Bulking Up Pt. 1 (for guys)

I know there are lots of guys out there who are looking to bulk up and often find it frustrating trying to add muscle mass.  And there are some people who think you can’t do it with P90X or other Beachbody workouts.  So I figured I would write about how you can add lean muscle mass while doing P90X or your favorite Beachbody program.

When I was in high school, my best friend and lifting partner had a motto that became somewhat popular with our friends.  He always said, “Eat big – lift big – get big”.  And as simple as that sounds, it actually is great advise for those of you looking to put on some size.

Eat big.  You guessed it, it starts with nutrition.  This is absolutely critical to adding size, and most important, muscle mass.  If you want to put on some muscle, then you need to eat at a calorie surplus every day.  When most people try to put on muscle, this is where they fall short.  They fall short mostly because they don’t actually track their calories.  But if you’re looking to put on weight, you need to eat at least 500 calories more than your body is going to burn in a day.  This can be tough, especially when doing an intense workout program like P90X, but it is necessary for you to put on that muscle.  And not only do you need to eat at a surplus, but the extra calories have to be from good sources.  No eating an extra bag of potato chips to get you the calories you need!  If you just eat garbage, then you’re going to add fat, not muscle, and I know that’s not what you want.  So it needs to come from the same types of foods in your nutrition plan.  Fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean meats, etc.  Make sure you’re eating clean!

Lift big.  Tony mentions this all the time during the workouts.  He’ll say if you’re going for size, do 8-10 reps.  I would say if you’re really looking for size, you could even push that further down to 6-8 reps.  You need to lift heavier weights and decrease your reps to add size.  If you’re doing lighter weights in the 10-15 rep range, you’ll be adding lean muscle, which is great, but it’s not going to give you the size you’re looking for.  So if you’re looking to get that “bulked-up” look, then you need to push yourself to lift those heavier weights at 6-8 reps.  For exercises like pull-ups and push-ups, a weighted vest can help greatly here.  Personally, I use an old backpack with weights in it.  It’s not very glamorous, but it works!  A word of caution here: make sure you keep good form.  That’s another big mistake I used to see at the gym all the time.  Guys would try to to really heavy weights, but their form would be terrible.  If your form is bad, you’re not working your muscles properly and you put yourself at greater risk for injury.  So when you go heavier, make sure you can keep good form!

Get big.  If you follow the first two steps, then you should get big.  But it can definitely be a longer process because it’s a lot harder to add lots of muscle than it is to add lots of fat.  Don’t be discourage if you only see a 1-2 lb. gain per month.   This process can be slow, especially for people with high metabolism, so don’t get discouraged too quickly.  Know the process will take a while, but stick with it!  It’s also important to make sure you’re supplementing properly as well.  A recovery drink like the P90X Results and Recovery formula is critical if you’re doing this and so is a protein powder supplement.  I know creatine and glutamine also greatly help with recovery, so consider adding those to your regiment as well.

So to all you guy out there who want to bulk up, my advise is “Eat big – lift big – get big!”  If you follow that fairly simple process, you will add muscle and get that “bulked-up” look that you want.


Im excited to give this a shot. My biggest fear is adding calories! I am so use to the lower cals to shed weight and now I have switch it up, but i know it will work.

Coach Tom
Coach Tom

Yeah, I hear you on not really wanting to add a bunch of calories, but as long as it's all clean you should be good! Excited to see your results!

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