When someone says they are ‘bulking’, what does this mean to you?
It can come across as a fairly alien word to most, especially when starting your fitness journey. For me, I assumed I was eating a lot of food in order to put on size.
In theory, I had the basics right, but there is a little more to it.
There are three basic categories you could sit in that reflect your current goals; being in a ‘deficit’, ‘maintenance’ or a ‘surplus’, which is another word for being in a bulk. These categories’ all refer to a calorie allowance based on your body and lifestyle.
For example, if you wanted to maintain your current body in terms of muscle and fat composition you would be in a calorie maintenance. This maintenance amount is the amount needed to sustain you as you are right now. Therefore, to take calories away from this would leave you in a deficit amount, allowing you to lose weight in basic terms. Adding to that maintenance amount would leave you in a surplus, which allow your body the extra nutrition to grow and gain weight.
The popular misconception people have is ‘just eat more’.
Well yes, in basic terms your correct, but HOW MUCH more? This is very specific to you, you may have a fast or slow metabolism, your lifestyle and activity level may vary to your friend, this means your specific calorie amount will be different.
You may have heard the term ‘dirty bulking’ before and thought what the heck is that? Well, it’s generally when someone who is in a surplus eats in excess of what they need to sustainably gain weight. Muscle takes a lot longer to form and grow than fat, and there is only a maximum amount of muscle you can gain in a specific period of time, whereas fat is unlimited.
Therefore, if you are gaining weight rapidly it is likely mostly body fat. Many people ask me, ‘how do you stay fairly lean in a bulk’? While this may be down to my genetics playing a role, it is also down to my bulk being slow and gradual, equaling in minimal fat gain.
My calories have been slowly creeping up for while, this means although some body fat will definitely be gained, it is minimal. As I have mentioned; before building muscle takes TIME, and you have to be patient!
It also means consistency. You have to be consistent and disciplined especially if you are like me, and gaining weight is a serious struggle due to naturally being so small!
HOWEVER, do not get too caught up and obsessed with it, to the point it begins getting in the way of your life. I have been doing this a long time, and it is easier now for me to follow.
However, for some with family, children and/or a full time job it may be A LOT harder. I am not saying you are not capable. I am saying- find a way to make it sustainable in your life, or it will not last.
DO NOT be too hard on yourself if you have days where you struggle, because I do.
DO NOT chuck it all in if you find it hard in the beginning be patient.
DO remember to lead life with a balance.
DO remember not to compare yourself to someone else’s journey- focus on yourself, and bettering you, no one can compete with you, because no one is ever the exact same as you.
Hope this helps,
- B x