I spent most of my teenage life wanting to know how to bulk up.
I was a tall skinny guy, I always played sports, but I never hit the gym to lift weights until I was 16 (the youngest age you could be for a gym membership).
A lot of guys who are skinny want to know how to bulk up for whatever reason.
At 16 I stood 6ft4 (193cm), I don’t remember my exact weight back then, I can’t have been more than 160 – 170 lbs (72kg) ish.
So what the hey, I’m 6ft5 now and I weigh 220lbs 110kg and some change. Not the biggest I have been, but I would say that I have left my skinny days in the past.
Although my limbs are still long (they’re always going to be, I’m a very tall man) I have put on some muscle over the years that really changed my appearance greatly and grew my confidence.
So I thought, what better thing to do than to share a small insight into some of the things that definitely worked for me at a basic level without asking you to sign up to any email newsletter or pay for some ebook.
The road is tough and it takes some commitment, I’m not where I want to be myself yet, but if you follow these basics I guarantee you, you will gain muscle.
This is all 100% written from my own personal experience and I invite you to drop me a message/comment and let me know if any of the tips have helped you in any way.
Hit me up on Instagram if you want to discuss anything in this ‘How to Bulk Up’ article @listedfit.
1 – Heavy Compound moves are key.
Forget everything else, when you’re in the gym, focus on compound moves.
- Focus on your form – film yourself doing the movements and critique your form
- Once you have perfected the form start working sets. Go heavy, with no more than 5 reps per set. Your goal is to build strength. The 5×5 Stronglifts plan is a great place to start.
2 – Know your Calories
Figure out how many calories per day you need to aim for – and then aim to eat 200 calories above that number per day and stick to it.
This is the hardest part for a lot of ectomorphs trying to bulk up their bodies through training because many of us don’t really know how many calories are in the foods we eat.
Sometimes you may eat a big meal and you say ‘wow I don’t understand why I don’t gain weight’. Maybe that day you ate a lot of calories, but did you do it every single day consistently?
Were the huge amount of calories you ate in that meal, or even over the whole day anywhere near the amount you need to start seeing your body change?
This is where the misconception lies. You need to consistently hit a certain number and keep hitting it in order to start adding weight to your frame.
An app like Fatsecret will help you greatly start counting your calories. I recommend using it over a 3 day period. Your actual numbers may surprise you. You will also see the truth behind what you’re actually eating.
I was 6ft4 and very skinny. When you’re taller and already skinny your daily calorie goal in order to put on weight is normally a higher number than an average-sized person, so you have to change the way you think about eating completely.
Ways I got around this?
My daily calorie goal for bulking was 3300 calories.
I also didn’t want to do a dirty bulk. If you don’t know what a dirty bulk is, this article will explain it to you beautifully.
Here’s what I did.
I would eat my normal 3 meals a day, but at the start and end of the day, I would make these huge milkshakes in a blender with ingredients that really packed a calorific punch. I’m talking, whole milk, avocados, oats, peanut butter, olive oil.
Knowing your calorie goal numbers is key so that you can tweak your shake ingredients accordingly to fit your needs.
3 – Sleep – Not to be neglected.
So you’re working out hard, you’re eating like a machine but guess what. Your body isn’t going to be able to process all of this growth if you don’t allow yourself enough sleep.
Not sleeping enough is often neglected, who doesn’t want to stay up late watching YouTube or playing video games after a long day of working out.
But trust me, lack of sleep is a real gains killer. You will grow like a baby cow if you make sure to get enough sleep every night. Sleep also aids recovery, so the soreness from the workouts you’re doing will heal faster with a good sleep routine.
Doing these two things alone will put you in good stead, but if you miss one out, you’re not going to see the best results possible.
So a quick recap…
- Heavy compound moves
- Eat the right amount of calories
- Don’t scrimp on your sleep