Are you tired of not being able to gain weight, despite having a fast metabolism? Do all those bulky, muscular people seem like they have it so easy when it comes to gaining muscle and size? Have your efforts at the gym gone in vain with little-to-no results?
If your answer is yes to any (or all) of these questions, then this blog post is for you! Here we will outline simple yet effective tips and strategies that can help anyone who struggles with their seemingly speedy body ability to not allow them to reach their desired aesthetic.
So buckle up friends because we’ll be exploring how to gain weight with a fast metabolism and learn how sound nutrition concepts as well as targeted training will get you on your way to looking and feeling fit!
What is Bulking?
Bulking is a term used in the fitness and bodybuilding community to describe a specific phase of training that involves consuming excess calories in order to gain muscle mass.
This typically involves following a structured workout plan and consuming a calorie surplus through a combination of whole foods, supplements, and protein shakes.
The goal of bulking is to increase muscle size and strength in order to achieve a more muscular and defined physique.
Bulking is often accompanied by weight lifting or resistance training exercises that target specific muscle groups. This type of training stimulates the muscles to grow, and when combined with a calorie surplus, can lead to significant gains in muscle mass.
Once this phase is complete, you can then move on to the cutting phase where you burn body fat to show all your hidden progress.
Clean Bulk Vs Dirty Bulk
There are two main approaches to bulking: clean bulking and dirty bulking.
Clean bulking involves following a strict diet composed of whole, nutrient-dense foods in order to minimize fat gain while maximizing muscle growth.
This approach is often preferred by those who prioritize their overall health and want to maintain a lean physique.
On the other hand, dirty bulking involves consuming a high number of calories without much regard for food quality. This can result in rapid weight gain and may lead to excess body fat.
While some people argue that dirty bulking allows for quicker muscle growth due to the high-calorie intake, it often leads to unhealthy eating habits and can be difficult to maintain long-term.
Clean bulking, on the other hand, promotes sustainable weight gain and ensures that the body is receiving essential nutrients for proper muscle growth and recovery.
When it comes to gaining weight, the most important aspect is your nutrition. In order for your body to gain weight, you’ll need to be on what’s called a “calorie surplus.”
A calorie surplus is when you consume more calories than your body needs for daily activities and maintenance. This excess energy is then used by the body to support muscle growth and other bodily functions.
A calorie surplus is necessary for bulking, as it provides the extra energy needed to build muscle mass.
How many calories do I need to eat?
- Additional 300-500+ calories over maintenance
The amount of calories needed to bulk varies from person to person and is dependent on factors such as height, weight, age, and activity level.
A general rule of thumb for clean bulking is to consume an additional 300-500+ calories per day above your maintenance calorie intake. This should result in a weight gain of approximately .5 to 1 pound per week.
However, it’s important to track progress and adjust calorie intake accordingly. If weight gain is too rapid or minimal, adjustments may need to be made.
How much protein do I need?
- 0.5-0.8g of protein per pound of body weight
- 25-30% of your daily calories
A general rule of thumb will say to eat 1g of protein per pound of body weight, but this tends to be in the higher range of the spectrum.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), athletes who lift weights regularly should consume about 0.5-0.8g of protein per pound of body weight to build muscle mass.
Of your daily calories, 25-30% of them should come from high-quality protein sources.
How much carbs and fats should I eat?
Carbs: 55-60% of daily calories
Fats: 15-20% of daily calories
With the remaining calories, you’ll need to fill it in with carbohydrates and fats.
Carbohydrates provide the body with energy and are essential for fueling intense workout sessions. Aim for a daily intake of 55-60% of your total calories from carbohydrates, focusing on complex carbs such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Fats are also important for hormone production and maintaining overall health. Aim for a daily intake of 15-20% of your total calories from healthy fat sources such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish. It’s important to prioritize unsaturated fats over saturated and trans fats. (especially trans fat!!!)
What supplements should I take?
Supplements can be a useful addition to your bulk, but they are not necessary. The most important factor in building muscle is a well-rounded diet that includes enough protein and calories to support growth. However, some supplements may aid in reaching your goals more efficiently.
Whey protein is a popular option for many. Whey protein is a high-quality protein derived from milk. It is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own and must obtain from food sources.
This makes whey protein an excellent choice for those looking to increase their daily protein intake and support muscle growth.
Creatine Monohydrate is another commonly used supplement that many athletes use while on a bulk. Creatine is a naturally occurring compound found in the body, primarily in muscles.
It plays a crucial role in producing energy during physical activity, specifically high-intensity exercises like weightlifting.
When you consume creatine as a supplement, it increases the amount of phosphocreatine stored in your muscles, which allows for more efficient energy production and can lead to improved strength and performance.
Multivitamins are a great way to fill in nutrients your body may be lacking. A multivitamin is a dietary supplement that contains a combination of vitamins and minerals.
These nutrients are essential for maintaining overall health and function in the body*. While it is best to obtain these nutrients from a well-rounded diet, taking a multivitamin can help fill any potential gaps or deficiencies.
It may also provide added benefits such as improved immune function and increased energy levels.
*It is important to note that not all multivitamins are created equal and it is best to consult with a healthcare professional before adding one to your routine. They can help determine the right dosage and specific nutrients you may need based on your individual health needs.
- At least 3-4 weightlifting sessions per week
- Progressive Overload
When it comes to workouts during a bulk, the key is consistency and progressive overload. This means consistently following a structured weightlifting routine and gradually increasing the weights or reps over time to challenge your muscles and stimulate growth.
Aim for at least 3-4 weightlifting sessions per week, focusing on compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, bench press, and overhead press. These exercises target multiple muscle groups at once and are essential for building overall strength and size.
Do I have to lift weights?
- Not necessarily
The optimal way to build muscle mass would be to lift weights, but there are alternative ways to build muscle. Calisthenics or bodyweight exercise is another form of resistance training that doesn’t require you to lift weights and doesn’t require a gym.
As long as the focus is on progressive overload (gradually increasing the difficulty of your exercise), you can still build muscle.
Just keep in mind that this isn’t the fastest route to get there, but if this is a form of exercise that gets you to exercise, then this might be a better option for you. Everyone’s “optimal” is different.
Can I still do cardio?
- Yes, but try to minimize high-intensity cardio
While cardio is great for heart health, it’s best to minimize the amount of cardio you do simply because it can burn a high amount of calories.
When you burn high amounts of calories, this will force you to raise your daily calorie intake. (Ex. If you burn 300 calories running, you might have to eat an additional 300 calories to make up for the loss)
Aim to do low-intensity cardio like walking or a light swim to try to keep your burned calories to a minimum.
Recovery is an essential part of any fitness journey, including bulking. During a bulking phase, the body is under increased stress from intense training and increased calorie consumption.
Adequate recovery allows for proper repair and growth of muscle tissue, which is crucial for achieving desired results.
Without enough rest and recovery time, the body may become fatigued and unable to perform at its best during workouts, hindering progress.
How much do I need to sleep?
- 7-9 hours of quality sleep
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night for optimal health and muscle growth.
During sleep, the body produces important hormones such as human growth hormone (HGH) which plays a key role in repairing and building muscle tissue.
Lack of sleep can lead to decreased HGH production, hinder muscle growth, and negatively affect performance.
What else do I need to know about recovery?
Incorporating rest days into your training routine allows for proper recovery from workouts. This can include active recovery through low-impact exercises or completely resting the body to allow for full recovery.
Listening to your body’s needs and providing it with proper rest and nourishment are key components of an effective recovery plan for building muscle during a bulking phase.
Stretching and foam rolling are two important techniques that can aid in muscle recovery.
Stretching helps to improve flexibility and range of motion, reducing the risk of injury during workouts.
Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release that helps to break up knots and tension in the muscles, allowing for better blood flow and faster recovery.
Incorporating these practices into your post-workout routine can help with muscle soreness and promote overall muscle health.
Tips for Gaining Weight
High Calorie-dense foods
Listen to your body
Meal frequency will vary from person to person based on preferences, daily schedules, and hunger cues. Gaining weight can be difficult at first, but finding a good meal routine can help your weight gain journey.
Here are a few examples of different meal frequencies you can try to see what you like:
2-3 large meals (1000+ per meal)
4-6 meals (600-800 per meal)
Big Breakfast, Snack, Small lunch, Snack, Big Dinner
High-calorie-dense foods are another thing to keep in mind when on a bulk. Choosing foods that are high in calories can help you eat less volume while still hitting your caloric intake.
Some examples of high-calorie dense foods:
Cooking with olive oil
Mass gainer shakes (homemade or weight gainer supplements)
Snacks can be a helpful addition to a bulking diet as they provide extra calories and nutrients to support muscle growth. Eating snacks in between meals can help increase overall calorie and protein intake, which is necessary for building muscle during a bulk.
However, it’s also important to not rely too heavily on snacks and ensure you’re still getting the majority of your nutrition from well-balanced meals.
Finding the right balance is key to maximizing the benefits of snacking while still maintaining a healthy diet.
Here are a few snacks you can eat to sneak in some extra calories:
Peanut butter and bananas
Listen to your body
Listening to your body during a bulk is crucial for avoiding overtraining and injury. When you’re in a calorie surplus and pushing your body through intense workouts, it’s important to pay attention to any signs of fatigue or excessive soreness.
Ignoring these signals can lead to burnout and hinder progress towards your fitness goals. Taking rest days when needed and adjusting training intensity as necessary can help prevent setbacks and keep you on track toward building muscle effectively.
It’s also important to listen to your body’s hunger cues and adjust your calorie intake accordingly for optimal results during a bulking phase. While it’s helpful to push yourself, it can be harmful to do it excessively.
Consistency is key. Building large amounts of muscle doesn’t happen overnight. It requires consistency across the board for long periods of time.
Your journey will consist of trial and error to see what works for you so don’t get discouraged if your results are as quick as you’d like them to be.
Remember, the fitness game is a marathon, not a sprint. We’re in this for the long run.
Gaining weight with a fast metabolism can feel intimidating, but with the right strategies, you can find the right diet and exercise plan to reach your goals. With commitment and dedication, bulking up even with a fast metabolism is possible.
By following our tips such as tracking progress and sticking to nutritious whole foods, you’ll be able to get that extra bulk without feeling overwhelmed. Don’t forget to monitor your progress closely as this will keep you motivated and honest with yourself.
So take a deep breath, commit to the journey ahead of you, and get ready for some serious change!
After all, with hard work comes great rewards – so don’t forget it’s worth holding on to your end goal of bigger muscles. Best of luck on your bulking journey!
Dattilo M, Antunes HK, Medeiros A, Mônico Neto M, Souza HS, Tufik S, de Mello MT. Sleep and muscle recovery: endocrinological and molecular basis for a new and promising hypothesis. Med Hypotheses. 2011 Aug;77(2):220-2. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2011.04.017. Epub 2011 May 7. PMID: 21550729.