Updated: Jun 30
There’s no denying it. Gaining muscle is one of the most rewarding feelings, yet can be one of the most frustrating things when it’s just not happening. No matter how hard you think you’re training.
Eat lots. Train often. Train smart. Rest - simple.
First things first, your genetics can play a role in your ability to gain muscle. But nobody CAN'T gain muscle. Sure you may find it harder than others, but that just means you’re going to have to train harder and eat more consistently. It all depends how much YOU want it and how much YOU are willing to do to get it. I was naturally a skinny kid & still to this day I can lose weight very easily. But I love what I do and I do it properly. Nothing can beat that!
FOOD, FOOD & MORE FOOD.
This is without doubt the reason you’re not gaining any muscle. You can train as much and as heavy as you want, but without enough calories you won’t get any bigger. Stronger, maybe - bigger, never.
“But I eat so much” - you don’t. Sorry to be blunt, but I can guarantee if you’re not gaining weight you’re not eating enough. You can’t just stuff your face occasionally and think you’re a big eater. You must consistently eat enough, every single damn day. It’s really not as fun as it sounds!
Get yourself a decent calorie calculator (I recommend https://www.freedieting.com/caloriecalculator) find your maintenance calories & add 500 calories to it. That’s your new calorie target, EVERY DAY, not ‘most’ days. I have to eat around 4000 calories per day to gain 0.5lb per week. It sucks. But, GET IT DONE!
Aim for around 1g protein per 1lb of bodyweight, but no more than around 200g. This will ensure you have enough protein for muscle recovery & growth.
Aim for around 30% of your calories to come from fats. Fats can be your best friend when bulking, they’re calorie dense and can easily add up your daily calories.
Carbs - eat them all. You’re going to be training your ass off, so make sure you’re fuelling your workouts.
Get a good serving of carbs & protein about 1hour pre-training. I usually train in the morning, so will eat 50-75g oats, 30g whey protein & a banana.
Post-workout, eat a high carb & protein meal to replenish your muscle glycogen and get repairing those beaten up muscles. This is my favourite time of day - I eat 100g coco pops with 40g chocolate whey, all the chocolate. About an hour after I’ll have something like rice/pasta with chicken (and some tasty sauce) maybe a few veggies...
Supplement with creatine, no it won't make you bloated. No it’s not a steroid. It will help increase your power output & train harder. Oh and it works, unlike 99% of all the other supplements out there. Get creatine monohydrate, don't opt for the expensive varieties they don’t do anything extra other than sting your bank account. P.s. it’s only bad for your kidneys if you already have kidney problems. If you do. Avoid.
Give your muscle a reason to grow - increased weight or volume moved will do the trick.
If you’re not a pro, stop training like one.
Your goal is not to perfect your already near perfect muscles, so stop training them so specifically one time per week.
Increase your training volume.
You should be hitting your main muscles 2x per week. I personally follow a push, pull, legs, rest, upper, lower, rest split. This allows me to focus on each muscle group early in the week, with 2 sessions later in the week to hit them all again and make sure they know what’s up. Gains.
Get your damn form right. There is no point in moving a heavy ass weight if your muscles aren’t doing it properly. You’re not a powerlifter so drop the ego and train smart. Control each and every rep with the muscle you’re trying to build. CONTROL your reps, don’t be that guy who bounces the bench off his chest.
Control it down, feel it & make it burn like a mother......
BICEP CURLS ARE NOT A PRIORITY. Okay that should be labelled “concentrate on your compound lifts” but that gets my point across better. Compound lifts, such as bench press, military press, bent over rows, squats & deadlifts will make you grow the most. They will increase your strength, put your body under a shit tonne of stress and give it no other option than to grow & adapt. These should be the base of your workouts. I love curls too, I’m male. But save your pretty boy isolation exercises for the end of your workouts to finish your muscles off. Train HARD first then burn them out later.
CARDIO ALERT. Your goal is to be in a calorie surplus (more calories in than out) so cardio can completely ruin this and prevent you gaining muscle. This isn’t me saying cardio is bad, cardio is GOOD (unfortunately) but be wary that you’re not burning too many calories. Minimise it to just health benefits & prepare to eat more to counteract the calories burnt.
My Bulking shopping list essentials....
• Peanut butter
• Eggs (whole)
• Lean steak mince
• Nutella (hey I’m eating 4000 calories a day, give me a break)
My bulking supplements
• Superfood greens powder (I don’t eat enough veg during a bulk due to high calorie demand)
• Creatine - strength & power gains
• Whey protein - because, bro.
• Digestive enzymes - to aid with digestion from bigger meals
My 900 calorie homemade bulk shake
• Oats, 75g
• Milk, 300ml
• Whey protein, 40g
• Banana, large
• Peanut/almond butter, 30g
• Ice cubes
62g protein, 101g carb, 28g fat. Win.
If you need a little more guidance, check out my free eBook 'Skinny To Strong In 10 Weeks' here