“Dirty Bulking”│Q & A

Before I continue with this week’s question and answer session, I just want to thank you all for your continued support – I promise you, the best is yet to come.

OK, moving on…

Besides emails, I’ve also been receiving questions via Twitter. If it’s a generic question, I’ll usually reply by tweet. However, if I really like the question, then I’ll answer by writing a full-length post on the site.

So, last week I received a tweet from somebody asking:

@Blogybuilding – do you think a diet is needed to bulk? Considering I love to eat rubbish food #HelpNeeded

Thank you for your question! You can read my response after the cut.

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OK, so we’ve established that you love eating rubbish food. But let me ask you this – how do you ever expect to look great, if what you’re fuelling your body with is crap?

Today, the term “bulking” is used too loosely in the health and fitness industry. To bulk, essentially means to gain weight, ideally muscle, in the shortest time possible. However, many individuals, usually “hard gainers”, misconstrue this as an opportunity to binge eat in this thought that they’re going to exclusively build lean muscle – not true.

That said, I don’t blame you; we all love burgers, chips, pizza, chocolate, ice cream and other calorie dense foods… who doesn’t? However, it goes without saying – eating this way is unhealthy. Sure you may slab on some muscle. But, I promise you that you’ll gain just as much fat, if not more, in the process. Not to mention, you’ll be screwing up your insides too – regardless of how much exercise you do!

Below are some side-effects associated with “dirty bulking or “binge bulking”, as I like to call it:

Skin

As you may know, the foods I have listed in the aforementioned paragraph are dense in calories. Eating too much of these foods will lead to rapid weight gain. While our skin is resilient, gaining weight too quickly will cause your skin to stretch, which could to lead to stretch marks – unsightly scars that are pretty much irreparable unless you opt for surgery.

Cardiovascular

The heavier you are, the harder your heart has to work to pump blood around your body. Therefore, gaining weight rapidly places unwarranted amounts of stress on your cardiovascular system, which would impact cholesterol levels and moreover, lead to heart disease.

Body Image

Dirty bulking is a paradox; we all want to look our best, and yet we’re willing to allow ourselves to get fat in order to do so. The fact of the matter is, eating “rubbish food” will make you fat and therefore, will lower your self-esteem. Man boobs or “moobs” are not cool. Neither is a “muffin top” – trust me, I’ve been there! Nobody find’s them attractive and let’s face it, the reason why you’re thinking about bulking is so that you can increase muscle mass and therefore, feel more attractive. Sorry, but it comes at a cost!

Some may argue that a calorie is a calorie – fine. But this is how I look at it: 180g’s of sweet potato contains about 35g’s of carbohydrates, as does a 57g Snickers bar! Although both elicit the same hormonal response (insulin), they are of different degrees.  In other words, one is more likely lead to fat gain than the other. For that reason, bulking cleanly will always yield quicker and healthier results in the long run!

Right, to finish off: yes, you do need a diet when bulking. However, unlike a diet that involves cutting or losing weight, a bulking diet can be less rigid, and therefore allows for flexibility. By this, I mean you can afford to have the odd “cheat meal” here and there. My advice would be to strategize these meals at times where your body is likely to use the additional calories for refuelling and recovering i.e. post-workout.  Using sugar as an example, this tactic will help dampen the role that insulin has in storing fat. Instead, the sugar is more likely to be used to help replenish muscle glycogen. For more information on this, please click here.

I hope this answers your question. Good luck!