The Winter Bulk Up

It’s that time of the year for many of us- after cutting down for summer and looking good at the beach, it’s time to start putting some back on and making big gains in the gym.

Today marks the start of a new program for VK and I- The Big Bulk Up- and we would like you guys to join in.

So why bulk? To put it simply- the more you eat the more you grow. Getting stronger and bigger during a short period of time necessarily requires lots of (good) food.

For me, this upcoming phase marks a pretty radical departure in just about every part of my current fitness and diet routine. In March, I hopped on the Leangains Intermittent Fasting bandwagon and have had nothing but awesome results. I dropped 20 pounds I didn’t even realize were there, going from 200 to 180 in two months. Since then, leanness became my number one goal as I tried to see how far IF could take me. In addition to IF, I also cleaned up my diet by going semi-paleo and cutting out almost all starches and cheap carbs, opting for a high fat, high protein, low carb diet.

Now, it’s time to put aside the IF and start cramming calories, particularly the starches. The goal is to get body weight x 1.5 g of carbs and protein (almost 300 g each) every day  for the next month or two as part of the bulk up. I will not be training in a fasted state anymore, and in fact at least a third of my calories will need to come before the day’s lift. However, I place a premium on eating right so I’ll be keeping it smart and clean. Most of my carbs will be coming from potatoes and brown rice in addition to the fruits and veggies I juice daily. For protein, I’ll still be cramming slices of all of god’s creatures like usual while pounding a few protein shakes throughout the day. In the next week or two I’ll be using casein, but once I finish that off I’ll be switching to a mass gainer (more from VK on that later).

The big changes aren’t just happening in the kitchen, either. For almost a year now I’ve been largely focused on strength training (as opposed to volume training). High weight, low reps, and lots of rest time between sets. It worked really well, especially for a naturally scrawny runner-type mofo like myself , and squatting 350+ lbs or deadlifting 400+ was something I never imagined I’d be able to do a year ago. But, as we’ve talked about before, strength training won’t get you as jacked as volume training, so it’s time for me to change it up to take full advantage of a bulking diet. This past month I experimented with some different higher rep combos to get a feel for what works for me, and one thing I can say is that I had completely forgotten how different volume training is to strength training. I’ve had to build up some endurance, and those first couple of weeks blew donkey balls.

For those interested, here is what my routine is looking like-

Squats 12 10 8 6
Barbell rows 12 10 8 6
Calf raises 12 10 8
Hammer curls 12 10 8

Dumbbell bench 12 10 8 6
Shrugs 12 10 8 6
Close grip bench 12 10 8
Dumbbell shoulder press 12 10 8

Rest day

Dead lift 10 8 6
Weighted chin up 12 10 8 6
Leg curl 12 10 8
Dumbbell curls 12 10 8

Incline dumbbell press 12 10 8 6
Overhead press 12 10 8 6
Side raises 12 10 8
Skull crusher 12 10 8

Feel free to rip it off.

As much as I would like to be able to find a way to work wave loading into this, after trying it out on high rep sets it is just not effective for volume training (or at least for me). This routine hits all the right spots, and is basically a shuffled around version of what I usually do with a 4 day routine. I’m pretty excited to get started on it this week.

As part of Big Bulk Up, VK and I will be posting progress reports to hopefully help you stay motivated. This includes Before & After shots, so here you go. This is me at the start of this all:

6’3″, 182 lbs.

Can’t wait to see how this turns out.

For more information on bulking, I found this article very helpful.


Size Matters


So we’re starting swole week here at NLU and I’m here to tell you that size does in fact matter. Fuck what you heard it’s what you’re hearing. Muscles like money aren’t needed to get laid or pull girls….. But it sure doesn’t hurt. When you’ve got that caveman size it helps your game. The bitchy cock blocking girls of the group think twice before they try and interrupt your game with their friends. Regular girls can just sense the extra testosterone moving through your body. You’re in a primal state when you put on the size ready to lift, fuck and fight. Without a doubt mass gaining is probably the best part of working out. Seeing your body transform and get bigger during the winter months is something every man should experience. If you do it right by the time spring comes you’re a new man, bigger, stronger, and more powerful. Walking out of the gym looking like a freak of nature.

In the winter it’s cold and dark outside. If you’re like me there’s not much motivation to go out and drink or mess around with HH. You go to the gym throw on the sweats and fucking train. When you have size on your mind and understand the power that comes with it, you’re truly ready for the Nexxt level up.  Before you get started realize that it’s going to cost you some money to gain significant size. We’re talking extra food for your increasing you calories and serious supplements. But as a stated, this being winter you can find the money need by cutting back on nights out.

In the next couple of days we’ll help you out with the supplements you’ll need, the chef will give you dope information on the meals you’re going to be making. Masculine style will be showing you how to update your wardrobe to handle your new meaty physic.

As FFY stated in a few weeks we’ll be giving you updates on workouts and how everything is coming along. I’m telling you guys right now if you take this journey with us… you won’t regret it. Swole week starts now.

FFY workout routine is excellent for someone starting out trying to pack on mass. I like it because the set range and exercises will definitely help boost testosterone which is a key factor in putting on size. My blue print is different but again this is what works best for me.


Bent over barbell rows 8,5,5,3

Dumbbell rows 8,5,3

Pull downs or pull ups 8,5,3 if doing pull ups 3 sets till failure

Dead Lifts 8,5,5


Incline bench press 8,5,5,3 following week switch to dumbbells

Dumbbell bench press 8,5,5,3 next week regular bench

Dips 8,5,5

Cable crosses 8,5,5

Wednesday- Legs

Squats 12,8,5,5,3

Bent over stiff leg for hamstrings 8,5,3

Leg extension 12,8,6

Leg curls 12,8,6

Calf raises 12,12,12

Weighted box jumps  8,8,8 (with 55lbs barbell on shoulders)

One leg press 8,8,8 or lunges with dumbbell


Standing barbell press 8,5,5,3 next week seated dumbbell

Seated dumbbell side raises 8,8,8 next week standing with cables

Bent over rear dumbbell raises 8,8,8

Barbell front raises 8,8,8


Friday- Arms

Tricep  pull downs on lat cable machine  alternating elbows out away from your body and elbows close to. 12,10,8

Dips 10,10,10

Rope pull downs 10,10,10

Barbell bicep curls 5,5,5,5

Alternating dumbbell curls 10,8

Rope curls two sets till failure





























At 5’10 168lbs



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About The Author

They call me Fly, Fresh, and Young. Gym rat by day, lecherous drunkass by night. Follow me on Twitter @nate_moneyh.


  1. Nate November 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Stoked for this shit. This is a great idea to have the whole site participating.

    I’ve just started doing about 3700 very clean calories a day at 170 lbs. I’ve stayed away from weightgainers because most of them are just so packed with sugar & ultraprocessed garbage.

    Is there a particular weightgainer you can recommend I check out?

    • Carnivore November 19, 2012 at 8:11 pm

      @Nate – try . You can take a “proven formula” or make a custom mix, spec out natural sweetener, natural flavoring, etc.

  2. ASF November 19, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Looks awesome. However I’m far more interested in your diet. Can you post EXACTLY what you eat on each day of the week, including when you ate it, what protein supplement you used, etc. I’ve read enough on exercises…but can’t seem to get the diet right yet.

    • Virgle Kent November 19, 2012 at 4:00 pm

      I’ll post my diet later this week.

  3. tercüme bürosu November 19, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    My friend made diet last year. You have to see what happened. I will get the diet and post to you.

  4. RSR November 19, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    whats your opinion on stronglifts for a beginner? just started it about a week ago.

  5. twiggy November 19, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    im currently doing the york barbell course took 2 weeks off but getting back to it starting on course 2 now
    the program goes 9 weeks for the first 2 courses…then 6 weeks on the last 2
    im alil pudgy at 135-142lbs at 5 11
    when i finish the whey powders i wanna try the casin(though the employees say its the same thing)
    btw after a workout do you always have to feel sore the next day?

  6. Hans November 19, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    I enjoy training fasted – except for the BCAA’s and maybe a preworkout. Recently I’ve been eating a light meal before the gym. Do you know if food effects absorption of BCAA’s? In other words, does it fuck up the supplements effectiveness if taken with food?

    • Nate November 20, 2012 at 2:37 am

      Having food in your stomach is always going to affect absorption. The difference isn’t huge, especially if it is a light meal, but there is going to be some delay.

  7. Thomas Gray November 19, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Great post, can’t wait to see more on this project from the other authors.

    I’ve just started working out after a long downtime and want to focus on strength and lowering body fat first (already on a proper high prot/fat, low carb diet which got me down to 183 lbs at 6’3″, but I look no where near as jacked as you do in that pic).

    What is your strength building routine?

    • Nate November 20, 2012 at 2:39 am

      I posted up thread a link for starting out- I recommend StrongLifts or Starting Strength. If you have some experience, have the form down, and are decently strong I also recommend wave loading-

  8. vsoze November 19, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Good idea amigos. Will be following this one closely here and in the gym.

  9. ancalgon November 19, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Thanks for the detailed workout plans, and for posting body shots – shows on point what sort of physique can be gained by training like you guys.

    I have ways to go regarding bulking up, so am going to be training with much lower weights, and some cardio mixed in this winter. Will follow this plan closely though, for reference.

  10. 7 November 20, 2012 at 5:03 am

    Stronglifts or strating strength for a beginner?

  11. YouSoWould November 20, 2012 at 8:30 am

    Just my two cents, but I believe Martin Berkhan of LeanGains notoriety mentions this method of bulking as suboptimal – you bulk for 5 months, and then spend 3 months cutting all the excess fat back off, losing a lot of the muscle gains into the process.

    I too have been on a LeanGains cutting protocol (+10%/-35% BMR cals for training/rest days) for the last 16 weeks, and am currently sitting at 8% body fat at 172lb. When I hit 6%, I’m switching up my macros to a slow bulk (+40%/-10%), but retaining the overall protocol. That way, it is possible to put on pure lean muscle mass with almost no fat gain.

    Any reason you’re not going to give this a try, given how successful LeanGains has been for your cut?

    Anyway, great site, keep up the good work.

    • samiam November 24, 2012 at 10:10 pm

      Agreed. Your best bet for “bulking” is to take in around 500 more calories than your maintenance caloric intake. Yes, you will be training heavier than normal, but the extra 500 calories should be plenty, particularly if they are taken in immediately post-workout as they should be. The key to bulking is smart caloric intake, not just any caloric intake with the plan to diet off the excess in the Spring.

      Also, I’d suggest for most guys that they ensure their body fat is relatively low to begin with before increasing their calories in pursuit of more muscle. The lower your body fat (i.e. sub-10%), the more the calories you take in will be converted to muscle. Google Charles Poliquin and you’ll understand what I mean.

  12. AverageMarriedDad November 20, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Love the site and the message. Looks like in general your switch from strength training to hypertrophy is quite a bit different than what I expected. I did 5×5 and SS for over a year and stalled for various reasons. Am now doing the Outlaw Way which while focuses on more HIT than straight up lifting, but still lifts some heavy weights and has a lot olympic lifting which hits nearly everything. Following this, I’m once again putting on weight and muscle. What’s interesting to see though, in both your programs only squat once per week which I think if you’re trying to bulk seems a little light. I”ll be interested to see your results. Good post and like the nutrition/lifting aspect in the full picture of masculinity and life.

  13. thecaptainpower November 25, 2012 at 10:22 am

    I used to bulk up, but it was too hard to get rid of the fat in the the spring and summer. Now i started doing cardio all year round, I will put on only 5 lbs in the winter.

    captain power

  14. CK December 24, 2012 at 12:48 am

    I’m going to get on this in another week or so after I finish my current routine. Look forward to seeing the results. If I could suggest anything, it would be to post a meal plan. Everyone’s full of ideas about the specifics of working out, but nobody can come up with much when it gets down to the brass tacks of what you’re going to eat. This has always been the biggest bottleneck to success for me.

    Personally, I get a bag of frozen chicken breasts from the grocery store and cook one with some rice and a sweet potato for at least one meal a day — comes out to about $1 for a solid protein and carb source.

    Also make mac and cheese with beans, a can of tuna, and some hot sauce — takes under 10 min to make, costs less than $2, and delivers a little over 1000 calories from 3 food groups.

    It’s not freshwater salmon and organic quinoa or whatever the fuck people put on their workout blogs, but it’s cheap and easy enough to actually stick with, and that’s probably more important.

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