Although bulking up is just about any fitness enthusiast’s dream, going overboard can cause some serious health issues like muscle hypertrophy. Luckily, this is only a risk for those who use extreme and unnatural methods to gain muscle mass, which can in turn also have detrimental effects on the body’s hormonal levels, and in some cases, can develop serious diseases including Type 2 diabetes and stunted growth in individuals under the age of 25. With those risks in mind, it’s no surprise that using natural and gradual methods to put on some more muscle is the safest option for you. If you’ve been trying to buff up to no avail, here are some of the safest and easiest ways you can change that without incurring any risks.
Understand Protein Turnover
Prolonged periods of strength training can be ineffective if you don’t consume enough food – and by food, we mean protein and calories alike. Many fitness enthusiasts make the mistake of focusing on their protein intake, so they eat a high-protein, low-carb diet in fear of gaining fat rather than muscle. This is only counterproductive, seeing as your body requires calories for the process of protein turnover.
The process of building muscle can be tricky, but simply put, it requires a positive balance of caloric intake, which means you need to consume more calories than you burn. In fact, you may need 2,800 calories to build just one pound of muscle mass. This is primarily because your body needs to exert a lot of energy to renew and replace the protein in your connective tissues.
If you’re currently struggling with muscle gain, you should try to add 300 more calories to your diet and wait a week to see if there are any significant results. If not, add another 300. Of course, you can also see a nutritionist to see where you’re lacking, but if that’s not an option, it doesn’t hurt to add a few healthy carbs to your daily meals.
Consider Supplementing Your Diet
While some athletes and fitness enthusiasts prefer to go completely organic, if you want swift results, you might want to consider consuming supplements on a temporary basis until you achieve your desired results.
On the other hand, there are countless protein powders on the market that you can choose from, some of which are also completely plant-based. If you drink protein shakes, make sure to avoid whey-based kinds because they can cause digestive issues if consumed on a long-term basis. Brown-rice based protein powder is ideal for those with IBS or any other digestive complications that may cause stomach upset. Further, the nutritionists from Wilsonsupplements.com recommend reaching out to your doctor before you add any supplements or shakes to your diet, as some of the ingredients of these products may worsen the symptoms of some medications.
Most importantly, you need to remember that supplements complement your diet, but they cannot in any way completely replace it, so make sure that you’re eating a well-balanced diet and preferably more than four meals a day.
Check Your Portions
While you may be eating just the right amount of variety, you will want to play around with the portions of your food or how you divide them throughout the day if you’re not seeing results with your current strength training routine. If you eat three meals a day, it’s likely that your body isn’t making full use of the nutrients you consume. It’s better to eat smaller portions more frequently than bigger portions only thrice a day. This will provide your body with a consistent flow of energy. You’ll notice that you have higher levels of energy throughout the day, and you’ll also be less likely to gain fat.
Remember to add complex and not empty carbs to your meals and in the correct portions. If you don’t already have a scale, it’s recommended to invest in one so that you’re aware of how much protein you’re consuming per meal and you can accordingly measure your caloric intake. Consume more lean proteins such as salmon and poached chicken, and make sure to add complex carbs such as wholemeal pasta, brown rice, yam, and oats. Unlike empty carbs which can contribute to energy crashes, complex carbs supply you with sustained energy throughout your day.
Don’t Forget Your Veggies
So many individuals make the mistake of being focused on their calories and protein to the point that they forget to consume a healthy balanced meal. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes should all be part of your diet, as they provide you with the needed antioxidants and fiber content that helps you digest your frequent high-protein meals.
In fact, it’s recommended that you start your day with a smoothie or a smoothie bowl with added oats. Make it a habit to start your day with a hearty breakfast; it’ll kick-start your morning and provide you with the needed energy to get through the day without enduring energy crashes during your gym session. Fruits and veggies are also loaded with vitamins and minerals that support your bodily functions. What’s the point of getting in shape if it’s not for better health?
That said, when it comes to carb consumption, make sure you eat them after your workout. If you load up on carbs before working out, it’s likely that you’ll feel too lethargic to carry on with your routine. You should also completely avoid white carbs and eat only whole grains.
Bulking up safely can be frustrating, especially if you’ve been trying to put on muscle mass for months to no avail. You should be able to see significant results within a couple of weeks if you follow our tips, and if all else fails, it’s recommended that you consult a nutritionist. Make sure to consume balanced meals and avoid entirely depending on protein shakes or over-consuming them, as they can cause digestive issues and can also lead to malnutrition. Before you add any supplements to your diet, make sure to consult your physician if you’re taking other medications and discontinue use immediately if any problems arise.