“You MUST bulk (add fat) to add muscle” we are told…but how much truth is behind this?
Does getting fat allow us to add more muscle? – I’m not referring to adding a few pounds of fat here, I’m taking on the claim you must consistently add fat to gain muscle, leading to guys with relatively large amounts of body fat and chubby cheek syndrome. A calorie surplus all your body to be in a more anabolic environment, however a huge surplus doesn’t necessarily mean better better when compared to a more sensible one.
Well if you went back in time 50 or so years and asked the majority of the people in the fitness world if bulking was necessary, they would probably tell you…YES! But just like technology has come a LONG way since then, so has the fitness world. However many people still “pass down” the knowledge down which is why it takes so long for certain things to disappear…and this is why many people are “confused” with all the seemingly conflicting information.
Sure having a bit of extra “meat on your bones” may make you feel better because the extra food will give you the confidence when in the gym to attack those weights. Additionally knowing that your muscle will be less likely to be used as an energy source from the extra fat and muscle sparring carbohydrates in your system will allow you to be at ease more when compared to being on a calorie restricted diet.
However there is no reason to “chug” down food in the name of building muscle, sure you will add size…but most of isn’t going to be muscle (if only it was that easy!). Besides I want to be healthy whilst adding muscle throughout the year, sure I don’t have to be a lean machine all the time, but being on first name terms with the McDonalds drive through staff isn’t necessary either….ensuring healthy eating habits and scheduling your “cheat/treat meals” will allow you to stay relatively lean year round without running your mind into the ground by eating vegetables and chicken 24/7 with no reward in the form of a tastetastic meal, your body can’t tell the difference between foods, as long as you are getting the same amounts of nutrients, the outcome will ultimately be the same.
Personally I eat similar foods throughout the week so that I don’t have to think too much about working out the calories and macronutrients in each meal, this allows me to be consistent over time which is especially important when living a busy lifestyle, I then have “more exiting” foods towards the end of the week/weekend when I have time (for those with more time you may be able to spend more time working out your numbers on a day to day basis).
Look, building muscle is a slow process, it's great that you're wanting to do everything you can to add muscle, but gettin way out of shape isn't the answer.
Some people will NOT accept this…they will think of a friend who told them that bulking is the only way to go!…but really, that friend just wants to eat what they want and rationalise their eating plan which isn’t something they want to admit.
If you want to eat everything in sight, go for it! But don’t tell everyone that it’s what you need to do, be comfortable with the decision you made and go from there…Although I would suggest a balanced approach by scheduling a mentally satisfying meal instead of just “whenever” as trust me you WILL eat more “bad food” than you think without a schedule…..I’ve been there!
Additionally after a few days of “bodybuilding approved” food, that treat meal will taste B.E.A. UTIFUL!
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