In the past year I have trained a few competitive bodybuilders . Back in the day this was a big part of my life- and now it seems to be a part of my life again. I have learned some new things the past year, but one thing is certain- cutting up and bulking up have 2 different schools of thought. Here is mine on “bulking”
When someone talks to me about a bulking phase, the first word out of my mouth is “Lazy”. It is just a lazy way of saying,” I want to eat what I want to eat and no one will stop me”. It is not thought out. It is sloppy. Yes, you need to gain muscle, and that means more calories. I also believe you should take a week “off” eating strictly once in a while- but not for more than a few days to one week . Ever.
Besides the obvious health reasons and gaining excess fat, here a few more reasons why I view conventional bulking as a bad approach to trying to achieve your physique goals and optimal health.
Most bulk up diets involve junk food. This floods your body with trans fats, sugars (like corn syrup or any other type of sugar you can think of) and unhealthy amounts of sodium and fats.
•The idea that a “calorie is a calorie” is nonsense. Calories from steak and potatoes are great for building muscle; calories from pretzels and beer are not. Period!
•Bulk up diets over time can lead to insulin resistance, which makes long term muscle gains an uphill battle. When you are young, you can eat anything. Keep it up and by the time you are living your future, you are fat. Insulin resistance makes your carb intake more likely to go preferentially to fat stores, not muscle tissue.
•Since insulin resistance is hard to reverse, (Trust me I am a victim of it) the fatter you get, the harder it is to become lean. Most people look at this a natural aging process. What it really is, is the body’s resistance to all that junk food you pumped into you system as you were going through you “bulking” stages. This is why leaner individuals can eat more calories without getting fat.
•The fatter you get, the more aromatase enzyme your body will produce as your testosterone is converted into the female sex hormone, estrogen. Why do you think Male “T” is being needed for men at younger ages that ever before? Essentially you’re turning your testosterone in exchange for estrogen – a great form of self-castration, and those fatty deposits.
•The more fat you pack on your stomach, the less effective your thyroid hormone production becomes. This is not a hormone you want to turn off as it is responsible for fat-burning. Not to mention you increase your risk of heart disease.
Ever wonder why natural bodybuilders get more muscular and leaner YEAR IN & YEAR OUT while everyone else in the gym looks the same each year? Make the choices to eat clean and healthy now. If you cut up for a show and only had to lose 10 lbs. or so to be ripped, then come talk to me about your bulking phase. Anything other than that you feel and look good for a short time, but the long run health repercussions are not worth it- especially if you plan to look and feel good in the future.