Bulking up?

Bulking up?

With the winter months coming along, many guys are looking to gain as much muscle as they can to reveal their new body that they’ve gained in the summer. The reason why winter is a perfect time for bulking up is that the body is covered with t-shirts,sweaters and jackets and nobody has to see that flabby body you’ve got from the high calorie diet you’re on.

I do not know where the obsession with bulking came from, but it seems that everybody wants to hop onto the bulking train because they’ve seen someone get huge in a few months. The idea with bulking is simple. You work out hard in the gym to tear your muscle fibers and then eat as many calories as you can in a day to rebuild the muscle. Over the months of working out you gain a ton of weight thus ‘bulking’. That is the ‘newbie’ definition of bulking and often not the best way to go about it. A lot of guys use the ‘bulking’ excuse to eat whatever the hell they want without their girlfriend or anybody saying anything about the amount of fat they’ve put on. Trust me, I’ve been there. I’m sure a majority of guys have as well. The first time I went on a bulk, I was told to go on a ‘see-food’ diet. It was a diet where I would see food and then eat it. Over the 6 or 7 months of bulking I would put on 30 to 35 pounds and then cut down to reveal about 5 to 7 pounds of muscle gained. That might be an exaggeration, but that’s what I did.

You see, when I was young and just starting out, I was told that in order to gain muscle you have to work out and eat as much as you can in a day. You must go on a bulk. The person that told me that never told me why bulking worked the way that it does. So I listened. Some days I would eat 3000 calories and some days I would eat more then that.  I gained a lot of weight. The extra weight was more fat than anything because of the amount of calories that I was eating.  I did not understand how calories, carbs, fats or protein worked for the body, I only knew that eating a crap ton of food would make me bigger and stronger.

After years of experience and knowledge gained by books and reading, I learned why muscle grows and that’s through stress and adaptation. You stress your muscles during the workouts and cause micro-fiber tears in the muscle and with proper nutrition and consumption of enough calories, the body will rebuild its muscle to be bigger and stronger. But how much of a calorie surplus is necessary for your body to build muscle? See, I knew that a calorie surplus was needed to gain muscle, but I didn’t know how much I needed! So I just ate, ate and ate. I just thought that the more food you eat and stuff in your body, the more muscle you grow. That was definitely wrong and lead my body to store a lot of unnecessary fat with it.

So how much of a calorie surplus do you need in order to build muscle? The body only requires 300 to 500 extra calories above your maintenance calories to build muscle. Back then I was 130 pounds eating more then 3000 calories a day. I found out in order for my body to gain muscle, I would have only needed to eat around 2200 calories a day, based on my activity level.  I was sometimes 1000 or more calories above what I needed to gain muscle. No wonder I put on so much fat. So the point of this post is to stop guys from bulking. If you’re thinking about going on a ‘bulk’ make sure to calculate your calories precisely and not to just pig out. Eating only a few hundred calories above your maintenance calories will lead to muscle gain and minimal fat on the body.


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John considers himself as a fitness enthusiast who loves to do anything to keep the body in peak physical performance (much like a highly tuned machine). He mainly focuses on sports nutrition and supplement research, but is also highly knowledgeable in relation to muscle growth and fat loss. He's helped numerous people over the years achieve the body that they've always wanted and hopes his information will guide you to the goals you want.

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