Well if you just got here, you should go back and read from the beginning.
So far I talked about my clean, dirty, and filthy bulking phases, and touched on the basics of the strength and hypertrophy training programs I used in the gym. On to the most common question I get asked about the bulking process…
Why put on all that weight, just to try to lose it again?
This part confuses people so I’ll try to explain as best I can.
As I said earlier, you need to give your body a chance to get used to carrying around all that extra mass. When trying to get bigger, you accept that you WILL add some body fat as well as muscle… although of course we try for as little fat as possible. I read somewhere that even people who don’t exercise and just eat junk food and get obese… according to what I read, 35% of their weight gain will still be muscle. Obviously that’s not a good ratio, but having added 8kg without much fat I wasn’t too fussed if there was a higher percentage of body fat in that final 2kg that I was determined to gain.
I maintained my 78kgs (I’m pretty sure this is the most I’ve ever weighed, even more than when I was fat and lazy in my mid 20s) for a few weeks until I couldn’t stand it any more. The plan WAS to maintain it until the end of winter, but it’s tough when you’ve had reasonably nice flat stomach for most of the year, to not have it any more! I wasn’t happy, so like I said earlier, sometimes you have to alter your plans a little. And as it turns out, the amended plan is actually a much better strategy anyway.
Once I couldn’t stand being “fat” anymore, I made up a new nutrition plan at 500 calories below maintenance. So, I went from “bah, I have to go and eat AGAIN”, to “gah! WHEN do I get to eat some more?”… it’s tough, this stuff is! Also for the first time since the previous summer I added some cardio back into my routine. Early mornings after my first PT client, I’ll go and do about a 1/2 hour of boxing & burpees. The weight training program changed a little as well, but really just for variety. I added in some pre-fatigue supersets which I’ve always like, but haven’t used for a year or so. It’s good to put some different stuff into the mix to shock things up.
So over the long term, out strategy is as follows:
- Get Lean.
- Bulking + Strength Training Phase
- More Bulking + Hypertrophy Phase
- Mini Cutting Phase
I say “mini” cutting phase because the goal isn’t really to get fully down to your ripped Summer beach-body shape… it’s just enough to trim off the fat you’ve put on while bulking, and let the stomach flatten out a bit. For me this was just a month’s work on reduced calories and with an added cardio session each day… well, most days.
On this phase I’ve dropped back down to 76kg, but I’m definitely stronger and leaner than I was at 76kg the previous time.
I’ve covered everything from the start of the year up until today. Next week I will resume bulking!
However this time I’ll be keeping my cardio session in the mornings, and switching to a 5 day split program for the first time this year.
The goal from here is for a lean 80kg (hopefully more!) in time for the hot weather in January and February.