Muscle Gains and the Road to Bulking Up

Bulking Up

So it probably comes as no surprise that the guy spending most of his time lifting weights is stronger than I am. What’s bad is how much stronger he is than me. After our second challenge, I realized that I’m going to have to focus time and energy on bulking up if I want to win this thing. We’ve kind of been following the pattern that whoever loses the previous month’s challenge gets to decide what the next month’s challenge will be. I quickly realized that my lack of strength might be my biggest flaw.

I wouldn’t be worried if my cardio and endurance were significantly better than Jared’s, but it’s not. This led me to the realization that I needed to add some muscle, and fast.

Nutrition for Building Muscle and Bulking Up

One of the first things I looked at when I started working on my plan for adding muscle was my diet. Even though I’ve adjusted my diet to include more protein and decreased my carbohydrate intake, I didn’t really focus on increasing my protein to a level to pack on the muscle. Also, I was operating under the assumption that I could easily lift more than a third grade girl…but I’ve clearly misjudged my abilities. I honestly thought that the weight loss portion of this thing would be enough to give me an advantage.

Whelp, I’m not very smart. And I’ve obviously been wrong about almost every aspect of this challenge. So, I’ve adjusted my diet a bit. My goal in January was to consume at least 130 grams of protein each day. Initially the goal was weight loss. This isn’t really the case any more. I need to get swole (swollen?)…

I’ve decided to up my protein intake to around 200 grams a day, and I’ve started to focus my workouts on weights and painful crap. I’ll still stick with the goal of drinking a ton of water, and will keep the junk carbs out of my diet, but at this point I’m looking for mass. The weight loss aspect of the challenge is kind of out the window at this point. I’m down about 20 pounds since January and currently right around 205. While this isn’t trim and slender, I feel like focusing on weight loss won’t put me in a winning position.

I’ve also started including various supplements in my nutrition plan, but I’ll save that for its own post.

Bulking Up Workout Plan

Since I’ve completely ignored lifting since this thing got going I didn’t realize how weak I was. The overhead press debacle of 2017 (challenge 2) put things into perspective. Not only did that portion take me 2 more minutes to complete than Jared’s time, but also left me completely gassed. Seriously, that absolutely destroyed me. I don’t plan on going out and dropping serious cash on some stupid weight set like Jared, I do plan on reevaluating my current lifting strategy.

I’ve read a ton of articles that contradict each other in regards to the best way to gain muscle. There are those who believe in lifting heavier loads with fewer reps, and there are those who think it’s all about the hypertrophy-specific training, or high-intensity interval training, or even the pound on a tire with a sledge hammer while wearing a 40 lb weight vest in a sauna (I may have botched that last one, but you get the point).

For my plan, I’ve landed somewhere in the middle. Since I’m kind of a delicate flower, lifting heavy isn’t much of an option for me. Plus, I don’t think I’ll be able to stick with lifting heavy once I get a number for my heavy. I promise I’ll get disappointed and say screw it. I’m  using all of these models until I make progress in strength and then double down on my plan. I also got few tips from a spy that will remain unnamed

It’ll be an evolutionary muscle building plan…

I’ve started spending more time with the weights, and have been doing cardio under loads. Also, I bought a weight vest (makes me feel like a badass), so I’ll have some workouts with that. Mainly I’m spending more time on body-weight exercises and I’ve incorporated a lot more dumbbell weights in my workouts. Hopefully after a month of this plan I’ll be able to get on a strict lifting plan that’ll allow me to start tearing phone books in half and rolling up frying pans…that’s what strong guys do.