Do you know a bodybuilder or have come across one in your lifetime?Bodybuilding as a sport is very challenging as one’s body undergoes tremendous changes daily, be it bulking or shredding. Keeping up with the process is a challenge in itself and one needs to be determined for best results.
Bulking is an essential part of sculpting one’s body and requires correct knowledge as a lot of false information is floating in the market.
Bulking: Know All About It
Bulking is a fundamental component of the traditional bodybuilding regimen, aimed at fostering muscle development. This phase revolves around establishing a surplus of calories to support the growth of muscle tissue.
In the bodybuilding cycle, there are two primary phases: bulking and cutting.
During the bulking phase, bodybuilders typically augment their intake of carbohydrates and protein to maintain this caloric surplus. The purpose behind this is to utilise the surplus calories as fuel for building muscle. Individuals should engage in strength training routines during the bulking phase to stimulate muscle growth. It's important to note that this phase results in an increase in both muscle mass and body fat.
The cutting phase, on the other hand, requires transitioning into a calorie deficit to shed any excess body fat accumulated during the bulking phase. Strength training remains a crucial aspect of the cutting phase to safeguard against muscle loss.
When it comes to bulking, several misconceptions can lead to ineffective or even unhealthy practices. Let's debunk these myths and set the record straight.
Muscle Gain Myths Busted
1. Myth: Bulking Means Eating More
Quality matters more than quantity. While you need a caloric surplus for muscle growth, it's crucial to choose nutritious foods to support your body and minimise fat gain. As bodybuilders require more calories to gain, it is assumed they can have anything and everything to put on that weight but in contrast, they have to be utterly conscious of whatever they are having as only having nutritious food can help them build muscles.
2. Myth: Only High-Protein diet Builds Muscles
Bodybuilders who are new to the practice of bulking often believe that in the initial phase, they should exclusively focus on increasing their caloric intake through protein consumption. It is true, but as you work on building muscles, it's important to note that not only do your protein requirements increase, but your needs for fats and carbohydrates also rise. It is essential to include all the nutrients as they are beneficial for helping the body recover after an exercise session. In fact, the major part of the diet should comprise carbohydrates in this phase while the percentage of calories from protein should be 30–35% to support maximum muscle growth
3. Myth: Focusing on Lifting Heavy Weights Alone Helps in Bulking
Many people who start lifting have a misconception that if they start lifting heavier weights it will eventually lead to bulking. However, it is years of hardship and a well-designed and controlled diet and exercise regime (besides of course lifting weights) that enable a bodybuilder to achieve a bulky body. Only lifting gets the metabolism going and burns extra fat.
4. Myth: Fulfilling Caloric Requirements is Enough for Bulking
One might think having enough calories in a day can help them bulk up but what is important is to be mindful of what you're eating. As calories might seem similar in terms of value, but each type of food provides different nutritional value - like processed foods that might fall in your caloric requirements can have refined carbohydrate, saturated fats and preservatives. On the contrary, such food items decrease body fat, may hamper performance, and might harm the cardiovascular system even if one is working out. One might feel it is difficult to build muscles and cut fat from the body.
5. Myth: Bulking Boosts Your Weight Loss
People have a misconception that bulking might lead to weight loss, but as the term suggests - bulking is when your body grows in terms of muscles and size. The main objective of bulking is to shed fat, but it's crucial to know that it also focuses on gaining muscle. And the fat loss is when one enters the shredding phase and goes down to their lowest fat percentage.
6. Myth: Consume More Fat to Promote Muscle Growth
It's a common misconception that you need to consume a significant amount of fat to promote muscle growth. However, the reality is quite the opposite. Excessive intake of fat-rich foods can hinder your muscle-building efforts, as a diet high in fat may result in weight gain and make the muscle-building process more challenging.
7. Myth: Bulking Always Needs Supplements
Bodybuilders can indeed fulfil their micronutrient and macronutrient requirements exclusively through whole foods. Opting for nutrient-rich, calorie-dense whole foods such as fatty fish, whole grains, and minimally-processed oils is a viable means of satisfying your energy needs without resorting to supplements. Nonetheless, in situations where individuals encounter difficulties in meeting their macronutrient needs due to constraints like time, access to food, or an inability to increase food intake, supplements can provide valuable assistance. However, supplements are needed when the necessary nutrients may not be possible to obtain through diet alone, especially when required in higher than usual amounts.
One needs to remember that effective bulking is a balance between consuming a slight calorie surplus, engaging in progressive strength training, and ensuring a balanced nutrient intake, all while maintaining overall health and well-being. It's important to approach bulking with a well-structured plan tailored to your specific goals.