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So What’s the Deal With Bulking?

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With summer coming to an unfortunate rapid end and the cold weather just around the corner, its time to start pulling out the heavy clothing and coving up that beautiful physique you have been flaunting for the last few months. But just because you’ll be walking around covered up doesn’t mean your progression needs to come to a halt. In fact, the colder weather provides the perfect time to enter a ‘bulking’ phase, which can be used to help add and develop muscle mass to better your physique and improve your performance.

‘Bulking’ as it has become known as, is a period of time that you spend in a caloric surplus in order to build and gain muscle tissue. However, there is often a misconception as to what exactly a caloric surplus needs to be. More often than not we find that people use this ‘bulking’ phase as an excuse to over eat and make some poorer food choices in the name of making gains. As a result, the hard earned muscle tone from the summer months tends to fade rapidly, as excessive, unwanted fat gain becomes more of attribute to the weight added, as opposed to the lean muscle mass we are aiming to attain.

So what is the best way to go about adding lean muscle mass during a bulk, while avoiding excessive fat gain? The best way for us to maximize our growth of lean muscle mass and minimize body fat is to set yourself in a caloric surplus of around 200-300 calories per day. This means consuming only 200-300 calories more than your body burns in a particular day. As you can see, the surplus isn’t an excessive value, your body can only utilize certain amounts of calories to build lean muscle tissue at a time, leaving a further excess of calories floating around your body for storage as body fat. This type of caloric intake will equate to around only 1kg of weight gain over a month in the average person, which may sound excessively slow for some, but it is a far more efficient means of gaining lean muscle with minimal fat gain.

Building muscle, just like losing body fat, is a very individualized thing. The rate of progression and calories your body requires will vary from person to person. It is for this reason that you should keep track of your progress and make adjustments when required in order to manage your bulking phase. The key is to watch the scales, take weekly averages of where your weight is sitting and adjust caloric intake accordingly. If you notice a rapid gain in weight over time, then it is wise to pull back the amount of calories you consume, until the scale is increasing more steadily. Alternately, if you notice weight increase is too slow, or potentially non existent, then bumping up your calories bit by bit until progress can be seen is a wise move.

If you approach your mass-building phase with a more reasonable and steady rate of increase, instead of the aggressive ‘eat everything in sight’ type of approach, you will notice the quality of muscle tissue you build will be far more impressive in terms of proportion, density and maintainability.  On top of that, you will maintain a leaner, more comfortable and more impressive physique year round, helping you feel better and healthier about the progress you’re making inside and outside the gym. Best of all, when that next fat-loss phase finally comes around, it will be significantly shorter and easier to manage, making the whole process more sustainable and enjoyable. Who wouldn’t want that?

Want some help with your mass gains? Try some of these products below:

Mass Growth by Growth Factor

Whey Big by Cyborg Sports

Maltodextrin by RAW

Author Glen George from our Blackburn store.

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