How long is bulking?

So, this is difficult to say as everyone is different with how they add on fat or muscle tissue. It is usually 3 – 6 months but it all depends on whether you are doing a lean bulk, so eating whole foods, grains and not going off a structured diet plan too much to be having ‘cheat meals’ or drinking alcohol.

The best way to do a bulk is to find out your BMR which determines how many calories someone needs to live (breathe, pump blood around body etc) and then increase calories from there depending on how active you are. You need to slowly increase calories bit by bit so there isn’t a massive weight gain, as sometimes when this happens it is usually water weight or fat straight away.

How do I know when to start bulking?

The best ways to determine whether it is time for a bulk is:

  1. How long have you been dieting for?
  2. How high is your body fat percentage?
  3. What’s your digestion and energy like?

The reason you need to ask these questions is because our bodies are very clever and usually know when enough is enough. If you have been dieting on low calories and are lean, then your body will respond better to going into a bulk as it has built a better foundation for you to increase calories. Metabolism is quicker and the body is more responsive in how it will use the food for energy.

Does bulking make you fat?

Of course, you’re not going to stay at 10% body fat in a bulk. It’s just not possible. To build muscle and grow you must push calories high so that you can train harder in the gym, which in turn will help build muscle. With pushing calories high you will become slightly softer than when you are lean, but this doesn’t mean that you should put on 4-7 stone and become too big. That would defeat the object of a slow weight gain to produce decent muscle tissue and not fat.

Can you lean bulk?

The best way to do a bulk is by using whole grain foods along with good quality meat sources like 5% mince, steak, chicken, turkey. This way you will be able to ensure that no extra calories are being added with fat that the body doesn’t need to consume. You will also see that extra weight isn’t being piled on as you are not adding sugars that aren’t beneficial.

Is bulking necessary to gain muscle?

The first thing I must emphasize is that without hardcore training, you are not going to get huge. Yes, eating more food will help you in the gym but if you are not training to your fullest potential you may not even be using the extra calories in the right way. The difference in a bulk is that you are consuming more calories which will help with energy, recovery and muscle growth. You are not going to grow muscle eating fewer calories (in deficit) because your body is using those calories for vital organs, not to assist in growth.

Does my training need to change?

It doesn’t have to, but with higher calories you will find that you have better energy levels and recover quicker. This way you can add in different tempos for training or added extras as I like to call them, such as; supersets, muscle rounds, drop sets etc. these extras will add more volume into your training sessions, which will help the muscle grow as it is introduced to different stimuli.

How do I work out my calories for a bulk?

First you need to find out your BMR to know what your maintenance calories are.

Your basal metabolic rate is produced through the following basal metabolic rate formula:

  1. Men:

BMR = 88.362 + (13.397 x weight in kg) + (4.799 x height in cm) – (5.677 x age in years)

  1. Women:

BMR = 447.593 + (9.247 x weight in kg) + (3.098 x height in cm) – (4.330 x age in years)

Or you can use the UltraFlex Calories Calculator.

As you have your maintenance calories, now you need to find your calorie requirement to gain lean muscle mass. To gain muscle mass you have to consume more calories than the requirement. Yet eating too many extra calories (more than 500 calories) may be bad for you. Since your body has a limit to the rate of muscle growth, the rest of the excess calories would be stored as fat in your body. Once you establish the number of calories you need for bulking, you can determine your macronutrient ratios.

Macronutrients – carbs, fats, and proteins – are the nutrients that are needed in larger quantities within your diet. Carbs and protein each contain 4 calories per gram, while fat packs 9.

This is a basic recommendation:

  • 45 – 60% of your calories from carbs
  • 15 – 30% of your calories from fat
  • 30 – 35% of your calories from protein

For example, if you decide you need to eat 3,300 calories per day, your diet would contain:

  • 371 – 495 grams of carbs
  • 55 – 110 grams of fat
  • 248 – 289 grams of protein

While you can adjust these based on your dietary needs, the proportion of calories from protein should remain at 30 – 35% to support optimal muscle growth.