Trainer Tip-Bulking Season – 5 Ways to Build Muscle, Not Fat

Lee’s Summit fitness friends, here is a repost from Titan Nutrition, Bulking Season-5 Ways to Build Muscle, Not Fat. Team PROformations Coach and Trainer, Robert Wichman, shares some insight on the topic.

We asked Titan Nutrition Athlete and contest prep coach Robert Wichman how he suggests going about a successful “bulking season.” Robert fired back five strategies to stick to for building quality mass in your off season, keeping you on track for the stage or beach next spring. Check out his 5 strategies here:

Don’t over eat

In the quest to add muscle in the off season, I see a lot of competitors eating calories way over what their bodies need, and can handle. This is typically a recipe for adding way to much body fat, which only slows down true muscle growth, from poorer blood flow, and nutrient delivery, to you muscles. This will only mean that you will have to diet harder, or longer, when it comes time to diet down for your next contest, or for summer, if you’re a non-competitor.

Increase calories slowly

Increasing calories slowly, in your off season is an important thing to do. If you find yourself adding in too many calories, too quickly, you are more than likely going to find that your body is storing many of those extra calories as body fat. By slowly increasing your calories, you’re going to allow your body to adjust to the increased calories, and use them to fuel muscle growth, and not just adding body fat. (chasing numbers on a scale) Keeping your metabolism running strong, is just as important in the off season, as it is during your contest prep, or leaning out phase, if you’re not interested in hitting the stage, but would still like to see a leaner physique.

Monitor body fat, and body composition levels

Keeping an eye on your body fat levels in the off season is a good idea, if you plan to keep yourself in what I like to call “Striking Distance”. Striking distance basically means, staying in a range where if you needed to, you could diet down with relative easy, by not needing to drop so much excess body fat. This will allow for a better show prep. You will not have to strip off as much body fat, and will not have to resort to extreme measures to pull off the necessary body fat by show time. You will also find that you are able to maintain more muscle during your prep, and find that you have a higher level of conditioning, that you may not have previously achieved. The method that I like to use for monitoring off season body composition, 1st and foremost, the mirror. The mirror is going to show you what you need to know. This is a visual sport, and touting arbitrary body fat numbers does not always translate to a stage winning physique. If you don’t see what needs to be seen, then it is not there. I do use the mirror in conjunction with body fat measurements, tape measurements, the scale, and photos (monthly in the off season). If you’re going to measure body fat, I find the Dexa scan to be the best, and most accurate method. You can also use calipers, and a bio-impedance (hand held, inbody, or scale that measures body fat)

Keep cheats to a minimum

While it is ok to have cheat meals in your off season. You want to make sure that you’re not undoing all your hard work, with too many diet deviations. We all want to be able to go out with friends, and go to family events, or dates with our significant other, and eat, or drink, as though we don’t have larger fitness, and physique goals. The way to still have a social life, and let loose from time to time, is to understand that cheats are the few, not the mainstay when it comes to your off season program. Make sure that you are planning your cheats around your clean eating, so that you don’t find yourself quickly sliding off track, from your nutritional goals. If you know that you’re going out on the weekend, make sure that you don’t load up your weekdays with unscheduled meals. I like to give my clients a set number of cheat meals per week, in their off season, and allow them to decide when they will implement them. Every body is different, so finding the right number of cheats that doesn’t throw you off your physique goals, is going to be dependent on how your body responds to your cheats

Have a plan

Having a plan in your off season is critical to being able to stay on track with your goals. If you approach your off season program all willy nilly, chances are, you’re not going to make much progress from show to show. I’m not saying that you need to be as strict as show prep, but you definitely need to have an organized plan with your nutrition, hydration, workouts, sleep, and supplementation. This is going to lead to systematic progress, and legitimate muscle gains leading into your next show. Think of it as creating a road map to where you want to go, and then you follow that map, until you reach your destination. If something comes up, that needs to be adjusted, you reroute, and keep your forward momentum towards your goal.

As always,

Lift Hard, and Train to Win!

Robert

*If you enjoyed this article, let me know. If you have suggestions for topics you would like covered in future articles, shoot me a message, and let me know.

r_wichman@hotmail.com

www.LifeTransformations-kc.com

www.RobertWichman.com

Hydration in Colorado

What do you like to do on vacations?  We took a family vacation to Copper Mountain Colorado and enjoyed the scenery and outdoors.  But, there are some things to remember when traveling to the altitude and increasing physical activity.

Yes, we have an active family, but adding in the altitude factor requires a little more focus to keep going strong.

Hydration- Water is important (you should drink it everyday).  In everyday life, water is important to help joints and muscles, keep body cool, promote cardiovascular health, and cleanse your body.  Now, when in the high altitude, the more water you have, the faster you will adapt to the altitude.  So, drinking water is an easy way to avoid altitude sickness and feel better overall.  Don’t go overboard, to much water can have negative effects on your body.  So, use your best judgement.  A good way to check hydration levels is the color of your pee. Darker pee=not hydrated, lighter pee=well hydrated.

BCAAs- BCAAs (branch chain amino acids) can help with endurance and exercise capacity.  Adding some in during exercise may be beneficial.  Taking some BCAAs on a high altitude hike may give you a little boost when you need it most.  BCAAs come in a powder form that can be mixed with water.  Definitely try some out before you get to high altitude to make sure your body agrees with the supplement. My favorite BCAAs are Titan Nutrition BCAAs (use code TEAMPRO for 20% off).

On my trip to Colorado I planned my big hike around our time at high altitudes.

Day 1- Little bike ride at Copper Mountain Bike Trail (getting adjusted to altitude and exercise).  Beautiful ride with great sights.  Visit Epic Discovery on top of Vail Mountain (elevation 11,570 ft) (8 hours at high altitude).molly wichman fitness11

Day 2- Little bike ride at Copper Mountain Bike Trail towards Frisco, CO (getting more adjusted to altitude).  Visit Leadville, Co (elevation 10,152 ft) for the day,  (another day at high altitude).

Day 3- Hike Quandary Peak, elevation 14,265 ft.  Started trail at 5:30am.  Hikes 2.5 hours up, stayed at summit for 10 min, hiked 2.5 miles down.  Packed my hydration pack with water, small water bottle for Titan Nutrition BCAAs, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, banana, trail mix, beef jerky, protein bar, first aid kit, whistle, and carried hiking poles.  This was my first “14er,”  and I’m up to try another one.  Yes, I got exhausted and had labored breathing as the altitude increased, but I kept a steady pace and kept moving.  My concern was making it to the top, which I did.  Then, to get down and move on with my day.  This was definitely a test of will power and inner strength to keep moving to the top.

molly wichman fitness molly wichman fitness1 titan nutrition molly wichman

My family trip to Copper Mountain was a success.  This is the highlight of three of our six days. Fun, adventure, time with loved ones.  Now, who’s ready to take it up to the mountains?  Plan what you want and enjoy the time!