It’s funny, I never really cared or thought about building muscle until I was 31 years old, skinny, and my athleticism was starting to fall off. I know I wanted change, but I did not know what type of change.
My ego had hidden from me the awesomeness of muscles.
So I was surfing the web, looking at transformation stories, clicking from link to link, and came across Staci’s story from Nerd Fitness. A girl initially motivated me to bulk up. Ha! I Googled power lifting, found Strong Lifts (link below) and the muscle building process began.
How to build muscle and cut fat:
Lift heavy weights at least 3 times a week:
Strong Lifts, Ice Cream Fitness, Starting Strength are all legit. SL and ICF are free. (If you do Starting Strength, don’t follow his nutrition plan, GOMAD (Gallon Of Milk A Day). You will get unnecessarily fat. (Follow my simple plan below) However, this is the most in depth book on lifts. Highly recommended to get good form down.)
If you don’t have access to a barbell and squat/power rack (rack for lower ceilings), you can still bulk with body weight exercises. Convict Conditioning is a good starting progressive program. Aim for 5 weekly sessions if you are going the BW route.
If you like cardio, 1-2 sessions, 15-20 minutes max each. Not necessary, though, especially while bulking. Good fat burning HIIT cardio exercises – burpees and sprints. Burpees carry less injury risk. Sprinting makes you feel athletic.
Simple Nutrional Plan (daily amounts):
1 gram of protein / pound of lean muscle mass (minimum): Good sources are whey protein, chicken, steak, beef, turkey, fish, pork
0.4 grams of fat / pound of body weight (minimum). If you exclude fat, your testosterone levels will fall and your hormones will become unbalanced. Do not skimp on the healthy fats. Eggs, Avocados, Nuts, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Coconut Oil.
Use the rest of calories for carbs, which are important in the process of protein synthesis (muscle building).
Total Calories to eat:
Find out your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) and eat right at it, initially. Get good form down on all your lifts/exercises, while you are getting stronger.
Track your calories at My Fitness Pal (free).
Clean Bulking: Start at 300-400 calories above TDEE. Aim for 0.5 – 1 lb per week weight gain. Bulk until you have some pinch-able fat that you are uncomfortable with.
Cutting fat: eat 300-400 calories below TDEE. Add a little cardio if you want. Keep the same nutrition and exercise plan for the cut, just lower calories. Note, you will lose a little strength during the cut. Give yourself 8-12 weeks for a cut. Again, aim for 0.5 – 1 lb per week weight loss. If you cut to fast, muscle loss will be increased.
A glorious washboard stomach is in your future.