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Updated 07 March 2016

Build muscle: the skinny on how to bulk up

There’s a difference between building strength and adding bulk. You can do the former without getting bigger, and the latter without necessarily getting stronger.

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There’s a difference between building strength and adding bulk. You can do the former without getting bigger, and the latter without necessarily getting stronger. What is key is that you know what it is you want to achieve.

If bulk is what you’re after, here are some key points to remember:

1. Know your max rep.

Knowing what you’re capable of is key, because you’ll need to lift about 50 – 60% repetitively to add bulk.

This will cause your existing muscle to get bigger without eating into your fat reserves or causing your body to get too lean.

Lifting more than that will eat into your fat reserves and result in a leaner form.

2. Make friends with a protein shake.

Try to consume a quality form of whey protein within an hour after your workout. This is when your body most needs to replenish its stores, and when it’s most likely to absorb the nutrients.

You’ll want to put an hour between the shake and dinner though, since if you’re looking to add bulk you don’t want to replace one with the other, and you’ll need the extra calories.

3.Take growth-friendly supplements.

Sounds simple, but it’s hard to know what to take when there are so many options out there. You’ll want a whey protein shake, L-Glutamine (which keeps muscles in a state of recovery and prevents burnout), a good Magnesium complex to stop muscle cramps and depending on how big you want to go, some Creatine won’t hurt either.


4. Eat, eat and eat again.

Your body will process the calories you consume and turn them either into fat or muscle, depending on how you use your body. So in order to put on bulk, you’ll need to eat approximately 15 – 20% extra calories a day than you usually eat.

Try to make your calories quality – proteins such as eggs and meat and good carbohydrates will do more for your bulking up attempts than junk food. But it’s important that you consume more than what you usually do, while lifting weights, in order to get bigger.

Read more:

Everything you need to know about sports nutrition

Sports nutrition for vegetarians 

Your guide to legal supplements 

 

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