I have trained people for 13 years. I have tried out either on myself or one of my poor unsuspecting clients every nutrition and training plan under the sun.
Some have been good, some great, some downright dangerous and disappointing.
Bulking has been one of them that is always a constant disappointment.
Want to know why?
The standard idea behind bulking is that you try and gain as much muscle as possible while gaining as much weight as possible by drastically increasing your calorie intake. Although this sounds good in theory, there is one problem with it…
You will get fat. Period.
It’s naive to think that all we eat while training hard will be converted to muscle. It’s a nice idea in concept but our physiology just doesn’t care about what we want to happen. In fact, the most a totally untrained beginner (the person that will experience the incredible noob gains bro) can gain is 2 pounds (0.9 of a kilogram) per month. This number drops drastically the longer you have been training. A person who has been lifting weights can hope to gain only half a pound each month of muscle tissue!
What this means is that if you have gained 5 kilograms while bulking in a month there is a possibility you have put on close to 5 kilograms of fat .
This is not good obviously and can lead to some problems. Another issue with this bulking approach is what do you do when it stops working?
Here is an example: You decide you want to get big enough to block out the sun and start eating around 6000 calories per day. You gain weight like crazy (even though you now know most of it isn’t muscle) and after a while you hit a mass gain plateau. What do you do then? 7000 calories? 10,000? The issue is that there comes a point where you just can’t eat anymore.
What we propose for gaining muscle at DC Health Performance is a little bit difference, requires a bit more initial patience and maturity but will lead to a lot more long term muscle gain while not having to continually bulk and cut.
Get lead (12-15% body fat) before trying to gain muscle
This is something a lot of guys don’t want to do. It makes them feel smaller and is a psychological hurdle. What we have seen with a lot of clients is this level of body fat leads to faster lean muscle gains with less fat gained. This could be for a number of reasons, but the fact is that it simply works.
Try to gain as much muscle as possible, with as little food as possible
What??? We are telling you to eat less? Before you think we have lost our marbles, wait and see what we have to say.
You can only gain so much muscle in any time frame due to our physiology. Instead of thinking of mass gained in a week, it is more useful to look at it over a month. As you know from earlier you can only gain a kilogram of muscle a month. So what we ask our clients is, “Would you prefer to gain a kilogram of muscle by eating 2800 calories a day or 5500 calories per day? When we take into account all the issues with eating that much food (cost, food prep time, intestinal discomfort) everyone prefers less food.
It is an excellent idea to gain as much muscle as possible with as little food as possible because then you can also gradually increase the amount of calories you are consuming. One you start to plateau at 2800 calories, you can increase your amount (we recommend an increase of 250 calories) and start seeing mass gain again.
The best way to bulk and get huge is to do it right the first time. Start gradual, have some solid expectations, train really hard and do it right the first time.