The basic principle to gaining mass is to eat more food, which will then supplement your muscle-gaining process. You often hear debates about clean versus dirty bulking, or what the best foods are to rev up your gains, but increasing your calorie intake does come with an adverse side — gaining fat.
Not only is that counterproductive to your goals, fat becomes even more of a mountain to scale if you're looking to become leaner and lower your body fat percentage. Circumventing this hurdle is far easier than you would think though. All you need to do is keep these three things in mind when approaching muscle building.
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FOCUS YOUR MEALS AROUND LEAN PROTEINS
Everyone champions protein as the key to building muscle, but to make it doubly effective, centre your meals around lean protein. This means holding off the bacon and the fried chicken for supplements like whey protein, alongside chicken breast and rib eye or round steak. The rule of thumb is always 1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight should you want to avoid over-eating. If the eventual protein recommendation seems frightening, spread it out over multiple small meals during the day. Protein shakes also typically have an average of 25g of lean protein, which is extremely helpful in meeting your macros instead of needing to chow down an endless steamed chicken breasts.
Centering your diet around lean protein cuts the risk of untimely insulin boosts, which comes from carbohydrates. Insulin runs the risk of increasing your body's ability to store fat. However, it is not the best maneuver to cut carbohydrates out of your diet altogether unless you're looking to drastically lose body fat pre-competition.
SO WHAT CARBS SHOULD I EAT?
Knowing your macros is extremely helpful when deciding just how much carbohydrates you should eat. Carbohydrates give you energy, and yet an excess of simple sugars in carbohydrates are only effective after a gruelling workout, where you'd need a quick surge of insulin and protein to recover. Aside from that, try to eat carbohydrates that have a high glycemic index and are rich in nutrients and fibre. The net carbohydrates will be far lesser, and you'd also be receiving a steady flow of energy, instead of a rapid surge and a dramatic crash. Always remember that too much insulin equates to gaining fat.
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Good sources of complex carbohydrates include sweet potatoes, oatmeal, brown rice and low carb pasta. For snacks, protein desserts are good sources of both proteins and healthy carbohydrates that will leave you satiated.
ENSURE YOUR BODY FAT PERCENTAGE IS AT THIS LEVEL BEFORE BULKING
As earlier mentioned, bulking is one measure to attain a larger size increase. It is a mistake to think that you can wake up one day and suddenly decide to bulk. For bulking to be safe and healthy, and to cut the risk of you gaining excess body fat, keep this quick rule of thumb in mind: for men with over 15% body fat, drop this to 10% before bulking. Similarly, women with over 25% body fat should attempt to reduce it to 20%. This helps keep your hormonal level balanced, while keeping your body sensitive to insulin. Lowering your body fat also allows to take in a surplus of calories for a handful of months before needing to reduce body fat, and eliminates the need for extensive periods of cutting. Also, don't think bulking means free and easy eating. You should ideally keep your increase of calories around 5 to 10% for men, and 2.5 to 5% for women.
Go forth and get to bulking.
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- December 03, 2016
- Beatrice Bowers