According to popular convention about how to bulk the right way, you should bulk by eating as much as you can, including junk food, to gain as much mass as possible, and then go on an intense cutting phase that should cut fat while maintaining muscle gains.
However, is this really the best way to bulk?
In a simple word: No!
This is because bulking in this fashion can result in increasing new fat cells, which can’t be lost; junk bulking doesn’t necessarily increase muscle mass; and the cutting phase of this method results in lost time that could be spent actually gaining muscle.
So what is the best way to bulk? That would be maintaining a relatively lean body fat percentage while consuming just enough calories for optimal muscle growth. This results in looking lean all year long, while allowing natural muscle growth at the maximum rate that your body can naturally grow all year long.
Read the article below for details on the best way to bulk
Here’s what you need to know…
After a certain point, your ability to gain muscle is not going to speed up by consuming more food.
The body can’t build more than a few pounds of muscle in a month. So don’t assume all your “gainz” are going to the right places.
There’s an optimal way to grow muscle without going overboard. Don’t use bulking season as an excuse to eat junk.
The Gluttony Games
To gain size you have to eat. We can all agree with that. If you’re a non-juicing lifter you won’t be able to add a significant amount of muscle mass unless you’re consuming enough calories and nutrients to support muscle growth.
If you’re not ingesting enough nutrients, your body won’t be in an optimal muscle-building state. In fact, if you don’t eat enough, chances are you might evenlosemuscle mass despite training hard.
So on the surface it looks like the good ol’ advice about following the ”see food diet” to grow bigger seems logical. The more you eat the more you grow, right?
Not So Fast!
If you aren’t consuming enough, muscle growth will stall, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the more you eat the more muscle you’ll grow.
This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when training to build an aesthetic and muscular physique: eating too much junk and achieving a high body fat percentage in hopes of stimulating more muscle growth.
When you’re a natural lifter your body has a limited capacity to build muscle. The amount of muscle you can build is dependent on your body’s capacity to synthesize new muscle tissue from the ingested protein.
Your body’s protein synthesis capacities depend on your natural testosterone levels; your testosterone to cortisol ratio; your insulin sensitivity; your muscle fiber makeup, and your genetics.
You can eat any amount of food you want, but you can’t change your protein synthesis limit naturally. Eating excess will only lead to a fatter body.
Your Body is a Construction Worker
Imagine that your muscles are like a house you’re trying to build. The bricks used to build the house represent the amino acids – from the ingestion of protein – while the money you’re paying the workers – so that they’ll do the work – represents the carbs and fat you eat.
Finally, the workers represent the factors involved in the protein synthesis process (testosterone mainly) and the truck bringing the bricks to the workers represent insulin, which plays a capital role in transporting the nutrients to the muscle cells.
If you don’t give the workers enough bricks (protein) they won’t be able to build the house as fast as they could. So in that regard, an insufficient protein intake will slow muscle growth.
If you don’t pay your workers enough total nutrition they won’t be as motivated to work hard. As a result, the house won’t be built quickly. And if youreallycut the workers’ pay, they might even get mad, go on strike, and start demolishing the house (catabolism due to an excessively low caloric intake).
So in that regard, not consuming enough protein or calories to support muscle growth will lead to a slower gains.
What would happen if you started to send more bricks (increase protein intake) to the workers? They’ll be able to build the house more rapidly because they aren’t lacking in raw material.
But at some point, sending more and more bricks won’t lead to a faster rate of construction. The workers can only perform so much work in any given amount of time. For example, if your crew can add 1,000 bricks per day to the walls, giving them 2,000 bricks per day will be useless: it exceeds their work capacity. So the excess bricks will go to waste.
If youincreaseyour workers’ salary (increase caloric intake) chances are their motivation will rise, and as a result they’ll build the house faster.
Just like with bricks, there comes a point where increasing the workers’ salary won’t have any effect on the house-building rate: the workers will reach their physical limit. Once they do, you can increase their salary all you want, but they won’t be able to add bricks to the house any faster.
Muscle Growth and Scale Weight
Under the best possible circumstances – perfect diet, training, supplementation, and recovery strategies – the average male body can build between 0.25 and 0.5 pounds of dry muscle tissue per week. That is the amount your natural body chemistry will allow you to build.
So we’re talking maybe one or two pounds a month. May not sound like much, but that can add up to twelve to twenty pounds over one year of training.
While building muscle, it’s possible to gain more weightwithout adding fat. When you increase your muscle size you also increase glycogen and water storage in those muscles. More muscle equals more glycogen.
A trained individual can store up to 40g of glycogen per 100g of muscle tissue. So if you’re gaining ten pounds of new muscle (4,545g) you’ll also increase glycogen storage by around four pounds (1.8kg).
Because of water storage and glycogen, if you gain ten pounds of muscle, your scale gain will actually be closer to fourteen pounds (if you didn’t gain any fat).
Chances are if you’re gaining more than three pounds per month, you’re gaining some fat.
The Illusion of Small
Losing body fat will make you look and feel smaller and less muscular at first. There isn’t much visual difference between 13 and 16%. So the first 6-10 pounds of fat you lose won’t make you look more defined.
Muscle definition will look the same, but clothes will be looser and you’ll feel smaller because your muscles will be flat from a lack of glycogen. So you’ll look and feel smaller without actually looking more defined.
I’ve stopped several diets because of that phenomenon. I’d diet for four weeks or so, feel small and look like crap, then think ”the heck with it” and go back to my bulking habits.
But a diet won’t make you look good until you drop down to at least 10% body fat. That’s the point where you start to actually look bigger even though you’re becoming smaller (because of the fat you’re losing).
As you go down to 8% or so, people will actually believe that you’re gaining size as your weight goes down! when you aren’t lean, adding some fat will make you look larger and losing just a bit of fat will make you look smaller. But past a certain point (10%), you’ll look larger by the day as you’re losing fat. It’s all an illusion.
Banish the Bulk
1. Most train to look good, not get on stage. Is looking good a couple months a year what you’re really after? Of course not. Why not look good all year long?
Attain a body fat percentage where you look lean and muscular. A male who’s training for aesthetic purposes should never go above 10% body fat, which is not that lean. But it’s a point where muscle definition and muscularity are sufficient to make you look very good.
That leaves you within four weeks or so of being in superb, super-lean condition.
So what if you’re at 13% body fat and don’t have that much muscle? Should you bulk up? No! Cut down to 10% then gradually increase your nutrition until you reach a point where you’re gaining 1.5 to 2 pounds per month. You’d gain muscle at an optimal rate while staying at 10%.
2. The leaner you are, the better your body becomes at nutrient partitioning. Lean individuals are more effective at storing nutrition in their muscle (as muscle tissue or glycogen) or in the liver (glycogen), and less effective at storing it as body fat. Leaner people can eat more without gaining fat.
3. The fatter you let yourself get, the more fat cells you produce. This makes it easier to gain fat and harder to lose it in the future, and the fatter you are, the less insulin sensitive you become.
4. Building a good looking body isn’t something that happens overnight, and it’s a 24-hour a day job.
So Should I Eat Like a Bird?
No. To build muscle you must eat more calories than you expend every day. The point is to use the correct amount of food to allow your body to build muscle at an optimal rate.
This caloric intake should allow you to gain around two to three pounds per month. If you aren’t gaining that amount, slowly increase your caloric intake until you reach that rate of growth (add 250kcals at a time).
If you’re gaining more than three pounds per month, you might be adding fat. If you’re gaining a lot more than three pounds (like 5-7 per month), reduce the caloric intake.