I am asked again and again whether such a mass phase is really necessary to build muscle. For this reason I want to dedicate myself to the question and the topic of mass phase in this article.
The word mass phase has a negative connotation for many. Some people seem to have the idea that one emerges from such a phase as a fat mountain of meat. Understandably, many exercisers want to build muscle without adding unwanted fat.
A mass phase is one of the absolute muscle building basics . However, it seems to me to make sense to sharpen this term a little. In this article I want to explain to you what a mass phase actually is and what it is. I will also clear up some rumors.
I will also explain to you why its targeted use makes sense for you, if you want to build muscle mass effectively and what you should definitely pay attention to.
At the end of the article, you should better understand whether a bulking phase makes sense for you to build muscle and what the most important rules are to achieve good results.
What is a bulk phase and what it is
A bulking phase is a phase in which an attempt is made to achieve the greatest possible muscle hypertrophy (increase in muscle thickness) by means of a targeted excess of calories and hypertrophy training that is optimized for muscle building.
Bulky phase does not mean that you can / should eat as much and everything that you feel like eating. On the contrary, the goal of a good mass phase is to build up as much muscle mass as possible with as little unwanted body fat as possible.
To make one thing clear, however: muscle building without weight gain or even with a simultaneous weight loss is not possible in the medium and long term. Only as an absolute beginner (with a high percentage of body fat) is it possible to achieve both at the same time over a few months. In these cases, too, this is not as efficient as possible.
Accordingly, you should always decide whether you want to gain or lose muscles and define your muscles over the next few months. You can then adjust your diet and training accordingly.
Five good reasons why a mass phase makes sense to build muscle
If you are serious about it and you really want to get your muscles to grow in the medium and long term, then a well-planned and executed mass phase brings you numerous advantages that you do not want to do without. In the following I would like to give you five good reasons for a structured, mass phase lasting several months.
1) Excess calories are required for muscle building
As already mentioned in the introduction, muscle building is achieved through a calorie surplus, among other things. This is because it is needed for so-called anabolic processes. The body only builds up body structures that it does not necessarily need to survive if it can afford this luxury. Extra muscle mass is just such a luxury for our body.
By having a daily excess of calories, you get your body and muscles to be in an anabolic state for most of the day. Now the training can do what it should: adjustment stimuli that lead to muscle growth as part of the regeneration.
The best results are achieved when this condition is maintained over a longer period of time. For this purpose, a mass phase lasting several months is usually planned and carried out.
2) You maximize your available training performance
One of the influencing factors for building muscle mass is the weight you move. If you eat enough food regularly, of the same type, then you can rely more on your performance in training.
With a structured bulk phase you can create the best conditions for this. Your muscles always have enough energy available and you are not hungry during your training.
3) Long-term progression is the key to more muscle
Building muscle mass doesn’t happen overnight. The duration of muscle building is often underestimated. The growth of muscles takes months and years. It goes hand in hand with a positive development of the training weight moved.
Such a regular increase in training weight is also known as a progression. This progression can be achieved by improving technique, muscle performance (e.g. through better fiber activation through IK training ) or even through additional muscle mass. In any case, a regular oversupply of required nutrients over a longer period of time is advantageous.
4) Focusing helps you achieve your goals
Consistently maintaining the right framework conditions over a longer period of time enables you to focus better on one goal. And as you may know, Focus is your superpower .
You should use this for yourself and not constantly consciously or unconsciously jump back and forth between structure and definition. It becomes even more difficult if you try to do both at the same time. Make up your mind and then focus on one thing and then the other again. This is how you manage to achieve your goals .
in the long term
5) You don’t have to leave anything to chance
You certainly don’t want to leave your muscle building (in large parts) to chance. Your goal is to build muscle and then you should also create the best conditions for it. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to weigh every gram, as in a crash diet . However, you should have a plan that you stick to over the long term and that you keep a good overview of.
This includes not only eating enough and the right things, but also appropriately structuring your training in your mass phase for building muscle. I will briefly go into what is important in the following sections.
How you should eat in your bulking phase
I want to keep it very simple at this point and only give you the two most important basic rules of good nutrition in your mass phase to build muscle. If you want to know more about it, you can read my article about the right bulk phase diet .
1) Consistent calorie surplus
During your bulking phase, you should aim for a consistent calorie surplus of ten to twenty percent above your calculated calorie requirement. There are different ways in which you can calculate your calorie requirement . You can also use my calorie calculator here on the website.
If you gain more than half a kilo on average over several weeks, you should correct a little downwards. If you don’t gain weight, you should correct your calories upwards. As your (muscle) mass increases, you should constantly adjust your calorie intake, i.e. always eat a little more.
2) The right nutrients in the bulk phase
After the calories, the next thing you should pay attention to is an adequate supply of the nutrients you need to build muscle. The protein plays the biggest role here. In the bulking phase, 1.5 grams per kilo of body weight per day is a good rule of thumb that has proven itself. If you find it difficult to cover this with lean quark , Harzer cheese and other protein-containing foods , you can of course also with one or the other Protein shake help.
Fats, especially the Omega 3 fatty acids that are rare in our food, are often underestimated. The fats are also needed for an optimal environment for your muscle building and generally good health.
You need enough carbohydrates, especially before and after training, in order to have enough energy for maximum performance and to optimally support your regeneration afterwards.
As far as the topic of micronutrients is concerned, I recommend that you simply eat enough fruit and vegetables first and foremost. If you manage to consume around ten grams per kilo of body weight every day, you are creating a good basis for a healthy life and effective muscle building.
There are also a few useful supplements and muscle building preparations that you can take a look at. However, you can already manage the majority with your diet.
How and how often you should train in your mass phase
A good bulking phase is not just about eating enough and the right thing. Your training should also be optimized so that you create the best conditions to be able to build as many muscles as possible from all that food. It is important that you have a good muscle building training plan that suits you, your living conditions and your goals.
Here, too, I just want to briefly give you the five most important principles. You can read more about this in my article about the right muscle building training .
- Train each muscle group at least two and at most three times a week
- Exercise to maximize muscle hypertrophy in the range of 6-12 reps
- Build your training on complex basic exercises
- Increase your training weight regularly in small steps (progression)
- Invest the time necessary to learn a clean technique and have it checked regularly
In addition, as always during training, you should of course take enough breaks between sets and don’t forget the warmup in order to achieve high performance and to minimize the risk of injuries.
Conclusion – do you need a bulk phase
If your goal is to build as much muscle mass as possible in a certain period of time, then you should definitely plan a mass phase for this period. This not only brings some advantages, but is strictly speaking even necessary if you want to build muscle in the medium and long term.
I hope you understood after reading this article that such a bulking phase is not about gaining weight uncontrollably and hoping for muscle growth. On the contrary, it is about creating the best possible conditions for low-fat muscle building as effectively as possible. For this, it is of course important to stick to the rules of the game.
Don’t be afraid of some fat. If you really want to build muscle, you can take some fat that is always with you. If you are building very little fat, you can assume that with a slightly larger excess, there would have been a bit more muscle mass. In addition, you will get rid of the excess fat in the next diet or deficit phase and then expose your gained muscle splendor.
If you don’t waste time and really want to get started with building muscle, I can recommend my book Muscle Building Basics to you. In it you will find out everything that is really important if you want to build muscles. It is the first real “no bullshit” guide for effective muscle building. Depending on the package, there are also some tried and tested muscle building training plans from which you can choose the one that suits you.