Why aren't you bulking?

When it comes to training, you should have an actionable goal, and this goal is generally either losing weight, cutting or bulking.

Bulking is the period of time when the primary goal is building muscle, gaining weight, increasing strength, or all of the above. And during this time calorie intake is increased so a caloric surplus is present. 

This article states that the trick to bulking is gaining the most muscle while limiting with fat gain. If you start eating 6000 calories a day you may gain a little more muscle than eating 3500, however your fat gain would be insurmountable.

Bulking is the art of eating just the right amount of calories for your body to build muscle, not any over. The fact is that it is not enough to just eat a lot because many of these calories will become fat, completely the opposite of what you are trying to achieve. You should also realise that it is important to focus on the quality of foods you are eating. You should always employ a balanced diet where you consume protein, fats and carbs, but the good kinds, while avoiding highly saturated fats and refined carbs, sweets and foods and drinks that are high in sugar.

Zara Larsson nodding | DNAfit Blog

When bulking you will also adapt the way that you train. This article states that you should do old-school workouts where you perform every set of a single exercise before advancing to the next exercise. You should also rest 1-3 minutes in between sets so that your body is fully recovered before you go again. 

Now that we have got the basics out of the way, we are going to focus on mistakes you may be making that will prevent you from bulking up to your desired size.

Too much cardio

Whichever way you look at it, cardio is not conducive to bulking. It is more suited to building a leaner, more cut physique as you lose fat and muscle when performing cardio. If weight loss is your goal then you should always include cardio into your workout, but it is not important when it comes to bulking.

Training too much and not recovering

You may think that you need to be lifting heavy weights all day every day if you want to achieve a bulked physique, but it isn’t like eating a lot to gain weight. Building muscle takes time and you must be mindful of the fact that you won’t be able to efficiently bulk if you are not recovering properly. Reasons for this include eventually not being able to train and picking up injuries due to fatigue and DOMS. Your muscle grow during periods of recovery following training and overtraining counteracts this. Always recover appropriately through eating correctly, warming down and employing methods such as foam rolling and heat therapy to offset muscle soreness.

And recovery goes even further than this. Making sure that you have a good night’s sleep will not only allow you to recover better but will keep your energy levels high the next day.

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Not warming up

Why arent you bulking1

Warming up may feel time consuming but it is a crucial aspect of your training. Performing dynamic stretches before you train will prepare your muscles for the physical exertions to comes. This is beneficial as it:

  • Reduces your risk of injury
  • Allow you to train harder

Think of exercising the same way you approach sports. You simply cannot perform at your optimum by simply going from stationary to involved in the game without employing the correct preparation beforehand.

You aren’t training to your genetics

Our DNAfit test will show you that your genetics do indeed play a role in fitness. We all fall on a spectrum where we are either more inclined to benefitting from power or endurance exercises, or exactly in the middle.

Helix and emojis | DNAfit Blog

This means that your muscle building will benefit by the sorts of reps and sets that you do. What this means is that people more predisposed to power benefit largely from sets with a lower amount of reps but higher weights, and endurance the other way around. By discovering this about yourself and training accordingly you will see the best results.

Forgetting to add difference to your routine

You always need to keep your body guessing. To ensure that you don’t plateau you need to train all of your muscles in different ways that allow you to change up your routine. By “speaking” and “communicating” your body in different ways and employing different techniques such as bodyweight training, using resistance bands, kettlebells and everything else at your disposal you will benefit highly from this.

Not enough protein

Types of protein | DNAfit Blog

Protein plays a major role in the building, recovery, and repair of muscles and yet more often than not, when wanting to bulk, we just don’t get enough of it. Depending on the guideline, recommendations for muscle gain usually hover around 2 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight. It's also important to note that muscles are not built with protein alone. Carbohydrates and calories in general are also needed support muscle growth, and enough fat is needed for healthy hormones. We also often forget that as you bulk, you need to keep increasing your calorie (and possibly protein) intake in order to build bigger muscles. Therefore, even if you have already increased what you are consuming, you will eventually plateau, and need to increase it even further if you wanted to get bigger. 

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