With wintertime just around the corner, we tend to come back in doors, hunker down and refocus our energies back to the gym and our workout routines. So here are some tips on bulking up (gaining muscle mass) for winter.
Eat more protein
First, if you plan to bulk up, you will need to calculate your protein intake based on your weight. As a rule of thumb, when starting a bulking phase, you should be consuming at least one gram of protein for one pound of body weight. For example, if you are 150 pounds, you should be consuming at least 150 grams of protein to see the bulk start to occur.
Second, vary your sources of protein. Whey protein is one of two proteins, the other being Casein protein, that can be found in most dairy products. Whey proteins are extremely important for muscle growth because they are quickly absorbed and cause a spike in your blood’s amino-acid levels, which allow your muscles to repair more quickly and build the fibers. Casein proteins are slow-digesting proteins and take a long time to digest and therefore are best taken right before you go to bed to keep the protein supply coming while you sleep. If you add more dairy, fish or soy to your diet, you will naturally add these proteins as well.
Work your whole body twice a week
To bulk up more quickly, I highly encourage you to get away from your typical “two parts”- or even “one part”-a day routine and do three exercises in one workout. For example, you could do a barbell chest press, prisoner squats and barbell shrugs for four sets and six reps, increasing the weight with each set if you can successfully complete all six reps. As a result, you are hitting chest, legs and shoulders in one day. The next day you would then do the other parts you missed such as back, bicep and triceps. As a result, you would have worked the entire body in two days and then you would rest for two days. The two days of rest are essential to allow the muscles to grow and recover. It’s a “two days on, two day off”-workout regimen.
Minimize your cardio
When it comes to bulking, the best thing you can do is minimize how much cardio you do per week. While cardio does have the added benefit of burning lots of calories in a short amount time and keeping up your endurance, cardio goes against the goal of bulking. Therefore, if you do plan on doing cardio, you have to keep two things in mind. First, be sure to double your calorie intake to make up for what you are burning and second, do it on your off day when you aren’t lifting. I prefer doing cardio in small increments, say for 15 or 20 minutes at a quick or moderate tempo.
Keep these three simple tips in mind and watch the bulk add up over the winter months.