In a phase where the goal is to gain mass, especially muscle mass, it’s important to give your body what it needs to succeed in this phase.
To achieve this goal, your diet should be good, with a good balance of macronutrients at all times.
But in addition to having a good diet and having defined an exercise plan that helps you to achieve the desired results, you should use some supplements that will be of great help for this goal, but keep in mind that if your diet is not good and if you don’t include physical exercise in this process, supplements won’t work miracles.
In this article I’ll explain this phase a little more, I’ll show you what your body needs and I’ll give you some options for supplements that can help you to get the best results.
What does your body need?
How long does this phase last?
The time is the one that the person decides and that the person needs for the muscle mass gains to be enough so that in the definition phase we can discover muscle mass under some fat that we’ve accumulated.
Don’t try to do it too fast! My suggestion is to gain weight progressively for 6 months, without accumulating unnecessary adipose tissue (fat).
How to measure success?
There are two ways to measure it: body weight and our body measurements together with the accumulated fat.
During this process you can also gain some fat, but the goal is to gain maximum muscle mass, while accumulating as little fat as possible.
It’s useless to do a bulking phase to gain 20 centimeters of belly.
In a well-made bulking phase, with an adapted surplus, gaining progressively, and with an adapted exercise regime, you can calmly gain weight with a good percentage of muscle mass.
Try to achieve a good balance of nutrients in the meals that you consume throughout the day.
All macronutrients, fats, proteins and carbohydrates, are important. During this process, you should count the amounts of calories ingested. Learn more about this here!
The pre- and post-workout meals are the most important, because they are the ones that can contain more carbohydrates compared to the other meals of the day, since this energy will provide you with what you need for your workouts and for your recovery afterwards.
In addition, they will facilitate the release of insulin by the body, which is important because of its anabolic and anti-catabolic effects.
During this process, and also post-workout, proteins are essential, because they are responsible to help to repair and build muscles. They will help you to ensure that your mass gains are in muscle and not just in fat.
Fats are essential in any diet, and also in this process they can’t be missed. Because in addition to being a source of energy, they ensure the proper functioning of the body.
In addition to the diet, there’s a great variety of supplements that can help you to make the process easier and faster, with nutrients that are important for your muscle mass to grow in optimal conditions.
The best supplements for the bulking phase
Without this nutrient, our muscles won’t grow, because thanks to proteins we regenerate the fibers that we’ve damaged during training.
A protein supplement will help you to recover from physical exercise, to repair and to increase the muscle tissue that was damaged during physical exercise and to reduce muscle fatigue.
There are several options: some of vegetable origin and others of animal origin.
The most common is whey. It’s a protein with a high biological value and fast digestion and absorption. Within this category, there are whey concentrate, whey isolate and hydrolyzed whey:
- Whey Protein Concentrate: one of the most economical and consumed.
- Whey Protein Isolate: contains a higher percentage of proteins, less lactose, and are low in sugars, fats and carbohydrates.
- Hydrolyzed Whey Protein: as it’s broken down in small particles, it has a higher absorption level than the other two examples.
During this phase, casein can also be important. It’s ideal to take before bedtime, because it’s absorbed slowly. It will provide you the nutrients needed during this period to promote muscle anabolism.
To find out more about the types of proteins and their functions, read the blog article.
The BCAAs are three of the amino acids that form the structure of proteins. Made up by the amino acids Leucine (considered one of the most influential amino acids in muscle building), Isoleucine and Valine, they are responsible for the synthesis of proteins.
They help in the process of repairing and building muscle!
Other amino acids, such as Glutamine (the most abundant amino acid present in the human body) can also be of great help during this phase.
It can be produced by our body, ingested through the normal diet (with foods rich in proteins, especially meat), or in a more neutral, pure and concentrated form through supplementation.
It functions as an energy producing agent. It participates in the supply of explosive energy to the muscles when replenishing adenosine triphosphate (ATP), responsible for this process.
This is why it helps to withstand longer periods of high performance, by decreasing muscle fatigue, while promoting the increase of muscle volume at the same time.
Just like with proteins, there are several types of creatine. Take a look at the post about the different types and their respective characteristics!
In the bulking phase it’s essential to increase your calorie consumption, but sometimes, it may not be easy to do so. A gainer can help you.
Gainers are products designed for those who want to increase their calorie intake with less effort.
They are rich in calories and are made up mostly of carbohydrates. These are used as a source of energy for physical activity, and at the same time, they will help you to trigger an anabolic reaction if consumed post-workout, enhancing the absorption of nutrients.
In addition, they contain proteins to aid in the process of muscle building and recovery.
ZMA consists of the minerals zinc and magnesium, and the vitamin B6. Together, they have an anabolic effect (directly related to muscle development) and improve the functioning of the immune system.
Together they help to:
- Promote a normal metabolism of macronutrients
- Maintain normal hormone levels (such as testosterone levels, a hormone that influences muscle growth)
- Reduce fatigue
- Maintain normal muscle function and bone health
- Improve sleep quality (important, because this is when the body recovers and regenerates)
A multivitamin can also be an option. Macronutrients are the priority during this phase, but you shouldn’t stop consuming micronutrients, both vitamins and minerals.
These are important for the body to function properly, to ensure bone health, good muscle function and absorption of nutrients. In addition, they help you to stay hydrated (important when you perform intense physical exercise).
Just like fats! Healthy fats, such as omega 3, will help you to improve your cardiovascular health, joint health, hormone production, digestion of nutrients (for example of proteins, important for muscle growth), and have an antioxidant effect. Studies show that omega-3 fats can decrease fat accumulation (something that can occur during this phase but you will want to minimize).
We should not overindulge in foods, because an excess of carbohydrates, proteins or fats will be transformed into body fat, and our goal is to achieve (especially) more muscle volume, not more volume from fat accumulation.
Balance is fundamental.
Complementing your diet with physical exercise, and boosting the results of both by using supplements can be a good option.
Supplements give you the nutrients you need in an easier, neutral and more concentrated way, so you can achieve your goal more easily and effectively. Find out more about how and when to take them at Zumub.