Some of you might object that why I’m advocating a “generic” bulk routine here, when “lean-bulk” kind of thing is the new popular kid on the block right now. As much as I like to call lean-bulk a Fad
just like most of the Hardcore gym veterans would tell you, lean-bulk has its uses. Lean-bulk is nothing but micro bulk or say very short periods of small positive energy balance.
I’ve seen guys advocating one day of bulk and one day of cutting as the way to go or a week of cut and a week of bulk or any combination falling in between. Well, that can work IF you’ve a decent musculature already and you can’t live without single digit leanness for a week or so. Lean-bulk is a maintenance regimen if you will. Any substantial progress can’t be achieved with “lean-bulk” in short term. For beginners who are just getting started a proper anabolic bulk with strict training regimen is the way to go.
Building muscle is an energy intensive and metabolically “expensive” process, unless you’re a well-trained athlete or an advanced lifter, the Volume of Training required to induce growth is taxing on our skeletal as well as neuromuscular system. Recovering from such exertion is a prolonged recurring process, you got to be in positive energy balance for long. Now, to synthesize muscle fiber from the amino acids floating in your bloodstream, many preliminary physiological conditions have to be satisfied.
It goes without saying that you have to be in a positive energy balance, not only that but a large enough positive balance for meeting the repairing and recovery needs, plus filling the depleted muscle glycogen stores at supraphysiological levels plus having enough amino acids floating in the blood stream ALL the time for maximum possible muscle synthesis.
What veterans swear by is kind of an anabolic momentum which comes with bulking phase, Many have experienced it firsthand, so have I. Simply put, by being in a positive energy balance day in and out, our bodies get more efficient at digesting food and repairing, our hormonal profile is optimal and the energy levels are off the charts enabling us to train with much more intensity and volume. It is a phase in which you feel strong all the time, invincible in the weight room and you make new PRs.
See, muscle gaining is not as predictable and micro-manageable of a process as Weight Loss. There is no vise-versa rule of eating 700 extra calories to gain one pound of muscle or say 3500 extra to gain one pound of it but you sure can lose one pound of muscle with a 700 calorie deficit. We can only avoid the extremes of eating too little, say only 100 or so calories above maintenance; and eating too much, say 1500-2000 calories above DEE.
The sweet spot lies somewhere in the middle and is highly variable. The work around to this problem is controlling other tangible outcomes of a Bulk phase like weight gain & Increase in 1 RM. In an ideal scenario for Beginners where 2lbs weight gain a week is possible, gaining more than that would indicate you’re eating too many calories. Gaining less than 1 lbs indicates you’re eating too little. Now, in both cases if there is accompanied strength gains (judged by increased 1RM), there’s fair chance that you’ve successfully gained muscle mass and little fat.
Another possibility would be 1.5-2 lbs weight gain but zero strength gains or work capacity improvement. There is fair chance that you’ve gained mostly Fat and little muscle mass or your MACROs are whacky. That won’t be a problem though, if you follow the recommendations and expert insight provided in the previous parts 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5. The training has been set, the macros have been sorted, now it’s time to implement!
As already established into the Recommendations part of the Macros series, While bulking Daily Carb Intake has to be at 5 gram / kg of lean body weight. And minimum protein intake should be 2 gram / kg of lean body weight. Read the Macros series already, i couldn't say anything new that hasn't been said there. A calorific surplus of 1000 is a good base to start, increase or decrease slightly depending upon how you’re progressing week by week.
Eating small six meals is a confirmed hoax now, every new Fitness guru start their carrer by bashing the age-old adages like “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” and “eating 6 times a day to prevent metabolic slowdown” and the like. They don’t realize that calling such clichés out is a cliché in itself. Now, on a weight loss regimen the less frequent you eat is better, intermittent fasting and what not but on a bulk you have to supply nutrients more frequently and Timing does matter.
Some fellas take nutrition timing and frequency to extremes with ideas that the “nutrient window” after a workout is only of half an hour any late and you’ve failed. Well, there is a window but it’s more like 1-2 hours. Have a meal high in protein and carbohydrates preferably simple carbs within 1-2 hour of your workout and you’re good to go. Best bet is to make a shake with two scoops of Isolated Whey protein powder and 50 grams of Glucose add any fruits if you like.
As for the frequency just try to avoid going longer than 3 hours without eating something. With some protein in every meal. Gotta have stable but elevated levels of Blood glucose and Protein in the Bloodstream. Excluding 8-9 hours of Sleep, that’s 15/3 = 5 meals in a day. Now they doesn’t have to equally metered, just divide your daily intake into 5 meals, heaviest being the one you have before going to sleep. That's it, I've said all i have to say about eating for the first bulk cycle of your life. Hope everyone follows this guide verbatim.
Check out the Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 |& Part 5
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