If you’ve read our rundown on how to bulk, you probably think bulking season is a magical time where calories are your friend, no meal is too fatty (unless you’re clean bulking), and you live your life in a baggy hoodie.
If you’ve actually been through a bulking season, you know that it’s actually a lot of work. Hitting your calorie goal can be a pain.
Even if you’re going dirty with a box of donuts, you’ll probably find yourself trying to cram 1000 calories before bed.
Having gone through several seasons, some more successful than others, I’ve learned a thing or two, some from colleagues, some from experimentation.
Basically, bulking means finding ways to pump up the calories of everything you put in your mouth. These are some of the bulking hacks I’ve used to seriously pack on the pounds.
Make Your Coffee Work For You
The easiest way to add calories to your coffee is milk and sugar, but that’s lazy. Neither of those are good for you, and chances are you’re already relying to much on sugar as it is.
One method people in the Paleo crowd use is called Bullet Coffee.
You mix butter and coconut oil with your coffee, and it’s supposed to taste like a creamy, milk heavy cup of joe. Spoiler alert, it just tastes greasy, and then you have to clean a blender every morning.
However, adding high fat stuff to your coffee is a great way to add calories. Coconut oil has 117 calories per tablespoon, so I like to steal a little bit from the Bullet Coffee concept. Just stir a spoonful into your cup.
It melts easy, and you have no mess to clean up. I generally drink 2 or 3 cups by noon, so I keep a jar of coconut oil on hand at work. That’s over 300 easy calories, and you will barely notice.
Peanut Butter on Everything
This might sound like a no brainer.
Banana? Add peanut butter. Bagel? Add peanut butter. Spoon? Add peanut butter.
But did you know there are an infinite number of bizarre combos you can add ~200 calories of legumey goodness to?
A favorite combo of mine is seitan bacon and peanut butter. Of course it works just as well with any bacon, but it’s especially crucial in this dish, because seitan (wheat protein) and peanut butter (legume protein) make up a complete amino acid profile.
You can also smear it on a burger (veggie or otherwise), dump it in a shake, or dunk just about anything you can think of in it. Hell, when I was living in a college dorm, I just sat in bed eating it by the spoonful. Just make sure you have a jug of water on hand.
Super Weight Gaining Shakes
Protein shakes are normally lauded in the weight loss community. It’s as lean of a protein as humanly possible, and they can save your macros. But they’re just a crucial for bulking. However, you’re not looking for low calorie protein. So pump it up with throwing in literally whatever will taste good.
If you have a blender, you can make you ~100 calorie protein shake into a 500+ calorie masterpiece. Add anything from ice cream to beans (Yes, beans. Cannellini are the best).
A favorite of mine is protein powder with pumpkin seeds (raw, hulled, and unsalted), bananas, cannellini beans, and your milk of choice. That’s nearly 1000 calories of deliciousness.
Trust me, you will not notice the beans.
Getting Your Greens
Let’s be real, salads are a waste of stomach space. Their goal is to literally fill you up with healthy crap so you don’t eat as much at the main course. That’s great for everyone else, but not for you.
You need those precious calories. But you still need the vitamins you get from the greens.
I try to cram down a handful of spinach after every meal, just to make sure I get them, but there are a few other easy ways to fit in your greens.
Take two pieces of thick bread, preferably something whole grain with nuts and seeds. I like Eureka’s Seeds the Day, which has 140 calories and 7 grams of protein per slice. Toast them, and put some hummus on each slice.
I put two tablespoons on each, so we’re up to 380 calories. Grab a few handfuls of any green you want, and cram it between. That’s almost 400 calories for a light snack, and way more nutrition than you’d get from a side salad. I can eat two and barely feel it.
Bulking is hard, and you’re going to have to eat some disgusting stuff. Eventually, you’ll nail down what works for you, and you’ll start to actually enjoy it.
The great thing about these hacks is that they’ll work with clean and dirty, so work them in generously. Winter is coming. Be prepared.