Bulking Question that I Hear Often
I receive the same type of bulking question on a routine basis. It generally goes something like this...
"You recommend drinking whole milk. Shouldn't I drink skim so that I gain less fat on a bulk?"
Whole milk provides 56 more calories per cup. You are eating X amount of calories per day on your bulk. Not only is whole milk more cost efficient, but it also forces you to "eat less" because it has greater caloric density. This extra room in your stomach might also make it easier to stomach the other 4000 (or whatever calories you need that day.
You have to drink 3 cups of milk to obtain the same calories as 2 cups on whole milk.
I also believe a primary objection to whole milk, though often unexpressed, is the fear of its fat content. Fat does not make fat. Excess calories makes fat.
Q. Should I add cardio during my bulk to keep me from getting fat
A. No, with the exception of some light short cardio for various health reasons and sport specific cardio for athletes, dont add any cardio, it wont do a damn bit of good since you are eating in a caloric surplus to add as much size as possible. also cardio will only waste calories that could go to muscle growth
With regards to cycling, recent research (at least 3 studies, to be exact) point to the reality that the body is very anabolic during 2 week spurts of bulking. During this time, the body is transitioning over to "fat storing" mode and is highly anabolic.
Before I go any further I must state this reality...the body is NOT a light switch. One extra calorie eaten is not automatically stored as fat. During periods of heavy overeating, it physiologically takes time for the body to transition to full blown fat storage mode. And during times of cuts, if you begin overeating, it takes time for the body to transition over to fat burning, muscle building mode.
This transition period is about 2 weeks.
These recent studies reveal this truth. In fact, 3 separate studies seem to have found that 2 weeks is 'about" the transition period.
So, if you start a bulk today, for the next 2 weeks you will be highly anabolic and your body will try to save the excess calories as muscle. You will also gain some fat.
After 2 weeks, your body has successfully transitioned over to fat storing mode. You have shocked it with extra calories, and it responded. This reaction is common sense survivalism.
At the 2 week point, if you continue to bulk, you will gain mostly fat. The effects from a bulk diminish.
A couple of notes.
--A very experience natural who is within shouting distance of their natural potential will, of course, not get as much muscle returns from heavy bulking. Heavy bulking is a process that is much better suited for beginners and intermediates.
For guys who have muscle, but are halfway to their max natural potential, I really believe cyclical bulking makes sense. An extended bulk will just be a fat-a-thon.
--Underweight beginners can bulk for extended periods of time. I do NOT know of any studies on anabolism and underweight weight trainees. But I am applying common sense here. I believe the body will try to hit "average water level" and that an underweight trainee won't add as much fat as they return to normalcy.
--Beginners who are training right might be better served running at a 500 to 1000 calorie surplus for a month or 2 at a time. Resetting with a mini-cut from time to time is always good.
Many trainees do not correctly. This primarily has to do with standard bodybuilding OCD mentality.
--I often see "bulkers" who aren't counting calories. They believe they are bulking, but in reality, they aren't eating enough. Many of these guys are eating 100% clean. It's hard to eat enough eating 100% clean...so if you eat clean, you MUST count calories.
--Fat. Many young bulks don't get enough healthy fats. In fact, they add little fat at all on a clean bulk. Fat is a great source of calories. But I run into many clean bulkers who avoid whole milk because of the fat.
--Chubby bubs. I see many chubby guys, or trainees who tend to put on fat too easily, doing extended bulks. Very bad idea.
--Skinny ab guy. I see many skinny guys weighing 145 with abs avoid taking advantage of their metabolism by not doing dirty bulks. Skinny hardgainers are the perfect candidates to eat 24/7.
--Intermediates. Intermediate naturals often go on long bulks. This really doesn't help much. They have less muscle to gain, and long term bulking is generally mostly fat.
Here is my take on bulking. (example is for a trainee that trainees in the late afternoon)
1) Eat a good sized breakfast, along with 2 glasses of whole milk. Don't avoid butter or syrup.
2) Eat a moderate lunch. You don't want to be weighed down going into your workout.
3) Drink chocolate milk or a whey protein shake post-workout.
4) Eat a MONSTER post-workout meal. This is about one hour after working out. Eat everything not tied down, and then some.
5) In between major meals, drink 2 glasses of whole milk, snack on almonds, and keep some bananas handy.
6) Eat before bed. Doritos, ice cream, whatever. The pre-bedtime snack is for pleasure. You don't have to eat a lot of these foods.
--Drink at least 6 glasses of whole milk each day.
--Snack on almonds.
--Eat a big breakfast and a HUGE dinner.
--Snack before bed.
Take Home Reality
A couple of ending points.
1) The sumo wrestler study. It was found that sumo wrestlers have as much natural muscle mass as competitive natural bodybuilders. Eating - and bulking - is THE anabolic for naturals. Bulking is a fast road to the most possible mass.
2) Exceptions exist. No 2 people are the same. Learn your body and GET A SKIN FOLD CALIPER.
Nothing pisses me off more then to have some guy on a forum debate bulking/cutting strategies when they've never accurate gotten scientific with their own body. I've spent years taking weekly skinfold readings. I am scientific with my body. You SHOULD BE TOO.
Another issue that gets under my skin is the "skinny ripped guy" philosophy. The skinny ripped guy debates heavy bulking or dirty bulking, yet weighs 155 ripped. If you are skinny ripped guy...please take note. You have very little muscle. We are trying to gain muscle and strength. You are barely a sneeze over over natural weight. Please learn to gain muscle before you spread your gospel.
Find your maintenance level.
For bulks eat M + (about) 1,500 calories.
For cuts eat M - 500 to 700 calories per day.
The "net net" over 4 weeks is a caloric surplus.
For extended cuts, I like the Spike Diet approach which is detailed on the forum.
For severely overweight individuals, I like the Warrior Diet.
My brain hurts now. I'm in the 160s and not gaining weight, and hell yes I'm afraid to gain fat. I'd rather take slow muscle gains.
I had made a note in my log last week about how I did not expect to see a gain in size this month because I had been working harder at just strength gains. Yesterday I taped my arms and thighs just to check things out.
Nov. 11 I took these readings
Thighs ........23.25" .... 24
Waist .........35.25"..... 35
Biceps ........15.25".... 15 7/16
Chest......... 41.25".... 44
Nov. 28th I took these
left arm flexed 15.5"
My weight has fluctuated througout this process by a few pounds over the course of the week. On average I weigh about 175. My strength is continually increasing. What this tells me is that I am doing a positive body re-comp.
You can't be afraid to gain a little fat, you can lose it fairly easily. It's much easier to lose fat than to gain muscle.
i just read through all of this. I may have missed it, but how to you cycle? is it 2 bulk, 2 cut? or what?
I'm starting to notice i'm getting fatter, and wouldn't mind doing this once i get to 170 or 175(wieghing myself today. probably 165 or more).
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