I recently read a great forum post by a lifter on bodybuilding.com. Check it out here. It’s called the 80/20 Rule for Lifting and calls your attention to reality: 80% of what you do doesn’t matter.
Supplements, routines, macro nutrient minutiae: all that is distraction to a degree. You should focus on the 20% that matters and I’m calling that 20% “The 3 C’s: Challenging, Consistent, Clean.”
The 3 C’s are what you must do to achieve any growth or body change result:
Lift weights that challenge your muscles to failure and keep increasing weight as you gain strength.
Keep at it. This is how results happen. It takes time, but if you keep at it you will see your body change.
What you eat matters. Lean protein, complex carbs, natural fats. Don’t eat crap or else you will never get where you want to be. Your body is made in the kitchen – no joke on this one.
Follow the 3 C’s above, see results, repeat.
I’m changing my outlook on this bulking period and sticking with it until March: Screw the details.
Lift heavy, lift often, eat enough, rest enough. Oh, and have fun.
What does your bulk look like?
I don’t know about you, but I like to make the lesser important things in my life happen quickly.
To me, efficiency is much better than not when it comes to things like: laundry, grocery shopping, commuting and meal preparation. You should see my kitchen on Sunday nights – it’s an assembly line.
I would spend all day making and decorating cookies because to me, that’s fun, but I do not want to spend all day cooking 12 pounds of chicken. So when it comes to taking supplements, which is a “must-do but not so enjoyable” thing, I want this to be quick, too.
My boyfriend prefers to take every bottle down from the cabinet each morning and evening, pour out the prescribed dosage and throw each pill back in his own time.
I, on the other hand, use this handy weekly pill separator and fill it every Sunday night (as my chicken is cooking) with everything I’m going to take for the week.
In the AM, I take the pills in the bottom half of the container and then in the afternoon I take the final amount (I bring that to work in a zip lock bag). When it’s time to take the pills, I throw all of them in my mouth at once and down they go (with water, of course).
It’s a mouthful, but it saves a lot of time.
How do you manage your pills?
Since the beginning of June I have added a few items to my supplement routine in order to promote better dietary balance and stimulate and protect muscle growth even more.
My diet is currently running at about 2400-2600 calories a day; carbohydrate to protein ratio is around 1.6 : 1. Fat is about 10% of my calories.
I was taking in about 3,000 calories up until the beginning of June.
My weight has fluctuated since I started bulking as my body grew (of course). Adding to the fluctuation of weight was the fact that I didn’t have a scale on which I was consistently checking in. I would be at Gym A one day, Gym B another, Gym C (yes, I have a Gym C) on another day.
Last week, I decided it was time that I bought a baseline scale and dropped $29.00 on a digital model. My coach weighed me in at 155 on June 1. As of this morning I am at 156.0 lbs, and I look bigger and leaner than I have in the past.
Oh how I love muscle growth.
Maybe it’s the supplements. Maybe it’s the hard work. Who knows. Here’s what’s currently in my supplement routine (now all on top of my refrigerator because I can’t fit everything in my supplement cabinet):
Mega EFA Fish Oil (3mg / day)
– Promotes healthy brain function, joint health and normal hormone function. When you’re sticking to a lean diet, these are essential to include to ensure your body is getting everything it needs to function well.
Creatine Blend (4g / day taken in 2 equal doses)
– Boosts performance in the gym and recovery afterward. When you take creatine, be sure you’re drinking enough water to keep your kidneys happy. I drink about 1 gallon a day.
Alpha Lipoic Acid (1200mg / day taken in 2 equal doses)
– This helps combat free radicals that are unleashed in your system after strenuous workouts – and it makes your skin look glorious!
Beta Alanine (3200g / day taken in 4 equal doses)
– You should stack your creatine with beta alanine as this boosts performance even more than just using creatine alone.
Vitamin C (1000mg / day taken in 2 equal doses)
– This helps keep your immune system revved up and ready to combat anything that might come its way – especially helpful when you’re training hard and constantly breaking down your body.
6. Women’s Active Multi-Vitamin (1 serving in the AM)
– Just good to take for general health and wellness
7. Calcium (1200mg / day taken in 2 equal doses)
8. BCAA’s + Glutamine (1 serving taken 2 times a day in equal doses)
Just remember that gains in your figure are not done only through supplementation. One supplement that can’t be beat is a healthy diet filled with vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and lots of water – nothing should ever be substituted for that.
Do your research, try new supplements that are linked to your goals, but most importantly listen to your body. Tune in to what it’s telling you and don’t take anything that makes you feel lousy or totally crazy.
The work you do in the gym and in the kitchen will far outweigh any benefits that supplements alone will ever give you. That’s why they’re called “supplements.”
Be safe and strong and let me know if you have any questions!