When you tell people that you want to gain weight, the response is usually pretty predictable. They assume that it’s going to be an easy task, and express jealousy that you get to eat so much. In reality, bulking can be a fairly difficult feat even the most seasoned weightlifters. Whether you’re a typical ‘hardgainer’ or just struggle to find the time to fit all that food in, there are often obstacles that need to be overcome. If you nail the basics, bulking doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult. Get these steps right and you’ll be on the fast track to big gains.
- Add extras where necessary. It’s tricky to get everything you need from your diet, particularly if you’re short in time and resources. That’s where specialist products can come in and make everything easier. Track down the best glutamine supplement to keep your muscle growth on track, and pound a few protein shakes with whole milk every day to up your calorie and protein intake. If food isn’t cutting it, there are other ways to get what you need.
- Know your macros. Getting sufficient calories is essential to a successful bulk, but the wrong macronutrient combination could set you up for failure. Make sure you’re getting plenty of protein to feed those muscles, and balance your diet out with whole grain carbs, fats, and vegetables. Your target macronutrient numbers will depend on your personal needs, but there are plenty of online calculators that will help you get the figures right.
- Eat lots, and often. Having said that, food is pretty important when bulking. A good weight gain diet and a solid heavy lifting plan will be the foundations of your bulk, so make sure you’re aware of exactly how much you need to eat, and what kind of macronutrient composition you should be aiming for. Calculate your TDEE and add around 500 calories – that should give you a reasonable baseline for starting out. Eating more often can make getting all that food in far more manageable, so schedule regular meals throughout the day.
- Focus on clean gains. It’s a whole lot easier to gain a few extra kilos when you’re grabbing fast food for dinner everyday, but you’re far more likely to land up with an increased body fat percentage rather than more muscle mass that way. If you want to maximize growth while minimizing fat gain, try to eat unprocessed foods, complex carbs, and quality lean proteins to reach your diet goals for the day. Steer clear of high-sugar snacks or cheap, unhealthy fats and focus on more nutritious options if you want to stay healthy while you bulk.
- Choose calorie dense options. If you’re the kind of person that struggles with weight gain diets because you just feel too full to cram any more food into your stomach, opting for calorie dense choices will be your best bet. Eggs (including the yolk) can help, as well as full-fat dairy products, avocados, and weight gain shakes. You can make your own homemade shakes using olive (or coconut) oil, oats, peanut butter, whole milk, and other calorie dense foods – liquids tend to go down easier than solids when the gaining gets tough.