The cold arrives and the famous bulk phases begin, in which we try to gain as much muscle mass as possible.
The calories increase, and so do the trips to McDonalds.
The problem is that in many cases, it's not just the arms that get bigger, but the belly too.
It's perfectly normal to gain some fat when you want to gain maximum muscle mass, but getting fat along the way is unnecessary.
The more fat you gain at this stage, the more time you will have to spend on the treadmill before summer.
The longer you will have to diet to lose weight, and ironically, the more muscle mass you will lose in the process.
Maybe it's a good idea to approach the bulking phase more calmly this winter, right?
Weigh yourself weekly
It's important to know if you are gaining weight, and if so, how much weight you are gaining.
If every time you step on the scale you add two kilos, it means that after 4 weeks you weigh 8 kilos more.
This feeds the ego, and of course, it is motivating to see the scale rising, at least in the initial phase. The problem is later.
It is impossible to gain 8 kilos of lean mass in four weeks, and often without realizing it, what you thought was pure muscle mass is largely fat.
If you're gaining weight too quickly, it might be a good idea to cut back on calories.
Always weigh yourself around the same time of day, preferably when you wake up fasting. This will avoid the typical fluctuations that occur throughout the day.
Furthermore, don't forget that the more advanced you are, the slower your muscle mass gains will be, so don't expect to always maintain the same pace over time, nor use that as an excuse to increase your calorie count.
Attention, don't just be guided by the weight on the scale.
Gradual increase in calories
If you are consuming 2500 kcal per day and your weight is stable, going up to 4000 kcal is not a very good idea.
If your weight doesn't go up or down at 2500 kcal, you're probably close to your calorie maintenance needs.
If you already train and your current diet doesn't change your weight, try adding just 300 kcal.
In the case of 2500 kcal it would be an increase to 2800 kcal.
If you are going to start, or return to training, you can go up a little more, but never more than 500 kcal in the space of two weeks.
The ideal is to make gradual increases and see how you react.
If you add 300 kcal and don't gain weight or see results after two weeks, try increasing it by another 200 kcal.
If, on the other hand, you added 300kcal and two weeks later you gained 1kg, you're probably on the right track.
Don't know how many calories you need?
See the article How many calories do you use to gain muscle mass?
If 80% of your calories are in carbohydrates, you are unlikely to make the best gains in muscle mass possible.
Make a good distribution of macronutrients, adapted to your lifestyle and training.
In terms of proteins, multiply your current body weight by a value between 1.8 and 2.3g.
Then, use between 20% and 30% of your calories in fat, and fill the rest with carbohydrates.
The more intense your day and your training, the higher the percentage of carbohydrates you should use.
As for fats, never use less than 10% of your caloric intake.
To learn more about protein consumption, see our article How much protein do I need per day?
For fats, you have our article How much fat do I need per day?
The more feedback you get, the better.
It's easy to get carried away with weight gain at this stage, and only realize it too late.
In addition to the scale, use other forms of feedback, don't just be guided by the weight on the scale, nor by the mirror.
Take a measuring tape and measure your arms, stomach, chest and legs every two weeks.
Take photos regularly, with the same lighting and poses.
Ask someone close to you for an honest opinion.
The more feedback you have, the easier it will be to know whether or not you are on the right track, and it will also help you identify weaknesses.
But also pay attention to the origin of this feedback.
That boy at the gym who hates you probably isn't the best person to listen to, and neither are your parents who hate you going to the gym.
To achieve the greatest possible gain in lean mass, with the least gain in fat mass, you need good training, well done.
You need to stimulate the muscle to grow.
There's no point in having the best training plan in the world if you don't put in the effort when it comes to executing it.
You need to execute that training plan, and you need to execute it well.
You don't need to be the king of the bench press, nor write your name on the squat cage at the gym, but you need to try hard, increase loads and evolve.
If you're doing laterals with one arm, and sending messages with the other, you're unlikely to get good results.
Most likely you have a smartphone, but if not, a notepad will do.
Point out the loads you use, the exercises you do, repetitions, sets, how you felt and what changed.
This will help you to be aware of whether you are really evolving or not.
If after a month of training everything is the same, something is wrong.
Of course, you don't need to write a 5-page diary per workout, but the more data you have, the easier it is for you to see where you can improve, where you're failing and where you're on track.
Cheat meals, junk meals, junk days, or whatever you call it.
There are several approaches to this strategy, but it usually involves eating without restrictions, in a single meal, or in the case of a junk day, for an entire day, without paying much attention to calories.
This type of meal does not cause any major problems if eaten once a week, but it also does not bring much benefit beyond the psychological, especially in phases of gaining muscle mass.
If you're eating these types of meals every other day, prepare for rubbish results.
If your diet to gain muscle mass is costing you so much, and you have dreams at night about more exotic foods, something is wrong with your diet.
Calories are the main factor in gaining weight, and the number one reason someone goes from a beach body to a Michelin-starred body (and vice versa).
If your ideal number of calories to gain weight is approximately 3500 Kcal, using 5000 will not give you extra muscle, just more fat.
Exaggerating or not with your caloric intake is what will make the biggest difference between a good evolution, with good gains in lean mass and minimal fat, or a huge increase in weight, not only in muscle, but also in fat. .
It's one of the best investments you can make to get good results in the gym, and it's worth more than any supplement.
It's cheap and shows you that the oats you eat for breakfast are not 100g but 200g.
You don't need to carry it in your backpack, but over time you'll start to be aware of the amounts you use, even without using a scale, and benefit from it.
The best-known supplements for gaining weight are gainers, or hypercalorics.
Mega Mass once dominated this category, nowadays there are lots of supplements of this type, and fortunately, better ones.
You can use them, they are easy calories, and if you choose a good gainer, they are good calories.
On the other hand, you can achieve the same results using food, and most of these supplements are of low quality.
Do you have here an example of a good quality homemade gainer.
If you're really determined to buy supplements to help you gain muscle mass, take a look in this article.
To gain muscle mass, you need a diet hypercaloric, which will also lead you to gain fat.
This does not mean that for every gram of muscle you gain comes 1kg of fat behind.
Your goal in the so-called bulk phase should be to gain as much muscle mass as possible and as little fat as possible.
If you control the increase in calories well, follow a good training plan and the rest of the tips in this article, you will see that you can get the results you are looking for, without excessive fat gains.
To help you with your diet at this stage, see our article What to eat to gain muscle mass.
If you have any questions, use the comments area below.