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Muscle-Building Workout and Diet

What’s going on, guys? Sean Nalewanyj at and in this
video today I’m going to be giving you a general overview of how to properly track
your progress during a bulking phase and how to adjust your program overtime in terms of
training an nutrition if your program has fallen off track in certain areas. Now some people, especially lifters with above
average genetics they can often do fine by just eyeballing [Indiscernible] and the scale
as they go along without specifically tracking things. But for most people out there, most average
lifters, I would recommend a more detailed approach into that because it’ll make sure
that you’re putting on muscle at an optimal rate while also keeping bodyfat gains minimize
at the same time. So it’s going to make sure that you’re landing
in the proper sweet spot between those two things. Now, there are a lot of different metrics
that can be used for this but the two most important ones by far to pay attention to
are going to be: number one is your changes in bodyweight and number two your changes
in strength. The bottom-line here is that if your weight
on the scale and your strength numbers in the gym are both consistently increasing at
the proper pace for the week and for the month you’ll be pretty sure that your muscle building
program is on the right track for the most part. Whereas if your bodyweight is going up too
quickly or too slowly, or your strength numbers in the gym are stagnating then you’ll know
that something in your program is off and that certain adjustments are going to need
to be made. So first off, when it comes to bodyweight
and expected rate of increase for a beginner during that first year of lifting is going
to be about half a pound (0.5lbs) per week or two pounds (2lbs) per month, and I would
say that three pounds (3lbs) per month should be considered the absolute maximum cap. And then those figures are going to decrease
by roughly fifty percent for every year of proper training after that. Now, keep in mind that these are just estimates
because it is going to vary depending on the person. Genetics are obviously a factor here. How consisting you are with your program,
how well structured your program is to begin with, things like that. But these are just some good ballpark figures
you can go by to get an idea of roughly where you should be landing. So to track this, you’ll want to weigh yourself
on a digital scale first thing in the morning before eating and after using the washroom. That’ll keep the readings as consistent as
possible from day-to-day. And then compare your average weight for the
week to your average weight for the previous week, because your weight can fluctuate quite
a bit between any two individual days. You don’t necessarily have to weigh yourself
every single day but you should aim for at least once every two to three days, I would
say. Now, half a pound is obviously a pretty small
amount and the numbers are going to get even smaller from the second year of lifting and
onward. So, again, don’t be expecting to hit these
numbers with a hundred percent accuracy but just use as an overall estimate to make sure
you’re not gaining weight too quickly or too slowly overall. If you are gaining weight too slowly or if
your weight is completely stagnant altogether then that means you’re not in a proper calorie
surplus and that your calorie intake needs to increase. It is possible to gain some muscle while eating
at maintenance or at deficit if you’re a beginner, but if you’re in focused bulking phase and
your goal is to add overall mass to your frame in the most effective way possible then a
calorie surplus is going to be a requirement, meaning that you need to be consuming more
calories than you burn each day. So if your bodyweight hast plateaued for about
one to two weeks period you’ll want to add in about a hundred to a hundred and fifty
calories to your intake in order to get things moving again. Settle in there, track your weight, if it
starts going up then you can stay at that intake for the time being. If it still stagnant then add in another hundred
to a hundred and fifty and just repeat the process until you’re landing in that proper
weight gain range. On the other hand, if your body weight is
going up too quickly then that means your overall calorie surplus is too big and that
you need to do the opposite by bringing your calories down a bit until your rate of weight
gains slows down to the proper level. Because if you’re consistently gaining weight
above those recommended figures that I gave then realistically most of what you’re going
to be gaining beyond that point is probably just bodyfat. Muscle growth is a slow, gradual process. Your body can only build a limited amount
of muscle from week-to-week and from month-to-month, so you have to stay patient, you have to aim
for quality lean gains overtime rather than trying to rush the process. Keep in mind that for one to two pounds of
fat that you’ve gained during a bulking phase, that’s going to represent about a
week or so of cutting that you’re going to need to do later on. So your future self will thank you for this
and not to mention that you’re just going to look better and feel better throughout
your bulking phase if you stay a bit on the leaner side. And on top of that you’ll also gain muscle
faster overall because it’ll let you spend more time out of the year focusing on bulking
rather than having to waste a bunch of time dieting off unnecessary extra bodyfat. Now, the other option in either of these two
scenarios, so either if you’re gaining weight too quickly or too slowly, you can also adjust
your activity level. Because in the end, calories in versus calories
out is going to be the ultimate bottom-line. So if you’re gaining weight too slowly but
you’re also doing a lot of extra cardio or other physically strenuous activity during
the week and you’re burning a bunch of calories through that, then reducing some of that activity
could also help to increase the size of your overall calorie surplus for the week. If you’re gaining weight too quickly then
what you can do is add in some extra activity, that’s another option if you are relatively
inactive outside of weight training. So, either adjusting your calorie intake or
your calorie expenditure can get you to the same goal depending on your preference and
depending on your current situation, and doing a combination of both is also an option as
well. So that covers the bodyweight side of the
equation and the other progress tracking factor, or the other main progress tracking factor
to take into account during a bulking phase is going to be your strength in the gym. Eating in a calorie surplus is what provides
your body with the extra energy and the nutrients that it needs to build new muscle tissue,
but the actual stimulus that triggers the muscle building process itself and that causes
those calories to be diverted to muscle tissue is achieving progressive overload in the gym. Meaning that, you’re training with a high
enough level of intensity to stimulate hypertrophy, so I would say about one to two reps short
of failure on most sets is a good level to aim for. So that, as well as consistently increasing
the workload overtime to force your body to adapt to higher and higher levels of stress
and build more muscle as a result of that. The bottom line is that if your overall performance
in the gym isn’t improving on a continual basis, you’re not going to be gaining any
significant new muscle mass either. And it can even be counterproductive because
if you are eating in a calorie surplus but you’re not properly stimulating muscle growth
during your workouts then those extra calories are just going to end up being stored as fat. So this is why, along with monitoring your
bodyweight on the scale, your training logbook is also a critical progress tracking tool
to pay attention to. You need to be logging our exercises, the
weight you used, the sets and reps for each workout, and then striving for continual improvement
overtime. If you’re still a beginner to intermediate
lifter and you haven’t yet reached the advance stages of lifting where strength gains are
going to slow down quite a bit, then you should be expecting some form of strength progression
pretty much every single week in the gym. Whether that just means performing an extra
rep or two with the same weight on a given exercise or increasing the actual weight itself. And if you’ve gone two full weeks without
any progression at all then something in your plan is definitely off and needs to be modified. Now, there are other ways to progressive overload
besides just increasing the weight and the reps on your lifts. You can perform more total volume, you can
use higher frequencies, you can reduce the rest time in between sets, you can make the
exercises more mechanically challenging with the same weight, but I would say that if you’re
still a beginner to intermediate then the most effective and the most reliable way to
stimulate muscle growth is to just get stronger (period). And as you become more advanced and as your
lifting heavier loads then you can start incorporating those other methods. Especially on smaller isolation lifts where
just adding more and more weight overtime eventually becomes impractical. But, the simplest and the most effective progression
method there is, is to just lift more total weight. Now, what if your strength gains have stagnated
and you’re having trouble increasing the weight or the reps on your exercises? I can’t go into all the details behind that
in this video, otherwise it’ll drag on forever; strength and plateaus are complicated topic. But a few possibilities: first off, you might
just need to increase your calories because bodyweight plateaus and strength plateaus
often go hand-in-hand and it can often be fixed by just applying a simple calorie increase
like I talked about before. Second, take a look at your training intensity
levels. So if you aren’t truly going one to two
rep short of failure then you might not be providing a strong enough stimulus for significant
muscle size and strength gains. Another big one is recovery. I remember that training in the gym is what
stimulates muscle growth but the actual process itself takes place while you’re resting. So make sure you’re not training with excessive
volume or excessive frequency, and if you are a bit on the higher end of the scale then
cutting back a bit can often help in order to give yourself more recovery time. Also make sure that you’re not going overboard
on cardio and other physically strenuous activity during the week either because that can interfere
with the recovery process as well. And another thing is to double check your
sleeping habits because that can also influence your performance in the gym quite a bit. So those are the two main ways to track your
progress during a bulking phase. If your bodyweight is increasing at the proper
pace, not too quickly and too slowly, and you’re consistently adding weight and reps
to your lifts in the gym then you pretty much know that you’re on the right track for the
most part. You’re putting on muscle consistently and
your fat gains are being kept under control. And then two other ways that you can fine
tune your progress tracking a bit further are by using progress photos and body part
measurements. These two things are going to give you an
objective look at how your body has changing because when you see yourself in the mirror
every single day it can be often hard to notice those subtle changes, and plus our perception
of our own body is usually eschewed a bit for a variety of reasons. So progress photos can be done once every
two to four weeks. You’re not going to see huge changes from
one sets of pictures to the next, especially during a bulking phase because, again, muscle
growth is a pretty slow process. But overtime you can compare them and in a
span of few months you’ll start to see some noticeable gains adding up. And it can also be pretty motivating to look
back at your photos from down the road just to see how far you’ve come. Make sure to take your photos first thing
in the morning before training or eating and use the same angles and the same lighting
each time. Because these things can change the resulting
photo quite a bit. Do a view from the front, the side and the
back and also do some photos of yourself both flexed and unflexed. And then for measurements, same thing. First thing in the morning before any activity
and you’re going to want to measure your neck, chest, upper arm, forearm, waist, thigh and
calf. Measure around the largest part of each muscle
to be as consistent as possible because you’re going to be dealing with fairly small increases
here, so if you measure inconsistnely then the readings aren’t going to be of much
use to you or they could even throw you off. Most measurement are taken in unflexed but
the upper arm is the one area that people usually do measure in a flexed state. Most people who share their arm size online
are using flexed measurement, so whether you measure yours flexed or unflexed is up to
you. But again, the most important thing is just
that you are consistent and you’re measuring the same way each time. And measurements can also be helpful for seeing
which muscles are making consistent gains, and which ones might be lagging behind. And one other thing is that by tracking your
waistline relative to your other muscle groups measurements can also be useful as, sort of,
a general bodyfat monitoring tool. You’re always going to gain some fat while
bulking but if your waist measurement is increasing at a disproportionate rate to your other muscles
then that would be a good indicator that you’re putting on bodyfat a bit too quickly. And then lastly on the subject of bodyfat,
the other questions that comes up here is whether you should track your actual bodyfat
percentage during a bulk. Knowing your exact bodyfat percentage would
obviously be useful but the problem here is that it’s actually really difficult, if
not impossible to get a proper bodyfat reading with most available methods. Dexa is probably the most accurate, but even
then it could still be off by a couple percent or more. And it’s pretty expensive and it’s not
going to be practical to be getting a dexa scan every week or every a couple of weeks. And then cheaper home methods like bodyfat
scales, for example, those can easily be off by as much as five percent or more. Overall, if your bodyweight is increasing
at a proper pace and isn’t going up too quickly, strength levels are going up and
your visual appearance and your waist measurement don’t show any obvious excess increase in
bodyfat, that’s usually enough information for you to know that your overall bodyfat
is being kept within reasonable limits. So tracking your exact bodyfat percentage
usually won’t be necessary. If you do have a method that can give you
consistent readings like a scale or bodyfat calipers then you can optionally use that
to track the relative increase in bodyfat from week-to-week just to get some extra information. But don’t put too much stock in the actual
objective reading itself because it could very well tell you that you are eighteen percent
bodyfat when you’re actually fourteen percent, or vice versa. So just use it as a weekly comparison tool
to give yourself a bit of extra info. So that covers the topic of proper progress
tracking during a bulking phase. Hope you guys find this advice helpful. If you want to grab a complete structured
bulking program to actually apply these methods too that will maximize your rate of progress
including the workouts, meal plans and supplement guides laid out in a simple step-by-step manner
that you can follow then you can check out my Body Transformation Blueprint by clicking
here or by heading over to using the link in the description box. If you enjoyed the video, as always, make
sure to hit the like button, leave a comment and subscribe to stay up to date on future
videos. You can also follow me on facebook and Instagram
as well, the links for that are also in the description box. And the official website is over at
where you can get all of my latest updates. Thanks for watching, guys. I’ll see you in the next video.

39 thoughts on “How To Track Progress During A Bulking Phase

  1. Cant stop looking the front delt moving 😂
    Btw ,I was cutting for 7 months , if i start eating at maintenance will I gain muscle or just get fluffier ?

  2. What if you're intermediate, sleeping ok, perfectly dialed in your calorie surplus, lifting to RPE9 on an upper/lower 4 day split, but failing to get stronger?

  3. Im having a Hard time getting the right amout of calories to do a lean Bulk either I lose weight or Gain weight too fast

  4. Wassup guys chalawani from and today im going to teach you how to spell my name correctly

  5. My body wants to stop putting on muscle once I'm over 165 pounds and it likes to keep putting on fat when I'm over 160 it's pathetic lol

  6. Im at my first bulk. It's been about 6 months and my strength has been going up, but I think I've gotten a little fluffy. Thankfully i'm also taking Sean's advice about a mini cut, but this video made me realize I should be stricter with measuring stuff on a weekly basis.

  7. Hello SeanNal,
    The old age people ( Senior citizens )where progress is limited due to growing age & other factors.
    How will you monitor progress !!!!

  8. I've been getting stronger for like 4 months straight but I've stayed at around 155 lbs and feel like I've gained a bit of fat as well, makes no sense

  9. Great video once again Sean!! I’ve hit a plateau recently & this really helps me understand what to do!

  10. Hello Sean , if we are Consuming 200 Calories Above Maintenance , how this will appear on the scale , would it be possible to see ?

  11. Sean, if I am gaining 0.5lb per week during my bulking phase without including cardio and would like to include 2-3 sessions cardio, can I just add extra calories on the days I implement cardio?

  12. Hi Sean, when bulking, should all of my exercises get stronger or is it just compound exercises like bench press,squats, romanian deadlifts?

  13. i don't think training till failure is a good idea…the accumulative fatigue screws up ur long term goals…

  14. Most natural men can only gain 1-2 lbs of muscle per month, but look at the bigger picture

    At the slightly higher end, that’s 20-25 lbs of MUSCLE in 1 year

    usually 10-12 lbs in the second year for Intermediates & 3-6 lbs of muscle in the third year

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