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The colder months are almost upon us, and with them comes the opportunity to bulk up and put on some solid muscle ahead of next summer. If winter is the time of hoodies and covering up, then it’s also the time to be hitting the gym hard and packing on as much mass as possible before you cut down to look amazing when shirtless next year. That means plenty of high protein shakes and good meals, but also confronting the realistic difficulties winter training presents.
With the colder months also comes laziness and a lack of motivation. If that happens, it can be tough to get the best results from your winter bulk. The best way to prevent this is to prepare ahead of your bulk to ensure success. Here are the five best steps to take to make sure you pack on lean mass through the winter months.
Step 1: Plan a simple routine based on mass gain
As winter closes in, avoid laziness by sticking to a routine that isn’t ridiculously intensive but will ensure mass gain. Luckily, compound lifts and lots of rest are both the key to putting on size quickly. A four-day-per-week program that involves squats, bench and deadlifts as well as accessory exercises such as the military press and bent over rows will force the highest testosterone secretions. Stick to relatively few reps with high weights to promote muscle growth.
Step 2: Nail your nutrition
The winter means bulking, but it doesn’t mean eating as much food as possible whatever the nutritional content. Stick to greens and lean protein to support your body as it tries to build muscle –you can only put on mass when you are getting a sufficient amount of protein. Also stay hydrated, as dehydration will not only kill your performance in the gym, it’ll hinder your body’s ability to pack on size. Bored with clean eating in the winter? Experiment with protein-rich homemade chili, curries and other warming stews.
Step 3: Supplement for success
As well as a good diet, you can help your bulk succeed by supplementing with mass-orientated products. Creatine is one of the best natural ways to aid a winter bulk, as the extra energy it generates helps you bust out a few extra reps in the gym. This means you’ll get marginally better results. Weight gainer supplements can also help if you struggle to gain mass.
Ultimately though, the most important supplement is protein – so ensure you’re getting enough whether it’s through your diet or supplementation. Aim for 1.5-2g per kg of bodyweight through the bulking season.
Step 4: Rest up
It might sound surprising, but you can do less and get more. Rest is important for the muscle building process. If you’re struggling to sleep, ZMA supplements can come in handy for promoting quality sleep. During the REM cycle, your body secrets growth hormone which is vital to the mass building process.
Step 5: Stay motivated
Dark mornings, cold nights and generally miserable weather make for tough training in winter months. Finding motivation can be hard, but remember that the harder you work in the winter months, the better your results in summer. Try and get your gym routine nailed down and stick to it, but forgive yourself quickly for any cheat meals or skipped sessions. Stick with your plan and you’ll succeed.
For more tips on how to build muscle fast, visit MaxiNutrition.