Gone are the days of going to the beach, soaking up the sun rays and showcasing those killer abs. It's time to put on that extra layer of clothing and begin our favorite time of the year, bulking season.
What many people fail to realize is that bulking doesn't have to mean stuffing your face with as much food as possible in hopes of obtaining a few extra ounces of muscle. Bulking simply means one thing, eating in a caloric surplus at a level higher than your maintenance.
We should strive to be constantly eating at a 200-300 calorie surplus at any given time which is just enough to be steadily gaining weight. However, bulking can sometimes get the best of us.
Here are some surefire ways to know that your bulk has gone too far.
Ryan Rodal discusses how to bulk without gaining unwanted fat.
8 Ways to Tell if Your Bulking Diet Has Gone Too Far
#1 - You have a high amount of bodyfatIf your bodyfat reaches levels beyond the 15% range you will not achieve any additional muscle gain by increasing your weight. Your testosterone levels also begin to drop once you hit the 20% range.
No matter what you say there is no way to justify eating thousands of calories over your caloric maintenance level. Time to go on a cut before heading to the point of no return.
#2 - Your friends ask if you even still liftIf the people around you begin to question whether or not you lift or if you've missed some time at the gym, chances are you have gained too much weight and any resemblance of definition you had before is now hidden from existence.
#3 - None of your clothes fitAll of your clothing no longer fits with the exception of those drawstring sweatpants. Your clothing is tight and completely unwearable. The button on your pants will not close and there is a strong likelihood the pants may rip if you even attempt to sit down.
If your regular jeans have now became skinny jeans chances are you've gone overboard on this bulk. Time to dial it back before having to purchase an entire new wardrobe.
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#4 - You eat more processed carbs than whole foodsYour diet has gone from mostly whole foods to basically Pop-Tarts and Ben and Jerry's with a chicken breast on the side. Previously most of your diet consisted of lean meats, vegetables, and complex carbs.
Now you mostly eat cookies and ice cream because "you're bulking."
#5 - Cardio is nearly impossibleSince you began bulking you've skipped out on cardio completely. You close your eyes when you walk past the stairmaster.
The thought of merely stepping foot on a treadmill scares you to death. In fact the most cardio you've performed in the last six months is walking from your car to the weight room. Just thinking about cardio is enough to physically exhaust you.
#6 - Weight has gone up on the scale but not in the gymYour strength has plateaued and you no longer are increasing your lifts. However, the scale at home has been going up consistently at a fast pace for the last 6+ months.
Bulking should entail adding muscle and strength. If neither is happening there is no point to be adding additional pounds to your physique. Cut the body fat back down to single digits and readjust as necessary.
#7 - Your stomach hangs over your pantsAbs have been MIA for several months nowhere to be found. Not only that, but your stomach is bulging over your pants. Your bulk has simply gone too far.
#8 - You're afraid to take your shirt offWhen it was summertime you took advantage of every opportunity possible to show off those killer abs. Now, you couldn't be paid to take your shirt off due to the additional flab. You fear that people may think you have lost your gains completely.
Bulking is a necessary method to build muscle throughout your bodybuilding career. However, bulking should be done in a calculated and well-managed fashion.
If you exhibit any of the preceding signs mentioned above, chances are that you have gone overboard on your bulk and it's time to abandon ship. For the vast majority of people you will have optimal gains putting on 1-2 pounds of weight per month while minimizing additional fat gain. Be sure to keep your weight gain in check and dial it back if needed.
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