Today is the day where you become master of the bulk. We are going to finish explaining the bulking process so you can be a jacked god or goddess next summer. We’re gonna talk about taking measurements, executing your bulking plan, and training to accompany your bulk. 

MEASUREMENTS

Measurements are a very important component to fitness, end of story. BUT it’s essential you know your measurements while bulking, because the scale never tells the whole story.

  1. Why are they so damn important?
    • They are great markers for progress when the scale is useless… and in a bulk, the scale is kinda useless. It’s a recipe for frustration and leads to quitting your bulk. So instead of being frustrated by seeing a number on the scale get bigger while you don’t NOTICE the changes in your body (cuz they’re happening). Measure every two weeks at first to see if your calorie intake is working, and once you’re at a number that works the way you want it to, stay there and take measurements every four weeks. 
      • Try not to measure obsessively, it’s a mindfuck and it’s not gonna help you in any way, shape, or fashion.
  2. Measurements you should take:
    • hips – hold the tape so it sits right on your hip bones
    • waist – bring the tape up to bellybutton level
    • chest – measure across your nipples/the fullest part of your chest
    • biceps – pick the fullest spot
    • thighs – make sure you measure far up enough to get your hamstrings in there, don’t measure by your knees
    • calves – like biceps, pick the fullest part of your calf
      • you can get a measuring tape for a few bucks at any craft store

EXECUTION

I dunno if you’ve noticed yet, there’s a lot of planning and prep that goes into fitness, and the setup sometimes is the most difficult part, so now that you’re done with all the planning and measuring, what next? It’s time to execute your plan.

  1. Meal prepping helps A LOT. We discuss meal prepping at length in episodes 7 and 8 if you haven’t binged season one yet… but, either way we gotchoo in the meantime, here’s the quick and dirty on meal prep:
    • Bulk cook proteins and starches.
    • Buy steamer bag veggies for fast, tasty, easy veggies with your meals.
    • Lunch meat is your best friend if you’re needing to cram some more protein in your facehole.
    • Get good meal storage containers, they may cost more on the front end, but they’re worth it when you don’t have to re-buy shit in six months because a container cracked when you dropped it or it melted in the dishwasher.
  2. What do you eat? Well… whatever you can commit to eating for days in a row.
    • Rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, bread, protein waffles or pancakes are all solid easy carb options.
    • Eggs, tuna packets, cold rotisserie chicken, burgers, meatloaf, chicken breasts, turkey hot dogs, and our friend lunch meat are some of my favorite protein choices.
    • When it comes to fats, use them, but be mindful of how much you’re using. Yes, you’re upping your food intake, but don’t sabotage yourself by using bad portion sizes for butter, oil, margarine, etc “just because you can.”
  3. How often should you eat? Most places you go online will say to eat 4-7 times a day but honestly it all shakes out to how much can you eat comfortably during a meal? Figure that out, and take that into account when planning how many meal prep containers you need to get.
  4. ALWAYS MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SNACKS IN YOUR BAG WHEN YOU LEAVE THE HOUSE. You don’t have to take an entire costco rotisserie chicken with you, but make sure you have a few snackies in your bag in case you need to eat and you’re running errands or whatever. You’re going to be especially pissed if you’re at the gym and you forgot pre or intra-workout snacks. 

TRAINING TO GO WITH BULKING

You can pair your bulk with any style of lifting you like the best, but we are real big fans of hypertrophy lifting while bulking… they aren’t mutually exclusive by any means, but they do work very nicely together… so what is hypertrophy?

  1. Hypertrophy – an increase and growth of muscle cells. In regards to training, hypertrophy will increase muscular size through exercise… lifting heavy shit is the best way to achieve hypertrophy. 
    • We will be digging deeper into hypertrophy in a few weeks, so we are going to give you just the basics today.
  2. There are three components to hypertrophy:
    • Mechanical tension – the force placed on the muscle(s) during lifts. When it’s enough to overload, it damages muscle fibers… when you pair that with proper rest and recovery, that means muscle growth.
    • Muscle damage – happens when training is intense enough to produce muscle damage… the damage causes an inflammatory response that promotes muscle growth.
    • Metabolic stress – as we train our body builds up stuff called lactate that can signal a couple different responses in your body to promote hypertrophy.
  3. So what does a hypertrophy lifting plan look like for you? That will depend on the type of lifting you choose. We are talking strictly about rep schemes right now and not one rep maxes so this doesn’t account for periodization, if you want to know more about that, check out episode 50.
    • Bodybuilding – Build your workouts to be 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps covering the places you really want to add mass… but don’t forget to be well-rounded and still hit those spots that may not need as much help. And remember to actually challenge yourself because you’re eating extra calories, make those sessions good. 
    • CrossFit – 15-20 minutes of dedicated accessory work post-session covering traps, delts, bis, tris, and other major muscle groups over 3-4 days a week is sufficient to help your muscles hit hypertrophy. Aim for set/rep schemes of 3 to 5 sets of 8-12 reps.
    • Olympic lifting – Olympic lifters constantly train to build up to the heaviest 1RM you can get on that competition platform. BUT like with CrossFit, you won’t have to do a ton of dedicated accessory work, because training olympic lifts is already pretty awesome for building mass. You’ll be looking at 15-30 minutes of dedicated accessory work post-session covering mostly upper body muscles, olympic lifting is a shitton of legs, so keep that in mind when planning your accessory lifts.
    • Powerlifting – Powerlifters are like the olympic lifters in this scenario. Compound lifts are fucking awesome for muscle gains. Their rep schemes are going to differ from the rest of the examples we have given so far, because they train for a heavy heavy 1RM at competition. There’s room for accessory work but you can spread it out over 3-4 days for 15-20 minutes a day because powerlifters do a lot of pulling. If you’re a powerlifter and you’re not using hypertrophy training in some capacity, you should really look into it.

      Now, meatheads, go forth and bulk.

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