How to Gain Muscle Mass - Bulking Tips for Bodybuilding

January 26, 2022

There are a few simple things you need to remember when you consider how to gain muscle mass. The way your body works is relatively straightforward, but there are limits on what you can achieve in any given period. To build muscle, you need to consume more calories than you expend – otherwise known as positive energy balance.

It's important to consider that no matter how you control your calorie intake and how much you work out in the gym, your body can only build so much muscle each day. Obviously, the more you work out, the more calories you'll need to consume, but that only goes so far. If you don't tailor your calories to activity levels and what your body is capable of, you risk putting on excess fat.

Estimates and people vary to a certain extent, and we see many different body types and metabolisms here at the personal training studio in Richmond, BC. There are few hard and fast rules, but based on our experience, a good place to start thinking about figures is as follows. As you practice building muscle mass, you'll get a far better idea of how your specific physique operates, but for now, consider you'll be capable of gaining around 200 grams of muscle each week.

To achieve that, you'll need to consume somewhere between 200 and 500 calories each day, but we'd suggest you start at the lesser end of that scale to avoid piling on excess fat. While this is unlikely to get you the results you desire from day one, it'll get you in a place where you can start monitoring your progress and tweaking both calorie intake and activity accordingly – without giving yourself the additional headache of unwanted fatty weight gain.

Three tips to start gaining muscle mass

So, let's break down three helpful tips for building muscle mass without piling on the fat. Remember, this is just an outline, and you can adjust and refine the process to suit your own body, habits, and workout style:

1.      Timing is everything: Many personal trainers in Canada swear by timing your calorie intake carefully – and eating lean protein just before you go to the gym. Shoot for eating around twenty minutes before you start your workout.

2.      Be a breakfast person: We all lead busy lives these days, and often workouts are just an extra thing to cram into your day – but don't skip breakfast. It's not just an excellent opportunity to get some calories, it'll also set you up for an active day, and eggs are a great source of protein. Don't get too radical. While you'll probably need to squeeze in extra meals around workouts to maximize muscle mass gain, try and structure things around breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Socially, that's an easier habit to keep. Eating more meals and eating often also keeps hunger at bay.

3.      Don't forget to stay hydrated: When you work out and build muscle, your body will lose water when you sweat. To keep your muscles in good shape, you'll need to adjust your water intake to compensate for that. Don't rely on feelings of thirst – make a conscious effort to stay hydrated, and remember that drinking water will also make your stomach feel fuller and prevent snacking.

How to Gain More Muscle Mass - Dieting

Don't just concentrate on protein. Here at the gym in Richmond, BC, it's something we see all too often, and we get it - it can be tempting to cram in protein-rich foods at all times when you're attempting to build muscle, but remember that your body will need a broad range of nutrients to function correctly. In fact, that's even more important when you're pushing it hard in the gym.

·         Eat regular protein: Even so, eating fewer carbs and more protein should definitely be one of your goals when you're trying to gain muscle mass. A good guide is to aim for around a gram of protein each day for every 450 grams you weigh. You don't have to compromise on taste to eat for muscle gain, either. Try red meats like beef and lamb and white meats like turkey and chicken. Cheese, milk, and yogurt are all great dairy options and don't forget those eggs. You can eat both the yolk and the white of the egg when you're gaining muscle mass.

If you're not a big meat eater or you're vegetarian, you can still get protein from fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines (which are also a great breakfast option). Vegans also have ample options available, like tofu, lentils, seeds, and nuts. Whey is a great idea if you're busy and need a quick protein boost post-workout or at more hectic times of the day.

·         Fruits and vegetables are your friends: They're not only a great source of nutrients, but most fruits and vegetables are low in calories, so you can use them to bulk out meals and stay full without eating into your protein allowance. It's a good idea to talk to your Richmond personal trainer before you plan because some vegetables are higher in carbs than others.

·         Some fat is good fat: Again, speak with your personal trainer here at the Richmond gym before putting your meal plan together, but healthy fats actually help you burn unwanted fats more efficiently. Healthy fats occur naturally and are fine to incorporate, so avoid unhealthy saturated options like margarine.

·         Carbs are ok, after you work out: Carbs provide the energy you'll need to keep pumping weights at the gym, so you can't cut them out entirely – but you can eat them at the right time. Here at the personal fitness studio in Richmond, BC, we recommend eating carbs like bread, rice, or pasta and potatoes only post-workout.

The final word from your personal trainer in Richmond, BC: Enjoy yourself

As always, here at the gym in Richmond, we think gaining muscle mass should ultimately be fun and part of your positive journey to achieving your broader personal fitness goals. Stick to these methods and start slowly, so you get a good idea of how to build muscle efficiently, according to your own traits and body. Remember, we're always here for dietary advice, a morning pep talk, or just to encourage you to keep up that weight training when the going gets tough!

ken lu author headshot

Written by

Ken Lu

Ken has a Bachelor's Degree of Psychology from the University of British Columbia, specializing in Sport Psychology. As well as being a Certified Personal Trainer, Ken is also a Movement & Mobility Specialist, and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He has trained for and won the 2018 NPAA BC Men's Physique Championship.