Lifestyle Changes and ‘Bulking’


‘Calories are Calories’, ‘If it fits your Macros’, ‘Get a bulk on for the boys’ these are all probably things you’ve heard before when the topic refers to a caloric surplus. This surplus is something I have previously mentioned in ‘Should I eat more?’ being that if we aren’t losing or gaining we are just maintaining a weight that has taken almost a lifetime for our bodies to adapt to. So will it take a lifetime to undo if we allow it? For each of the lifestyle factors that contribute to our total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) what is the best approach to spark a positive response from our bodies, sustaining thereafter the initial month of results? Fad diets, cutting carbs out for prolonged periods and the U-Turn-like switch of habit may provide quick results but does this come without an impending need to replace one thing for another? Swapping whole foods for replacement shakes, stopping smoking and then eating twice as much or ‘fasting’ but not really putting the food back in?

Depending on the person and the immediacy of a needed lifestyle change I would say a   ‘gradual’ over the ‘cold turkey’ approach when it comes to aforementioned diet changes. This should provide more control over decision making rather than creating an erratic ‘forbidden fruit-like’ relationship which can only really end one way. I recently watched an advert for Galaxy chocolate, a versatile premise being one of living each day and savouring life’s moments, a great marketing hook for a Chocolate ‘addict’ with whom each day would literally be sweeter. So what about when other food now seems flavourless and a normal meal is always missing something afterward, could the daily ‘sweetener’ approach be a habit which creeps further into the days to which seem somewhat tasteless without.

So how does this relate to Bulking? Well as the chocolate lover justifies an even sweeter time watching a film or adding a treat to their lunch-break, the ‘bulker’ justifies ‘calories’ More calories at every opportunity; more energy, building more muscle and thus burning more fat in the long run? Even sweeter right? Well where do we draw the line for bulking and just pure greed?

Ascertain your surplus, plan out the ‘bad calories’ and work them in around exercise so that they’re being used for fuel and not for fat stores. Be clever about ‘cheat meals’ as they can impede on the rest of your diet day to day. If you eat a large pizza at 6pm filling you up to the brim whilst still having the rest of the days food to consume, this will make going back to clean calories twice as hard and bitterly resentful. Asses changes to your body composition, does your skin look more ‘watery’ and flat as opposed to tight and vascular, note how said meals and even high sugars both spike and sap energy which you’ll have to sleep off. Sleep being the key to recovery, surpassing the justification merely throwing back more convenient protein and recovery supplementation. Finally, the additional calories that are essentially going to assist in building more muscle will need to hold on and sustain on your ‘new’ frame for a sufficient time in order for it to stay when you cut. Therefore only getting the additional calories from junk food –instead of calorically dense foods– will both hinder your energy levels cutting back down and jeopardise your body composition that has only initially been leaving you more ‘full’ from the extra carb-dense treats and not from solid muscle or what you think is ‘#gainzz’

Bulk smart folks,

Jake 💪

More on Macros & ‘The Bulking Fear’


So in a previous post I mentioned the flexible approach to dieting known as IIFYM. This refers to inputting your daily meals and various other aspects of your lifestyle into MyFitnessPal, in order to track and manipulate certain elements when needed be. Now macro counting can seem tedious when the foods that you consume vary in size and frequency each day, ultimately though, having a solid structure to stick to may be just as critical in assisting weight loss or weight gain as the numerical nutritional values. For a lot of people, calorie counting is mainly for CUTTING weight, although adhering to or above a certain calorie goal everyday will benefit those with weight GAIN in mind all the same. Unless you’d consider yourself a food connoisseur and eat out almost everyday, you’ll find that the food you eat week to week won’t be worlds apart. Although, you still need to be conscious of the nutritional components in order to assist your efforts of physical CHANGE. This could be to lose 4kg or gain it, either way, failing to identity the amounts of macronutrients you consume daily will make it much more difficult to reap the benefits of physical EFFORT/EXERTION. Plainly put, and you’ve probably heard this plenty of times to know, ‘your body doesn’t WANT to change’ manipulating a number of different factors will FORCE it to do so, your calorie/carbs/fat/protein intake being just a few to name. 

When you see lads weighing themselves after every workout -as though the iron from a few dumbbells has somehow transcended into them- the reason why they could have hit a ‘plateau’ is probably gonna be to do with their input vs their output. This refers to the nutrients that we consume -input- as opposed to physical effort, what we do -output- If you put the wrong fuel in your car not only will you not get to work, you will most probably damage the engine. Our bodies are the same, in that we fuel -feed- ourselves in order to function. The way that we look is simply a byproduct of how much food is used as energy or stored as fat. Our body’s capacity to burn or store fat will undoubtedly be predetermined by our genetic makeup, but I believe it can be overruled to an extent just the same. 

Our primal predecessors would have had to hunt for food, conditioning their bodies by means of function and survival. Today we have the facility to have someone else find an animal, someone else to kill it, another to cook it and another to bring it to us. By doing so we impede evolution, and endanger the once predatory genetic makeup of our ancestors -cheers JustEat. For anyone thats heard of The paleolithic or ‘caveman’ diet, mainly consisting of meat, nuts and berries, by contrast it highlights the kind of foods that the modern world has grown accustomed to through agricultural and productive advancement. These include dairy, starchy carbohydrates and processed foods -so basically everything we eat. I have tried the Paleo diet for a short period in the past and it was beneficial to the extent of not being able to function on a human level due to such low carbs. Although in retrospect, adopting certain approaches of the caveman diet may be of some merit with regards to weight loss especially when its needed within a restricted time frame, i.e contest prep, summer holidays etc. When the instance of this is relevant I could attempt to cover more of it, but technically we’re still in the ‘off season’

Now for anyone that considers themselves a successful bodybuilder/fitness athlete/ sponsored bitch, the key to attaining a solid physique is all down to the work put in during the ‘off season’ If you look good all year round, give the swans a smooch you absolute hero. For most of us, the additional weight we acquire during the winter months SHOULD be seen as more of a blessing than a burden. If you get over the fact that you may be holding onto a little more water than usual and realise that those around you aren’t interested in the slightest, you may be a step closer to your ‘#goals#2016goals’ Now there’s two words that get thrown around often enough to me cringe -even worse when they’re in same sentence- but LEAN MASS for most people, will always be in vain. This refers to gaining as much muscle as possible, whilst minimising fat. This is possible by narrowly exceeding a caloric threshold but you’ll still need to get somewhat ‘fat’ in order for this to be of any benefit. I can’t imagine this appealing to anyone that already considers themselves reasonably lean without exercise but if they wanna look like someone a 14 year old girl would have on their wall thats up to them. So this is the part where I mention this new flexible approach to dieting called ‘If It Fits Your Macros’ … IIFYM

So THE BULKING FEAR. Does she think I’ve let myself go? Do I use the pool at the gym? Is there a chance that we could end up playing strip poker? shit, I have rolls? All these questions are indicative of consuming extra calories, but unlike make-up, its better to have MORE as opposed to LESS. Just look at most professional fitness athletes when they’re not competing, the extent to which they go to pretty much epitomises what an ‘off season’ SHOULD entail, look at someone like Sadik Hadzovic and tell me that he looks the same all year round. Lets face it, for someone that trains consistently and has an awareness on the importance of diet, putting on a few kg’s over the space of a few months isn’t something to be fearful of in the slightest. For anyone struggling to gain weight for any particular reason, ignoring this fear will not only put the knowledge you may have acquired into practise, it will provide you with an insight to how sensitive your body is to change. As previously mentioned, genetics may stipulate our ability to gain or lose weight but be realistic in the sense that it may take a while.

Current macros -although I aim to exceed these daily-  for my current weight of 94kg are as follows;

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