Bulking (verb): Bulking is a process commonly used by an individual wishing to gain weight. Commonly used in bodybuilding (off-season) but will also be used by fitness enthusiast. Bulking attempts to build MUSCLE MASS.
When I got back from my amazing 3-week holiday to Singapore and Bali in September, I decided to try out a ‘bulk’, I had concentrated so much on wanting to look lean in my bikini I hadn’t made the muscle development I had hoped for.
It was clear the only way I would be able to do this was by eating more and training harder…
You could say I smashed the eating more! I gained approximately 1 stone in three months *nervous laughs*
The training harder part has been a lot more difficult, the winter months are definitely easier to get those extra calories in (gingerbread lattes, pigs in blankets and an abundance of chocolate) but getting up to train when it’s pitch black outside is another story.
One of the HARDEST parts about bulking was and is the change in how my body looks, I lost (and have still yet to find) all my tone and definition and someday’s felt so crappy I had to avoid the mirror when getting changed.
However I trusted the process and kept going. Don’t be afraid to push yourself out of your comfort zone to make progress, eating in a continued calorie deficit is not sustainable and actually pretty life-limiting. Yes, the change and the effect it can be difficult sometimes and, admittedly, I don’t think I have been training hard enough to compliment my increased calorie consumption, if your calorie intake is high – your training intensity needs to be higher!
I have taken steps now to ensure that my training stays focused and intense which I will share with you in my next blog post!
Anyway…if you have hit a cross roads in your training programme, perhaps suffering from boredom or (like me) felt like you weren’t progressing in building muscle, I have pulled together a few tips that might inspire you to give bulking a go! It’s a daunting process but trust it!:
Get your BMR: BMR stands for Base Metabolic Rate, it is the minimum number of calories your body needs to function. For example, my BMR is 1300 calories (without exercise)– I am 5’9, weight train 4-5 times a week and live a relatively active lifestyle therefore I aim to consume approx 1800 calories to ensure my body is getting the nourishment it needs to repair and grow.
Don’t get sloppy: You WILL gain fat when bulking, some people will try to stay as lean as possible while trying to gain muscle by not eating enough or doing too much cardio. The other side is getting carried away *coughcough* and using it as an excuse to completely pig-out, you may start to feel lethargic and de-motivated, the best way to do it is increase your calories by 100-150 at a time until you start to see advancement in your training then increase again. Download myfitnesspal to keep you on track! It’s super easy to use.
Don’t fear fats and carbs: It’s common knowledge a high protein diet is essential for muscle growth, but don’t neglect carbs and fats, especially complex carbs, they are there to give your body energy and help you get through that dreaded work out! Respect them.
You grow outside the gym: SLEEP! If you do not get adequate rest between your training sessions your results will start to suffer. While you’re asleep, your body uses this time to replenish and recover. Over-training may result in injury, it’s recommended you weight train 4-5 times a week, tops!
I would love to hear from anyone else that has experienced bulking and also if anyone has any other tips!?