8 Essential Bulking Tips for Beginners
According to research, approximately 22% of men and 5% of women feel that they do not have enough muscle. This muscular-related dysmorphia leads to many unhealthy behaviors in the hopes that they can put on more muscle. These unhealthy behaviors, such as overeating and overtraining, adds a lot of stress to the body which can actually make it harder to build muscle. So the problem is, how can you build more muscle without sacrificing your health and well-being? How do you know which bulking tips are good for your health, or bad for your health? Also, the last thing you want to do is follow a bulking plan that is a waste of time and energy.
Thankfully, we’ve created this guide with scientifically proven bulking tips and techniques, so you can properly build your desired muscle.
Keep on reading to learn how to build muscle safely, so that you can achieve that muscular dream body you have always wanted.
Let’s get started.
The Science Behind Muscle Building
There is a lot of talk in the bodybuilding world about bulking and putting on lean muscle, but what exactly does that mean? The science behind muscle building is quite fascinating, and it is also important that you understand how it works before getting started on a plan.
Muscle building, otherwise known as hypertrophy, is an increase in the growth of myocytes (muscle cells). While there are specific hypertrophy workouts, it involves much more than simply just lifting heavy weights to get the results you need. Just like every other cell in the body, your myocytes need fuel, which comes from diet and lifestyle.
There are two categories of muscular hypertrophy:
Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy refers to the amount of muscle glycogen storage you have. This allows you to have more sustained energy (endurance) for the type of training you decide to do.
This type of hypertrophy includes lighter weights with higher repetitions, which activated specific muscle fibers in the body. This type does have a limit for hypertrophy, as it is necessary to hit fatigue to stimulate the growth of new cells.
Myofibrillar hypertrophy refers to the growth of muscle contractions such as strength and speed. This involves stimulation of muscular contractions under heavy pressure, which targets specific muscle fibers for muscle growth.
This type of hypertrophy workout works best with heavier weights, as it stimulates the definition of new muscle fibers. This is best for building both strength and size of muscles.
How Muscle Building Works
To effectively build muscle, you need both metabolic fatigue and mechanical (muscle) damage to the fibers. When weight is lifted, the muscles create a force to overcome the resistance via the contractile proteins.
This is not new news either, according to one 2010 study, there needs to be a significant amount of metabolic fatigue in combination with muscle tension for hypertrophy to happen.
Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t always the lifting (concentric) phase of the workout that recruits new muscle fibers. It is also the eccentric (lowering phase) of the exercise, as metabolic damage happens during the eccentric movement.
Now that you understand the basic science behind hypertrophy, it is time to get started on the best bulking tips!
1. Lift Heavier
One of the most important bulking tips you should know is that you need to lift heavier weights. This helps to place adequate stress on the muscles so that they need to rebuild stronger (and bigger) to overcome the stresses placed upon them.
If you are not lifting heavy enough weights, with not enough reps, your muscles will not be challenged enough. This is great for maintaining muscle, but not enough for hypertrophy and building muscle.
This is all because of the “SAID” principle, which stands for specific adaption to imposed demand. You need to place demands (heavier weight) to force your muscles to adapt and overcome.
2. Change Up the Tempo
In addition to the volume and intensity of the weight training, another great way to build muscle is to change the tempo of your workouts. It is not only about the weights and the reps, but it is also about the speed at which you lift them.
One study gathered participants to determine whether the speed of eccentric movement had much to do with the results. They discovered that the participants who performed the weight with a slower eccentric movement had more muscle recruitment than those who had a faster eccentric movement.
3. Don’t Forget Rest Days
Most people believe that the more we train, the bigger our muscles will be, which is unfortunately wrong. Overtraining syndrome (OTS) is a common experience in the bodybuilding world, which actually does more harm than good.
If you are not giving your body adequate rest, you are risking overtraining. This not only leads to injury but can also negatively affect your overall results from your workouts.
The signs and symptoms of overtraining are:
- Mood swings/agitation
- Decreased appetite
- Unmotivated for workouts
- Constant pain
- Hormonal shifts
- Decline in performance
- Weight gain/loss
- Inability to sleep
Think of training your muscles similar to an earthquake in a city. If an earthquake happens, some buildings in the city will be destroyed.
After this, the city will rebuild those buildings, similarly to your muscles rebuilding after a workout. However, if another earthquake happens too soon, the buildings will not have a chance to rebuild properly, therefore, they will have a weaker foundation.
The same goes for your muscles, if you do not give them the chance to rest and recover, they will become weaker over time.
Listen to your body and allow rest periods when needed. This could look like training two days in a row, with the third day off, or training every other day.
4. Eat Adequate Nutrition
While you may think that bulking only happens in the gym, over 80% of your results are actually performed in the kitchen. If you aren’t fueling your body enough, it will not have the nutrients it needs to rebuild stronger and bigger.
Bulking diets are all about macronutrients and caloric intake. Not having enough calories will put your body into a catabolic mode, which means your body will break down and use your hard-earned muscles for energy.
Add the following ingredients to your bulking plan shopping list:
Proteins are comprised of amino acids, which are the building blocks for muscles. Protein is required to build not only muscles, but also, nails, hair, bones, and other functions in the body.
The best proteins for a bulking diet are:
- Lean beef
- Lean pork
- Fish, salmon, tilapia, tuna, etc.
- Tofu or tempeh
- Egg whites
- Cottage Cheese
- Greek yogurt
Make sure you are having at least 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass. Protein should also be consumed with every meal.
Carbohydrates are a key factor in hypertrophy training, as they convert into glycogen, which is muscle energy. While carbohydrates are a controversial topic, they must be taken seriously when used as a fuel for bulking.
Do not follow a fad diet that cuts out carbohydrates while you are in the middle of your hypertrophy training, as you will sacrifice your energy and results.
Some great examples for carbohydrates are:
- Whole oats
- Steel-cut oats
- White or brown rice
- Sweet potatoes
- Whole-grain cereal
- Black beans
The trick with carbohydrates is to know the right timing. Pre-workout is the best time to have complex carbohydrates for energy, while post-workout is the best time to consume simple carbohydrates to replenish your glycogen (muscle energy)
Fats are the longer-sustainable energy source and are a very crucial part of your bodybuilding routine. There is a major misconception about fats in the diet world, and the truth is, not all fats make you fat. Fats are needed for multiple functions in the body including protecting vital organs, hormonal function, and energy formation.
Some essential fats that should be part of your bulking diet are:
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Peanut butter
Micronutrients and Fibrous Carbs
There is one major component that many bodybuilding diets forget about, which is vegetables. Make sure you do not get so focused on your protein intake that you forget about consuming vegetables too.
Some of the most nutrient-dense vegetables are:
- Green beans
- Lettuce greens
Try to consume different colored vegetables, as each color represents different micronutrient content. Each micronutrient nourishes your body in a different way, which helps your body grow strong and healthy.
5. Have the Right Supplements for Bulking
To bulk, you need to have the right supplements to assist you with your muscle-building journey. One of the best bulking tips you could walk away with is having a list of the right bulking supplements such as creatine, BCAA’s, glutamine, and of course, SARMS.
There are also a lot of natural herbal extracts which inadvertently help you to gain muscle by helping you to improve your overall health. This includes Ashwagandha, turmeric, maca, green tea, and more.
Creatine is naturally found in your muscle cells. It helps with muscular contractions during high-intensity training such as weightlifting. Many people associate creatine with steroids, yet they couldn’t be more different.
Creatine not only helps your muscles with intense weightlifting but is also a neuroprotectant.
BCAA’s, short for branch-chained amino acids, are essential amino acids and help to rebuild and repair muscle. BCAA’s help your muscles to stay in an anabolic state while working out, which means that you are preserving your hard-earned muscle. This is opposed to a catabolic state where your body is essentially eating its hard-earned muscle for extra energy.
Now for the best of all supplements for bulking, which are SARMS! Sarms are short for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators, which are anabolic compounds used for many different bodybuilding purposes.
The term selective is the reason why SARMS are so effective. Unlike steroids, which have a one-size-fits-all approach, SARMS can help target specific results such as SARMS for bulking, cutting, bulking and cutting combined, energy-enhancing, and athletic performance.
If you are new to SARMS, make sure you check out a guide on how to maximize your experience before you get started.
6. Get Some Sleep
One of the most underrated bulking tips you should know is getting enough sleep. We already spoke about the importance of having enough rest from training, but it is also important to get enough sleep in general.
During sleep, our bodies produce HGH (human growth hormone), which helps us to build strong muscles. If you are on a strict bodybuilding routine, you need to ensure you are getting enough sleep.
The lack of sleep will also lead to exhaustion, increase your chances of injury, and affect your ability to put on muscle.
7. Lift Compound Movements
While isolated exercises such as biceps curls and triceps extensions help you to shape your muscles, compound exercises help to grow the muscles.
Also, when you are using more muscles at once, your body is recruiting more human growth hormone, which will create more muscle growth.
Compound exercises include:
- Bench presses
- Military press
- Any exercise that requires multiple muscles to perform
8. Time Your Meals
You know about the importance of nutrition for muscle building, yet it goes a bit deeper than that. The timing of your meals is a crucial part of your overall results.
For example, when you have finished your workout, you have approximately 30-60 minutes to consume protein with simple carbohydrates to replenish your muscles.
Think of your post-workout meals like a fireplace, if the fire needs more wood, would you throw a tissue on the fire or would you give it a log?
The right meal with the correct amount of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates is a much more sustainable choice of fuel than a small protein bar.
Learn More Bulking Tips
There you have it! By following these bulking tips, you are well on your way to building that dream body you have been longing for. Just make sure you are patient with the process and enjoying every step along the way.
If you found this article helpful, check out more like this on the muscle-building section of our blog!