For the ectomorph and off-season bodybuilder who wish to bulk up, the formula seems simple; just eat more than you can burn. Is it? Find out for yourself on how to prepare for bulking season!
Bulking for many is understood as the license to eat anything whenever you please. Though to a dieter’s delight, terms like clean and dirty bulking can be confusing for the skinny guy next door trying to pack pounds of unadulterated muscle. After all, a calorie is a calorie, thinks the lanky guy, but you will be amazed if I tell you that calorie counting is magical way to weight gain and weight loss.
If only it were so simple! Putting it simply, bulking means to grow bigger in muscle, size and strength and requires additional nutrients to fuel the process. Henceforth, anyone who wishes to bulk needs to eat 500 more calories, above his maintenance intake to pack on pounds. For clean bulking, the foods supplying the additional 500 calories per day are more important, because to build that muscle mass you need to consume nutrients coming from high quality protein supplements, complex carbohydrates and good fats.
Why should you bulk
Different strokes for different body types. The skinny guy or ectomorph bulks for aesthetics and strength, the bodybuilder chooses to gain fat and muscle between shows to improve his strength, stamina and size. Whereas earlier, the bodybuilder in his off-season would eat indiscriminately, anything in his view, clean gaining is the dictum now, and for good reasons.
How much muscle can you build
The amount of muscle you can build relies on your body’s ability to synthesize muscles from the protein foods and vitamin supplements you ate, and there is a limit to it. Your body can build between 0.25 to 0.5 pounds of dry muscle tissue in a week’s time, under ideal circumstances (perfect diet, training, recovery and supplementation). On an average, your body will process one or two pounds of muscle in a month.
Dieting is catabolic
When you supply your body with more calories than it can use for muscle building, it will result in fat gain. If there is more of fat gain, you’ll have to resort to customized diet plan to get rid of that fat, which can be catabolic for you. Therefore, you risk losing the hard earned muscle that you so keenly wish to preserve, as when you restrict calories, your body goes on a fat-preservation mode.
You can add fat cells, but need surgery to remove those
When you force feed yourself in the dirty bulking, your body responds by adding fat cells to fill in the surplus calories. Adding fat cells is a one-way street for your body, hence when you cut, you might reduce the fat content, but the cells still do exist, therefore, your body becomes more liable to fat gain when the next time you bulk up.
Following the clean bulking option is sensible as you gain surplus calories from clean source. Since there is very little fat gain in this approach, there is less to cut. Restricting calories and a couple of cardio sessions work fine. This makes you feel physically and psychologically much better overall.