When I first started this bulk for a long time I found it very difficult to eat enough carbs during the day without feeling absolutely stuffed and bloated. I usually would eat quite a lot carb diet. Not intentionally, but I just tend to eat a lot of spinach, broccoli, berries that kind of thing which don’t equate to an awful lot of carbs over the day.
When starting a bulk it’s not good enough to just eat more calories, you have to make sure your calories are made up of the right amount of carbs, protein and fat. Since I had been used to eating very low carbs for such a long time soon as I started trying to eat carbs again I would feel so full after only a few mouthfuls and I would be so bloated and uncomfortable for the rest of the day. This then caused me to miss the rest of my meals for the day because I felt so stuffed and my stomach felt so hard that I could not even force myself to eat any more. So instead of eating more calories each day I was actually ending up eating less calories and my weight was not going up any at all.
I decided to start keeping a food diary every day and kept writing notes of which meals were making me feel the worst and which ones weren’t so bad. After a bit of trial and error I made a list of the foods that worked best for me and a list of the foods that I should stay away from and made up a new meal plan.
I decided that any brown rice or wholemeal pasta were a definite no. In my new meal plan to make up my carb intake I chose to stick with just sweet potato, oats and a protein shake that also contained carbs as I noticed that I could eat enough of these without feeling sick and overly full.
I also decided to eat a smaller amount of carbs with each meal during the day, rather than eating most of my carbs around my workouts which I know a lot of people tend to do. At the moment I am eating 6 meals a day on training days, all between 400 – 450 calories so 2500 in total and on rest days I am adding an extra meal of 500 calories to bring my caloric intake up to 3000.
What also helped me was increasing my calories slowly of the course of a few weeks. I had been eating about 1800 calories a day for as long as I could remember and very low carbs. So even when I kept my calories at 1800 but started eating slightly less protein and more carbs this was a big change for me and I felt a lot fuller for longer. So the first two weeks I decided to just keep it at 1800 and let my body adjust to the carbs again. From then on I put my calories up slowly by 200 a week until I was at my target.
There was a lot of trial and error this time round with the food side of things but this was my first proper bulk so I didn’t know what would work for me and so had i to experiment a bit and chop and change things around. It took a while because I was having trouble with the carbs at first and was also nervous about putting on weight so kept stopping and starting. This meant the first few weeks my progress was very up and down, i was putting on weight but very slowly and kept stopping and stalling.
When i finally got everything on track and started to feel comfortable with it i started seeing so much progress and such massive changes. I’m actually really enjoying it now and my weight has been going up steadily and on track. My shape is really filling out and even though i have not one shred of an ab right now i am actually feeling really confident in the way i look. I never thought i would be happier with having more body fat on me but seeing the rest of my body changing so much and my legs getting so much bigger has really gave me that confidence that what i’m doing is working and i can have that body that i can see in my mind.
I guess this has taught me a really valuable lesson and that is i need to love my own body in every condition. There are always going to be things regarding my physique that i want to tweak or work on or improve, but that doesn’t mean i can’t love the way i look and still want to work on making it better. I’m currently 8kgs heavier than i was last summer and i can definitely see the difference. My legs especially are so much bigger and my strength has come back and improved so much. I had planned on reaching 62kgs and then cutting back down but as i’m only 4 more lbs away from reaching that target i think i will extend my target to 64kgs and drag this bulk out a few more weeks since i’m having a lot of fun with it. Then bring on the summer shreds!