This is a guest post by Larentay Walker a personal trainer and fitness enthusiast who writes at GutsToRise.com where he writes about health, building muscle, and nutrition. In today’s guest post Larentay is going to talk about why the old school method of bulking/cutting isn’t effective and a better alternative to put on pounds of muscle without the negative side effects of a traditional bulk. Enjoy.
History Of Bulking
The first thought you think of when somebody tells you to bulk to build muscle is to eat whatever you want. I thought that in early journeys of building muscle. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple so, I’m going to tell you all the things wrong with bulking, why you shouldn’t do it and a better way to build muscle.
The word bulking in the fitness world originated from bodybuilding and now it has spread over the years into modern day fitness and health. However, bulking is one of the worse ways to build muscle. You might be thinking to yourself, “But doesn’t everyone in the fitness world bulk to build muscle”? That’s a good question. Below I will tell you the origination of bulking, why you shouldn’t do it and how to view eating in a smarter way to pack on high-quality muscle.
- Bulking dates back to the 60’s – 70’s era of bodybuilding, back then when these bodybuilders of this era did it. They consumed a lot of clean foods and nutritionally dense foods since there wasn’t as much crap-tastic food during that time. Nowadays, bodybuilders to the average fitness person consume dirty lower quality foods such as fast food, pastries, pizza etc. I called it shitty eating = more fat gains and then muscle gains
- Bulking is geared for the enhanced athlete taking anabolic steroids, insulin, HGH(human growth hormones) etc. By taking these super enhancements. Your body will have the ability to take on the super caloric surplus into building lots of muscle. If you tried to do this naturally, your body couldn’t handle the super caloric surplus and as a non-juicing weight lifter, you’re limited to your muscle building potential.
Also, bodybuilders used banned substances such as clenbuterol, dinitrophenol and thyroid hormones etc. That accelerates fat loss, so these guys can afford to gain 20lbs – 50lbs of fat. Plus steroids will prevent the loss of muscle mass. So they can get away with a low caloric intake below their RMR(resting metabolic rate) that would strip the muscles off the non-juicing person – athlete.
- It’s used as an excuse used by people who lack the discipline to eat well, to sculpt an athletic, aesthetic, lean and muscular body. By them saying their bulking, it makes it “acceptable to eat like crap.
- To look bigger, by getting fat to a certain degree will create an illusion of being bigger than you really are. Especially if you’re already muscular, or been blessed with a body that evenly distributes fat. That extra fat poundage will create a layer over the muscles, giving them that “bigger look”. Therefore people will underestimate their level of body fat they have, that can easily accumulate over time. I know a lot of people personally who have bodies like this.
What Does A Drug-Free Man Need To Understand
That was a lot of about the history of why bulking is so prevalent, but it’s important to know why it’s so ingrained in the fitness world. So now you’re probably thinking ” That’s great, but what do I need to understand and do?” Great question, let’s go a little further so you fully understand.
And in order to get bigger especially if you’re not taking any performance muscle building drugs. You need to eat additional calories so your body has the raw materials to build yourself new muscle mass obviously right.
We covered that eating “bulking style” is a bad idea. Eating whatever you want and going ape shit eating 1,500 – 3,0000 calories beyond your energy expenditure is a disaster in the making.
I’m going to paint you a picture of how your body builds muscle. Imagine, the cells in your body are muscle workers and in order to make ends meet, they need money(food) to get their basic needs met. If you’re just giving them just an average salary of food intake, they’re just going to maintain their current status.
However, if you start paying them a little more extra, their status will rise and they’ll have the extra dough to get bigger and realize more of their potential(bigger muscles) that’s what we want.
If it’s below their salary needs, they won’t be able to maintain and they’ll feel overwhelmed, get sluggish, tired and angry etc(going down in status size – loss of muscle mass).
Likewise, if you pay them too much and they don’t have enhancement drugs to help them. They will get overwhelmed, get sluggish, tired and the food will get wasted.
Muscle Building Dilemma
So the catch 22 is when it comes to building muscle. If you’re not getting enough calories, you’re not going to get bigger. But also, your body can only build so much muscle especially if you’re a natural lifter.
Just because you’re eating a ton of food beyond your caloric expenditure, doesn’t mean all of it will become muscle.
This a common thinking that a lot of people have, they believe if they get 20lbs – 50lbs of fat. It will turn into muscle, and it’s one the biggest mistakes you can think of in building a muscular physique.
Whether you’re eating too much of an abundance of clean foods or a mixture of clean and dirty. You will gain more unwanted poundage of fat than muscle.
You also have to factor in other variables too that you only have so much control over. Such as your natural testosterone, your genetics, you stress(cortisol) – testosterone levels, insulin sensitivity.
The better your body is at synthesizing protein, the better off you’ll be. However at the end of the day, if you’re taking an in excessive of calories, you’re going to get fat. I don’t care how bad ass your genetics are, it will happen.
Building Quality Muscles
Now you might be thinking, “crap, how I’m supposed to build muscle the right way without packing on too much fat?” good question. Let me tell you how to do it.
- Eating more calories ranging from 500 – 1000 calories for a base start. This should and will be plenty of raw materials your need to gain the muscle you want without ballooning your waist line.
- Sticking to the caloric surplus your consuming 4 – 8 weeks. So whether you’re gaining more muscular weight or weight needed for growth, adjust if you’re gaining weight too fast adjust. You get the gist. If you’re gaining fat and no muscle mass your workout sucks, your lacking intensity or both.
- Being consistent with your eating and working out/training to get the results. It’s very imperative you start tracking your food intake. Some of you might be thinking you’re eating enough but you’re not and some of you might think you’re eating enough but it’s actually too much.
So in order to avoid both of those fallacies. Get some pen/pencil and some paper or use an online tracking app such as my fitness pal to keep track. Make sure to use measuring cups, weigh your food and portion it right. I know it’s tedious, but it helps and how badly do you fucking want it at the end of the day.
The word bulking needs to banished because it’s not for the natural man on a mission to enhance his musculature. It brainwashes people into adopting the wrong mentality that’s a double edged sword. God forbid if a famous Instagrammer, Twitterer or Facebooker says it and then it spreads like wildfire to ignorant people who don’t fully understand and realize the people who do it are on performance enhancing drugs or too lazy to eat well.
So do it the right way starting from now on.
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