What is bulking?

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Introduction
Bulking is a term used to describe a stage in muscle building when one is attempting to gain sufficient mass in order to then cut and reveal larger muscle formations than before.

Bulking usually requires more food in the form of protein and carbohydrate and unfortunately many people who describe themselves as in the stages of bulking are eating the wrong foods and eating too much. Others use bulking as an excuse for why they are fat or even obese: this is not what bulking is for!

Strictly speaking, bulking is for gaining mass but the mass gained should be mostly muscle, not fat. Eating fried takeaway food or pork pies and ice-cream is a recipe for disaster and it won’t help you attain muscle mass, you’ll just end up a fat, unhealthy, unmotivated individual.

Real bulking involves taking in more nutrients from good quality whole foods and exercising using heavier weights and fewer reps to build mass. People who are bulking are often described as having a blocky physique with poor muscle definition but this is not really an insult as it is a necessary stage in your anabolic physical development.

In the initial stages of building muscle, the body has to get used to the new stress it is under and properly utilize all the nutrients you are pouring down your throat. Higher carbohydrate intake as is synonymous with bulking will increase insulin response allowing the body to store more of the food you are putting inside it. Increased insulin is the reason why people get fat and the more you eat, the more you store so good advice would be to never overeat.

It may be difficult to determine exactly what your body needs in the way of nutrition but most anabolic athletes concur that 1 gram of protein for every pound of lean muscle mass is consistent with the average required to gain muscle.

The physiological changes which occur when gaining mass take different lengths of time to occur from individual to individual as we are all different. It is a good idea to gradually increase food intake so that you do not put your body under too much stress as sudden shifts in body weight can cause unwanted symptoms, some of which can be dangerous. Take the time to get to know your body, experiment with different foods and see what your response is.


‣ Does rice make you feel bloated? Switch to baked potatoes or boiled new potatoes.
‣ Does beef not promote enough muscle growth? Switch to higher protein foods like Chicken or Tuna.

Summary
Build up nutrient intake slowly and use proper form in your exercises to gain the required strength and stamina needed to move heavier and heavier weights, stretching and straining your muscles to new dimensions.