Getting big and strong is the main focus of most guys when they start lifting, and for most of us, that means moving big weight and eating a lot of food, at least for awhile. But did you know that eating for size could actually leave you malnourished if you don’t do it right?
Let’s look at how to get bulky without falling into this situation, and how you can avoid it.
How Getting Big Can Leave You Malnourished
When you’re really intent on gaining muscle size, there is a tendency to laser in on that one goal and neglect the other components of your fitness routine.
In a typical scenario, the mass-seeking athlete begins hitting the gym several times per week and focusing mainly on the major, compound movements like squats, rows, deadlifts, dips, curls, benches, and other presses. He may do several sets of each and usually keeps his reps under 10 per set while piling on the plates and taking each set to or near failure.
At the same time, he shifts his diet into high gear, eating more than a gram of protein per pound of bodyweight every day and adding in plenty of starchy carbs and enough fat to keep his energy up for the gym.
He tops that all off with plenty of sleep, so that his life becomes a cycle of lifting, eating, and sleeping. Sounds like the road to gains and a bodybuilder’s paradise, right?
Well, yes and no.
This approach almost certainly will build muscle in the short term and may even be the preferred route for some lifters, but you might notice a lack of fruits and vegetables in this hypothetical plan. What’s more, mass-gainers often slip into the habit of including junk food in their diets to “boost calories,” and it’s not uncommon to see them enter periods of “perma-bulking” lasting years.
These factors taken together can lead to a lack of key nutrients that fruits and vegetables, and eating a wholesome and varied diet can give you. In particular, you’re likely to miss out on important vitamins and minerals, along with fiber and essential fatty acids.
Add to this situation the stress of constant heavy training, and even extra sleep won’t save you from overtraining, and possible ill health, forever.
How to Get Bulky Without Leaving Holes in Your Diet
Fortunately, it does not have to be this way, and you can avoid malnourishment while gaining by always keeping a healthy body as your primary goal.
Using that as your guidepost, you can follow these basic steps to stay fully primed for muscle gains AND vibrant health in the long term:
- Maintain a varied diet and include plenty of fruits and vegetables every day.
- Eat a variety of lean protein sources.
- Get enough fiber in your diet to maintain healthy bowel movements.
- Drink sufficient water to keep you urine nearly clear.
- Take a multivitamin supplement to keep you balanced, especially during stressful times.
- Cycle your training so you are not always lifting at your max.
- Cycle your diet so you aren’t always trying to add weight.
- See your doctor regularly to make sure your health is intact and to discuss your diet and exercise program.
These simple tips will keep you gaining AND healthy over the long haul … what could be better than that?