When most people hear the word “bulking” they think of buffets, getting big, and eating an obnoxious amount of food. However, these individuals who put themselves in an extremely large calorie surplus every day aren’t doing themselves any favors. You see, the more fat one has, the harder it gets to build muscle and lose fat, and this is due to lower insulin sensitivity and a decrease in testosterone levels (and more estrogen).
Another downside of eating too much food during bulking is that it’s going to be much more difficult to transition to “cut” or strip the fat away. Also, let’s be honest, eating an extraordinarily large amount of food every day just gets uncomfortable, and eating in a more moderate calorie surplus will help prevent that.
What is a Clean Bulk?
A clean bulk means keeping track of the foods you are eating and trying to eat healthily rather than just consuming a vast number of calories, which is associated with a ‘dirty’ bulk. The idea is to not increase your body fat percentage significantly, but to still gain lean muscle mass.
‘Eat Big To Get Big’
There’s the old bodybuilding saying that you have to “eat big to get big,” and while yes, you do have to eat more than you normally would, you don’t necessarily have to eat “big,” you just have to eat enough.
A large calorie surplus isn’t any better than a slight one, but you will gain more fat in the process. Also, I might want to add that if you want to gain muscle at a faster and more efficient rate, you have to be willing to gain some fat too. Trying to build muscle while being in a calorie deficit is possible, but it isn’t optimal, and you wouldn’t make as good gains as if you were in a surplus. Yes, you need to eat enough protein, but you also need to get in enough total calories, because a calorie deficit impairs the body’s ability to create new muscle proteins.
Staying Lean While Bulking
The main point I want to make here is: don’t eat an excessive amount of food while bulking. Stay lean while bulking, and you’ll build much more muscle and cutting will be a lot easier. Put yourself in a mild calorie surplus each day (200-300 calories) and men should aim to gain about 0.5-1 pound per week.
Women should shoot for about half of that. Another good idea to stay lean while bulking is to lower your calories on your non-training days, or even throw in a day of cardio or two. Just make sure the cardio doesn’t interfere with your weightlifting.
When To Bulk
I would highly recommend getting down to roughly 10% body fat before bulking, as this preserves insulin sensitivity and hormone balance, and bulk up until you are roughly 15-17 percent body fat. Usually it’s typical to gain 1 pound of muscle for every 1 pound of fat gained, and an increase in about 1 percent body fat each month. Also, it’s generally a good idea to do it during winter time, because it’s the holidays and you aren’t exactly going to be hitting the beach with your shirt off during winter time. And well, cutting during the holidays sucks when there’s so much food.
The point of this article is to give you some information on how you can implement a clean bulk and supplements can make up an important part of that. It’s always important to remember that ‘supplements’ have that name for a reason, because they should supplement a balanced diet. Here are some supplements to help you achieve a clean bulk.
Protein is one of the most important nutrients to make sure you are eating enough off when it comes to putting on muscle. Protein is vital for muscle growth, repair and maintenance. Myprotein Impact Whey contains over 80% protein per serving and whey protein is quickly absorbed by the body, making it an ideal post workout shake. It is also available in a great variety of flavors to suit you – but you should bare in mind that to maximize the nutritional benefit of your whey protein unflavored is the best option. It just depends on if you can stomach the taste!
Creatine is one of the most well researched supplements on the market today and has proven benefits for strength training. Creatine is important for the production of ATP, which gives your muscles the energy to perform reps when lifting weights. So supplementing with creatine increases the fuel to produce more ATP, leading to an increase in muscle strength and therefore size and power.
Just 5-10g a day, taken pre and post workout, will lead to you seeing the benefits. There is an important thing to remember when taking creatine. You should take it for 6 weeks and then have 1 week off, before again resuming another 6 week title. If you take creatine constantly without a break your body will become used to it and you will not see the benefits. Creatine really is one of the greatest supplements on the market to ‘bulk up’ and increase strength.
Sometimes we all need that burst of energy to fuel our workouts and pre workout is the perfect supplement for this. When suffering from fatigue, taking 1-2 scoops of MYPRE 30 minutes before your workout will make sure that you don’t just go to the gym, but you’ll go to the gym and have a great workout.
BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) are a great supplement to help maximize your recovery. These amino acids are considered essential because they cannot be made by the body and must be consumed through your diet.
Amino acids can be consumed during the day, pre workout, during your workout or post workout to increase protein synthesis.
Take Home Message
Continue to bulk and cut until you’re happy with your overall size and muscular development, and then you can just maintain your dream body for the rest of your life. Combine this with progressive overload, a good workout program, and you’ll be all set this winter.