We’ve all heard it before, “summer bodies are made in the winter,” or some derivation thereof. Well, it’s true! BUT! That doesn’t mean what everybody wants it to mean–that just because it is sweater season and you don’t need to yell YOLO and be all yoked while you party at the beach with babes and hot guys that you can get, shall we say… “fluffy.” Regardless of how much muscle you want to add– mass for guys and “toned” definition for girls (in general terms)– there is a RIGHT and a WRONG way to do it. Let me explain the difference.
Sure, you don’t need to look competition ready, and sure you probably won’t go to a beach all too often, but fat is fat is fat. Eating McDonald’s all day and treating every weekend like Thanksgiving is NOT the way to bulk up properly. The body has its physiological limits. If you train SUPER hard and workout all winter with a “dirty bulk” (eating whatever you want) then yes, you may add 20 to 30lbs to your frame. But, guess what? It ain’t muscle. Not even half of that.. Sorry, it just isn’t. So then you have a few fun things to conquer:
- You may have unwelcome new stretch marks
- You probably need a new wardrobe, or already got one. Either way, lots of $$ on clothes that won’t fit.
- You still have to lose the vast majority of that size to get “cut” again
- That means coming from a HUGE binge and calorie surplus to a HUGE deficit
- You will need to cut for 4 MONTHS, when you could do it in 6-8 weeks max if you did it right
- You will FEEL hungry, because your big new body noticeably misses the size and calories it is used to
A dirty bulk would be 1000+ extra calories, above maintenance, daily, and from any and every source. Essentially following the “see-food” diet and just hoping that lifting hard and “eating hard” turns it all to muscle– it doesn’t. Trust me, I HAVE DONE THIS! In my teenage years, and with a desperate desire to look like Arnold, I ate everything in sight. It could ONLY kind of work back then because of my insane 17 year metabolism and testosterone, however, I STILL WOULD have had BETTER results if I had eaten cleaner. When summer came, sure I looked great as a 17 year old, but I could have skipped a few Big Macs and fries, and been even more cut than ever. But, so is life. We learn, we grow, we get better. I have also trained COUNTLESS clients who have also done this. To the powerlifters, strongmen, and those seeking pure strength, go for it, but again, as a Physique Transformation Specialist, my expertise is in overall health, wellness, and aesthetics.
The problem is that most humans tend to be “all or nothing” or “go big or go home,” but when it comes to bodies, everything, be it sprinting, bodybuilding, rock climbing, yoga, and so on, takes TIME. More than anything, more than the lifting, the eating, the sleeping, it takes time and time again of ceaseless repetition to train our body AND our mind, to solidify both physical cells and tissue as well as a mind-muscle connections. We take this same all or nothing approach to diets, and THAT is the problem. We either eat NOTHING or EVERYTHING, when it should be a continuous lifestyle of health with only minor changes depending on goals of either losing fat or adding muscle. That is it. Simple, easy, maintanable. Almost so much that we CANNOT do it, cannot grasp it, because we want it to be harder or bigger or more extreme–but it is not. So just do it.
The media barrage of “super diets” and “superfoods” and how to lose 10lbs in 5 days… or add 5554% to your bench press with a pill…. It is BS. Our Zoned Nutrition supplements have 100% scientific backing and WORK, but ONLY when added in a regimen of routine exercise and a healthy diet. We claim nothing else, we are meticulous and dedicated to health and body performance. As always, ask us ANY questions you may have, even unrelated to our own products!
But, I digress, let me go on… so now you know how NOT to bulk, here is how to bulk properly:
It is simple. In fact, you could have just skipped to this part and been done… but where is the fun in that!?!
Add 500 calories a day above your maintenance level, from clean sources. Half of these calories from protein, half of these from carbs. As for exercise repetitions and sets, focus on hypertrophy (muscle growth training) in the 8-12 rep range and 3-4 sets per exercise. SQUEEZE those muscles, and create that mind-muscle connection by really feeling and envisioning each and every movement. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how much this will help your form and actually work–even without changing weights or reps! With higher protein and carb levels, you will gain strength and mass as well as enjoy more intense workouts and deeper rest and recovery. Try to get your protein from lean meats or plant sources, and carbs from Oats, Rice, or Yam/Sweet Potatoes. As always, have a high amount of vegetable in your diet and drink lots of water!
It really IS that simple. This way, you may gain ~10lbs in a 4-5 month period, but a lot more lean, hard, dense muscle, without the fluff. You’ll look and feel way better, and you’ll also have a much easier time cutting into that “summer body.” TRUST ME, I’ve done it, and so have countless others. My clients are so much happier this way, and you will be to. The only reason the massive bulk/cut myth is perpetuated is because it is appealing (to eat whatever you want and get really big) and because it works if you are on performance enhancers. Otherwise, it is a media lie that will never give you the results you want.
Cheers, thanks for reading!