12 Weeks of Bulking

To skip to the spreadsheet click here

You can find my food diary here

I want to bulk

I want to bulk, and I want to do it in a way that fits my lifestyle and my budget. But doesn’t everyone? I have for the majority of my life been underweight and little muscle. I have got my weight to healthy now and put on a bit of muscle but as with most people I want a bit more – having done my research it would appear that cutting would be pointless, maintaining wouldn’t give me anything so bulking it is.

I am not sure at what point I want to stop bulking but I am certain that I would just know when, or if, I get there.

However, I know the theory of bulking and I now need to put it in practice.

What is this bulking article about?

Weightlifting, bodybuilding and general fitness is popular and it is becoming more and more so. With increased popularity there is always an opportunity to make some money and I do believe that a lot of trainers, gyms, supplement makers and all associated are striking while the iron is hot – I am not begrudging them for doing it but it does make it much more complicated about what routine to do, what to eat, when to sleep and a whole lot more.

Steroids were another factor to do this experiment – you see people ripped to shreds pretending to be natural or ‘natty’ which gives people a false sense of optimism “That guys is natural and looks at how ripped he is! I’m gonna do his workout and use his supplements!” which is wrong. I am not shaming people for taking steroids, but i do think they should state if they take them or not before taking people’s money. I want to do this naturally and to see what my gains are so that other people in the same boat can see what can be possible (or even not possible) without juicing.

This article is not a guide and it is not advice, this is simply a log of my efforts following a set routine, my day to day diet and statistics on improvements from size, strength to general well being. If you’re looking for a guide on bulking that tells you what to do from a professional, this is not it.

So, to round off; the article is a log of my efforts on a bulking plan, diet, which supplements I used and what I gained.

A quote by Burningheart on his Work out of the week on bodybuilding.co.uk

OFTEN PEOPLE WILL FEEL CONFUSED ON WHAT TO EAT, HOW TO TRAIN AND WHICH SUPPLEMENTS TO TAKE DURING A BULK.”

About me

When I ventured into lifting and bulking originally it was a lot to take in and it wasn’t a case of going to the gym, lifting some weights and hey presto there are my muscles. I researched what lifts to do, what to eat and what supplements to take and I had a go and I was quite pleased with the results in the 3 months I did it.

I never recorded my initial measurements but approximately I gained around 6-8 lbs of muscle. These were more than likely ‘noob gains’ and in actuality I would have gained 4 lbs or less after this period. However, I enjoyed the experience and the gains made me want to take it up a notch – I had already changed my diet around and added some more supplements but it was not as good as it can be with changes to the diet.

I am 27, a Digital Marketing Executive Mon-Fri and it is a sedentary role my gym work gets done in the evenings and weekends. I am in a committed relationship, a mortgage and all the responsibilities of an adult. During my childhood and young adulthood I was fairly active and worked as a farmer for 4 years for my father. I don’t want to mislead anyone in anyway – I have done physical work in the past and my work demands an analytical mind so I have some prior experience in both areas for this log. I don’t want anyone to assume I am doing this stuff for the very first time. Although I am a beginner I’m not that much of a beginner.

I am quite comfortable in the weights room and I have done my research on supplements, nutrition and diet. I am fully aware of the basic theory of how to build muscle.

The Bulking Routine

The bulking workout I will be utilizing is the one posted here by Burningheart because of of how detailed and comprehensive it is. The detail in the routine, intensity, diet and supplementary advice is simply outstanding. Not only that, the routine itself is fairly simple and I have done many of the lifts in the past. I will be following this as closely as I can with whatever is available in my local gym, if I can’t do it I will replace with a similar lift.

I have also added a couple of addition stuff as it seemed to lack a bit, particularly for the chest.

The routine also goes on for 12 weeks (recommended) and thus gives a greater scope for trial and error.

Although the routine states to train Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday it is essential for success that it adapts to me and not the other way around – the likelihood is it will be Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday so that the spacing between days stays the same, however I will adhere to the rest periods.

I will increase the weight as time goes by to ensure my body keeps getting challenged. With a 12 week workout I would assume my strength would increase consistently.

How will the Bulking Routine it be logged

I am a big fan of a good spreadsheet and I will be using a Google spreadsheet to monitor the resistance in my lifts and to monitor progress. Every single session will be logged.

The Bulking Diet

The bulking diet will be the most challenging as I am very lazy and never plan ahead, however I have done my research and I am aware of a few recipes and will do everything I can to adhere to it. However, my main concern is to hit my macros and get the protein I need at the very least. I also use a couple of supplements to give me that extra boost, at time of writing they are –

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey

Optimum Nutrition Creatine Monohydrate

Optimum Nutrition Opti-Men 

Kinetica ZMA Active*

Fish Oil

*May not use as I don’t have trouble sleeping

Supplements under consideration at the moment are Casein and D-Pol – Casein is more a budget issue as supplements every month are a drain and the D-Pol was for the reviews, however I am not convinced of what the D-Pol can actually do and the reviews look very suspect.

I don’t work for Optimum Nutrition nor have I been asked to specifically use them, I simply went for the ones people generally praised and stuck with the brand. I like the stuff they’ve done and I don’t have any complaints so why use another I say.

How will the Bulking Diet be monitored?

This is one of the easiest to monitor. I have been calorie counting with My Fitness Pal for months. I will simply be scanning what I eat and measure my nutrition and macros with this. This will also produce graphs and charts for me and can be used to cross reference with the Bulking Routine quite easily.

You can find my food diary here

And also on the spreadsheet – here

Bulking Gains

The whole point of bulking is to get some gains. Although I don’t know what sort of gains I will get with this experiment but the workout routine mentioned I should expect..

“For an experienced weightlifter, you can expect around 1 pound of lean muscle mass per two weeks. As for a new lifter, one can expect 1 pound of lean muscle mass per week.”

I am not sure where I stand with these two so we’ll assume I should get around 6 lbs of muslce by the end of the program IF I eat according to the guide and go into the routine with INTENSITY AND GOOD FORM.

So, my assumptions are:

I will gain 6lbs on muscle mass by week 12 if –

  • I keep to the diet and macros
  • I get 7-9 hours of good sleep
  • Complete the routine with intensity, good form and increase the resistance often

How will I monitor my Bulking Gains?

This is probably the easiest to monitor- I will measure my weight and dimensions (I recently changed to a Gym that provides this service). So the key ones I am looking out for are obviously weight and body fat%; if my weight goes up and my body fat % reduces or stay the same it’s safe to say that it is lean muscle mass (Possibly water retention, but measurements over 12 weeks should normalise them)

When does it start?

I have started as of 27th of December.

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