This is another common question i am asked a lot and i thought i would bring this up today because winter is coming, and we all tend to carry a little extra fluff when nobody can see under our winter clothes. I actually love winter for bulking because i have a little bit more body fat, i feel a bit more warmer and plus it’ s soup weather (who doesn’t love soup?). But even if it’s not winter and your aim is to bulk up the question is how much should i be gaining a week? I can’t give a straight one sentence answer so instead i thought i would create a whole article about it. Grab yourself some tea or coffee, get comfy and enjoy the read.
When people ask me how much weight they should gain i always assume they mean how much muscle should they try and put on because i don’t think people want to put on weight for the sake of it. But what determines muscle gain from weight gain? Well this all depends on how advanced you are in your training and how much your weight is actually increasing. Weight gain can be easily manipulated through water (drinking more than usual), sodium intake (really salty foods, and going out to eat), more carbohydrates in one meal(you hold more water) and various other ways. Think about the time you ate a huge salty meal and the next day you were 2kg heavier and then two days later you’re back to your normal weight was; that’s what weight manipulation and fluctuation is.
Gaining muscle however can’t be manipulated there is only so much muscle you can put on at a time and just because you put on 1kg this week does not mean it’s all muscle. Muscle gain is determined by how much stimulus and muscle fiber damage is done to the muscle (resistance training), training experience (the amount of time you’ve trained for) and the amount of amino acids and nutrients is delivered to the muscle (protein). The rate of which you can put on muscle also depends on various factors (age, height, training experience, body shape, genes etc.)
How do i gain muscle then?
So you know what the difference is between weight and muscle gain but how do you actually gain muscle then? Well like i stated earlier this all depends on the person but at the end of the day to put on weight and muscle you need to be in a calorie surplus and what that essentially means is that you have to be consuming more calories than you burn throughout the day. So pretty much you have to eat more. If you’ve been at the same weight for the last 6 weeks it’s because you’re burning the same amount of energy that you’re consuming which basically means you’re at maintenance (maintaining what you currently have). Because you want to put on muscle you’re going to have to be in a surplus but you don’t want to be in too much of a surplus otherwise most of the weight gain will be fat. I have some recommendations that can help to guide you SAFELY put on weight. These are only recommendations remember that. By the way you can never put on 100% muscle, you’re always going to have some fat gain BUT you can minimise it.
If you’re a beginner which means you’ve been training for less than two years, you’re still pretty weak and you haven’t put on much muscle than you can put on more weight at a time without much fat gain. There still will be SOME fat gain but not a lot. For you i recommend gaining about 3-4kg (7-10 pounds) a month. That’s assuming you’re weight training at least 3 times a week and working all of your muscle groups not just the chest and arms.
If you’ve been training for more than 2 years and have made some pretty decent progress and used up all of your noob gains then you’re going to have to gain a little bit less per week. I recommend about 1.5-2.5kg (4-6 pounds) per month. It’s not that much of a difference between intermediates and beginners but that extra kilo or two can add up to noticeable fat gains.
If you’re an advanced lifter than unfortunately you don’t get to gain as much. Because you’ve had over 4 years in the gym the gains just aren’t as good as they used to be. For you i recommend nothing more than a maximum of 1 – 1.8kg (3 pounds) a month and that’s being generous.
Now remember these are just general guides, if you’re very tall and always been skinny you can put on a lot more weight faster and without much fat gain and vice versa if you’re shorter maybe you don’t need to put on so much weight at a time, but you really have to learn to experiment a little bit to see what works for you.
Ok so now you know how much you should be gaining i guess the next question is how do i get in a calorie surplus and how much more should i eat. There are a few ways you can get yourself into a surplus you can:
- Eat More
- Do less cardio
- Eat calorie dense foods
- move less
That’s really the only two ways to do it, move less or eat more; or do both. Instead of trying to bore you in one whole post what i’m going to do is end it here today and then next week i’m going to give you some ideas about how you can actually increase your food consumption so you can get the best out of your bulk.
What to do next
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