If you’re someone who’s spent a decent amount of time in the fitness industry, you will know that it’s very common to see people in MASSIVE caloric surplus’ in an attempt to gain muscle. While it is important to be in a surplus to put on size, you don’t need nearly the amount of calories you think you do, nor is it healthy to remain in that surplus for 6 + months like I see so many people do.
At the beginning of this year, I was really pushing to add some size to my frame. I literally ate anything I could get my hands on just to get additional calories into my diet. While I did manage to put on some muscle, a few things also resulted due to this “bulking method”.
I got sick ALL THE TIME.
My immune system was shot. While it was usually a rare occasion for me to get sick, during this bulking process I felt like I was coming down with something every other week. The crazy surplus & all the processed garbage I was consuming really put a damper on my body’s ability to fight off diseases.
I was tired ALL THE TIME.
For me, this was probably the worst part of this whole “bulking process”. I literally felt like I needed to take a nap after breakfast and a full nights rest. My body was constantly trying to digest & process food and I never had any sustainable amount of energy. I also felt very foggy mentally a lot of the time.
I gained A LOT of body fat!
You have to realize that if you’re going to “dirty bulk” like I was doing, a good majority of that weight you gain is going to be fat. If you have any plans of leaning back out, a good majority of that weight is going to disappear, and the truth is that the amount of actual muscle you gain is going to be relatively similar to the amount you’d gain on a lower surplus bulk.
Look, when your body is feeling less than optimal, it’s trying to tell you that something’s not right!Don’t get sucked into the trap that “this is how you’re supposed to feel when you”re bulking”. Listen to the signals that your body is sending you on a daily basis, and understand that if you have chronic fatigue, are getting sick more often than usual, have digestion issues, etc… this is your body telling you that you need to change something!
“Well if dirty bulking isn’t the way to go about it, how should I eat to gain muscle?”
As I stated before, it is necessary to put your body in an anabolic state in order to gain muscle mass. I would definitely suggest you consume a surplus of calories while trying to gain, but just be strategic about how you’re doing it. My personal recommendation is for bulking periods to be reversed out of every 4-6 weeks if you want to keep your body responding. I would also recommend keeping surplus’ at 300-500 above your bodies maintenance level. This will keep your body anabolic without the additional gain in BF %, as well as all the other negative side effects that come with it. Trust the process and learn from my mistakes! There’s a much smarter way to go about this whole thing without jeopardizing your long-term health.