I was on one of the more popular question and answer sites the other day, and there was a question about bulking.
I added a comment to it, but, I wanted to expand on it here on the blog.
KNOW YOUR BODY
The biggest misconception about bulking up in order to gain muscle, is this.
People, almost always, give advice like, well, since you are sixteen all you need to do is train heavy and eat everything in sight.
The trouble with this advice is that, it does not take into account the person’s body-type.
Are you naturally skinny.
Or do you constantly have to watch everything you put into your mouth so that you do not gain too much body-fat.
For the naturally skinny guy—go for it train hard, get extra rest, and eat everything you can.
Sure, you, might add some body-fat, but, it will not be a big deal.
However, if you always need to watch your diet—and you tried the above approach, well, there is a very good chance, that you would add so much body-fat, that any muscle you gained would not be worth it.
Before I continue, I would to include a comment.
Just remember, any body-fat you gain when bulking up—will eventually need to be burned off.
For my money, the better approach for someone looking to add lean muscle is to do this.
First, start off by monitoring everything you are eating—for a week.
Yes, this means that you will need to write everything down.
This will be your baseline.
Now to this add in two hundred calories or so.
I would go with it being mostly protein, but, this is just me.
Keep this level for two weeks, all the while, checking your body-fat level.
The best way to do this, is to use the mirror and the way your clothes are fitting.
If, after the two weeks, you find that you are adding too much fat—do not decrease the calories, add in a half-hour of moderate intensity cardio—like fast waking, three days per week.
Stay with this for two weeks and check again.
If you are still gaining too much fat—increase the cardio by one more day.
Chances are, this should be enough to stop the body-fat gain.
If not, make sure all of the extra two hundred calories are from protein, and not carbs.
It is a balancing act, and you have to keep at it, until you find the right number of extra calories that you can consume—without adding too much fat.
Same goes for the person with a fast metabolism, you may need to increase your calories by five-hundred or more per day—in order to see any gains.
Yes, it will take some work—but, when you start adding lean muscle—and not body-fat, you will be happy that you put in the effort.
I know, a lot of people will disagree with me on this, but, I feel even the person with a fast metabolism should do some cardio—very easy—like moderate walking—three days per week.
I feel this way, because, it is good for your health.
Yes, doing it this way, will take some time, and for the person who adds body-fat easily, there really is no room for cheating—but, again, adding even just five pounds of lean—and I mean lean—muscle per year, will add up, and one day, you will look in the mirror and be very happy with what you see.
If you are looking to add lean muscle—muscle that you will be happy to show off—to your body, take the slow and steady approach.
Sure, it might take longer, but, the results will be well worth the wait!