So you’re ready to begin bulking up to build some more muscle size, but should you use intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is essentially a tool for weight loss. Some believe that intermittent fasting can essentially trick your body’s hormones into producing more HGH (Human Growth Hormones) and staying in an anabolic state.
This would help you put on more mass and get bigger, however after some research, the studies were inconclusive. Although the studies didn’t prove anything in particular, there may still be a place for intermittent fasting in your diet, so long as it yields sustainable, long-term results for you.
Yes, I’ve managed to complete a bulk cycle while using intermittent fasting, but I ran into a few problems along the way.
In this article, I’m going to cover how to execute a successful bulk and if intermittent fasting should play a vital role in that process.
Table of Contents
- What is a Bulking Cycle?
- Bulking Cycle Tips
- What is Intermittent Fasting?
- Pros of Intermittent Fasting and Bulking
- Cons of Intermittent Fasting and Bulking
- Can Intermittent Fasting and Bulking Work?
What is a Bulking Cycle?
A bulking cycle is a phase of someone’s diet and programming where they eat a surplus of calories and focus on building muscle and putting on mass. Bulks can last anywhere from a few months to half a year or more.
Choosing the length of your bulk truly depends on your goals and how much muscle you’d like to pack on before attempting to lean out again. A lot of guys choose to bulk over the winter months in order to start a cut in the early year and be lean by Spring or Summer.
Depending on your goals, you may want to eat a certain number of calories above your RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate). Be careful though, eating too many excess calories will just make you fat and the extra calories are essentially useless.
To avoid this, use a calorie counting app like MyFitnessPal to ensure you’re getting enough protein and monitor your weight to be sure you aren’t gaining more than a pound or two in a week.
Keep in mind, water weight can affect your weight on the scale (even if you have a very accurate body weight scale), so it may be beneficial to get a body composition test done every once in a while.
Getting a body composition test will allow you to monitor your lean muscle mass growth. It will also help you to double check you aren’t putting on an excessive amount of fat.
Bulking Cycle Tips
If you have decided to bulk up and put on some extra lean muscle mass, I’ve included some tips to keep in mind during your bulking phase:
1. Don’t Overdo it on the Calories
It’s easy to get caught up in your bulk and stuff your face with all of the foods you love and crave. However, using your bulk as an excuse to be obese is never a good idea.
You’ll want to track your calories and increase them slowly as your metabolism gets used to the new surplus of food. Control your caloric intake so you don’t hate yourself when it comes time to lean back out.
For best results, consume a minor surplus of about 10% over you daily maintenance calories.
A rough estimate can be calculated by multiplying your current body weight by 17-19 calories.
Example: 160 lbs x 18 = 2,880 calories
Keep in mind, this is just an estimate so it’s important to make adjustments if you discover that you’re gaining body fat too rapidly.
— Mithin Hurbans (@m_hurbans) May 22, 2016
2. Be Consistent with your Eating
If you do choose to stick to intermittent fasting as a tool during your bulk, be consistent with your eating window and the times in which you eat. I wouldn’t recommend going more than 10 to 12 hours without eating while you are trying to put on mass.
Also, be sure to start eating and end eating at the same time each day. Giving your body a routine to stick to will help it regulate its hormones and energy and keep you focused on your goals.
3. Use Progressive Overload in Your Workouts
Lift Like a Belgian: Stronglifts 5×5. Possibly the best beginning to advanced weight training program. https://t.co/lBsf1X0HXp …#helpyougetgains #strengthtraining #progressiveoverload pic.twitter.com/ojOdfMVOGn
— #HelpYouGetGAINS (@helpYOUgetGAINS) January 26, 2019
Your body’s one purpose is to keep you alive and healthy. It will do anything in order to maintain homeostasis and adapt to the environment around it.
Because of this, progressive overload follows the principle that your body will not get stronger or improve unless you expose it to tensions and forces that it hasn’t seen before. This will force it to adapt in order to handle these new weights.
In order to achieve progressive overload, you need to consistently increase either the weight or the amount of reps you are doing to see results. You can use progressive overload in many different ways in order to achieve a variety of results, but it’s best to follow a proven workout to gain muscle so you don’t waste weeks or even months.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent Fasting means prolonging the fasting period between your last meal of one night and your “break-fast” the next day.
Many people like to extend their eating period from say 9pm to 8am to 9pm to 12pm. So, instead of going eleven hours without food, you would go 15 hours without food. Some people go even longer and don’t eat until 1pm or 2pm.
This helps to keep your calories within a certain, small time during the day and helps to reduce overall calorie intake. This is a weight loss tool used by many to keep the body satiated during a dieting period.
Keeping the bulk of your calories within this “eating window” helps to prevent overeating and promote weight loss. I like to use intermittent fasting when I’m in the depths of a cut and starting to feel hungrier.
Pros of Intermittent Fasting and Bulking
The only real pro of intermittent fasting during a bulk could be providing your body with a lot of nutrients before and after your workout which it can use effectively. Intermittent fasting used to be thought to keep your body in an anabolic state.
This would help you put on mass, however this theory was inconclusive in multiple recent studies.
Cons of Intermittent Fasting and Bulking
When you combine intermittent fasting and bulking, it can be hard to eat a surplus of calories in a smaller eating window. You may feel full and bloated when trying to gorge yourself with all of the food you need to eat in a smaller amount of time.
Another con of intermittent fasting is that is simply doesn’t have a point during a bulking phase. Intermittent fasting is intended to be a weight loss tool for those who have severely cut their calories and struggle feeling satiated throughout the day.
This is obviously not the case for someone in a bulking case…unless they have a massive appetite or tape worm. So, intermittent fasting isn’t necessarily useful if you’re trying to put on muscle mass.
Can Intermittent Fasting and Bulking Work?
Altogether, intermittent fasting definitely has its place in certain people’s diets at certain time, but it might not be the best choice during a bulk.
However, that doesn’t mean it can’t work… because it can.
Are you thoroughly confused yet? lol
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