A lot of fitness routines for fighters focus on cutting weight to stay within a certain weight class. However, the downside to dropping fat is that you often drop some muscle mass along with it. Fighters need to be strong to succeed. If you need to put on some muscle for your next fight, this guide will help you bulk up.
Get Your Diet in Shape
A proper diet is important for muscle building. Your body needs a good protein source to build muscles. If you aren’t getting enough protein from food sources, such as lean meats, consider adding supplements, such as the ones in this Power Life supplement review, to your diet. Protein shakes can be particularly beneficial for getting protein in your system before and after a workout.
Work With Your Body Type
Body types come in three basic categories. Ectomorphs tend to be naturally thin and resistant to gaining weight. This can be a good thing for avoiding fat gain but can make putting on muscle difficult. Mesomorphs tend to both gain and lose fat and muscle easily. Most athletes fall into this body type. Endomorphs gain weight easily but have trouble losing it. Endomorphs will have a bigger challenge competing in bodybuilding and sports that require endurance but may excel at sports such as powerlifting. Choose a diet and fitness plan that works with your body type, instead of against it.
Don’t Stress Over Small Amounts of Fat Gain
You need to consume more calories than you are expending to build muscle. This means you will probably gain some fat while bulking up. Once you have reached your muscle-building goals, you can switch over to fat-burning mode to shed the extra pounds.
Don’t Overdo the Cardio
It is difficult to do a lot of cardio and stay in a calorie surplus. To keep from impeding your progress, figure out how many calories you are burning during your cardio sessions and either eat more to compensate or cut back on the cardio.
Focus on Weight Training
While you are trying to bulk up, training with heavy weights should be the main focus of your workouts. Choose free weights over machines. The effort taken to stabilize the weights will help you get more muscle-building out of the same effort. Do low rep sets using heavy weights. You need to keep challenging your muscles to get them to grow. Aim for a weight that is heavy enough that you can only do 4 to 8 reps. Make the bulk of your workout compound exercises that work more than one muscle group at the same time.
Watch Your Form
You want to lift heavy weights, but don’t sacrifice your form to do it. Your muscles will not get the amount of stimulation they need and you could hurt yourself. No matter how strong you get, if you injure yourself in the gym, you aren’t going to perform very well at your next fight. If you aren’t sure about your form, watch yourself in a mirror, or work with a knowledgeable friend, coach or personal trainer.
Get Plenty of Rest
Working hard in your workouts stimulates your muscles to grow, but they actually do their growing during rest. You won’t make many gains if you aren’t giving your body enough recovery time. Make sure you give your muscles plenty of rest between workouts and that you get seven to eight hours of quality sleep every night.
Eat Enough Food
You need about a daily 500 calorie surplus to build one pound of muscle per week. You can use an online tool to determine how many calories you need to consume to maintain your current weight. Add 500 to that during your bulking phase. If after two weeks you aren’t seeing gains, add 500 more calories.
Building muscle mass is an important component of being a successful fighter. These tips can help you build mass before your next fight.