Hardcore Bulking by Gavin Kane
Off-season; a bodybuilder's favorite time of year and the favorite words
whispered after a recent contest. So the time is here, what are you going to do
about it? First step is to determine what you want to do and set some goals. You
cannot achieve anything without a plan. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. So
let's set some clear cut goals. You are going to need all the tools at your
disposal before you begin. You are going to work on written goals, nutrition,
training, and finally the hardcore cycle.
Write down your goals. Have everything written down and in plain sight as a
reminder of what you are trying to achieve. So write down your target weight,
your training days, your daily calorie goals, your cycle, etc. Keep a master log
book of everything you are trying to do. Like I stated, you must plan for
First thing is to determine your target weight and body fat goals. Don't be
overly concerned with fat. This is, after all, the off-season, but there is no
need to go above 13-14%. At that point you can still see some abs if you flex
them hard enough and you will have acquired the mass point necessary for massive
gains. Picking a target weight is very dependent on your level of experience.
Since this series of articles is targeted primarily at advanced lifters, I
recommend trying to achieve 20lbs of pure mass; some fat, mostly muscle.
So now that you know you are trying to get another 20lbs of size, how do you go
about doing this? First and foremost is diet. You cannot make gains if you are
not feeding yourself at the goal you want to achieve. So since you know you are
trying to get 20lbs, you are going to eat as if you you're already at that
weight. The best way to achieve this is to take in a total daily calorie intake
of 30 kcals per pound of bodyweight for ectomorphs, 25 kcals for mesomorphs, and
20 for endomorphs. So for the 230lb average size ecto/meso bodybuilder, he is
going to need to eat almost 7500 cals per day. Sounds incredible, I know, but it
can be done quite easily. During the off-season you will eat calorie dense
foods, some fast food, and some bulking shakes.
I am not going to outline an exact diet for you, but I will give some general
guidelines that I highly recommend. Variety is very important in bulking, eating
the same foods over and over is boring and there is no reason to. Save the tuna
and rice for show time; you can get very creative when bulking and actually
enjoy eating. So let's look at some calorie dense foods that fall in the
category of bulking and are acceptable bodybuilding foods.
I love cheese when bulking it is high in protein, goes on everything and it is a
very easy way to add calories to every meal. I don't mean Velveeta or cheese in
a can here; I am talking about quality cheese, like Tillamook extra sharp. My
other favorite is milk. I love milk with every meal and protein shake when
bulking. Oh, and don't forget my extra special, super bulking treat''natural
peanut butter. Tons of calories, high in complete chain protein and essential
So now you have my favorites, let's go shopping. Grab a pen and paper and write
down a shopping list. Don't just go in the store and wing it. Remember earlier I
stated you are going to write everything down. This includes shopping. You write
down your weekly shopping list, your training schedule, your cycles and your
goals. So back to shopping, you are going to need a lot of food to get to 7500
cals per day. Here are my shopping list recommendations:
7-10% lean ground beef
Honey Nut Cheerios cereal
Natural peanut butter
Now remember, I am not going to set up a diet for you, just give you some ideas
of my favorite calorie dense foods. It is up to you to plan some meals and make
sure to eat 5-6 meals per day. I don't see a need to eat more than that because
you are not trying to speed up your metabolism; you are trying to slow it down
by eating more food at each meal and eating less often. I am a huge proponent of
high calorie shakes during the off-season. I personally belong to Muscle Milk
anonymous! All kidding aside, they have the most incredible flavors and are
highly addictive. Instead of the usual 2 scoops, I use 4 scoops in 16oz 2% milk
for a 900+ calorie shake. I have two of those per day, plus my 3 solid meals and
then my night time snack.
My favorite night time bulking snack is 4 graham crackers spread with tons of
natural peanut butter and then made into two sandwiches, 2 string cheese and a
huge glass of milk. It is totally yummy, and I highly recommend it. You probably
won't wake up hungry in the middle of the night. The peanut butter will hold you
over until you get up for breakfast.
People are always highly concerned about percentages of protein, carbohydrates,
and fat. I am not so concerned, so long as I am getting 2 grams of protein per
pound of body weight that I want to be, the rest will just naturally be carbs
and fat. So for our hypothetical diet of 7500 calories per day to get to 250lbs,
I need 500 grams of protein, which is 2000 calories of protein. That still
leaves me 5500 calories of fat and carbs to enjoy. You must eat protein first in
every meal, if you are going to get full while eating, it better be on protein
and not anything else. It is always easy to squeeze in extra carbs, and needless
to say, fat is too easy.
So for our 6 meals, of which 2 are already Muscle Milk and have 170 grams of
protein, you don't have far to go. The next 4 meals just have to have about 80
grams per meal. One glass of milk at each meal is 10 grams, so now you have just
70 grams. See how easy this is? Carbs add up real fast, especially with dense
foods like cereal, bread, bagels, and rice / pasta.
Now you are beginning to see how easy bulking while eating clean is. A couple of
days per week, I recommend you head over to McDonalds and get 2 or 3 Big Macs or
double cheese burgers. Go to In and Out, Burger King, or whatever your favorite
is, and do a major feast. You can easily get in 3000 cals in one sitting with 3
Big Macs, a large fry, and a shake. So if you do that 2 times per week, you are
going to have two days of about 10,000 cals per day, something that is really
going to help with the metabolism and bulking.
We also need to address the very important issue of post-workout (pwo)
nutrition. I cannot stress enough how important it is to consume the majority of
your daily calories in the first 3 meals pwo on training days. The primary
source of energy when training is the conversion of glycogenesis in the
formation of glycogen from glucose. Glycogen is synthesized depending on the
demand for glucose and ATP (energy). If both are present in relatively high
amounts, then the excess of insulin promotes the glucose conversion into
glycogen for storage in liver and muscle cells.
When you have completed a workout, your muscle cells are depleted of glycogen
and it must be replenished as quickly as possible to promote recovery, and cell
repair. Protein cannot be utilized for cell repair if we don't first address the
depletion of glycogen. The best way to replenish depleted glycogen stores is to
use a very high glycemic carbohydrate in conjunction with a rapid and easily
digested protein to shuttle into the cell for repair.
I personally use a custom made shake that costs me literally pennies to consume.
I shop at the local beer brewer's store and purchase bags of pure glucose or
dextrose which they use for home beer brewing. I mix 40 grams of glucose with
16oz (84g) of grape juice and 3 scoops (66g) Nectar whey protein. Nectar is an
ultra high quality, flavored whey isolate. This is one of the fastest digested
proteins on the market, so in conjunction with my high glycemic pure glucose and
grape juice, I have just made a super high quality, muscle repairing shake that
costs literally nothing to make. I also recommend you throw in 10 grams of
creatine and 10 grams of glutamine at this time.
Your muscles are sponge's pwo and this is the optimal time to feed them and
prepare the tissue to utilize the nutrition for primary protein absorbtion
instead of feeding the intestinal tract, a primary scavenger of ingested
proteins, especially glutamine.
Your next two meals of extremely important because you are still within the so
called 'window of opportunity' for muscle repair with nutrition. Your pwo shake
should not leave you feeling full for long; it is easily digested and is
intended to be so. You are going to want to eat again one hour after you drink
your shake. At this time, you still want an easily digested, low fat protein but
you should move into moderate glycemic carbs as we are still 'filling the tank'
so to speak but no longer need fast carbs as most of our glycogen was
replenished with the glucose.
This meal should be preferably a light, white fish, or chicken breast. I consume
mahi-mahi, tuna, or chicken with broccoli and rice or a baked potato. Eat a
large portion of protein, the carbs are just a means to an end to shuttle the
protein, so fill up with protein first, then eat your carbs to shuttle the amino
acid chain into muscle cells.
Our third and final pwo meal of importance while bulking will finally include
some essential fatty acids which are also necessary for tissue repair, primarily
tendon and ligament tissues. So now we get to really consume the calories and
have fun with this meal. I like to eat 8-10 whole eggs, avocado, 6 pancakes,
bacon and a glass of orange juice. Another favorite is 1lb lean ground beef in
tortilla shells with avocado, salsa, cheese, a baked potato or rice and some
So there you have the three most important meals of your day on training days.
It is critical to watch your nutrition at this time, especially since you are
trying to repair damaged muscle tissue, replenish glycogen stores, repair
connective tissue, and cells. I cannot stress enough how important it is to eat,
your body is willing and able to consume massive amounts of calories pwo without
spilling into excess body fat storage.
Another critical issue we need to address is the use of insulin and nutrition
pwo. The three meals I have outlined fall well within the acceptable specs for
humalog use, not humulin-r so that cover pwo nutrition. I will cover the use of
R in later articles, as well as proper eating if you choose to use it. For now
just use 10-12iu humalog pwo only following the former meal guidelines and you
will be utilizing proper protocol and nutrition to maximize your growth.
As stated, look for a future article on insulin use and proper nutrition with it
for maximum off season bulking. Insulin is going to be one the greatest products
we can use when bulking, especially since you really can't go hypo if you are
going to be eating that many calories each day. We will address multiple use per
day on training days to maximize your gains, especially how to super-charge your
I have said it before and I will say it a million more times until you get it
through your thick heads. Without nutrition, no gains are possible. Bulking or
dieting, it doesn't matter what your goals are, nutrition is about 80% of our
battle. Training and drugs are a means to an end. I can entirely change my
physique from fat to lean, from thin to bulk all with diet manipulation. Try
doing that with just training and a cycle but only eating 2 or 3 meals per day.
Nutrition is your greatest anabolic agent; everything else is just the icing on
In the next installment of this series we are going to tackle hardcore training
principles and eventually what you are all dying to know, the hardcore bulking
cycle. For now, read and re-read the information presented before you. Learn to
eat right and you can easily put on another 10lbs without even touching a weight
or sticking a needle in your glute.
By Gavin Kane
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