Q&A: Foods for Gaining Muscle and Cardio While Bulking

Eric October 7, 2011

Q: I’m trying to put on weight to then turn into muscle.  Which foods do you think would be best for doing this?  Also, should I stick to more muscle training then cardio or even it up with both?

-submitted via email


A: A lot of people ask this same question.  What is the proper way to bulk and how much cardio is appropriate while doing so?  Generally, and everyone’s body is a little different, you want to increase your proteins and complex carbs to gain the size you want.  It’s all about the calories you’re taking in.  You HAVE to create a calorie surplus in order to gain size.  Read our post on gaining and losing weight: “Eating to Gain Weight, Eating to Lose Weight.”  Eating right consists of eating lean meats (poultry and white fish) and carbs that are low on the glycemic index (whole grains, brown rice, sweet potatoes, etc).  You want to add size, not fat.  So don’t add a ton of fatty foods to your diet just because they have calories.  Your diet should consist of about 50-60% of calories from carbs, 30-40% from proteins, and 10-15% from good fats.  (Keep in mind that’s percent of total calories, not percent of food!)

As far as the cardio goes, you want to slow down on it while you’re bulking.  Maybe do 20 minutes on the stairs or incline treadmill instead of 45?  Remember that if your heart rate gets above 130-140 bpm, you’ll burn fast twich muscle fibers as well as fat.  So keep your heart rate low while you’re trying to build the muscle.  Then, once you are ready to lean up, increase the intensity and frequency of your cardio.  But remember that you should keep your heart rate below a range where you’ll burn off the muscle that you’ve gained!

-The Squad

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