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Bulking... the nutrition side...


I got this commend on my last blog post so I figured I'd address it...

moxette wrote:
Hey there,
Congrats on all of your hard work!
I think the biggest issue with talking about bulking and cutting is what it takes to get there. I would love to see a post on what you eat (macros and calories) when you are in a bulk and cut stage. Everywhere I look there is emphasis on eating more. But what is more? One woman's low calorie day is another woman's feast day. There are tons of workouts out there for how to bulk and cut, yet even with the bodybuilders it sounds like when they are cutting they are down to 1400 per day and lots of cardio. What are your thoughts and experience on this?
 
Very good question. Before I craft a response I want to include a disclaimer. I am NOT a nutritionist and have no education or credentials where that is concerned. I will give you my perspective but it will only be an OPINION. Capiche?
 
So, to state the obvious, the amount of calories required to bulk/cut are completely relative to the individual and are based on each person's energy intake versus expenditure. A larger person is going to require more calories to maintain size than a smaller person. Factor's that influence caloric needs are a person's age, size, weight, body type, ratio of body fat to lean mass, and activity level. Given this fact... there isn't a magic number that will work for everyone. Each person has to tailor their own diet to their goals!
 
As for me... there are some general guidelines I like to follow regarding my macros and calories. I try to maintain my protein intake at a minimum of 1 gram per pound of body weight. This is whether bulking or cutting. Protein first and foremost. A certain amount of dietary fats is also important but I never seem to have an issue getting those. Peanut butter tends to take care of that for me. LOL. The rest of the calories I fill with carbs. I try to choose more complex carbs vs starches/simple sugars but when I'm bulking I'm not as strick with those choices. What I have done in the past and what I would suggest to others is to figure out what your maintenance calories are and start off 200-300 calories more for a bulk or less for a cut. Increase and decrease calories gradually.
 
Now, as an illustration, I will give you the actual numbers...

On my last bulk I started at 1800 (around maintenance for me) and gradually increased to 2500-2600/day by the end. I was still doing some cardio here and there so that expenditure should be factored in. When I started my cut I dropped back down to 1800 and stayed there for quite a while. I eventually found I plateaued on that intake so I dropped down to 1600. The losses picked back up again. Towards the end (right before the show) I did increase cardio to get that last little bit of thigh fat off (yes we all hate that stuff) but I never went below 1600 calories. As for my macros... percentage-wise I kept them around 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fat. I will go on record and say that I am NOT carb sensitive. Other friends/competitors I know have to cut their carb intake much lower to achieve a similar level of leanness. I cut carbs for 1 week and looked and felt horrible so I added them back in again. This is what I mean when I say that you have to tailor your diet to your own body chemistry. We are all different and finding out what works for you may require some experimentation of your own.

I hope that addresses the original question sufficiently.

As for my current intake... yes, I've been kinda lazy and not really tracking (sorry). I've been eating the same foods and meals for so very long that I don't even need to record it all to have a general idea of what my intake is. I have chicken and sweet potatoes for lunch most days. I eat at lot of ground turkey... both in the form of meat patties or ground meat on low-carb wraps. I eat brown rice and asparagus (or some other vegetable) as a side. I eat ground turkey chilli. I eat tilapia. I am eating the same foods as I ate while cutting... just adding a few little extra snacks in there daily and a couple of extra cheat meals per week. I eat ice cream every Sunday... because I like it. I did this even throughout my cut. My diet, with the exception of the cheat meals, is utterly borning. I will eventually get back to tracking when I reach a point where every calorie counts but I'm not ready to right now. For now I will just indulge in a little extra snacking here and there knowing come next spring I won't be able to do that! And on that note... I feel like a bowl of oatmeal.... 

14 votes + -

5 comments:

misssiri wrote 22 months ago:
I wanted to ask you the same question. Thanks for the post!!
Bikeminx wrote 22 months ago:
Love the post, I'm on my first bulk at the moment. Really messes with your head at first. I was like, "I have to eat HOW many calories??!" lol! I'm trying a 40/40/20 split but I may swap it around depending on how I feel or how it goes :)
moxette wrote 22 months ago:
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!
FlashBang wrote 22 months ago:
I so appreciate this post! This does illustrate the universal constant, ymmv, your millage may vary. Even though I am a man if ate that much I would gain weight. You have to dial in your own nutrition. It has taken me two years to get my head around that I am an easy gainer and carb sensitive so I have to eat less. Even when I triathlon train and burn an insane amount, I (emphasis on I) have to leave some calories on the table. So, try new things, and figure out what works. What I really want to say is that you are not "lazy" you have figured it out! This is about who we become not what we do. I am a little jealoous, not only are you gorgeous, you can eat! My take away is that your calories are a lot cleaner than mine, I tend to eat junk calories when I need them most (it is very hard to eat 3500 broccoli calories). When I get back to training I am going to "fill in" on those insane days with sweet potatoes and whole grains. Instead of blue bell and see if I can eat a little more without putting on weight or just maintaining.
balik88 wrote 22 months ago:
Am so so so glad that you posted this! Can I ask if while your on a bulk do you just have as many cheats as u like (within reason) or do you do a certain amount of cheat meals or a day, etc?... Also
how does this compare to when your cutting/maintaining?

Thanx for all the advice you give it is much appreciated! :)

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