Bulking... You’re Doing It Wrong
There’s a common misconception that in order to “get big” you need to “eat big” and although if we look at that in its simplest form than yes, the more you eat the more you in fact will get big. From a fitness standpoint that’s not necessarily the best-case scenario though. You can train as hard as you want but if your eating isn't on point your progress will fall short. That goes for bulking or cutting weight, as every great bodybuilder will tell you “abs are made in the kitchen”.
The reason most bulking phases go wrong is because the one pursuing a bigger frame with more muscles is not really taking the time to understand how eating in a calorie surplus works, how to eat so fat gain is minimal, and knowing when you’re just overeating. Honestly, there’s so many different scenarios and everyone's body is different. We all know that skinny guy that can eat whatever he wants yet remains skinny or that big guy that can't seem to lose weight no matter how many hours he spends in the gym. So, let me give you guys just a quick overview on how to bulk efficiently for muscle gain, some of these tips can also be helpful for maintain a healthy and balanced diet.
What is BULKING?
Bulking is eating in a calorie surplus. Our bodies have a certain number of calories we need to consume on a daily basis for normal function. Anything above those “maintenance” calories and its considered bulking, plain and simple.
Where it gets tricky
Calories surplus. This is where most get lost. Now eating in a calorie surplus is easy for most because, hell, we love food. I know I do at least. When you read that in order to gain weight or “make gains’ all you have to do is eat more...your brain goes crazy. Pizza, Oreos, Pie, anything that is awful for is BUT has large amounts of calories goes into our mouths. I’ve always been a big believer of “You are what you eat” so folks follow me here... YOU CAN EAT IN A CALORIE SURPLUS AND NOT CONSUME JUNK FOOD.
I know it’s a crazy thing to think about. Guys you have to eat for performance when it comes to bulking. Sure, it’s so satisfying to eat whatever we want when we want it but eating excessive amounts of junk foods will leave your body to typically not get enough protein and way too many carbs and fats.
How to execute properly
As an Ex-Personal Trainer here’s how I've guided clients through a bulk:
- Put a limit or time frame to your bulk. I’ve done bulks for 6 months to one full year. My most successful one being a year. For a new lifter I’d recommend a slow and steady bulk of about a year. You will see newbie gains coming in and it’ll be a great time to really build a strong foundation.
- Determine what your maintenance calories are currently based on you TDEE and add about 250 – 500 extra calories. I’m more of a slow and steady guy so I add about 250 calories every couple weeks based on how quickly the scale moves up. If you gain a pound a week, I’d say hold steady until you reach a point that it plateaus. If you gain 5lbs in a week I'd recommend slowing down, that way the scale doesn’t increaser as quickly. Find a solid balance padawan.
- Get a layout of your macros. As I stated earlier, during a bulk its extremely easy to neglect your protein intake. With that being said having a solid set of macros during your bulk to ensure that you are eating balanced will help out tremendously.
- Last but not least EAT QUALITY FOODS. I’m not saying don’t treat yourself because I’m that guy that goes to an all you can eat sushi buffet by himself. What I'm saying is make sure you’re getting your greens in, quality carbs, and quality fats. You don’t have to stop eating sweets or the foods you love for good, just balance them in. Remember, eat for performance.
I’m hoping this helped you guys out on understanding how to construct a proper bulking plan. I wish you the best of luck, many gains, and if you guys have any questions of course hit up the DM’s on Instagram (@RikkiHernandez)