Monday, September 12, 2011

Aesthetic Bulking Plan

Don't bulk like this guy
Now that the warm summer days are slowly getting shorter and shorter, it's time to change my focus from looking "shredded" to gaining muscle in order to improve my "aesthetics" :)

The common term for this period of focus on muscle gain is known as "bulking". Many will use this period as an excuse to make everyday a cheat day which I believe is the wrong way to go. The argument for this is that a ton of calories is needed to support the body's process of building muscle. From my experience, this is false.

This is a mistake that I regret making in the past. I have learned that muscle can only grow so fast and that eating more and more calories will not force the body to build more muscle. Eating past the bodies caloric needs will only lead to increased fat storage which equates to being bigger but this is not the kind of "bigger" I am going after!

So during this bulk I want to do whatever I can to minimize fat gain!

Hopefully, I can stay close to this level of leanness
Aesthetic Bulking Diet

If you've been following my blog, then you know I used intermittent fasting to lose a ton a fat. In an attempt to stay fairly lean while bulking, I am going to continue intermittent fasting and basically using the same diet I followed to cut fat

The difference will be that I need to consume a higher caloric intake to build muscle so in order to do this, I will add about 75 grams of carbohydrates to my last meal of the day to start off. This carbohydrate amount will increase if I find I'm not gaining enough weight.

While I was cutting, I was taking in anywhere between 1,200 - 1,700 calories a day. I know this seems low but the average caloric intake was higher if you include my cheat days. So adding the 75 grams of carbohydrates will increase my caloric intake by 300 calories. My range will now be anywhere from 1,500 - 2,000 calories.

I want to emphasize that this is just to start off. If I find I'm not making progress, I will increase my carbohydrate intake to 100 grams (additional 100 calories) and assess progress from there. This is all about taking it slow so that I don't gain unneeded fat.

I will also no longer have scheduled cheat days and refeeds, but will allow for a more relaxed, flexible approach to eating "bad" foods. For example, my carbohydrate source won't always necessarily come from a "clean" carbohydrate source such as sweet potatoes or oatmeal. If I feel like eating a bowl of cereal or instant noodles, I won't hesitate to have some.

No more extreme refeeds!
Also, if there is a special occasion where I happen to go overboard, I will fast for the entire day the next day and do a light cardio session. This will help me quickly lose the bloat from the water weight and allow me to feel and look good again. 

I am aiming for an average weight gain of about 1 lb per week. Gaining weight at this rate will allow for my body to slowly adapt and build muscle without excessive fat gain.

Aesthetic Workout Routine

When it comes to how I will be training, my intentions are not just to get bigger everywhere, but to get bigger and develop the right places. I take a look at my body and evaluate what I need to improve on in order to obtain the most aesthetic physique I possibly can.

Right now I feel like my chest is my biggest weak point that I need to bring up in order to be more proportioned. So for this next bulking period, I plan on training my chest two times in my 8 day training split.

This is what it's about
I like to schedule my splits like this instead of a Monday through Sunday split, so that if I ever need to miss a workout for any reason I can just train what I was supposed to the train the next day. Here is how my split will go:

Day 1: Chest
Day 2: Legs
Day 3: Back Width
Day 4: Rest or cardio
Day 5: Chest
Day 6: Back Thickness
Day 7: Biceps, Shoulders (Rear delt emphasis)
Day 8: Rest or cardio

As you can see from my split, I will be working my chest twice and other body parts once during the split. I won't be working my triceps at all as I feel they get a decent stimulus from my chest workouts and already overpower my upper arm.

You'll also notice below that for my last chest exercise, I'll be doing 7 sets of 8-12 reps. These seven sets for the last exercise are from based on the FST-7 training protocol. FST stands for Fascia Stretch Training, and the seven refers to the seven sets performed for the final exercise of a target bodypart. It's an interesting concept which I've never tried before but am hopeful it will help bring up my chest. You can learn more about the training concept by clicking on my link above.

Here are the exercises, sets and reps that I'll be doing:

Chest 1 workout
Decline Dumbbell Press - 4 x 6-8 reps
Incline Dumbbell Press - 3 x 8-10 reps
Machine Flye - 3 x 8-10 reps
Low to High Cable Flye - 3 x 12 - 15 reps
Cable Crossover - 7 x 8-12 reps

Chest 2 workout
Weighted Dips - 5 sets of 3-5 reps
Incline Dumbbell Press 3 x 6-8 reps
Standing Cable Chest Press 3 x 8-12 reps 
Low to High Cable Flye 3 x 12-15 reps
Pec Deck - 7 x 8-12 reps

Smith Machine Lunge - 4 x 8-12 reps
Stiff Leg Deadlift - 3 x 8-12 reps
Pistol Squat - 3 x 8-12 reps
Single Leg Stiff Leg Deadlift 3 x 8-12 reps
Single Legged Leg Extensions 2 x 12-15 reps

Back Width

Weighted Pullups - 4 x 6-8 reps
V-Bar Lat Pulldowns - 3 x 8-12 reps
Wide grip Lat Pulldowns - 3 x 8-12 reps
Single Arm Cable Row - 2 x 12-15 reps
Kneeling J-Pulldowns - 2 x 12-15 reps

Back Thickness

Pendlay Rows - 5 x 3-5 reps
Seated Cable Row - 3 x 8-12 reps
Machine Row - 3 x 8-12 reps
One Arm Dumbbell Row - 2 x 12-15 reps
Incline Dumbbell Row - 2 x 12-15 reps

Biceps & Shoulders (Rear Delt Emphasis)
Machine Reverse Flye - 4 x 6-8 reps
DB Reverse Flye - 3 x 10-12 reps
Lateral raises - 4 x 8-12 reps (followed by machine lateral raise to failure)
Concentration curl - 3 x 8-12 reps
Dumbbell Preacher Curl 2 x 10-12 reps (followed by cable curl to failure)

Aesthetic Bulking Supplements

During this bulk I will be using two supplements I've never used before. 

The first one is T2 Xtreme. T2 (3,3'-Diiodo-L-Thyronine & 3,5-Diiodo-L-Thyronine) is normally used to burn fat but it has been shown to possibly work better to prevent fat gain during periods of caloric excess and build and restructure lean muscle. This will be my first time using T2 during a bulk so I'm interested to see if the studies translate to real world results.

I also will be using Anabeta. This a new supplement recently released by PES which has received a lot of hype. I normally wouldn't fall for the hype of new supplements but the amount of positive reviews from user logs was hard to ignore. PES is also a good company that has released other effective supplements as well.

They were able to convince me to order two bottles when they had their presale so I will be using it for 8 weeks. I'm excited to see how good this Anabeta really is :)

Here is how I will be using the T2 Xtreme and Anabeta:

Weeks 1-4: T2 Xtreme
Weeks 5-12: Anabeta
Weeks 13-16: T2 Xtreme

Here is what my daily supplement schedule will be like when using T2 Extreme:
7:30 AM - 1 gram Vitamin C and 1 T2 Xtreme 
3:00 PM - 1 T2 Xtreme
4:00 PM - 1 scoop Myofusion protein shake (plus preworkout on chest days and  if needed) 
5:30 PM - 2 scoops Myofusion protein shake, 2 softgels of Now Ultra Omega 3
6:00 PM - Multivitamin & 5,000 IU of Vitamin D with dinner
8:00 PM - 1 scoop Myofusion protein shake, 2 softgels of Now Ultra Omega 3
10:00 PM - 1 T2 Xtreme

For the weeks when I'll be using Anabeta, I'll dose it 4 times spread out evenly throughout the day taking it at 7:30 AM, 12:30 PM, 5:30 PM, and 10 PM.

By the end of this bulk, I'm hoping to add at least two or more inches to my chest. If my back, rear delts, and biceps get bigger than that would be great as well :)

I'll be bulking for 16-20 weeks so I expect to gain about 16-20 lbs. I know all of that won't be muscle but if at least half of that is, that would be awesome!

Let me know what you think of my "aesthetic" bulking plan and how you plan on bulking this fall/winter?


Mark said...

Hey Duong,
Your plan looks quite good and I'm very interested to see how it goes. Good luck!

I just started about a week ago on my own plan to cut down. I was able to join a gym by work so that I can get in about 20-30 minutes Monday through Friday. It's a hotel gym, so I mostly just do body weight/dumbbell stuff, but I still can get in quite a good workout. Then on the weekend I usually do heavy squats.

Since I workout in the morning, I have structured my meals like this:
-Coffee with some cream and milk at about 515
-workout from 615-645
-drink a shake (2 scoops of Optimum Whey, 5g Creatine Monohydrate and 16 oz Coconut Water) over the morning while at work (715-945)
-limit myself to some fruit (say like 2 apples) over the course of work
-dinner with my wife at about 1900

While I'm not counting calories yet, I think that the lack of a formal meal outside of the shake while at work will help me cut enough calories to lose some fat, while providing enough protein to stave off muscle loss. But what I'm worried about is under eating too much, as Prof. Dr. Andro has warned about in his blog.

Do you think this breakdown makes sense?

Thanks for your insight. I'm probably about 15% body fat and while my ultimate goal is to cut that in half, I'd definitely be happy with 10% (just enough to lean up my mid-section more).

Mark said...

Subscribing to Comments. Thanks Again.

Duong Nguyen said...

Hi Mark, I'm hoping my bulking plan goes awesome!

I definitely think you should count calories and make your protein/fat intake a priority as to avoid the under eating you referenced in Dr. Andro's blog.

Mark said...

I can do my best to count what I can, but some of it is out of my hand since I don't cook dinner. So try to eat more protein/fat and less carbs? Do you think I should try to target some amount of carbs at least, say like 125g-150g? I just know that in the past when I went low carb (sub 50g), I didn't have good long-term results in terms of sleep, energy, recovery, mood, etc. Thanks again.

Duong Nguyen said...

I don't have any experience cutting with that high amount of carbs so I wouldn't be advise you on this. I actually get sleepy, have less energy, and am in a worse mood if I do eat that high amount of carbs!

Mark said...

haha, sounds good. Thanks for your help. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Anonymous said...

I know you have been doing Intermittent Fasting for awhile now; I'm just wondering if there are days that you exceed the feeding window time; let's say my feeding window is from 2- 10 but there are days when I hang out with friends and end up eating till 11 or 12 at night. Is it going to interfere with my diet? If you know the answer or have experienced this yourself. Thanks

Duong Nguyen said...

It is not a big deal if you exceed your feeding window from time to time, just don't do it all the time :)

If you're good 90% of the time, you'll can still make great progress!

Yass said...

I'm glad you confirm my suspicions regarding this whole "eat a shitload of calories, bulk, SQUATS AND OATZ" thing.

I've been cutting all year long thanks to swimming and now starting to lift with a regular program (SS) for the first time. I was amazed to see people's shitty results when following SS, because they just looked fat and gross after a few months of SS...
Would you recommend me keeping up with SS and monitoring my calorie intake (I make sure I have a lot of proteins and have always avoided sugar and fat anyway) ?
Reading your blog makes me think that there's a possibility that you can bulk in accordance to your body and limit as much fat/increase of your bodyfat as possible ? Or am I just plainly retarded ?

Anyway, thanks for your blog, seems filled with decent advice !

Duong Nguyen said...

Hey Yass,

I've never tried the SS program but it looks pretty good to cover the basics. As long as you continue to progress on your lifts and only increase calories as needed, I'm sure you'll be fine.

When I first started working out, I read about the "eating a ton of crap" to gain weight too...I wish I hadn't.

It has been my experience that very few people will actually need to eat a ton of excess calories to gain good weight.

Anonymous said...

Hi bro. Its been a while since I've been in touch. Thanks to your blog and direct advice I have managed to cut down to 8% and look great. Now I will try your bulk methods. However I am curious as to how you look now as I assume you have done a cut cycle since your bulk. Was ut easier to cut this second time around? Also do you take diet breaks as per Lyle McDonald's recommendations?

Thanks for being a continued inspiration bro, Sam.

james ng'ang'a said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
james ng'ang'a said...

Awesome content here on bulking

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