Bulking up is probably one of the most common goals for gym-goers out there – and bulking questions pop up all of the time.
But there’s much more to it than just eating as much as you can.
Whether you’re new to bulking or have been doing it for a while, you likely have a few questions about the process.
Bulking can be a different experience for each individual, and what may work for some may not be the best fit for others. It can be easy to get caught up in the progress of others, and difficult to figure out what’s true, what’s a myth, and what’s the best advice to follow.
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up 5 of the most common bulking questions and provided you with all the answers that you could possibly need.
1. Does Bulking-Up Make You Slower?
As long as it’s done correctly, the answer to this question is no. Bulking won’t negatively impact your speed, mobility, or flexibility at all!
In fact, you’ll find that it speeds up the muscle-growing process and helps you improve on your fitness goals.
The reason that some people may think that bulking will slow you down is due to an improper bulking process and training program. Most of the time, this is due to rushing into the process and doing things far too quickly.
With a sudden increase in weight or mass, but no proper training to show your body how to carry this new weight – your progress can really be hindered, and you may find yourself becoming slower.
An increase in mass must match an increase in strength – otherwise, you’ll just be gaining body fat.
Following a solid and well-prepared bulking program should allow your muscles to grow and become stronger, as well as improving your posture, and increasing your overall speed and power.
Bulking up with muscle will not slow you down. The only way that this could happen is by a large increase in fat.
2. Can I Get Abs While Bulking?
Building and developing abs whilst bulking isn’t a challenge at all. The actual challenge comes in the form of being able to see them, and that’s what most people struggle with.
It’s almost inevitable that you’re going to gain fat during the bulking process. The large increase in calories will account for that – and that’s unfortunately just a part of the process.
However, if abs are a part of your goal, you must build up and train your abdominal muscles and core strength as you work out. While you may not be able to see them right now, they’re growing, and when you begin the cutting process later on and lose that extra stomach fat – you’ll be glad you did so.
It’s also important that you include some direct abdominal strength training in your workouts when bulking. Some individuals make the mistake of only beginning their ab training when cutting – and this is almost certainly not going to work.
As with all muscles, they grow most efficiently when you’re in an excess calorie intake – meaning that you must begin ab training during the bulking process, and continue with this training throughout cutting to maintain them.
You may not see your results right now, but you’re getting there. If your goal is to have larger abs, or a six pack that really stands out – keep working on abdominal training while bulking.
3. Does Bulking-Up Make You Stronger?
In theory, and if done correctly, then yes. Bulking up can make you stronger.
This comes down to a few different things. Whether you’re following a good bulking plan, whether or not your excess calories come from healthy and clean foods and proteins, and how you strength train.
When in a caloric surplus and when training hard at the gym, you’re inevitably going to gain muscle, and this is going to make your body stronger. The extra food that your body is intaking is providing you with all of the nutrients, vitamins and raw materials that break down into amino acids and are needed to build, repair, and grow your muscles.
Even during the cutting process, the reduction in calories and continued strength training will enable the body to lose fat whilst maintaining your muscles – ensuring that your body remains strong.
The only way in which bulking will not provide you with extra strength is if you increase your calories and are not maintaining a proper fitness plan, or if you over-bulk with ‘dirty’ calories and cannot train correctly. In this unfortunate case, you will not be able to build the adequate muscles required for strength.
4. Is Bulking Really Necessary To Gain Muscle?
If you’re looking to increase your muscle mass, then you’re going to need to be eating more calories than your body actually needs and following a strict strength training plan – otherwise you could be just losing weight or gaining fat.
If you’re not eating enough excess calories, your body won’t have the required proteins, nutrients, and minerals required to build muscles at all!
However, depending on the level in which you wish to gain muscle and how quickly you want to progress can affect the bulking process that you need to follow.
You don’t need to eat heaps and heaps, nor do you need to train like superman to gain basic muscles or body strength. A couple of hundred extra calories over your suggested intake, the inclusion of lean proteins, and solid workouts should help you to slowly gain muscle over time through ‘lean bulking’. It may take longer, but you won’t have to go through the cutting process and you will over time see progress.
While this is often considering a more difficult and time consuming route to take, your body will gain less fat than traditional bulking, and may work well for those with a smaller appetite.
If you’re after a large increase in muscle mass and want it done fast – then bulking is absolutely necessary. Your body needs all of the extra fuel that it can get to grow muscles – and the usual process of a large increase in calories, intense training, and then cutting to get rid of fat is suggested.
5. Bulking With Low Appetite – How Do I Get Over It?
As mentioned above, the process of bulking and building muscles requires you to be eating more than your suggested daily calorie intake.
A minimum of roughly 300 calories is recommended to begin bulking, but most tend to start with at least 500. This can be a challenge for those who suffer with a low appetite, and extremely frustrating to deal with – but definitely not impossible to overcome.
There are several tips that individuals can follow that may help with the process.
For one, instead of trying to eat huge meals, it’s a good idea to try and eat several smaller ones throughout the day, but more frequently.
This is a great way to avoid feeling overly stuffed, and will ensure that you get the calories you need.
Protein or high-calorie shakes can also help. Liquid calories are often easier to consume, and can be a fantastic source of calories.
For those with a low appetite, it’s important to consider the increase of calories as a step-by-step process. You don’t need to rush into it straight away, rather focus on increasing your calories week by week and build up to where you want to be.
Another tip would be to avoid too much food that contains large amounts of fat or fiber. While these may be a great source of calories, they can make you feel full very quickly and prevent you from eating again. Instead, go for food with lots of carbs and medium to low amounts of fat and fiber.
Finally, it’s a good idea to wake up earlier each day. The longer that you’re awake, the more time there is to eat and to increase your hunger. Start off your day by eating breakfast as soon as you possibly can. Most people tend to delay breakfast for a couple of hours when they wake up, and this can end up minimizing your daily ‘eating window’.
And remember, everything is a process and your calorie intake can be built up over time!