Do You Even Lift Bro? A Man’s Guide to Beefcake Status

originalLast week I took some time to address the fabulous ladies of our Crossfit world. This week I turn to my personal favourite, the men!

Lets see. It probably started when you were 6 and saw your first episode of ‘The Hulk’, or perhaps it was Arnold Schwarzenegger being a badass in ‘Terminator’ or even watching Hulk Hogan on the WWF when your parents told you it was past your bedtime. Nevertheless, our men learn young that being big and strong is a big part of being masculine. Being big is sexy. Muscles get the girls right? Well…they certianly don’t hurt (as a female I am willing to weigh in on the subject ) but as an athlete there are more reasons for striving for those muscles. It can also be very hard to do for some of you. In Crossfit, the chiseled physique you see at the Crossfit Games, while indeed an awesome byproduct, takes a back seat to why size matters. Logic states the more mass you cultivate, the more you can lift. The heavier you are lifting, the more WODs you can tackle RX (prescribed weight). Here is the biggest point: The heavier you lift and the more RX WODs you smash the faster you will be. If a 100lb bicep curl is possible for you, then you can smash a gazillion reps at 5lbs right?. When it comes to Crossfit, performance rather than aesthetics is the goal. The physique is icing on your paleo cake!

Gentleman, Welcome to “Mad Gains 101”.

Let me get the myth that Crossfit kills your gains out of the way first. Supporters of tradition gym and bodybuilding programs are quick to attack crossfit as a aerobic sport with little to no anabolic gains.Certainly, pushing through metcon style wods everyday can stall muscle mass gains but anyone will tell you those big beefy elite athletes aren’t training like that. They lift heavy. They eat like vikings. They preserve their muscle mass. Also,many of them lift much heavier, have better cardiovasular health, and are far more functional in their daily lives than a Bodybuilder!. So…you want to be a Bacon Explosion like Rich Froning? Time to get your fork ready!

DIET:

If you follow my blogs, you know I advocate goal achievement through diet first, training second. The goals of one cannot happen without the other. Considering the fueling portion of your life has a 24 hour cycle and most of us hit the box for an hour a day (a mere 4% of our day) food is crucial!. You volume train your weights in the gym and now its time to volume train your food.

Macros:
You need to hit or surpass your daily macros in order for weight gaining to occur. If you do not keep track of when you eat, what you’re eating and how much, you have nothing to go on when the scale isn’t budging. You can find your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) and a macro calculator online at www.iifym.com

Protein consumption:
More is more here. You need to divide your daily macros into 5-8 small meals for optimal protein absorption. Protein should be anywhere from 1.5-2.5g (even higher in some instances) per lb of lean body weight. The best sources to get your protein from when bulking are :

Red Meat
Organic Poultry
Fatty fish like Salmon
Tuna
High quality Whey Protein
Eggs
Egg whites
Greek yogurt

These sources, combined with fibrous vegstables that are also high in protein like broccoli, and low glycemic carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and quinoa will help maintain your health and help put on size. Don’t forget healthy fats like olive and coconut oils, nut butters and of course bacon!

SUPPLEMENTATION:

Every diet needs supplements to round out what we cannot get from our food. When attempting to bulk, you need to keep your digestive system and endocrine systems in tip-top shape. Here are some suggestions:

Multi vitamin
Omega 3-6-9 complex
Digestive enzymes (for assistance digesting all that food)
Magnesium
Amino acid profile (BCAAs and glutamine for recovery)
*ZMA
*CASEIN protein

ZMA (Zinc monomethionine and aspartate and Magnesium Aspartate) is a supplement used most often used as a recovery aid. Many studies show that ZMA helps the body achieve deeper levels of REM sleep. Deeper levels of REM sleep can lead to higher levels of testosterone, the male hormone needed for cultivating size and strength. ZMA also supports your hormonal profile which can lead to strength gains in training that are higher than those who don’t take it.

Casein protein is the protein portion that makes up 80% of cow milk. Whey is the other kind we use. “An attractive property of the casein molecule is its ability to form a gel or clot in the stomach, which makes it very efficient in nutrient supply. The clot is able to provide a sustained slow release of amino acids into the blood stream, sometimes lasting for several hours”. This is why a big Casein shake at night keeps you fueled while you sleep. Maintaining that nutrient supply prevents your body from turning to its own muscles for fuel. Casein is also a great protein to have if you know you’re going to miss a meal or don’t have time to eat one during your meal time.

BODY TYPE AND BULKING

Your body type has a lot to do with your ability to bulk , especially if you’re Ectomorphic. An ectomorphic body has slighter bones , numerically lower body fat and struggles to put on muscle. Don’t be discouraged if this sounds like you!. This body type can afford to ‘dirty bulk’ more than anyone!

Dirty bulking is the opposite of what I’m talking about above. It’s basically striving to ingest as many calories as possible regardless of the quality of food. You still want to hit your macros ratios but you can load up on junk food like a kid in a candy store. The 2 more common dirty bulk foods are doughnuts and pizza. The advantage of the dirty bulk is you will see gains, you save time on meal prep, and it’s easy to eat less and take in more calorically. With any bulking plan fat gain is inevitable, but particularly so with the dirty bulk. Despite lifting heavy you can start to resemble a marshmallow…and take out foods lack nutrients that can leave you feeling sluggish and tired. You can always drop fat later.

STRENGTH PROGRAM

A bulking man needs a strength plan. With Crossfit there are hundreds of ways to set this up. You can talk to one of our coaches about which style of heavy lifting program is best for you. Until then, know that heavy ,heavy weight and low rep is a great place to start. Cardio should be kept to a minimum because it’s so catabolic, however, as a crossfitter you may struggle to stop doing the wods because ,come on…they’re fun!. Depending on how much size you’re trying to gain you can probably still do a wod here and there to keep your chops up. Again, this is where your coach can advise you.

Ok Gentleman.Eat Big. Train heavy. Get lots of sleep. Do not skip meals. Keep taking your supplements and rev those testosterone levels up! Your wives and girlfriends can even help with that…..I didn’t the explain that point, but I’m sure you can figure it out. Happy Bulking!!

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