Bulking Up Fast- Don’t Do It!
In this article I am going to talk in detail about bulking up fast and why you shouldn’t do it. I will also talk about the whole idea of bulking and cutting in general and why it really isn’t optimal for you and your body. There are many people who have the desire to bulk up as fast as possible when they begin their fitness journey and it is really detrimental to your progress.
Why Bulking Up Fast Is A Bad Idea
Bulking up fast is a bad idea – there I said it! I have been guilty of falling into this trap myself and so I have firsthand experience on this topic. When I was 17 years old and just starting my fitness journey I was very skinny weighing only 65kg at close to 6ft tall. I wanted to bulk up fast and therefore ate copious numbers of calories and consumed gallons of whole milk. The end result of bulking up too fast is that you can gain a lot of fat as well as the muscle. This is not a favourable outcome. You may have filled out your frame in a shirt or a T shirt but when you take your shirt off you will not be so proud of your physique.
Bulking Up Slowly
Instead, the much better thing to do if you want to gain a lot of muscular weight and fill out your frame without gaining too much fat is to bulk up slowly. Yes, the operative word here is slowly. This goes against our inherent human nature, as humans we want everything fast. We live in an instant world where everything we want is available at the click of a finger. When it comes to bodybuilding and fitness, you have to take things slowly and look long term. By bulking up slowly, and putting yourself in a caloric surplus that doesn’t over exceed your maintenance, you can gain muscular mass without putting on too much fat. The key as well is to follow a relatively clean diet and not eat too much junk. A great diet would be the vertical diet that I posted about recently or you could try out the diet that I outlined in my “Bodybuilding nutrition guide” post. Follow a diet similar to that and putting yourself in a caloric surplus without going too far would see you make great progress that you can be proud of. You can bypass the mistakes that many people make. In fact, nutrition in general wasn’t something that I really started taking seriously until a few years ago. Make no mistake, good nutrition is vital when it comes to maximising your efforts in the gym.
Continuous Progress Through Lean Gains
Of course you don’t want to be bulking up forever. Eventually you will arrive at a bodyweight that you feel is right for you. This will be a weight that you are comfortable to be at and where you look your best. Of course this is a subjective thing but for every person it will be different. For me this weight is 100kg at 6ft tall which is where I am now. I have no desire to get bigger than this so I just maintain.
The key then is to maintain and make slow progress over time through very small lean gains. This is where you can re-compose by adding muscle and losing fat at the same time. You would be eating at only a tiny amount above your maintenance level in terms of calories and no more. Any more and you would end up gaining the wrong weight. By doing this you can further re-compose your body and look and feel better whilst maintaining the same sort of bodyweight. Of course your bodyweight will fluctuate slightly but the aim is to eat clean and continue making slow lean gains over the long term.
This also ties into the topic of “bulking and cutting”. Many bodybuilders are constantly bulking and cutting, especially those who compete in bodybuilding. The problem with this is that when they are in the off season and are “bulking”, they can use this as an excuse to eat a lot of junk food and gain the wrong sort of weight. This is detrimental to their progress going forward. When they then switch gears to cutting, they find that they have to work harder to lose all the fat they gained and they end up sacrificing lean muscle as well in the process of reducing their weight. All this is counter-productive and doesn’t serve to optimise your bodybuilding efforts.
In fact, there is a bodybuilder called Lee Hayward who also subscribes to this idea that bulking and cutting is not good. He has said himself that if he could go back in time he would never have gone through all the bulking and cutting that he did. Instead he would have chosen to make slow lean gains over the long haul. His progress would have been a lot better doing things in that manner. Below is a picture of Lee Hayward in his early 40s, he is still looking good for his age! His mantra is “good enough but good enough consistently” which fits into the notion of making slow progress over a long period of time.
In this article I have talked about the concept of bulking up fast and why you shouldn’t do it. Instead what you should do is eat a good bodybuilding diet and bulk up slowly. Once you have arrived at a bodyweight that you are happy and comfortable with, then switch gears into making slow and lean gains for the long haul. All the while doing your best to maintain your new bodyweight and not gain too much weight from there. This is the best way in my view to really maximise your bodybuilding progress and build a body that you can be proud of. If you have any questions about anything in this post, please leave me a comment below!