Bulking What Is It How Is It Done And other Questions

February 19, 2020

18-year-old boy carrying weights
Emmanuel Feranmi

If you've ever been in a gym filled with bodybuilding bros, there's a 90% chance that you must have heard of the term bulking. And if you're a curious one, you might have wondered what it means exactly.

Bulking basically refers to the increase in the number of calories which is usually beyond your body's needs in combination with serious weight training.

There's a divergence of public opinion on the safety of bulking. Some say that it is a safe and an effective way of gaining muscle mass, while some say it is inherently unhealthy.

Before we pass an opinion, let' s look at what bulking is in the context of bodybuilding.

Generally speaking, bulking is just a phase of bodybuilding. And bodybuilding here doesn't just mean building muscles, it means the sport of building muscle size and competing for a reward for it.

In this kind of bodybuilding, there are three main phases and they are the bulking, cutting and the maintenance phases. For bodybuilders who enter competitions, preparation for these phases could be the fourth phase.

In this sense, bulking is the phase where muscles are gained. And to gain these muscles, you're supposed to consume a lot of calories. In other words, you're meant to fatten yourself. This will go on for about 4 to 6 months. This increase in calories will, theoretically, increase the sizes of your muscles and give you strength.

Unfortunately, an increase in calorie intake will not only give you muscles. It will grant you a great deal of fat as well. That is where the cutting phase comes in.

As the name implies, the cutting phase is the fat loss phase, and it is where you start to lose the accumulated fat. This is done by a decrease in calories intake and an increase in exercises. This is done to lose the fat from the bulking process and to give muscles a better definition.

During cutting, bodybuilders tend to cut back on calories. This means that they eat fewer calories than their body requires, and this makes it difficult to build muscle. That's why the cutting phase isn't for building muscle, it is for cutting fat and maintaining muscle instead.

So let's turn to the next question.

Is Bulking Safe?

A lot of people think that the process of bulking is an unsafe one. This is because it increases fat mass to a particularly unhealthy level. Importantly, when bulking, a lot of bodybuilders forgo nutrient high foods for sweet calorie high meals.

These kinds of meals are bad for the health and can increase insulin resistance, level of bad cholesterol and even increase the tendency of inflammation. So basically, people aren't against bulking per se, but bad bulking. Especially the kind that involves overeating and eating unhealthy food.

Bulking can be done in a healthy manner, and it doesn't have to be characterized by fried foods, sweets and sugary desserts. If you're dedicated to maintaining a proper calorie surplus and eating food with a lot of nutrients, you may yet bulk healthily.

It is also very important that you remember that bulking is supposed to be accompanied by a cutting phase. Bulking without cutting can lead to extreme weight gain and can be quite unhealthy.

So What Foods Are Good To Eat During Bulking

If you want to put on weight quickly, there are a few meals that you could consider eating a lot. These include fruits, vegetables, grains, seafood, dairy, legumes, nuts and seeds, and beverages without sugar.

All these food are nutrient-dense, and they ensure that you get enough healthy fats and high-quality protein into your system.

There Are Also Certain Kinds Of Food You Should Avoid

You should avoid drinking a lot of alcohol as it interferes with your body's muscle-building abilities. You should also avoid added sugars as they are linked to several terrible health defects when taken excessively. It is necessary to also avoid taking too much fried food as they lead to an increase in bad cholesterol.

The Point?

Bulking is a process by bodybuilders. It involves consuming a lot more calories than necessary and then "cutting" it through the use of exercises.

If done badly, or if done with unhealthy food it can pose a health risk. However, if done well it can be a great way of building muscles.

To make sure Bulking is done right, it is important to eat nutrient-filled food and also make sure to avoid eating unnecessary foods that are bad for the body. 

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