In this article I’m going to give you some good advice on how to maximize your bulk this winter. I know there are plenty of you out there who are thinking that it’s impossible for you to gain weight. Trust me, I was one of you. You struggle to gain and maintain 5 lbs while others lament and loath about how lucky you are to have such a GREAT problem. Little do these people understand that putting on weight can be just as difficult, if not more difficult than losing weight. Don’t worry, I’m here to tell you that adding 10 lbs of muscle in a fairly short period of time.
Essentially, there are two phases of nutrition that are commonly referenced throughout the fitness industry: bulking and cutting. Your cutting phase is when you try to lose body fat and get as shredded as you possibly can. Your bulking phase is going to be focused mostly on muscle growth and less on the loss of body fat. During your bulking phase you should expect to put on at least a little bit of body fat. Even though you can expect to put on some body fat, you do want to try to minimize the amount that you put on. This is why having a good weight gaining diet is important. The main goal is muscle growth, not just weight gain.
Now, I’m not saying that winter is the time that you NEED to bulk. You can go through a bulking phase whenever you really want to! I’m just going to tell you some reasons why, in my opinion, winter is a better time of year to go complete a bulk. Reason number one, the average person is going to gain weight in the winter seasons. As said by Lawrence J. Cheskin, MD, founder and director of the Johns Hopkins Weight ManagementCenter and associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore "Although seasonal weight gain varies from person to person, there have been surveys that show an average of a five to seven pound gain in weight in winter,". This can be attributed to a few different things, such as the weather and lack of light. These things will make an average person want to stay indoors more and participate in fewer activities.
Another reason for the additional weight gain in the winter are the holidays that are celebrated with copious amounts of eating: Thanksgiving and Christmas. Another reason I like to bulk in the winter is due to the fact that since it’s colder, you tend to layer up. Meaning that you’re not going to be showing off your shreds, or won’t have the opportunity to be able to (in most climates). Most of the time people lean up to get ready for beach season, so it makes perfect sense to bulk and add on the muscle in the winter!
Now remember, as stated before the main goal of a bulk is to put on muscle. Weight gain by itself isn’t going to get you the end result that you wish to achieve. So simply stuffing your face to make sure you get enough calories in a day isn’t the right way to do things. You still need to have the proper nutrition to be able to accomplish your bulking goals. Everybody is going to be different, so there isn’t a set meal plan for everyone. You’re going to want to get the right amount of macronutrients in your diet (protein, carbohydrates, and fats), so an optimal amount of protein (about 1g-1.5g of protein per pound of body weight), a sizeable amount of carbs, and monitoring your fats are also important. You can find a good estimate of the macronutrients you are supposed to be taking in by finding a good macronutrient calculator like this on here.
When it comes to training, make sure you follow a structured periodization protocol that fluctuates based upon your individual progress as a lifter; we’ll cover that in a later article. In the meantime, focus on a well-rounded lifting regimen built around progressive overload – utilize the extra calories to push your strength and endurance past your comfort zone.
If added to your training and dieting regimen supplementation can really help you take your bulk to the next level. There are a few supplements in particular that you should really get on if you are serious about putting on some size. The first one is going to be a Mass Gainer. Mass gainers are protein supplements that are made specifically to help you meet and exceed your caloric and macronutrient maintenance values. Not only are they going to contain the protein that you need after your workout or during the day, but they provide a great amount of additional carbs that you’re going to need to put on that size. One mass gainer that I have used personally used and have seen really great results from is Muscle Pharms Combat XL. Some other good mass gainers are; Super Mass Gainer, Pro Gainer by Optimum Nutrition, and True Mass by BSN.
Another great supplement that you need to add to your stack for bulking is creatine. Creatine is one of the most studied supplements ever, meaning that there have been proven results. Essentially, creatine will help you put on some size indirectly by increasing your strength. You can either go with a Creatine Monohydrate, or a buffered version, such as Kre-Alkalyn or Creatine HCL, which are more bioavailable, more readily absorbed and do not require a loading phase.
The third and final supplement I would tell you to add to your stack are high-GI, rapid-release carbohydrates. Carbs are incredibly important and essential for you to have a successful bulk, and utilizing highly refined carbohydrates like Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin or Waxy Maize allows for targeted nutrient delivery around your workout. I usually tend to take carbs Intra-workout (during), I feel more energized and get great, natural pumps from this. Some of my favorites in this category are: Karbolyn, Glycofuse, and Real Food.
In order for you to gain the size you want you are going to have to work for it. Even with this article to help you it is not easy! You have to make sure you are:
If you follow these guides, I can personally guarantee that come spring time, you’ll have put on a decent amount of size, strength, and a good amount of lean muscle mass.
John “Obie” Oberkircher is the Marketing Director for Advantage Supplements. Obie has gained a thorough amount of knowledge throughout his years in the fitness industry. His vision and passion for helping others achieve their health and fitness goals is his primary objective for Advantage Supplements as a company, and the direction he wants to continue to take.
Casey, John. "5 Tips to Avoid Winter Weight Gain." Web MD, Web MDWebMD.com. , www.webmd.com/diet/features/5-tips-to-avoid-winter-weight-gain#1. Accessed 9 Dec. 2016.
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