For the natural bodybuilder, bulking up presents a special challenge. Without steroids to aid in muscle gain, the natural bodybuilder must make the most of training, diet and recovery to be able to progress. With the right natural techniques, even the drug-free bodybuilder can add impressive muscular bulk.
A clean bulk up is always the last thing on most gym-goes mind too. I’ve spoken to a few fellow Personal Trainers on the past who have found potential and new clients stuffing as much food (regardless of its macro properties) into them. Just as long as they stick with the correct calorie intake…
Here are a few ways I bulk and I advise my clients on the same Raising Caloric Intake:
The most important factor in gaining muscular bulk is eating sufficient calories. Gaining muscle weight requires eating more calories than you burn, resulting in a caloric surplus. To ensure a consistent progress I add 500 calories of PROTEIN and COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES to my daily caloric intake. If I do not notice muscle gain after a few weeks I will raise my daily caloric intake by another 500 calories.
The benefits of using a squat in training
Body builders on ‘performing enhancing drugs’ can get away with lighter workouts because steroids speed muscle growth through increased protein synthesis. For me I turn my attention to the heavy weights. These are an important tool for bulking. Multi-joint exercises, such as the squat and bench press, performed with heavy weights, increase the amount of muscle fibers recruited. By fatiguing more muscle fibers, workouts are more effective. Use weights that only allow you to perform three to five repetitions. I tend to aim for 6-8 sets.
I have to admit, I didn’t know this until I started competing, but muscles are composed of about 75% water. To keep them growing and healthy, I drink enough water each day. I aim for at least 4 litres: 3 litres in ‘water’ and the the rest made up from my liquid amino’s and my post workout shake.
Supplement with Creatine:
I’m writing about this supplement, although I tend to stay clear of it! Unfourtuanly, I retain water like a sponge, one of creatine’s side effects. But creatine is a naturally occurring compound produced in the body. It is used by the body to generate energy during resistance training. Supplementing with creatine improves short-term endurance, allowing you to complete more repetitions per set and engage in more effective workouts.
I take mine Immediately following training, muscles are primed to absorb more nutrients than normal. My shake contains whey protein and simple carbohydrates, this counteracts the muscle breakdown that normally occurs during training. By minimising muscle breakdown, muscles recover and grow at a faster rate.