You need to get to know your body type and this can only be done with some trial and error in the gym and the kitchen. Some people can just look at a weight and grow muscle while many people refer to themselves as hard gainers. In truth hard gainers will just have to eat more food to bulk up than non hard gainers which can be either a blessing or a curse depending on how you look at it. Hard gainers may find it harder to gain muscle but on the plus side they will stay leaner than most. Whatever body type you have the rules of bulking up are the same for everyone. You simply need to eat more calories than your body needs and you also need to perform heavy compound exercises. When you put it like this the whole process of bulking up and gaining muscle doesnt sound so scary.
The first, and probably the most important, rule of bulking up is that you must eat more calories than your body needs. Many people take this is a great excuse for gorging on junk food and eating whatever they feel like but I can tell you from experience that this will just make you fat. Unless you are using some kind of anabolic, you need to make sure the food you are eating is of a very high quality. This generally means cutting out all junk or processed food and eating lots of lean meat, complex carbohydrates, vegetables and good fats. The cleaner your diet is when bulking up the less fat you will gain and the better you will look at the end of it. It is impossible to lose fat and build muscle at the same time so you need to decide on your goal. If you really want to bulk up significantly you will have to accept the fact that along with some quality muscle you will probably gain a small amount of extra body fat. Notice I said small amount of body fat and this does not mean using this as an excuse to eat junk food.
Dont freak out about this because when you gain muscle your body will look naturally leaner anyway and your metabolism will be increased meaning it is fairly easy to cut down your body fat. Most bodybuilders have bulking and cutting phases which athletes might refer to as an on season and an off season. You can bulk up for a couple of months and then diet down for another few months. Most people who go on to gain substantial muscle mass do several bulking and cutting cycles a year. Athletes involved in sports can use time during the off season to bulk up and cut down in time for the on season. Always remember that bulking up and building muscle takes time and you should not expect miracle results after a few weeks. The key to successfully gaining weight is to eat well, train smart and be persistent.
Bulking Up Tips
Lift more weight
This one sounds obvious but if you are looking to gain size you need to train with fairly heavy weights. Ideally you should try and increase the amount of weight you lift each week. If you are getting stronger then that is a very good sign that you will soon get bigger. As a rule of thumb, if your strength goes up then you should find yourself getting bigger.
When it comes to exercise choice you should always make sure you focus your workouts around the big three exercises, the squat, bench press and deadlift. These compound exercises will tax all of the muscles in your body and help you bulk up faster than any other exercises. If you do not include the big three moves in your exercise regime then you are seriously short changing yourself when it comes to bulking up. In terms of bulking up, squats and deadlifts are your best friend as they tax all the muscles in your body and release more growth hormone and testosterone than single joint exercises.
If you want to bulk up and gain weight then aim to perform around 8- 12 reps for most exercises. There is always debate over the number of reps you need to perform to gain muscle but to keep it simple you should use 8-12 reps for gaining muscle, 1-6 reps for getting stronger and 15-20 reps for muscular endurance.
Cardiovascular exercise is great for your health but it will be your worst enemy when you are trying to gain weight, especially if you are a natural hard gainer. The problem with cardiovascular exercise when you are bulking up is that cardio burns off valuable calories needed for gaining weight. There is nothing wrong with one or two light cardio sessions if you are bulking up but most trainers would advise you to keep it to an absolute minimum if you are serious about bulking up.
Eat More Food
Food is the key to bulking up properly and you need to make sure you are eating regular and often. This sounds simple but can actually be a real chore when bulking up. You should aim to eat a protein rich meal with plenty of complex carbohydrate every three hours. This kind of constant eating can be fun at first but quickly gets tiring after a month or so. Whole foods are more important than protein shakes when it comes to bulking up so never ignore a good diet. The more consistent you are with your eating, the faster you will bulk up and see results. Aim to eat three or four solid meals a day and drink two to three protein shakes in between meals. I find it hard to stick to strict calorie counting and find that getting to know your body well though experience is the best way to determine how much you should be eating.
Eat More Protein
You need more protein than an average person if you want to build muscle. When it comes to bulking up, getting enough protein is essential. Some good protein choices when bulking up are steak, eggs, whey protein and chicken breast.
Get More Rest
In order to grow muscle and bulk up you will actually need to rest more than usual. Your body grows stronger and repairs itself when you are sleeping, not in the gym. Try and aim for about 9 hours sleep a night to improve your results.
Dont Over Train
It is tempting to follow the 6 days a week training regimes that most muscle magazines try to sell you but unless you are taking steroids then these will quickly cause you to become over trained and will actually start to make you smaller and weaker. A natural bodybuilder shouldnt generally train with weights for more than three or maybe four days a week at the most.
What To Eat To Bulk up
Nutrition can be a pretty confusing topic for someone who wants to bulk up and gain muscle but it neednt be because the basics of bulking up nutrition are pretty simple. A good diet is one of the most important variables when it comes to bulking up and its something that you should think carefully about. In order to bulk up and gain muscle you should eat lean meats, dairy, vegetables, complex carbs and healthy fats. I have written out a list of the most important foods you should eat if you want to bulk up. Ideally you want about 30% of your calories to come from protein, 50% from complex carbohydrate and 20% of your calories from healthy fats.