Putting on muscle is tough.
There are, however, a few simple tactics and mindset shifts that can make bulking 10 times easier.
In this article, we’ll dive into five actionable steps you can take today to make getting big easier.
Accept Your Unhappiness
First, accept that you desire something different.
As a self-proclaimed robot, I generally recommend dissociating your decision making from your emotions. This allows you to be less biased and more methodical about where to focus your attention.
Without this emotion, however, you may never get started. You won’t put in the hard work of building muscle if you’re content with how you look.
So instead of blocking out your feelings, harness them. Use your pain to create change. Light a fire under your metaphorical behind.
Then, once you’ve gotten started, you can rely on systems.
Eat the Same Meals Every Day
Emotions create change, but routines build momentum.
Those who gain 20lbs of muscle in a year aren’t successful because they have more willpower. They are successful because they don’t rely on willpower at all.
If you’re staring down and working up the courage to finish your plate of food, you’re playing the wrong game.
Instead, decide in advance what you’re going to eat. Then, eat that every day.
If this sounds boring that’s because it is. The point, however, is not to be entertained, but to progress.
If you want to explore different cuisines, tastes, and restaurants, then maybe it’s not time to put on muscle. It sounds like it’s not your priority.
But if you want success, eat the same thing every day.
Train at the Same Time Every Day
Your strength training is the stimulus that turns your excess calories into muscle instead of fat.
To put on muscle, training hard must be automatic. You cannot miss a workout.
If you plan to train after work, you had better make sure that nothing is going to “come up at the last second”.
Now, you might say, “But I’m busy! People rely on me!”. If that’s the case, you need to find and stick with a new training time.
I was training a CFO at Google and he put it a great way: “I just need a time in my schedule that I can protect.” This busy guy found a way to make his workouts a priority with the help of his calendar.
If you aren’t willing to cancel a meeting in lieu of your workout, then maybe you need to do your workout before anyone else is awake. Early morning training tends to work best for busy professionals.
But whatever time you choose, commit to it. Block out your schedule; this is now your exercise time, a sacred time.
Bulk with a Friend
You don’t have to do this alone.
Training with a partner or hiring a coach means you have to answer to someone like you. They know how badly you want to put on muscle, and they don’t care how hard it is for you. All that matters is results.
I believe that the most successful people in fitness hold themselves accountable, but the external pressure of a training buddy can 10x your results. You will show up to the gym earlier, lift heavier weights, and train for longer.
And you’ll enjoy it more.
Bulk for 4-8–Week Sprints
The body resists change. This is why putting on muscle is so challenging.
After you’ve been bulking up for a month or so, the body adapts. Your metabolism ramps up and the caloric surplus you were once eating becomes purely maintenance. Your taste buds fatigue. Your hormones desensitize. Your joints revolt. Life is dull.
Instead of half-trying to bulk for 6 months in a row, focus your mind 100% on muscle gain for a month or two. You’ll find you put on more muscle, less fat, and you’re more excited to try it again in the future.
The five ways to make bulking easier are:
- Accept your unhappiness
- Eat the same thing every day
- Train at the same time every day
- Bulk with a friend
- Commit to 4-8–week bulking sprints