What Is The Best Way To Bulk Up?
This is a question has been submitted in Quora and I found it interesting as lots of bodybuilders look for a clear answer to that question.
The best answer made by Maik Weidenbach, a MauscleMania champion, Published fitness model and fitness instructor.
Bulking up or eating to gain muscle mass is something anyone who has ever picked up a weight has come across. It basically means that you increase your caloric intake above maintenance in order to build huge, beautiful muscles to impress girls or whatever your goal is. Sounds easy enough but does it work?
There are two approaches toward bulking:
First One is The "Get Huge":
where the lifter eats everything in sight for weeks on end, gains a substantial amount of weight, some of it are muscles and then the lifter diets to lose the fat.
The other one is the "Lean Bulk":
where people are so obsessed with losing their abs that they count every calorie in order to only build muscle. After a year, they usually haven't gained a pound and look the same.
I am not thrilled by either approach, since they both have serious drawbacks.
The lean bulking simply doesn't work, in order to gain muscle you ll have to gain some fat with it. That doesn't mean you should resemble a sumo wrestler but you wont have an 8 pack either.
"Get Huge" works in order to gain muscle but does require 16+ weeks of diet in order to see those results. For a natural bodybuilder, it is impossible to diet for that long without losing a substantial amount of muscle, which means your gains are limited. Someone who is chemically enhanced can go this route, since the anabolics will prevent catabolism during the diet. Then there are aesthetics and overall health. An extra 30 lbs simply doesn't look good nor is it a great idea for your heart, liver and joints to carry so much extra weight. I have tried the "Get HUge" and -while it is fun to eat whatever you like- being 250 lbs in the NYC summer wasn't all that great. But I digress.
So whats left to do? I'd suggest to gain a little and then diet for a week in order to limit fat gain and keep you looking great, basically "culking".
Lets cover some basics first. How much muscle can you gain? Despite what the magazines tell you, you will NOT gain 20 lbs of muscle in 8 weeks.
1/2 lb per week would be outstanding, which wold come to 25 lbs a year. That's a figure that novice lifter might achieve; if you are more advanced 6-8 per year would be outstanding. As for fat gain, depending on your nutrition and genetics for every 3 lbs of muscle you will gain 1 lb of fat, some unfortunate individuals might even gain 1 lb of fat for every 1 lb of muscle gained. It's a harsh reality isn't it?
And one last thing, you have to train very hard and lift more weights than you used to lift in order to get bigger muscles. it does not matter whether you press 40 lbs dumbbells or 80 lbs dumbbells, just ask yourself is it hard for you? if the answer is yes, then it will shock and force your muscles to become bigger.