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Tips on Bulking Up From a Bodybuilding Champion

A lot of men want to “bulk up” but if you’ve ever tried, you’ll know that building muscle and muscle mass can be hard. There’s a mixture of reasons for this, but it tends to come down to one thing: following the wrong advice. Lifting weights can get you big, but there’s much more to it than that. You need to know how to train, when to train, what to eat, when to eat – you get the gist.

So how do you go from skinny and scrawny to stacked and shredded? And what is the right way to do it?

When it comes to following the right advice, there’s no advice better to follow than from someone who is a Classic Bodybuilding Champion. London born and bred, body transformation specialist Salman Kassam of Salecca knows how to bulk up. Running a fitness company, Sal works with clients at all levels, pushing them to their limits. 

So why do you need to bulk? “Well if you’re not ingesting enough calories, you’re limiting your muscle growing potential,” Sal says. “You can't build muscle out of air!” When it comes to knowing where to start, Sal recommends, “You should always start from your leanest point. Your bulk should start from a BF of 10%. That way, when you put on a little fat - you won’t freak out.”

Salman Kassam
Salman Kassam

“If you've over 10% don't bulk – you are already eating enough calories. That being said, if you're not putting on muscle then you need to take a look at your program or application to 'said' program.” 

So what advice does he have for those who are skinny and lack muscle mass? “I recommend a super shake, 50 porridge oats, 25g powdered almonds, scoop of protein shake, 400 ml whole milk and a couple of tablespoons of omega three oil - which comes out to roughly 1000 calories. You need to understand that in order to gain the muscle mass you want, you have to accept some fat gain. However, you need to be aware that as you gain fat, you'll start creating new fat cells (adipogenesis), making it harder to get lean as lean as you once were. The amount of fat you put on directly relates to the quality of calories you consume.”

“Bulking is not just an excuse to eat junk,” he adds, “Unless how good you look with your new muscle makes no difference to you. You need to work out your maintenance calories - if you’re not putting on, or losing, simply record your food in an app, and it’ll workout the number for you.” 

So when it comes to calories, what amount is the right amount? Sal recommends increasing your calories by no more than 5%. He recommends you “Add the calories through nuts, oats and meat - not through bulking protein shakes, as they’re full of crap. If you go over 13% BF you need to reduce your calories. More food after a certain point doesn't mean more muscle, but more fat.”

“Bench press, deadlift, squats and pull ups are what you need to drive those extra nutrients into the muscle,” is Sal’s advice when it comes to the gym. “You need to concentrate on heavy compounds.” He adds, “If you’re dieting correctly you can cut your body fat low enough that your body will absorb the extra calories with ease. You should find your strength skyrockets during your bulk.” 

“As a beginner you're able to gain 2 lbs of muscle mass per month, but you'll need to be on an optimal program and train like a beast for these results. Someone who's been training for a year should expect 1 lb per month or less! This sounds pitiful but over a year 10-20 lbs of solid muscle can revolutionise your body.”

“Your body doesn't want to put on muscle. Any chance it gets, it will try and burn it - even over fat. If you’re looking to put on size be prepared for a long bulk and an even longer diet.” 

So if you’ve read this and are wondering when to start, Sal has some sound advice. “If you need to plan your bulk, the perfect time is over Christmas when you generally eat more calories – it’s the perfect time to put them to work. Then either cut in January, or continue on until 3 months before your summer holiday. When dieting don't get cold feet because you see your tight shirts getting loose. Keep at it until you hit 10% - then because of the cuts, you'll look bigger.” 

*Deadlift, Nerd, Protein images via Shutterstock


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