Bulking Dieters Beware: This is a Big Mistake

Photo Credit: Jill

When it comes to packing on muscle quickly, the fastest way to do that involves being in a slight calorie surplus.  But many people take this to mean, “Just eat” and eat lots and don’t worry about it.

If You’ve Been Told:

* eat everything you can to gain weight

* eat, eat and eat some more

* eating anything is faster than eating clean

* just eat damn it!

* don’t worry about getting fat on a bulk, it’s normal

Then you NEED to read the rest of this article.  You’ve been told some bad advice by people who probably don’t realize that gaining all that extra fat just won’t go away.  What’s that?  You can’t just burn it off later?  Or take these common examples…

Sadly, the skinny guy or gal, is still skinny but has a nice layer of stomach fat.  Not exactly the bulking they were hoping for when they were told to eat everything under the sun.  Or the average guy, starts lifting heavy and couldn’t be bothered with nutrition.  He/She just knows to EAT and eat lots and notices their strength going up but they are a bit fatter.  But don’t care.  That’s what it’s about.  They think “I’ll cut later and burn all this fat off later.”

In previous attempts, I’ve talked about the concept of Dirty Bulking and the term Lazy Bodybuilding evolved.

Let me explain…

If you want to put on the most muscle possible, you would engage in what’s called a ‘bulking’ diet. That is where you eat 10-15% over your maintenance level calories. The rate of muscle growth can be quite rapid at this level of caloric intake, but the rate of fat gain can often be as high as the rate of muscle gain (a 1:1 ratio).

So why would you ever want to gain fat along with the muscle?   You don’t but it’s inevitable.  Your goal is to minimize any fat gains by eating over your maintenance but only by a small amount. Not pig out or have an excuse to eat everything.  You will gain the maximum amount of muscle possible only if you stay in a caloric surplus. People who want to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time have to alternate periods of caloric surplus with periods of caloric deficit and therefore will gain muscle much more slowly.  Or they live a low-carb, higher protein diet to build muscle and lose fat.  Which works but again, is difficult to maintain and not the method used for maximum muscle growth.

Fat is part of the game and you just bulk up.  Eventually you notice you are getting more fat.  But that’s just par for the course right?

Let me tell you right now, that is a very costly mistake.  I’ve made mention that putting on fat is unavoidable, but you’ll want t:

*  keep a lid on it

*  monitor it and

*  back if off if things get out of control

I’ve seen and watched too many people go from 10% body fat to nearly 21% and CONVINCED themselves it’s just normal for a bodybuilder to plump up during the off-season.  That being fatter is normal and they’ll just cut up and get rid of it later.

What they don’t realize is the following as pointed out by Lyle McDonald, author of The Stubborn Fat Solution.  Lyle has a degree in exercise physiology from the University of California in Los Angeles, graduating in 1993. He’s dedicated nearly 20 years of his life to studying human physiology and the art, science, and practice of human performance, muscle gain, fat loss, and body recomposition.  He’s qualified to offer up the #1 reason why gaining excessive fat as an athlete is something you want to avoid.

Consider what Lyle says about body fat on Pages 8-9 of The Stubborn Fat Solution.

“There’s an old (and incorrect) idea that adult humans don’t make new fat cells.  That is, and I’ll discuss this more in a bit, you get born wit a certain number of fat cells and you may develop more at puberty or during pregnancy but that’s it; your body doesn’t make new fat cells.  Everything in that sentence is true except the last statement; even non-pregnant adults can make new fat cells.

Usually this happens when the fat cells you have reach a certain size; that is, they are as full as they can physically be.  When this occurs, the actual stretching of the fat cell stimulates the release of factors, such as Angiotensin II, prostacylin and others, which ‘tell’ the body to make new fat cells.

Unfortunately, getting rid of fat cells is nearly (but not completely) impossible.

If there is a single reason for athletes not to get too fat in the first place, this is probably it: if your fat cells get too big, your body will make new ones.  And it’s nearly impossible to get rid of the new ones.  If you are a lean athlete looking to gain weight (and realizing you must gain some body fat to do it effectively), you should keep a lid on that fat gain.  You don’t want to stimulate your body to make new fat cells.”

Your Key Take Away Point:

Your body can and will make new fat cells at any age. It’s nearly impossible to get rid of them (short of liposuction: gives credence to that practice in some ways). You can shrink them but the goal is, not to make them in the first place.  So you bulkers and gainers, monitor your progress!  Adding 10% body fat is NOT the goal!

Marc David
“The NoBull Muscle Guy”

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