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Bulking is the term used to describe the process of gaining weight to increase muscle mass, being considered the first phase of hypertrophy. Generally practiced by bodybuilders and high performance athletes who want more muscle definition, bulking is done by increasing calorie intake, for a period that can vary from 4 to 6 months.
As a consequence of weight gain in bulking, there is a need to then lose the excess fat gained, this period being called cutting. Thus, bulking and cutting are strategies whose ultimate goal is weight gain, and subsequently, fat loss. See more about cutting.
Although bulking is mostly performed by bodybuilders, it can also be performed by people who go to the gym and who want hypertrophy, and it is recommended to follow the guidance of a nutritionist so that the food plan is adequate, as well as a professional of physical education so that the workouts are also carried out according to the objective and so that the fat gain is not so high during the bulking period.
Usually bulking is done in the off-season of the competitors, that is, when bodybuilders are not in competition season and, because of that, they can gain weight without great worries. So, for bulking to be done correctly and for weight gain to happen in a he althy way, it is important to follow some nutritional guidelines such as:
- Consume more calories than you spend, since the main objective is weight gain, so it is recommended to follow a hypercaloric diet, with an increase in consumption of carbohydrates, proteins and he althy fats.
- Bulking for the period indicated by the nutritionist, this is because if it is done for less or more time than indicated, there may not be the desired gain in muscle mass after the cutting period;
- Training under the guidance of a physical education professional, who should indicate a training session according to the person's objective and the period they are going through, being normally indicated in this period the performing high-intensity physical activities, such as HIIT, for about 15 minutes.
It is common that as you gain weight, there is also an increase in the amount of fat in the body, and therefore, monitoring the nutritionist and physical education professional is essential to ensure that fat gain be minimal during this period and for the cutting period to be more effective.
There are two main bulking strategies that should be discussed with the instructor and nutritionist, namely:
1. Clean bulking
Clean bulking is one in which the person is concerned about what they are consuming, giving preference to he althy and functional foods, despite the amount of calories ingested being higher than what they are used to or what they spend daily. In this type of bulking, it is essential to follow up with a nutritionist, because in this way it is possible that the food plan is indicated according to the characteristics and objective of the person, in addition to the fact that the fat gain is smaller.
In addition, the nutritionist can also indicate the use of food supplements or medicines that the person can use to enhance bulking and favor the next stage of hypertrophy, which is cutting. In this type of bulking, muscle mass gain happens more he althily and slowly and gradually, however the diet is more restricted and can be more expensive.
2. Dirty Bulking
In dirty bulking, there is not much concern about what is consumed daily, with a greater consumption of carbohydrates and unhe althy fats, which leads to an increase not only in weight but also in fat.
Although it is unhe althy and the cutting process is slower, muscle mass gain during dirty bulking is faster, and this strategy is most used by athletes.
Bulking and cutting
Bulking corresponds to the process that precedes cutting, that is, during the bulking period, the person consumes more calories than what they spend, because the objective is to gain weight to generate muscle mass, and, when it reaches the goal is to move on to the cutting period, which corresponds to the period in which the diet is more restricted and physical activity is more intense with the objective of losing fat and gaining muscle definition.
Bulking and cutting are strategies adopted together and that must be carried out under the guidance of a nutritionist and a physical education professional, to achieve the expected benefits, which are muscle strength gain, hypertrophy and fat burning.
In addition, with bulking and cutting it is possible to obtain greater vascularization, which is valued in bodybuilding competitions, and higher concentrations of GH in the blood, which is the growth hormone and which is also related to gain of muscle mass.