Bulk the Right Way (Military Bulk)
I. Want. To. Get. Big. Five words that echo through just about every gym, box and military Physical Fitness Center on the planet. As common a goal as this may be, however, there are countless potential pitfalls on your path to attain that much vaunted Thor-status, so let’s talk strategy:
Eat real food
Protein shakes and gainers, as their categorization suggest, should supplement a real food diet, but never make up the bulk of it. Convenient, offering both ease of ingestion and a higher rate of absorption, protein shakes lack the nutrient density of real food and offer nothing in the way of thermic effect. For the grunts and ground-pounders amongst us, let me reiterate; eat real food, but when there just aren’t enough hours in the day to take in the volume of real food necessary to gain, try this instead of a store bought gainer:
Peanut Butter, Banana, Cacao and Oat Gainer
1 scoop - Whey Protein
1 scoop - Whey Protein
2 servings - peanut butter
1 cup - unsweetened vanilla almond milk
45g of protein, 80g of carbs, 40g of fat (32g of which are from the peanut butter)
Eat clean food
“I’m bulking bro”; words typically offered by those trying to “dirty” bulk, and probably with more success than their maternity pants would prefer, so let’s avoid that look and keep chasing the aesthetic look of a bodybuilder or the professional look of a soldier…or both. To do this, we need the vast majority of our caloric intake to consist of real, clean food. Save the fast food, fried food, and much to my chagrin, the pizza, for cheat meals.
Protein in moderation
What if I said that consuming more than one gram of protein per pound of body weight may actually inhibit muscle growth? I didn’t believe it either, until I tried it, and I’ll never doubt it again. 0.6 – 0.9 grams of protein per pound of body weight is sufficient to encourage muscle growth and thus, the gains most of us would sell our souls for. Anything above and beyond that number encourages hypertension, an imbalance of essential amino acids and unnecessary strain on the liver and kidneys.
Carbs are not the enemy
Now is not the time to be gun shy, we’re looking to pack on some quality mass, so let’s shelf the keto and paleo diets and carb up to the tune of 2 – 3 grams of carbs per pound of body weight, depending on training schedule and metabolic function. Remember: all carbs are not created equal…a clean carb source like white rice will outperform Frosted Flakes every day of the week!
Fat can be your friend
Though seemingly counter-intuitive to a clean bulk, essential fats (of the monounsaturated and omega-3 variety, particularly) play a critical role in hormone production and maintenance (think: testosterone), the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, stabilization of healthy blood-sugar levels and joint health.
This post was written by Marcel Blood with input from IFBB Professional Bodybuilder Joshua Petrecky.
Follow him on IG: @alwaysjjp_ifbbpro