Learn how to “lean bulk” – gain muscle mass without gaining fat. Let’s set the record straight, bulking for extended periods is not a good idea!
The word bulking conjures up images of stuffing mass amounts of food into your mouth for extended periods of time. In most cases, when a natural bodybuilder begins a bulking period, it lasts for several months in a row. Maybe you’ve attempted a bulk like this?
I’m here to set the record straight: bulking for extended periods of time is a bad approach.
The Benefits of Bulking
Bulking works, but it works best in two week spurts. During times of over-feeding, the body becomes a growth machine.
Fat storage activity in the body doesn’t instantly kick into overdrive when bulking begins. It’s not a light switch reaction. Simply put, when you over-eat, it takes a while for the body to transition to “fat storage” mode. During this transition period,your body is a muscle building machine.
During the first 14 days of a bulk, several studies have revealed that testosterone, IGF-1, and insulin levels elevate. What does this mean? You are highly anabolic. You are as anabolic as you’re going to get as a natural bodybuilder.
Benefits of Aggressive Bulking Peak at 14 Days
But the anabolic benefits of bulking peak after 14 days. During this time, and as I mentioned, the body is slowly transitioning over to fat storage mode. After 2 weeks on a bulk, you lose most of the anabolic benefits, and start to store fat at an alarming rate.
If you continue to aggressively bulk after this point, more of your gains will be fat. Of course, each individual is different. Some may continue to gain more muscle for several days after the 2 week period. And some may start to add fat earlier then predicted. But in general, 2 weeks is the optimal bulking period.
As one can project, once your current bulk ends, you should refrain from another bulking cycle for at least 2 weeks. Again, the body needs time to transition from a fat storage machine into a fat burning machine.
During this transition time, it is recommended that you eat slightly below caloric maintenance levels. Because the body is ready to store fat, eating “normal maintenance calories” could cause you to gain unwanted fat. By eating slightly below maintenance levels, you will encourage the body to transition to fat burning mode. Thus begins the prepping cycle for the next bulk.