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When it comes to achieving your dream body composition, there are usually 3 phases of training you have to go through: bulking, cutting and finally, maintenance.
Done right and a bulk will lead to a lot of muscle and strength gains. Done wrong and a bulk can just result in you gaining fat.
To prevent the latter, here is part one of The Ultimate Guide to Bulking: The Nutrition.
You need to be in a calorie surplus (but don’t use it as an excuse to get into unhealthy eating habits)
In order to bulk successfully, you have to be putting more calories in your body than you’re burning off throughout the day.
This will mean gaining some fat, but if you do it right, it will also mean gaining a hell of a lot of muscle.
We would recommend increasing your daily calories by between 250-500 calories a day, depending on your starting point and what your end goal is.
Be warned though, being in a calorie surplus should not mean sacrificing your overall health.
Try and get the majority of your calories from whole foods and not from processed foods that are high in sugar and saturated fats.
Get your macros right
During a bulk it is not only important that you’re putting enough in your body, but it is also important that what you are putting in your body is giving it everything it needs to grow.
This is why your macro breakdown is so essential.
Getting enough protein is vital for muscle growth.
Recommendations vary from between 1.5g to 2g of protein for every kilo of bodyweight.
Depending upon your goals and your dietary preferences, you want to be aiming towards the upper end of this scale in order to optimise your muscle protein synthesis (a fancy way of saying making the gains).
While you might not want to gain unnecessary amounts of fat during your bulk, getting enough fat in your diet is vital for regular hormonal function.
Making sure you’re getting between 20-30% of your daily calories from fats can help with testosterone production, which subsequently helps with muscle growth.
Just try and make sure the majority of your fats are coming from unsaturated fats!
Last but not least is carbs.
In order to fulfil the training intensity required for a successful bulk (we will talk more about this in part two), it is vital that you are getting enough carbs.
How much you should be consuming is very much dependent on your activity levels.
However, given the fact you’re bulking your training is likely to be predominantly high intensity, strength training, we would recommend around 5g for every kilogram of body weight.
As we all know, bulking is not just about what happens in the kitchen, it is also about how you’re training.
Stay tuned for the ultimate guide to bulking part two where we will be talking about the training.
Until then, let us know in the comments below the one food that gets you through bulking season!
Images from Balance Meals. Check them out here for more bulking food inspiration.