Death Of The Bulking Diet
I think the next time I hear an aspiring figure competitor tell me they are doing a bulking diet I an going to honor their commitment to lack of discipline by giving them a $50 gift certificate to Krispy Kream. I mean after all that is what they are giving themselves permission to do, right?
A bulking diet is nothing more then an excuse to eat junk food and pack on enough blubber to feed a family of eleven eskimos.
Look here miss sassy pants, I want you to look right in the mirror and try to say with a straight face that all those alcoholic binges at the local tavern were a “strategic” maneuver to spark the most effective nutrient partitioning possible?
Here it comes.
Wait for it.
Ok I can hear them now. “You have got it all wrong Wet Wolf! You have to eat a bulking diet to build muscle!”
Um, no you don’t. In fact you don’t even have to eat a surplus of calories to build muscle. Is it helpful to eat a slight surplus of calories if you want to add muscle? Possibly, but not past a certain point.
I embrace the belief system that if you want to build muscle with minimal fat gain you should have the most nutrient dense meals possible. You want moderate intake with nutrient rich food and supplements.
What we don’t want is a very high surplus of caloric intake with no reguard to nutrients. And this is the biggest mistake of the “bulking” figure competitor.
You see, there is a difference between someone who is well nourished and well fed.
This female has had no shortage of calories but hasn’t had much in the way of nutrient dense muscle repairing food sources.
The other end of the spectrum would be to restrict a female’s intake but every single thing she did eat was the most optimal source available. All the supplement bases were covered and you get something that looks like this.
Now I’m not advocating that someone who wants to build muscle should slash their energy intake. What I am saying is that you should eat a balanced to slightly over maintenance energy intake.
I think this myth was perpetrated by a lot of wannabe bodybuilders, who were “trainers” or boyfriends of naïve aspiring young figure athletes. The young women in earnest to pack on as much precious muscle as possible embraced the at all costs mentality and following the lead of her misinformed juicehead advisor, inhaled copious amounts of goodies over Turkey Day and Christmas to fill up Santa’s entire sleigh!
When the spring cutting diet poked its sappy little evil eyes over the pile of empty peanut butter jars and girl scout cookies you can kiss what little bit of muscle you gained goodbye. Three months later and nearly a collective six days worth of time spent on the step mill burning off mounds of fat along with what little bit of muscle you did gain, your final product is a depleted , flat, stringy, no tone masterpiece that is worse that what you started with.
So what gives!??
Focus on getting stronger not gaining mass.
What’s that you say? You think in order to get stronger you have to gain mass? Not hardly. I have had girls lose weight and make tremendous gains in their strength. The key is improving the quality of the food and implementing an excellent supplement regime which will result in the most optimal nutrient partitioning possible.
It is this that leads to strength gains and guess what? If you are getting stronger you are building muscle!
I trained a girl for 6 months before we started the contest prep. As soon as the contest prep commenced she started to lose fat so fast she couldn’t keep her pants up. Well that would be expected but here is the interesting part, she started getting very strong! She had never been able to do a push up in her life but 5 weeks into her diet she was doing five reps of feet elevated pushups.
She had never dead lifted over 135 in her life. Now she performed 155 for four reps.
All while eating under maintenance caloric levels.
The biggest thing that made it all click was her customized eating program.
So let’s take a look at the most critical part of the equation when it comes to igniting the fat loss and muscle gain process through nutrition.
1) She didn’t have to think: That’s right; she didn’t have to think, assume or figure anything out, all her meals were listed out for her in advance. All she had to do was measure the right amount of the right food and eat it.
2) She had faith in her program: Because she had total faith, truth & confidence in what she was eating it actually re-enforced her success. Squashing self doubt is often the first step for many folks.
3) She executed her program: Some young chickens & old hens can’t ever seem to get it right. No I’m not talking about an AP calculus equation; I’m talking about their assigned eating pattern. Somewhere between weighing the chicken breast and putting the bag of spinach back in the fridge the tripped and gobbled up 3 brownies. Don’t laugh folks, it’s harder than you think.
4) She was able to Sustain: Okay, so you ate what you’re supposed to for a full month and now you’re fitting into an outfit 2 sizes smaller. Congrats, big whoop. But before you crown yourself for mastering your eating habits you must do it again, and again then keep doing it. If you can’t sustain then you’ll never taste long term success.
Proof is in the Pudding.( Well not really but…)
I talked to Erin Stern after her overall victory at the NPC Nationals. She said she never bulks up at all in the off season. She actually laughed about it and called it the caveman approach. Bulking up for a long cold winter hibernation is a smart idea if you live in a cave but not for a figure athlete!
No more excuses.
Look, I’ve discussed the 90% rule a million times. If 90% of your meals are approved then you will have the opportunity to be successful on your program.
First, follow the diet I outlined in my previous article Food Addictions: The Last Stand.
Second of all get away from the body part split routines. Perform three full body workouts per week. A full body weight training workout will burn far more energy during and after the actual training session then any aerobic workout so we will maximize this advantage. Lastly only perform two energy systems workouts per week.
Don’t use the off-season and your need for more muscle to be an excuse to go hog wild these holidays.
Follow a moderate intake, intelligent supplement protocol, get stronger and you will add some functional mass to that figure frame of yours.
Just no ice cream.