What does ‘bulking’ mean and should you do it?

The world ‘bulking’ is a term that is used amongst bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts. It’s simply a term used when someone’s goal is to gain weight (usually in the form of muscle) by consuming more calories. Traditionally people will look to ‘bulk’ during the winter months when they’re not looking to flash the flesh on summer holidays.

unhealthyfoods1‘Bulking’ can seem like a scary word, I’m sure you have visions of plates piled high with burgers, chips and indulgent puddings, resulting in hideous amounts of weight gain. In the fitness industry this is what is known as a ‘dirty bulk’ and results in weight gain – sure, but it can result in a larger proportion of that weight gain coming from body fat rather than lean muscle. Not to mention the high levels of sodium, low levels of vital vitamins and minerals and digestive discomfort that comes with eating ‘junk’ food. A more popular way of ‘bulking’ is what is usually called a ‘clean bulk’, this is when a person still consumes a calorie surplus (more calories than their body requires to maintain weight), but from healthy, nutrient rich sources. This can help to keep body fat levels in check, as well as keeping your body far healthier and happier as you build lean muscle tissue.fitness-foods-to-loss-weight-real-quick

So who should ‘bulk’? Well anyone who is looking to build muscle in any form will need to ‘bulk’ ie eat in a calorie surplus. Whether your goal is to gain huge rippling muscles, or just to add tone & shape, then you will need to consume enough calories for the body to grow. Without them, no matter how much you work out, you won’t gain muscle.

How much do I need to eat? Whilst there are no hard and fast rules to how much extra you need to eat, and everyone’s requirements will be different, a good guide is to work from 250 anywhere up to 1,000 additional calories per day, depending on your goal. It’s important to note that as well as the ensuring your overall number of calories is adequate, you need to ensure that a good proportion of this comes from lean protein sources. Why? Because protein contains amino acids which are the building blocks of new muscle tissue. Again, there is no ‘right’ amount, but for anyone actively trying to grow new muscle and partaking in strength training should be looking to consume between 1.4g and 1.6g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight.

A great way to get more protein in your diet is to include eggs. Both egg whites and especially whole eggs during ‘bulking season’, as they are full of protein and healthy calories, helping you hit those daily calorie and protein targets with ease. Do not fear eating more, many people underestimate how much they need to eat to grow. Fuelling your body correctly with plenty of healthy calories will allow you to train more intensely which will aid with quicker results, and the additional protein with aid with muscle growth and repair.

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