Are you ready for the bulking phase?
In the world of fitness and bodybuilding, there are two very important phases: bulking and cutting.
Many athletes often undergo biphasic practices such as bulking and cutting – to prepare for competitions, for example.
However, these phases are not only “followed” by athletes.
Cutting and bulking are phases used by many supporters of the fitness world.
Have you ever heard of bulking? Do you know what it is and what you can do to get the best results during this phase?
Check my tips to succeed in your bulking phase!
Bulking and cutting: what you should know!
Bulking is the phase in which feeding and training (and often supplementation) focus on the goal of increasing the muscle mass, weight and strength of the athlete.
This phase usually takes place in autumn or winter, because seasonal factors are also conducive and favorable to the achievement of the above objectives.
However, it is not mandatory that this phase only happens in these seasons, this is something that will also depend on the goal of each person.
On the other hand, cutting is usually practiced during warm months and aims to increase muscle definition and fat loss, which may have been increased by the underlying increase in calorie consumption during the bulking phase.
In order to maximize the benefits of the bulking phase and to obtain the results as expected, there are some aspects to be considered during the bulking phase.
Check some tips on what you can do to improve the results during the bulking phase!
Bulking phase: Tips
The diet, the training plan and the rest time have no effect in an isolated way.
They not only rely on physiological factors (which in turn depend on each person), but they will also have a greater effect if you can conjugate them in a balanced way.
The active monitoring of weight, volume and percentage of fat and lean mass is essential to ensure that all factors of this phase – training, diet and supplementation – are tailored to your personal characteristics to achieve the best results and make changes if necessary.
Follow a “clean” Bulk
During this phase, one of the most “logical” paths to follow is to increase calorie intake.
The caloric increase of this phase with the aim of increasing the mass is often mistaken for an unruly food intake.
An imbalance of macronutrients and an increased consumption of unattractive food for this purpose and for your health, such as fast food (rich in trans fats and sugars) will certainly increase your caloric intake but will also have negative effects in your health and you can greatly increase your fat mass.
The objective of this phase is to increase muscle mass – it is not favorable a large increase in the fat, because it will hinder the cutting process in which a higher effort has to be made to burn the excess fat that you may have accumulated during the bulking.
Thus, caloric intake much higher than the needs, tend to have a more negative effect than positive, both in the percentage of lean mass and in health and well-being.
So, my suggestion is that you choose to make a “clean” bulking instead of a “dirty” bulking.
Have you ever heard of these concepts?
Bulking dirty vs Bulking clean
The “dirty” bulking is precisely the choice of the easiest way: one in which all foods are allowed and there is a large consumption of food without considering healthy choices or “count” the intake.
The “clean” bulking on the opposite hand, focuses on the food intake as healthy as possible.
It includes counting calories and macronutrients for a healthier intake and adapted to each person and their respective goals.
See here suggestions of macronutrients division.
Foods to choose
Carbohydrate intake is critical, but the amount should be controlled so that it does not cause excess fat accumulation.
You should choose the complex – cereals in full form, legumes and vegetables, as they will release energy gradually.
Proteins such as meat, dairy, eggs and fish are good options – mainly because the protein directly influences growth and muscle recovery.
Nuts can also be a good option for this phase because not only are they rich in protein, but they still provide you with healthy fats – fundamental to maintaining your body’s overall wellbeing.
Fat is also important to boost nutrient absorption and to foster hormone synthesis, a factor that directly influences muscle growth.
This way, the increase in muscle mass can be achieved easily and the increase of fat mass should be lower than if you made a dirty bulking.
In the article “Tip 1: How to eat during the bulking phase” you can find some examples of meals you can do.
If you’re out of ideas, inspire yourself!
An adequate rest, between 7 and 8 hours of sleep, is essential for various processes and to maintain the stability of our body.
This way, fatigue associated with a few hours of sleep can impair training because it necessarily affects your energy levels and your alert status.
However, it is not only why sleep is fundamental.
The regeneration of your muscle tissue and consequent muscular growth happens during rest, so resting becomes essential for these two to happen.
Besides that, studies show that:
“Sleep duration and disturbances can affect (…) muscle mass, and its function.”
Follow a training plan
What works for one person may not work for another.
Therefore, having a plan appropriate to your needs and objectives is essential.
The goal is not only to gain weight without taking into consideration the percentages of fat mass and lean mass. Ideally, you should accumulate as little fat as possible.
For that, exercise is essential. Not only to help you burn fat, but also to help you increase muscle mass.
Check here some training tips, but don’t forget! Always talk to a professional because he will know how to help you choose the best training for you according to your goals.
Use the indicated supplements
Not all people have the same ease in gaining weight, or because they have accelerated metabolism, or because they have difficulty absorbing nutrients, or lack of appetite for example.
When the intended increase does not happen, it is important to understand why this is happening.
Monitoring is essential to find the problem and find the best alternative.
In the case of poor absorption, supplementation of vitamins and minerals (multivitamins) may be a strategy to fight this difficulty.
Another type of supplements that may be interesting in case of poor absorption, accelerated metabolism or lack of appetite, will be the gainers.
They aim to provide a great deal of energy more efficiently and quickly (ideal for when you lack time).
Therefore, in a few moments, it may be useful to facilitate the high caloric intake that the athlete should do in the bulking phase. – in addition, some of them also provide you with a good amount of protein
Supplementation with protein and BCAA is recurrently used, not only by athletes who are at this stage, but also by a large percentage of sports practitioners.
These help to develop and recover muscle, and therefore they are an advantage and good options during the bulking phase.
To achieve the desired results is essential an active monitoring, following a diet with healthy choices in the proportions indicated for each person, adequate rest and following a training plan also adjusted to the personal objective and to the physiological characteristics.
The balance of all these factors is decisive for your success at this stage.