Education, Fitness, Wellness / Self-Care

Gymrats: Here’s your Bulking crash course

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words by: Natasha Marsh
Aug 25, 2022

Learning your optimal gym routine, whether you want to lose weight, maintain weight, or bulk up is a lesson in trial and error. And sometimes, even when you learn that lesson, you might experience a plateau and have to adjust again. Bottom line, every body is different, and what might work for your friend won’t necessarily apply to you. However, there are some skills that fitness trainers and gym owners suggest for bulking up. Basically, it all lies in the way you train and fuel yourself.


When you bulk up, you increase your body and muscle mass through caloric intake and strength training. Quick background: To create muscle, your body needs to be in its anabolic state. In English, that means your body needs to have enough fuel and energy to repair tissues.


If you aren’t eating enough calories, you could be working out at a catabolic state, where your body will break down fat and muscle and gluconeogenesis. This is when your body uses non-carb sources. So, the more calories you eat, the more fuel you’ll have. Not to mention, consuming less calories than you should could cause a lot of stress and tension on the body.


Depending on how often you workout and how you do it, the amount of time it takes to bulk up varies. Eating more calories, with a balanced diet of nutrient-dense food will have you bulking up in no time.


The first step, then, is to make sure you are at a caloric surplus. You can seek help from an online calculator to discover the number of calories you burn daily, AKA, TDEE. As a general rule of thumb, you can follow this formula:


Calories = bodyweight x 14 or 15 (Ex: 150 pounds x 15 =2,250)

Protein = bodyweight x 1 (Ex: 150 x 1=150)

Carbohydrates = bodyweight x 1.5 (Ex: 150 x 1.5= 225)

Fats = the remaining calories


If you are used to minimal eating, this might prove difficult. Instead, you could work your way up by adding an extra serving or cookie to your dinner. Keep in mind, cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes still come into play here, and should be taken into consideration when planning out your meals.


Secondly, you might want to consider a protein supplement or powder that’s at least 25 grams to help build and repair muscle. You could do this with supplements or protein powder. Of course, you can also see a nutritionist or your primary doctor for a curated treatment plan when it comes to bulking. You don’t have to do it alone!


I personally prefer protein water and don’t forget to invest in a foam roller for recovery too.