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

The Squad October 7, 2011 1

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?

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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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One Comment »

  1. Jeremy October 10, 2011 at 5:06 am - Reply

    Hey Daniel,

    On a side note to Eric’s good advice, you may be misunderstanding how muscle-gaining works.

    When you say, “I’m trying to put on weight to then turn into muscle,” it sounds like you deliberately want to gain fat weight first, thinking you can convert fat into muscle.

    It doesn’t work exactly like that. You can add weight to your body either as fat or as muscle, depending on the amount and type of calories you take in versus how many you burn.

    The primary building block of muscle weight is protein, so you’ll have to eat a lot of foods and/or supplements rich with calories from protein.

    None of the food you eat (including carbs and sugars, which also contribute to muscle-building) will convert to cellulite on your body unless you’re overeating.

    So ideally, you want to gain weight leanly, adding only muscle.

    If you’re already overweight, you’ll want a diet and exercise plan that deprives your stomach of some of the calories you burn every day so it forces your body to burn off your fat weight instead.

    You can lose fat weight and gain muscle weight at the same time. You just have to measure your body fat frequently, cater your diet to your goals (high protein), monitor your calorie intake and conform to your diet (which is hard).

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