 600/9=66 g fats.
So there you have it; 340g carbs, 260g protein, 65g fats as your bulking caloric surplus. You can divvy them up by 4-6meals/day and your diet is set. Of course you will want to select foods that fit those values but don't feel like you have to restrict yourself to staple bodybuilding foods as variety is beneficial and recommended. After your nutrition and diet has been set, check out some supplements that will amplify your results such as USPlabs ModernBCAA+, ModernPROTEIN and ModernPRE.
Sample diet for Day 1 of "The Bulk" Body Weight: 180lbs Caloric Surplus = 3000 calories @ macro ratio of 45%Carbs (340g), 35%Protein (260g), 20%Fats (65g)
- Breakfast : 1 Cup Pancake Mix, 1 Scoop USPlabs ModernPROTEIN (added to batter), 2 whole Eggs // USPlabs SuperCissus
- Snack: 1 Cup Cooked Pasta, 6oz Chicken Breast
- Lunch: 1 Medium Sweet or Russet potato or 1 Cup Rice, 6oz 93/7 Ground Beef
- Pre-workout: 1 Large Bagel or 2 slices of Whole Grain Bread, 6oz 93/7 ground turkey |1-2 Scoop(s) USPlabs ModernPRE+
- Post workout: 2 Cups of Breakfast Cereal | 2 soops USPlabs ModernPROTEIN (added as milk to cereal…amazing taste!) | 1-2 Scoops USPlabs ModernBCAA+ (taken intra-workout)
- Dinner/Night 1 Cup Vegetables, 6oz Grilled Salmon | 2 SuperCissus
Let us know if you have any questions regarding your bulk, and be sure to follow Victor for motivation and more great info!
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.