You could be just another one of the 45 million Americans with a gym membership, or the gym could be your second home. If you fall into the latter category, you might be waiting for muscle-building season to come back.
We know it’s only July, but you’re going to be surprised how fast it comes around the corner. You’re going to see the leaves start falling soon enough and you’ll realize it’s time. It’s not autumn. It’s bulking season.
Bodybuilders don’t follow the normal calendar. We know there are only two real seasons. Let’s talk about the benefits of your favorite one!
Bulking Benefits: Flexibility
When you’re cycling your weight training and cardio, starting a bulk is always a huge relief. Finally, I can stop feeling tired from my calorie deficit, lower my amount of cardio, and really hit the weights hard!
That first part is one of the biggest benefits. While you shouldn’t just eat bacon and chocolate chip muffins all day, bulking definitely allows for a bit more flexibility on your diet. You can start eating more fruit, more carbs, and more calories overall. If you do intermittent fasting during your cut, you can open up your eating window for your bulk.
More Time Doing What You Like
Let’s face it, many of us like shredding ourselves up for the summer, whether we like to admit it or not. However, we didn’t get into bodybuilding to spend a lot of time on the treadmill and eating boiled quinoa and broccoli all day.
When the bulking season comes around, we really get to do what we love. Hit the weights at maximum capacity and feel like a beast. When you work out all year round, it can be difficult to stay motivated. However, it’s a lot easier when you’re doing what you love.
Now that it’s July, do you even remember the last time you felt full? For many of us, we might not even feel full during the bulking season, but it’s definitely better to not walk around with an empty stomach all day.
However, most of the time you’ll be eating protein, calorie, and nutrient-rich foods, which will leave you feeling full until your next meal comes around. If anything, it’s hard to get all of the food down, which is a problem many of us prefer!
The only thing to keep in mind is to make sure you’re eating the right foods. Putting yourself at a calorie surplus is safe as long as you aren’t damaging your body with anything harmful. Let’s talk about some great foods to eat that will help you feel more full throughout the day.
A bulk does not mean you get to skip out on vegetables. They’re full of so many micronutrients critical to muscle growth, and they are great for your digestive system. The good news is that you can now bring some good fruits back into your diet!
Eating fruits and vegetables is excellent when you’re bulking. A nice piece of fruit after your workout will help replace your lost glycogen storage, and vegetables will keep you feeling full throughout the day. The trick with produce is to get as wide of a range of color as possible.
Believe it or not, there are actually protein sources that aren’t chicken breasts! Eggs are a great source of protein and healthy fats, and you can eat more egg whites if you want more lean protein.
Dairy products are also a good source of protein, especially Greek or Icelandic yogurt. You can always choose low or full fat dairy products, depending on your dieting needs.
Fish is one of the best options for protein. A nice piece of salmon will provide so many healthy nutrients, including Omega-3 fatty acids, and give you enough protein to recover from any workout!
If you don’t want to rely too heavily on animal products, or if you’re on a plant-based diet, there are plenty of other great options for your protein intake. Lentils, beans, tofu, tempeh, and meat substitutes are all excellent sources of protein and nutrients. If you do eat meat, you can always add more protein to your diet by making beans or lentils with your meals.
The easiest, cheapest, and most plentiful part of your diet. Because you’re supposed to get the majority of your calories from carbs, this is an important one to get right.
Brown rice, quinoa, and sweet potatoes are some of the best sources of healthy, complex carbohydrates that will leave you feeling full well after your meal. If you’re looking for starches to get an insulin spike before a workout, potatoes are a great option.
You need healthy fats when you’re bulking. Fatty fish or fish oil supplements will help you the most with your Omega-3s, but you can also use flax seeds or flax seed oil. For your Omega-6s, use coconut oil and avocados somewhere in your diet. Olive oil is an excellent choice for your Omega-9s.
Eating a variety of nuts and seeds, in moderation, should fill in the gaps on your fatty needs.
The benefits of joining a gym is rewarding enough, but nothing compares to the rewards of a successful bulk.
Now, the results of a successful cut might be even more satisfying, but it’s owed an enormous debt to the success of your bulk. It’s nice to remove that excess fat and see a fit, proportioned, muscular physique, but there is definitely some satisfaction in watching your muscles grow every week.
About 4-6 weeks into your bulk (maybe 2 if you’re a beginner), you’ll really start to see your body adapting to the new stress you’re putting on it, assuming you’re doing everything right. There’s nothing like watching the results of your hard work every week, and once your body’s in it, it keeps going.
We got into bodybuilding for muscle growth, first and foremost. This is the season when we play!
The More You Know…
The more you know, the more you grow. Bulking should be taken just as seriously as cutting if you want the best results, but you will get to have a lot more fun with the process if you do it right! Keep yourself up to date with our latest fitness news, remember why you’re lifting heavy weights, and stay big!