It is a means of putting on muscle, which comes with extra pressure to lift heavier, bloating, and extra fat with every increase.
I've been pretty lucky on my bulk so far in that my body has taken to every increase very well. I was likely underestimating my maintenance calories as my weight stayed pretty stable, and even dropped, from the beginning. This week I bumped up to my final numbers and I'm consuming around 2300-2400 calories, 240 grams of carbs, 180 grams of protein, and 70 grams of fat (maybe a little more when I decide not to measure my generous peanut butter servings.) My weight automatically increased and my body bloated for most of the week. Now that it's Sunday it seems to have regulated, but I should expect an increase allover for the next little while.
I'm having trouble just enjoying the bulk and extra food, because there's a lot of pressure to urning this extra fuel into muscle. I only have 5 more weeks of bulking before I start to lower my calories, and I'm struggling to progress and increase my weights because I keep realizing my form needs more work. When my neck or lower back is screaming, I refuse to ignore it.
At the start of the week I wanted to cry. I went head on into my program with the goal of progressing, only to realize I was doing SO many things wrong. I spent hours watching tutorial videos on forms until I felt nauseous.
Eventually, I came to the conclusion that I needed more help. So I called in the experts. I booked a training session with my friend Jenny, I did a challenging weight lifting class, and I set up six mini sessions with two trainers at the gym - one with competition experience, and one who specializes in heavy lifting.
While my workouts weren't as "hard" this week, I learned how to be using the right muscles with proper form. One night I was at the gym for 2 and a half hours, the next night 2 hours with a big bruise on my leg. I am not perfect but I am determined.
I'm going to continue to work on form with trainers every week when I can afford it, until I feel fully confident, and then call on them when I need the extra motivation or push to progress.
I am so hungry to learn, so hungry to improve, and I want to make the most of these next 5 weeks before I am working just as hard on less fuel.
Bulking is an amazing tool to put on muscle, and from what I've seen there are good and bad ways to go about it. Here are the main takeaways I've found personally so far:
- Don't start until you're ready
I had to be at a point with my body where I felt lean enough to bulk. You need to be mentally prepared for the fat gain that comes with it.
- Don't dirty bulk
Dirty bulking is eating everything in sight and expecting it to turn into muscle. While fun, it can lead to a lot of extra fat gain, meaning way more work when it comes time to cut.
- Go at your own pace
You don't need to jump to your highest bulking numbers right away. For me it was important to find my maintenance and climb up comfortably from there.
- Make the best of your friendship with carbs - lift heavier
Use that extra fuel! Bulks usually focus on a carb increase, because they will fuel your workouts and help your muscles recover. Using meal timing to your benefit can do great things.
- As you lift heavier, make sure you are doing so with proper form
As much as I'm excited to plough forward, I'm not going to have the right results if I'm engaging the wrong muscles.
- Make peace with the extra fat around your muscle
Once you begin cutting you will reveal the muscle underneath! Nothing wrong with a protective layer.
And now if you're interested in a little update in video form, come meal prep with me!