Winter has arrived and colder temperatures mean but one thing for bros: bulking season!
Bulking is the most fun any dude can have in the gym. We get more sets, more reps, bigger pumps, and the best part of it all, more food!
Forget all that talk about veggies, I’m talking about the best foods here: Ice cream, pasta, bagels, pie, loaves of bread, white rice, potatoes, cheese, frozen yogurt, and beer.
You have to feed your body to build muscle and the best foods tend to be the ones highest in calories.
A good winter bulk can last anywhere from 16 to 20 to 24 weeks, depending on your goals and the plan your coach has you on. That means you have plenty of months to enjoy the best foods before you start thinking about cutting for beach season again.
Then it happens.
You look in the mirror or worse your girl tells you that you are starting to look “puffy.” In that moment, as you stare at your reflection in the mirror you ask yourself, “how did I get fat again?”
I’ve been there brombre. I bulked too hard last year and entered Stay Puft Marshmellow Man mode. I spent nearly 6 months cutting most of that fat down and I will be honest, it sucked.
How did I careen out of control faster than the New York Jets playoff aspirations? I let three things escape my control and I want to make sure you don’t do the same.
1. Alcohol Has Calories
Reading this feels worse than I felt watching Han Solo take a lightsaber to his gut in The Force Awakens. I was reeling for a week from that one.
Point is, beer has calories. So does whiskey and bourbon and vodka. All alcohol, no matter the mental gymnastics you try in your mind, contains calories.
Truth is, alcohol is still a poison and your body has to dispose of it.
This disposal process can cause excess fat storage.
When you ingest booze, your body will put all other processes on hold, including fat burning, to process the alcohol and dispose of it.
This means that if you are adding beer on top of your excess calories, you are gonna store some fat while your body works to expel the alcohol.
2. Carb Cravings (Winter Blues)
Ever notice that you crave more carbs in the winter or that you might feel slightly more sad than normal?
Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a mood disorder that affects millions around the world every year. It is commonly referred to as “the winter blues.”
I am no scientist nor doctor and don’t pretend to be one but one symptom of SAD is the tendency to overeat, especially in the form of carbs.
Some theories claim that it’s because of the lack of sunlight or due to a lack of serotonin production. Serotonin stimulates our feelings of happiness and can be produced after ingesting a high carb meal
In the simplest Bill Nye way possible after you eat a high carb meal, your pancreas releases insulin, insulin removes amino acids from your bloodstream, except for tryptophan, which is the precursor to serotonin.
Tryptophan easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and is converted to serotonin in the brain. Thus leading to that happy, full feeling we all get after a good carb binge. If serotonin is already low, your body will want more and thus, you crave carbs.
3. Too Much Junk Food
I spent the first part of this article talking about the amazing, typically “off-limits”, foods that you can chow down on when you bulk. They are the best foods, but they are also the worst foods.
Foods like ice cream, candy bars, nut butters, pie, pizza, and as I said before beer, are very easy to overeat.
They have a ton of calories but the amount of volume they take up in our bellies is fairly small. With less volume in our bellies, it becomes far easier to overeat or to grab that second pint of Ben and Jerry’s or that extra slice of pie.
Trust me, I learned the hard way, dieting for 6 months sucks, this time I have eaten more sweet potatoes.
Bulking is fun, a whole hell of a lot of fun. It also can cause unnecessary fat gain if you don’t monitor things. Trust me, no one wants to get stuck in a long slog of dieting. Heed my warning fellow bromo sapiens. Don’t overeat those taste carbs, don’t drink yourself fat, and enjoy some junk food but always keep an eye on your overall calories.
Happy Bulking Bros!