Bulking Up? Avoid These Common Mistakes!

Most likely, you’re planning on bulking up during the upcoming off-season. After all, the fun of summer will be over soon. If you’re a competitive bodybuilder, the fall and winter months are ideal for adding more mass. Maybe you don’t compete but just like to be in your best shape during the hot summer months. Either way, once bulking season is here, it’s easy to overdo it. The last thing you want to do is over-bulk. Yes, you want muscle, but what you don’t want is fat. You also don’t want to make mistakes that can derail your progress. In this article, we will look at the most common mistakes that 5%ERs often make during the off-season.

Bulking Up Mistake # 1: Eating Too Much Of The Wrong Foods In The Name Of “Bulking Up”

No doubt you’ve heard the expression “you have to eat big to get big”. Rich would have been the first person to tell you that to get big, you have to eat more food. He was famous for eating 8-10 meals a day when he was bulking. Yet there is a difference between eating big and eating quality. Too many lifters use the fall/winter off-season as an excuse to pork down on all the wrong foods. Then they spend spring and even early summer trying to get back in shape. This might not be the end of the world if you want to look good on the beach. Yet it might be if you can’t get in your best shape in time for an upcoming contest. 

Your goal when eating in the off-season is to eat about 500 calories over maintenance, per day. That’s your starting point. You can go up in calories if you are not gaining but you have to go up slowly. Your extra calories should consist of lean protein first and low glycemic carbs second. 

You can do what Rich did and use Real Carbs to replace 1-2 meals. In his day, Real Carbs + Protein wasn’t available. You can bet if it was, Rich would have used it. That’s because it’s an easy yet highly nutritious way to help you reach your calorie goal. It’s also a great way to help you reach your macronutrient requirements.

What if you find you need to eat more than 500 calories per day? One option is to add more protein and carbs to beef up the calories in Real Carbs + Protein. For example, Rich used to add egg whites and a banana to his Real Carbs shake. You can add a serving of 5% Egg White Crystals and the fruit of your choice. 

Bulking Up Mistake #2: Not Understanding Meal Timing - How To Make Sure You’re Ingesting Quality Calories Every Few Hours

As noted above, the only way you’re going to eat the amount of food you need is to eat frequently. Maybe your goal is 6-7 meals a day. If you lead a busy lifestyle, this makes sense. The key to success is to replace 2 of these meals with Real Carbs + Protein. As noted above, you can take a trick from Rich and add Egg White Crystals for a little more protein. You can also add some fruit if desired. Also, you could use Shake Time mixed with Real Carbs or Real Carbs Rice. It’s your choice. 

Depending on your schedule, you can easily take a shake to work or school. You have access to cold water, right? You can take your powder and a 5% shaker, just add water, and you are all set. If time is on your side a little more, add a 5% Snack Time for some extra protein and calories. 

Make sure you have protein and simple carbs a couple of hours before your workout. Follow Rich’s trick and freeze 1-2 scoops ADYM mixed with water. Keep it in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes and enjoy it while you train. There are some amazing flavors to choose from like Push Pop, Southern Sweet Tea, and Lemon Lime to name a few. 

For your post-workout shake, the most important thing to remember is to drink immediately after your last set. Whether you’re going with Real Carbs + Protein or Shake Time and your choice of Real Carbs, don’t wait. Drink it right away. Then wait an hour to an hour and a half, and eat a quality meal high in protein and complex carbs. 

Finally, eat (or drink) at least 2 more meals before bed. A serving of Shake Time about an hour before bedtime provides a slow to medium digesting protein source. 

Bulking Up Mistake #3: Not Eating Enough Carbs 

In this era of low carbs, many of us don’t want to eat too many. If you’re bulking up, you have to take in more carbohydrates. There’s no way around it. The secret is to limit sugary carbs and focus on quality low glycemic carbs, such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, and oats. It makes sense to be familiar with the glycemic index rating of the carbohydrate foods in your diet. 

The Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load

The Glycemic Index measures the blood glucose-raising potential of carbohydrate foods. The comparison point is glucose with a GI rating of 100. The lower the rating, the better the carbohydrate. A score of 55 or less is low glycemic.

To get a complete picture of the effects of carbohydrates on blood sugar, you should also look at the Glycemic Load. So, we have the Glycemic Index, which tells us how a carbohydrate food affects blood sugar, and now the Glycemic Load, which takes into account the serving size of carbohydrate foods. 

See both the GI and GL of common foods here: Glycemic Index Chart

The other secret to carbohydrate intake is to eat most of your carbs in the hours around your workout. Eat simple carbs an hour or 2 before training. Some lifters eat a good-sized meal 3 hours before training. This meal will consist of lean protein and medium digesting carbs. Then they might have some fast digesting carbs an hour before the workout. The key is to allow these foods to digest before you take your 5% pre-workout.

As noted, have your post-workout shake right away. Then have your post-workout meal an hour or so later. 

Bulking Up Mistake #4: Not Understanding The Importance Of Recovery

Recovery has become an overlooked concept. The trend today seems to be to limit recovery and train as often as humanly possible. The truth is that you grow when you recover, not when you’re in the gym. If you’re in a bulk, most likely you’re following a 3-day or 4-day split. Both of these routines are good choices because they allow plenty of recovery time. 

If you’re using a 6-day split like Rich did, follow his example and take an extra day or 2 off whenever you feel sore and lethargic. Part of recovery is eating enough food. Even so, listen to your body and give it a break when it asks for it. 

Bulking Up Mistake #5: Not Using The Right Supplements

Of course, the best supplements are 5% Nutrition products. We’ve come a long way from the days of Real Food and Kill It pre-workout! If you haven’t checked out everything we have to offer, take the time and visit our website.

Check us out!

Of course, you’ll find all the legendary 5% products. Classics like All Day You May and Kill It are still as popular as ever. There are also hot sellers such as Kill It Reloaded, 5150, and Full As F*ck. 

Check Out 5% Nutrition’s Protein Options!

What about protein? Some good protein options would be great for a lean bulk! Rich was never a fan of whey protein powder. He was a fan of real food sources of protein. We have several:

  • Real Carbs + Protein - 21g of whole food protein
  • Shake Time - 26g of whole food protein
  • Egg White Crystals - Cook up some scrambled eggs, make an omelet, or make a shake out of it. You’ve got 20g of egg white protein to work with.
  • Snack Time - This is an amazing product. With Snack Time, it can’t get any easier to take in quality protein from real food. 1 squeezable pouch gives you 14g of protein from peanuts and egg whites. Just tear the pouch open and squeeze! 

As you can see, we have a great selection of proteins. All of these options will help you easily meet your daily protein requirements.

In Conclusion

We’re getting near the off-season. As you plan your lean bulk, eating quality calories and avoiding mistakes will make a big difference in your success. In this article, we have reviewed several common mistakes. Doing a lean bulk the right way comes down to eating plenty of well-timed, quality calories. Of course, the right routine is critical as well. Check out our other blog articles to see some great workout routines. Now get out there and Kill It!

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