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Bigger Bulking: Secrets to Building Muscle

Building muscle may seem simple; just eat more and train hard.

But I'm here to break down the little tips which can make your muscle building experience way smoother and get you better results in the long run.

Tip 1: Increase your calories.

Yes, you have to eat more.

Seems like a no-brainer, but I'm not talking just a little 200 calories more.

I'm talking another 400-600 calories more.


You have to increase your calories more than what you expect because of all the factors that play in a role in stabilising your energy balance (that is your body tries to even out your energy intake to your energy output).

Basically, if you eat more energy, you expend more energy to try and balance it out.

This happens in multiple ways;

  • The Thermic Effect of Food: The more food you eat, the more calories are burned trying to digest that food.

  • Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis: The more food you eat, the more energy the body has in every day movements, so the more you move without even being aware of it. Maybe you fidget a little more, maybe you dance around the kitchen, maybe swing your arms more when walking. Every little bit of extra movement adds up.

  • Physical Activity Thermogenesis: The more food you eat, the more energy the body has to put into exercise, you may lift heavier, run faster, or just work that little bit harder. Overall, you burn more calories in your workout.

Tip 2: Keep increasing your calories when you gain muscle/weight.

It's not enough to just set and forget your calories.

As I said above, your body will move more, and lift heavier, and expend more energy. But that is increased further when you start to gain some muscle.

This is all related to being at a heavier weight, and potentially having added muscle mass:

  • The effect of weight gain: as you gain mass, it takes more energy to move a heavier body, which means you begin to expend even more energy for all non-exercise, and exercise related activities.

  • The energy cost of maintaining the newly acquired muscle mass: muscle is a calorie burning tissue. The more you have, the more calories you need to eat to keep it.

The best way to know how many calories you need is to recalculate your maintenance calorie requirements at your new weight, then add the 400-600 calories extra if you are still aiming to bulk up.

Tip 3: Protein

Protein is the golden child of muscle gain.

Everybody knows how important it is, but did you know it is often overestimated?

When it comes to protein for muscle gain, the requirements range from 1.2-1.7g / kg body weight. So if you weighed 75kg, you would only need 90 - 130g a day to build mass.

The important part comes from the timing of protein intake.

It is much better to space it out in 30g intervals than it is to have small amounts of protein in some meals and then a large dinner with lots of protein.

Additionally, eating about 40g post workout is a pretty good idea too.

Tip 4: Training

Muscles are nourished in the kitchen but grown in the gym.

Weight train at least 2 times a week if possible and try to hit every muscle group twice.

Here are my recommended splits depending on how many days you can train:

  • 2-3 times: full body days. Change up the exercising, but have at least 1 exercise from each muscle group.

  • 4 times: upper / lower x 2. Hitting everything twice, nice and even.

  • 5-6 times: Push/pull/legs. This gives a little more focus on the each of the days to add more variety in your exercises.

Rep ranges and intensity:

Each exercise you want to aim between 6-15 reps for 3-5 sets. Now the trick is, no matter what the rep range is, you have to go heavy.

For almost every set, it should feel like a 7-9/10.

That is, when you finish a set, you want to be able to complete no more than 3 reps. So for example your are doing a shoulder press, and you do 8 reps, to make it an 8/10, you should only be able to do 2 more reps. You can test this every now and then and go to failure at the weight you have been using. If you can do more than 3 reps, then go heavier next time.


So, to summarise;

  • Eat a decent surplus of calories

  • Increase those calories when your weight increases

  • Eat enough protein, and space it out over the day

  • Train smart and heavy

To get your personalised plan for gaining muscle, book now for nutrition coaching. Or get a your comprehensive step-by-step guide to muscle gain right here!

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