December 16, 2013

Winter Lean Gains

December 16, 2013
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 1.  Do you always winter bulk?

I don’t really like the term ‘bulking’.  I prefer to call it a lean gains phase.  I’m not someone who packs on loads of weight during the winter/off season.  Walking around with hamster cheeks isn’t really my thing.  I never gain more than 5kg and aim to minimise weight gain in the form of body fat.  My aim during this period is to improve my weakness instead of gaining as much weight as possible.  I’d like to think that I am never more than 6-8 weeks away from my optimum physique.  I tend to range between 87kg and 92kg.


2. How long for?

3-4 months is the maximum amount of time I will follow a lean gains plan.  As previously mentioned I don’t want to gain excess fat if possible.  I feel each year I make improvements.  Natural lean muscle gains are HARD work but this period definitely helps me improve year on year.  It also helps to recharge mentally.  Dieting is hard work both physically and mentally.


3. Expected gains muscle, fat?

With any ‘bulking’ plan you have to expect a natural increase in body fat.  I just make sure it doesn’t spiral out of control.  Stuffing my face with ‘rubbish’ is not going to maximise lean muscle gains. I find it easier following a structured diet plan.  I use this plan Monday to Friday with more freedom of choice on weekends.


Lean winter gains


4. 3 essential principles to a bulk

 1) Eat big/Increase daily calorie intake.

2) Lift big.  Push yourself hard during this phase.  This is the time to build/add as much muscle as possible.  Utilise heavy compound lifts.

3) Make sure you rest and sleep well.  This is key for muscle growth.  Recharge your batteries each night!


5. Basic diet changes

Increase daily calorie intake.  I use this period to live a more ‘normal’ life.  My weekends are fairly relaxed and I allow myself 2 cheat meals per week.  I also go out socialising with my mates which often involves consuming alcohol occasionally.  I’m so strict for large parts of the year so this is a period of time I really enjoy!  I also make some changes to my supplement regime, see below for details.


6. Basic Supp changes

My core supplements are iSupp Pure (Whey) and Quantum (Slow release) which I utilise all year round.  During this period I introduce iSupp Accumalate and Cromo (creatine) to maximise gains.


7. Basic training changes

 1) Increase Rest.  This includes rest days and rest intervals whilst training.

2) Reduced/Limited cardio.  I don’t perform any HIIT during this phase.  Some individuals prefer to continue with cardio however I personally struggle with gains if I do so.

3) I’m currently following a plan which incorporates 2 power days (upper and lower body) and 3 hypertrophy days with 2 full rest days.


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