We usually associate bulking with the winter, but if you managed a successful cut coming into July, you earned the right to start a summer bulk that you can carry until next year!
With the right tips, you can start in the summer and end by spring, you’ll give yourself the maximum time to grow your muscles while still being ready to show off your body for the rest of the summer.
Let’s talk about the best muscle workouts, diet, and supplement tips to get you on a fast track to Gainsville.
Why Start Bulking In Summer?
We understand what it’s like to want to get back into the heavy stuff. You’re under 10% body fat, you’re nice and shredded, but your 1 rep maxes are suffering. We get it.
Don’t worry. If you’re itching to get back into your bulk and you’re diligent with your diet, you can start building muscle now and get ready to shred down before next summer. If you’re already at your beach body, there’s no need to keep cutting.
If you’re sick of feeling hungry all the time, you want to slow down on the cardio, and you want to get back to doing what got you into bodybuilding in the first place, then why not start? All it takes is noticing one muscle fiber gone from your chest and shoulders to get back into a bulk, right?
Summer Muscle Workouts
If you want to be the biggest version of yourself next year that you’ve ever been, getting a headstart is the right way to go. Let’s jump right into the workouts.
Ideally, you’re going to want your lifting sessions to last for about an hour each, 3-5 days a week. Whether you’re on back, shoulder, arm, chest, or leg day (yes, that still exists), you want to aim for at least 4-6 different exercises, in a rep range between 8 and 12.
Make sure you’re utilizing as many compound movements as possible. You can use isolation movements in moderation, but compound movements will give you the best anabolic effects, and that’s true all around.
For example, if you and your friend both do the same bicep curl routine (all things equal), but that friend does heavy back squats and you don’t, that friend will see better results. This is because the more muscles you hit, the better position your body gets in to build muscle.
If you’re going to stretch beforehand, practice dynamic stretching, as static stretches can actually hinder your strength for up to a couple of hours. If you want to practice static stretching, do it after your workout.
Remember to give your body ample rest. If you don’t, you won’t see results. Itching on rest days to get some activity in? You’re in luck. Active rest days are more beneficial than sitting around. Go for a walk or practice some mobility exercises.
Change up your exercises as often as possible. If you go into back day every week doing pull-ups, pull-downs, cable rows, and t-bar rows, your body is going to get used to that.
Cycle your exercises. Throw in some barbell rows in replacement of one of them one week, then swap another with chin-ups. Be sure to switch your grips on different exercises, too.
Change your weights, too. If you find a 120-pound pull-down works for you, and you maxed out at 12 reps, add 20 pounds next time and see if you can hit 6-8. Are pull-ups becoming too easy for you? Throw on a weight belt and hang a 25-pound plate from it.
This is also good for avoiding burnout. If you’re doing the same thing every time, it generally gets boring. Look into using a wide variety of workouts, practice proper form, and keep it interesting.
Summer Bulking Diet
The most important part of your bulking, especially if you’re starting it in the summer, is your diet. You still got a couple of months left of shirtless weather, or more if you live in a warmer part of the country. This means you have to do your best to control your diet for the early parts of this bulk.
Obviously, for any bulk, you need to maintain a slight calorie surplus. In the winter, you can get away with going a little higher, but if you want to stay lean, then emphasis on “slight”.
If you plan to be hitting the beach in August, make sure you’re sticking to the right nutritional routine. Don’t go slamming down muffins to hit your calorie intake.
Find out your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), and try to get between 200 and 500 calories extra. Don’t go higher than that this early on. That’s a good limit even in the winter when you can hide your excess body fat. This is the perfect range for sustainable muscle growth while limiting your fat growth.
However, you’ll definitely need to keep taking in the right nutrients to see the best results. Here’s what you need in your grocery haul.
Ideally, you want some lean protein. Getting enough of this consistently through the day is always a challenge for every bodybuilder, but it’s important to fit it into your diet.
Chicken is the obvious choice that almost every carnivorous bodybuilder uses as their go-to. It’s obvious why. It has a super high protein content, very little fat, and plenty of nutrients, along with an easy-to-eat texture, and flavor that goes with practically any meal.
Turkey is a solid alternative. When consumed in moderation, beef and pork can be a good substitute when you’re sick of poultry. Just try to get cuts that are lower in fat.
Fish is an excellent source of protein and healthy fats. If you get white fish like cod, haddock, or tilapia, it will be a very lean, quality source of protein. If you get a nice fatty fish like salmon or trout, you’ll supply your body with plenty of Omega-3s, which is essential for proper brain and joint function.
If you’re on a plant-based diet or looking for a cheap, healthy, and delicious way to add more protein to your diet, try adding lentils, tofu, tempeh, or beans to your meals. If you do eat meat, try adding some lentils or beans to your meals for an extra boost if you’re finding it hard to reach your protein goals.
The majority of your protein intake should be coming from whole foods, so make sure you figure out what works for you!
Carbs are the cheapest part of your diet, and also the most plentiful. You’re supposed to be getting the majority of your calories from carbs, so be sure to get this right!
Brown rice, quinoa, oats, and sweet potatoes are 3 of the best carb options you could use in your diet. They provide rich amounts of micronutrients and a lot of complex carbohydrates that your body will slowly digest, keeping you and your muscles nice and full throughout the day.
Pro-tip: quinoa has the most protein, and it even has enough amino acids to be considered a complete protein like chicken!
Whole grains are always a good choice. Avoid anything enriched. If you want some starchy foods to eat before a workout, white potatoes, white rice, or peas are great choices.
I’m sorry to tell you, but the carbs in candy bars and brownies are not ideal for your summer bulk.
If you’re really dying for something on the sweeter side, there are decent (not perfect) options you can use. Throw in some honey into your oatmeal, eat cereals like Honey Nut Cheerios, or a granola bar for some good carbs. A better option? Fruit.
Many bodybuilders prefer to avoid fruit, but you can definitely incorporate some in your diet without having to worry, especially if you’re bulking.
A banana or orange right after a workout is excellent for replacing the expended glycogen stores from the intense lifting session. That is definitely the best time to eat it, but it is also a much better alternative to candy if your sweet tooth is killing you. Fruit will provide you with at least some good carbs, micronutrients, and antioxidants.
The next on the list, and don’t skip over this, is vegetables. You have to eat them if you want the best results of your bulk. The amount of micronutrients in a salad is absurd. Want an easy pro-tip? Make a burrito bowl as you’d get at Chipotle, and just load it with some vegetables.
Add your chicken, tofu, beans, lentils, ground turkey, or whatever it is you want for your protein source. Just break them into small bits, then add your rice or quinoa, and as many vegetables as you can fit! They’ll help you feel full, and the more color you have, the more results you’ll see in your overall health and fitness.
Broccoli, spinach, kale, asparagus, squash, eggplant, peppers, onions, peas, carrots, and so much more. These all make great additions to your meals and will help you see much faster results and overall help you achieve optimal health. Believe it or not, they don’t even have to rot in your refrigerator drawer!
You definitely need fat in your diet, but most importantly, the right ones. Cook with coconut oil and eat avocados for your Omega-6s, eat some fatty fish or seeds for your Omega-3s, and use olive oil for your Omega-9s.
Cooking with flaxseed oil is an excellent alternative to fish oil if you need to make up for your Omega-3s. Eat a wide variety of nuts and seeds, in moderation, to fill in the gaps left for your fat needs.
For overall nutrition and success, especially if you’re a snacker, look for healthier alternatives to your favorite snacks and cheats. You should be very mindful of this in the earlier stages of your bulk, while you’re trying to stay lean.
The most controversial topic in the bodybuilding industry is always supplements, but they are important if you want to see the best results. You probably already supplement your diet with some protein powder after your workout, but there’s more you can do.
Pre-workouts are designed to give you the best lifting sessions possible. If you don’t like using caffeine or depending on a substance, opt for stimulant-free pre-workouts to give you that extra push you need at the gym without any harmful effects.
Branch chain amino acids, BCAAs, are awesome for recovery. These are the amino acids that form complete proteins, and the ones your body can’t produce on its own. However, they’re isolated instead of linked together in proteins, making them easier for your body to use for recovery purposes, allowing you to work out more frequently.
Creating does two things. It acts as a pre-workout boost and a weight-gainer. Creatine literally sucks water into your muscles, making you look full, which is awesome for bulking season!
Haven’t heard of these yet? They’re the newest supplement craze on the market for their insane anabolic effects. They’re great for increasing testosterone, burning fat, building muscle, and giving you really intense workouts!
Check out some SARMs for sale if you’re interested in seeing some faster changes to your body!
Know It And Grow It
Now that you know some great muscle workouts, diet, and supplement tips, you can get started on your summer bulk today. The more you know, the more you’ll grow. Keep up to date with our latest health and wellness news, and stay big, everybody!