Six kilograms of muscle (not fat!) seems like rather a lot doesn’t it? It must, because a few people have tried to tell me “you can’t put on that much muscle in a year”… but guess what? I just did it in HALF of a year, and here’s where I’m about to tell you how.
First off, lets look at my stats;
- 37 year old male human.
- missing half a thyroid gland.
- been lifting weights a loooong time.
I mention this because these are related to a lot of myths about fitness and muscle building. For example; it’s harder to build muscle after age 35, thyroid issues make weight management & an aesthetic physique impossible, “noobie gains”, and well… whatever bullshit people like to throw around about vegetarians being skinny, unhealthy weaklings.
Actually, lets pretend all those myths are actually true. That just means this should be even EASIER for you, right?
So, here we go! How to put on 6 kg of muscle in 6 months.
Well, it’s how I did it, anyway.
First off you want to start out lean, aka without too much body fat. You don’t have to be totally shredded looking like you’re ready to hit the stage in as a competitive bodybuilder, but you should be in the sort of shape where you’re not embarrassed to take your shirt off at the pool. Reasonably flat stomach with at least a hint of ab definition showing, especially first thing in the morning when there’s no excuse to be blown up full of food and water.
That’s BEFORE the 6 month period we’re taking about. In my mind there’s no point trying to gain size & weight if you’re over-fat already. It just means that once your “bulking phase” is completed, you have a lot more work still to do before you achieve an aesthetic physique.
Personally I got quite lean in time for Summer last year (December, that is) and just tried to maintain that leanness over the Summer by eating at maintenance levels and training with weights for strength. So, once Autumn arrived it was time to start bulking. For the purposes of this article the “6 months” I’m talking about was from the end of Summer up until right now.
Currently I’m sitting pretty at 76kg, after being down to just 68kg at the beginning of Summer. That’s 8 kilos heavier, right? Truth be told I am carrying about 2kg (my guestimate) more body fat than at the beginning of Summer, which leaves a good 6kg increase in lean (muscle) mass.
Strength & Bulking Phase.
I use these terms with some reservation, because for a lot of people a “bulking phase” means an excuse to pig out on whatever junk you can get your hands on and not be concerned about getting fat. Well, that’s NOT what I’m talking about here. You still want to have a healthy, nutritionally balanced diet – no different to any other time. The only difference is that you have a lot MORE of it!
So for me… if I remember correctly, I started out at about 1000 calories above my maintenance requirements, and following my Progressive Power work out program. The details of the program are already available but suffice to say I was using pyramid sets on my main compound exercises with a goal of dramatically increasing how much I could lift for reps.
I will tell you something; my lifting strength went THROUGH THE ROOF on this program! Don’t believe me? Here’s a video me incline pressing 100% of my bodyweight at the time. You can see those are 2 x 37.5kg dumbbells and they’re almost bigger than my torso.
That was 7 reps… I really wanted 8 though!
Now, obviously there’s overlap between the “strength” and “hypertrophy” stages on this long term strategy. We still hope to achieve muscle hypertrophy on this strength phase, it’s just not our primary concern. The primary goal is to significantly increase the amount of weight we can push up in the air, so that when we move to the next phase and increase the rep range on our main sets, we’re throwing up a LOT more weight than we might have been at this time last year.
I’m running out of space here, check out part two for the rest of the story! Here’s the link: 6kg in 6 months, part 2.