Bulking Up

Sales of the hormone supplement androstenedione have risen dramatically since Major League slugger Mark McGwire came clean about using it. Andro is a steroid hormone manufactured by the gonads and the adrenal gland, and it is the biochemical forerunner of testosterone. It's great for bulking up because it speeds recovery so lean muscle mass can build up faster.

Men on anabolic steroids that derive from testosterone may feminize as they grow stronger, developing shrill voices, shrinking testicles and enlarged breast tissue, since the body converts testosterone into estrogen. Women popping steroids may see their breasts shrivel, hear their voices get deeper and observe male pattern baldness on their heads. The supplement Creatine is a safer bet, one used by many athletes, including McGwire.

How-to Guide for Bulking

There are two traditional alternatives for a bulk: the all-out approach, which consists of gorging yourself with all things that look like food, and the "clean bulk," during which one eats at a level only a little above maintenance, and all calories come from "clean" food.

The bulking diet is an art. Before you use it, it's essential that you know the fundamentals of muscle growth and how calorie surplus helps you gain muscle. On a bulking diet you can eat high calorie meals, such as breakfasts consisting of eggs, milk, oatmeal and sometimes a protein shake.

This is because protein is the only macromolecule that is used to synthesize muscle tissue. Your muscle tissue is actually broken down when you lift weights. Amino acids, which come from your dietary protein intake, are then used to synthesize new muscle tissue. Anecdotal and scientific research suggests that you need about 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight daily.

The key to a fit body and the foundation for adding muscular weight is nutrition. It is an easy method: consume the correct quantities of protein, carbohydrates and fat, do exercises with weights until the muscle is burned out or catabolized, give muscles an opportunity to take a break and mend, and the product is more and bigger muscles. Take any of the components away from this method and the result is injury and muscle loss.

To work out your calorie maintenance level, you can use a lot of fancy equations that involve body weight, fat, age, etc., but the best way to do it is to keep a diary of what you eat and its effect on your size. Many bodybuilders try to gain muscle by eating too far above their calorie maintenance level. To make things worse, they get these extra calories from junk food.

There will be a lot of times you want to quit and eat that cookie or ice cream, but you need to think about how important those abs are to you during your moments of weakness. You work out in the gym day in and day out and it would be a pity to lose your well-deserved gains. A healthy diet must include:

  1. 5-6 meals per day
  2. 5-6 liters of water per day
  3. Lots of fibrous vegetables
  4. Lean quality proteins
  5. Essential fatty acids
  6. Complex carbohydrates

There is a right and wrong way to bulk like everything else. Gaining muscle, not fat is the purpose of bulking. A lot of serious bodybuilders appreciate that the body cannot gain muscle and lose body fat simultaneously, and because of this several of them go through bulking and cutting stages in their routines. However, there have been incredible advances recently in the idea of influencing nutrition partitioning, and this area of study may be the key to doing what we once considered unworkable, i.e. lose body fat and gain muscle simultaneously.

Getting Started

Record your "girth" in several places (biceps, chest, quads, waist, shoulders) with a soft tape measure. Take a "before picture," and then try and take a "progress picture" at least once a week. To avoid any visual irregularities between your photographs, use the same lighting and preferably the same camera lens at the same distance; the only thing you want changing in your photos is your body.

Weight Gainers

Weight gainers are a popular source of calories for a lot of thin bodybuilders trying to gain weight. They are high-priced, costing twice as much as regular whey protein, and the only real difference between the two types of protein is the sugar. Weight gainers contain fructose, but the sugar you need post workout is dextrose, which can be bought cheaply online and easily added to a quality protein source.

Bulking Up Naturally

The correct type of bodybuilding contest is one of the few things that can motivate a full-grown man or woman to drink gallons of distilled water, and honey out of a bottle or eat masses of boiled chicken. Such diets have to be borne to get ready for the Natural Utah Cup, a semiannual affair backed by the National Physique Committee. Competitors are required to vie naturally – free from steroids or other augmentation drugs and be tested to make sure they're qualified.

Milk for Bulking

Old timers used milk all the time for bulking. If you have a hard time gaining milk is like magic. Just limit the whole milk because of the fat content. Or, you can add nonfat dry milk to whole milk to double its protein power.

The Bottom Line

Nourish a muscle with high-quality protein, pressure it with heavier and heavier weights, and let it rest. The muscle will restore itself bigger and bigger to meet the stress of more and more weight. Heredity decides muscle size and growth, but anybody can add muscular weight.

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