I said when I started blogging again that I was going to blog my bulk and then when it comes to it my cut. So here is my first bulk blog post.
** FYI – I’m sure a lot of people reading my blog will know this already but just for anyone who doesn’t already know –
Bulking is being in a caloric surplus and gaining muscle (also unfortunately a bit body fat that inevitably comes with it). Usually people bulk in the winter so that when they have that little bit of extra body fat it’s not the time of year we want to be showing off our bods.
Cutting is what happens after the bulk. When all of that lovely muscle has been built up underneath but the layer of fat that comes with all of the added calories is still covering the muscles. Of course they need to be shown off so cutting is being in a caloric deficit and burning away that fat so that you can show all of those lovely muscles you worked so hard for.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way.
I had been on a half hearted bulk starting from around October but I was really struggling with eating properly and I was extremely nervous about putting on any weight. Even in my usual diet I don’t eat a lot of carbs to begin with, so when I wrote out my meal plans for my bulk and worked out my macros I planned to slowly up my calories by about 200 every week as I had heard this way works best. However even upping my calorie intake by that small amount was really difficult for me, especially since I was going from eating a lot of protein and fewer carbs to eating a lot more carbs. I felt so bloated all day and was feeling to stuffed i didn’t want to eat my next meal so wasn’t managing to finish my calories each day.
Also because when I was about 18 I put on about a stone in weight and was extremely unhappy, I was so nervous about gaining even a little bit weight this time round. I knew that in order to get the physique I wanted I would have to sacrifice my abs and leanness for a little while, but that didn’t make it any easier mentally. I had been making progress but it was very slowly and it was messing with my head having so much anxiety about planning my workouts and meals. You will know from my previous blog posts last year was a very tough year for me mentally so I really had no confidence in myself at the time.
So that’s when I messaged my lovely friend Lauren Levine to ask for her help. We worked together in Ibiza a few years back and ever since she has been such an inspiration to me watching her fitness journey. I thought to myself If I have a professional like her coaching me online and advising me then it would put my mind to rest. I would not have to worry about what if I am doing it wrong, or what if I wasn’t doing the right kind of training, or what if I wasn’t eating the right foods and I gained to much body fat instead of muscle. I knew in my head I had read every single book on bulking, ready every online article I could find, downloaded every piece of info I could. But lets face it my anxiety was really overwhelming me and I was worry worry worrying about not getting it right. So to put my mind at ease I asked Lauren to help me.
My training the past few weeks has been all about lifting heavy again and building back up my strength which I was very excited about. My sessions feel so much more effective and I have started to really enjoy it again. I think even just having somebody else plan them for me has took a massive weight off my mind so that I can solely focus on the training itself and the eating without any worries or concerns.
It took a bit of playing around with my carbs and meal times to find out what worked best but now I’m up to 2500 calories a day / 3000 calories on rest days and finding I am not bloated and actually feeling a lot more energised. I realised that a lot of carbs don’t agree with me. I now stick to just oats or sweet potato for my carbs as I realised that whole-wheat pasta and brown rice were really making my stomach feel huge and uncomfortable which was making me even more stressed. I also had to start my meals a lot earlier in the day. I used to not eat until about 11am but its pretty difficult to fit in 3000 calories between 11am and 9pm and not be absolutely stuffed. So now I also have a meal before I leave for work at about 7am and start eating at this time, this helps me to spread my meals out better during the day and not feel like I was forcing my meals in. I decided to buy a gainer shake with carbs in for after my workouts instead of just the standard whey, an easy way to get in a few of those extra calories. Lauren also advised me to track my calories and meals on my fitness pal which is actually a great and very easy way to keep a food diary instead of writing everything down like I was.
My body has changed so much in only 4 weeks, my weight is steadily going up now at a good pace (unlike before when it was very slow and kept pausing). I am loving my training and happy to be working on all of the big lifts / compound movements. I finally have my eating on track and in a routine that I find manageable and easy to prep. So now I feel like everything is in place, I have found what is working for me and am really looking forward to seeing how my body is going to look by the end of this bulk as I definitely feel and look much better than I did at the beginning of the year. It just goes to show that eating calories and being lean doesn’t always make you look your best. I personally feel that I look a lot better now than I did when I was a bit leaner, I feel like my muscles are filling out more and I have a lot more confidence!
I’ll keep you updated with anything new I try and if anyone has any tips or good advice I’m all ears. Like I said the past few years I have been focusing on maintaining my shape and staying lean, this is my first proper bulk so I’m open to suggestions.
3 weeks difference in this picture. Lots of training. Lots of food. Lots of sunbeds.