The desperation to get jacked is real. Every dude wants to get huge but more than half resort to steroid use and a lot just simply get fat. It's easier to drop fat but it is way more difficult to build a substantial amount of muscle. With this piece, I'll tell you about the lies and realities of bulking.
Before You Proceed, Read This
1. The natural muscle building process is a damn slow process.
2. The human body has a limit to pack on muscle mass. You cannot look jacked like those roided bodybuilders and fitness models you see on your Instagram feed.
3. Though you need to be in a caloric surplus in a bulking phase, you cannot always hog on junk to shoot up your calorie intake.The Science of Bulking
If I have to explain bulking in a precise manner, it would be training on a progressive overload principle, eating nutrient dense foods and taking optimum rest for effective muscle growth. This trio together is called the muscle hypertrophy tripod. However, the basic thumb rule to gain muscle is to train while in a caloric surplus environment. Muscles are an active tissue and require a constant energy supply to sustain them. Moreover, when it comes to adding new muscle fibers, the body needs a solid energy support compiling of all essential amino acids and glucose. The carbohydrates we eat provide the required glucose that replenishes the liver and muscle glycogen. On the other hand, the protein sources we ingest provide us with essential amino acids that we need for repair and recovery.Carbohydrates, Insulin and Muscle Growth
In order to build muscle, a high carb diet has been proven more effective as compared to a high fat diet. The logic lies in the insulin activation that happens when we consume carbohydrates. When the blood glucose rises due to the consumption of carbs, our pancreas secretes insulin in the blood. Insulin being a carrier hormone ferries blood glucose along with essential amino acids to the depleted glycogen stores. This process triggers protein synthesis in muscles which is the key to building and repairing muscle fibers.How Long Should We Go On A Bulking Phase?
Firstly, if you are natural, stop bulking like enhanced athletes. They go over a bulking phase for just 2-4 months and then start their shredding. People need to understand that those lifters are on drugs and their protein synthesis is almost 4 times faster than a natural lifter's. Therefore, if you are a natural lifter and you want to see some good muscle mass, you should go for a planned bulk phase for at least 8-10 months. No doubt, when you bulk up, you will put on some fat mass too. In an ideal bulking phase the ratio of fat and muscle gain should be either in a 1:1 ratio or 2:1 ratio where 2 signifies the muscle mass. If you gain a lot of fat mass with negligible muscle, then you need to rectify your nutrition.How Much Muscle You Can Put Naturally?
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Research suggests if you are blessed with great genetics, then you can expect up to 1 pound of muscle gain in a month. However, an average lifter can expect up to 0.25 to 0.5 pounds of muscle gain in a month. If you are gaining over 3 pounds on a weighing scale every month, chances are you are putting too much of fat mass instead of muscle mass.What Should My Diet Looks Like?
Well, every individual has a different calorie requirement based on his BMR, fitness background and so on. However, if still I have to lay a rough blue print to bulk, it should be protein: 2x per kilogram of body weight, carbs should be 2-3x per kilogram of body weight (mainly from complex sources) and healthy fats should be 0.5x per kilogram of body weight.What About The Workout?
Nevertheless, all your compound lifts like squats, deadlifts, military press and bench press are your best friends when it comes to boosting your testosterone naturally. Your goal should be to lift heavy with proper form and train intense in order to break maximum muscle fibers at gym. Higher the muscle breakdown, better your are chances at packing on more size. But this doesn't mean that you have to spend hours pushing weights. That's counterproductive. Keep the intensity high and time your workout to under an hour.Rest And Sleep
The third leg of this tripod is rest and sleep. Your body recovers and grows while you sleep as the growth hormone spikes are at their highest in deep sleep. Plan your training intelligently, if you try to go beast mode every damn day of the week, you will burn out.
Rachit Dua is an advanced K11 certified fitness coach for general and special population (people with medical issues, old age people, pregnant women, and children) and a certified sports nutritionist. You can get in touch with him facebook and Instagram .