So, we are now into winter. A time of hoodies and holidays! So there is no better time to slightly increase the calories and go into a surplus and do a little “bulk”. This is what I am currently doing. We thought it would be good to run through my plans and how I am approaching my bulk and what my plans are. Hopefully, this might help some of you set up your ganging phases/bulk.
What you will quickly discover is that I haven’t made it complicated or changed loads of things around. I have also come from a maintenance phase and not a cutting phase. I have had a few events and weddings over the last few weeks so have come out of a deficit and just sat at maintenance, knowing I would be going into a gaining phase around now. So with that in mind let us jump into our first point.
SAME MEALS, JUST MORE!
My starting point for how I am approaching my bulk is to eat the same meals I always have! I am keeping the same plan, same foods just eating more of it (plus a little extra to make up the calories). I don’t feel the need to change up my diet drastically, I know what sits well with me and what gives me good performance in the gym, so why change it. After eating at this volume for a while I will eventually switch up my meals as eating the same things can not only get boring but also become a struggle to eat, you will find yourself not looking forwards to meals!
I will also be enjoying more sauces and toppings, I won’t be strict on tracking these but I also won’t go over the top. This will include more cheese more top of meals (Great for increasing calories and protein). This is perfect with the festive holidays coming up! Allowing myself those extra calories to enjoy myself and not take the holidays too strict.
ADDED IN SOME CEREAL
Even though I am keeping my meals the same, there is still a need to add some extra food in there because you can only eat so much per meal. So to help with this I have added in a bowl of cereal mid-morning. I find (if you choose the right cereal) them the perfect snack, they are easy to get down, a great pre and post-workout and are so cheap to buy. The variety that you have is amazing as well, you won’t ever run out of new ones to try. This is great for adding a few hundred calories to your intake, allowing you to hit your daily goals without having to eat huge meals!
BRINGING STEPS DOWN SLIGHTLY
As bulking is all about in vs out. I am reducing my steps ever so slightly, Nothing drastic but bringing my steps down slightly allows me to eat less but still be in a surplus. Anyone who has done a serious bulk will know that appetite takes a hit when bulking, so bringing steps down slightly allows me to decrease food while still being a surplus.
I am not reducing steps by much, only from around 70k a week to 60-65k a week, so only a small decrease but enough that it allows me more flexibility with my food. Speaking of bringing out down, this leads us on to our next point.
LOWER OUTPUT BUT HIGHER INTENSITY!
I am bringing my overall output down, for the same reason as above. I am going from 6 sessions a week to 4-5 sessions a week. Doing 2-3 sets per exercise and 2-3 exercises per muscle group per session. So I plan to do a Push, Pull, Legs, Upper, Lower split. This will allow me to hit every muscle group twice a week and add variation to my plan (High rep days and low rep days).
Although I am bringing my amount of sessions and sets down, my intensity will go up! I will be aiming to increase the intensity and push myself at the gym. I should only need this amount of volume as the work I will be doing will be tough and close to failure every set. Training this way will also put a huge focus on recovery and making sure that I am recovering from one session ready for the next. This is why the number of working sets have been decreased allowing more time to recover. Also timing rest periods between sets and increasing rest periods (2 Minutes+).
SLOW & STEADY! CONTROL WHEN APPROACHING MY BULK
This bulk sees me trying to get stronger and gain muscle without putting on excess fat. I don’t want to just eat and gain fat and a little muscle, I want to gain muscle and little fat. This is why I won’t do what most people do and shovel the food in. I will only be eating in a 200-500 calorie surplus. This does mean my bulk will take longer, how long I don’t know yet, but it means it will be a “cleaner” and more sustainable bulk.
As my weight increases so will the food to continue to be in a surplus, This is the reason I have decreased output so I don’t push food too far too fast. I want to stay happy eating and still enjoy food. If hunger and eating become an issue then a diet break or mini cut might be utilised so that I can regain hunger. This was a key point when I was approaching my bulk.
So that is how I am approaching my bulk, as you can see I am not overcomplicating it and I am trying to reduce the use of my “tools” that when it comes to cutting down I have more in my back pocket to use. Don’t be scared to bring your output down during a bulk, this will help you put on weight and keep the calories in.
There is no need to drastically change your diet! All you have to remember is that you only have to increase your calories, so you can eat the same meals but just add things here and there to increase calories.
We have article covering so many areas of fitness and dieting! So if you want an honest answer to any question you might have you can head over to your blog! I am sure you will find the answer to it.
Written by Kieran Blacker
Kieran is the CEO and Founder of Sets & Reps. He decided to make an application that helped people get a gym workout when not at the gym. He designed, Coded and built the application himself.