The Ultimate Bulking Guide for Newbies

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The Ultimate Bulking Guide for Newbies

Can’t gain any weight? Been drinking protein shakes religiously and can’t put on any mass? Been doing strength training, but you’ve got nothing to show for? Stop right there! You’re doing something wrong, and we’re here to tell you exactly what. You want to finally gain some weight, put down that shake and turn your attention to our ultimate bulking guide. We promise you, you’ll never have problems with gaining weight again! Here’s what you have to do… the ultimate bulking guide for newbies.

Little Bit of Math

We just talked about eating, and the importance of protein, but let’s break it down with some numbers. Eating as-is won’t be enough. You have to know exactly how many calories you’re taking in, and how much you need to keep gaining mass. The rule of thumb is that you need to exceed your maintenance level. Usually by some 300-500 calories will do, but, if you’re not gaining anything, then you might increase the intake by another 300-500 cal. As far as protein is concerned, you’re looking at about 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. This does seem like a lot at the beginning, but you’ll soon find that spacing out your protein-rich meals (as well as a little bit of supplementation) will make it easy for you to adjust.

Gaining Fat and Cardio

While bulking up, you’re bound to gain some fat. Don’t worry, this is completely natural, and you’ll get rid of it soon enough. To this end, we very much encourage you to do some cardio. However, keep these workouts short – about 2-3 sessions of 20-30 minutes should be just enough. This will allow your body to burn the excess fat and carbs as fuel. While not impacting your gains and it will keep your heart and cardiovascular system primed and healthy. This will, in turn, allow your body to pump more blood into your muscles, making them more oxygen-rich. Allowing you to train more and be at peak physical condition throughout your bulking process.

Increase Protein Intake

And, no, we don’t mean chug more protein shakes than is healthy for you. Supplements are fine (and we’ll talk about them a bit later), but they are, by no means, healthy and correct replacements for a good diet. Your diet will provide most of what you need to put on mass. Supplements will only support that growth (that’s why they’re called supplements after all).

The first thing you’ll need to do is rearrange your dining habits. If you want to put on more mass, you’ll need to eat a lot more than you’re eating now. Three meals a day are fine for a normal person, but, if you’re hoping to increase your weight at all, you’ll need to eat around 6-7 times a day. However, these meals won’t be as sizable as your regular three meals – the goal here is to eat smaller meals but more often. In addition, you’ll also have to keep to a strict regimen of bulking meals and foods – chicken breast, tuna, egg whites, and round steaks will be your primary sources of protein. Don’t neglect carbs either – they will feed your muscles and make sure you have the fuel to go on and complete your training regimens without losing any gains. Finally, fats are important too, as they perform a similar function to carbohydrates. 

Train, Train, Train

This one’s a no-brainer. Keeping up your training will massively improve your gains, however, there are some considerations when stepping into the gym. One thing people tend to do is over-train, thinking that the more they do, the more they hit the gym and the more weight they lift, that they’ll get bulkier. This is not the case, as your muscles will consume more energy, and upset your calorie intake, and you’ll end up with a net loss instead of gain. To prevent this, keep your training short and intense. Try out the 5×5 module – do 5 sets, 5 reps each, and use weights that you can just barely lift on your 4-5th rep. Also, consider using compound movement exercises, such as barbell press, military press, deadlifts and such. Such exercises will activate more than one muscle group and will keep activating your growth hormones, in turn, granting you mass, rather than shaping the muscle. 

Post-Workout Meals

We already told you to eat a lot, but some meals are more important than others. Post-workout meals are extremely important, as, at this time, you’re refuelling your body, allowing muscles to absorb the protein without expending them. When preparing your post-workout snack, it’s good to include a protein shake, some carbohydrates and/or some supplements like glutamine or creatine monohydrate – all of these will round up your training and diet nicely and prevent you from losing any muscle mass you’ve gained throughout your bulking process.


Most people are surprised when told this, but you gain much more mass outside of the gym than inside. The reason behind this is that your body is absorbing protein and releasing growth hormones while taking a break from physical activity. Like we said in the third section, over-working yourself will make your muscles use more energy and fuel, and it’ll result in a weight-loss overall. Resting properly and often will reduce fuel consumption, and enable you to continue training at the same intensity as before, something we, again, mentioned as important if you are to continue gaining muscle mass. 

And that’s about it as far as our little guide goes. All in all, bulking isn’t rocket science, and isn’t overly complicated as long as you follow 3 important maxims – eat protein and eat responsibly, work out and get plenty of rest. If you manage to follow these three golden rules, you’ll need little else to keep bulking up. 


Lena Hemsworth is a lifestyle blogger, foodie, and lover of a good book. She’s also a strong believer in the written word and positive thoughts.

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