The benefits of bulking up during the holiday season to gain muscle mass
Bulking is without a doubt one of the most enjoyable aspects of living a bodybuilding lifestyle in which food becomes a delight instead of a tool and where new levels of growth can be achieved. The first point that needs to be acknowledged is the fact that the “science of dieting” has been recently transformed into something that is overly complicated as every few months a new dieting method seems to emerge and “revolutionize” the bodybuilding world.
The thing is, dieting, whether it’s bulking or cutting, is not a not a very complicated thing to do and therefore the science behind it is pretty standard, if you want to lose weight you need to lower your daily food intake, if you want to gain weight you simply do the opposite. All of that said, it’s that time of the year again in which the holiday spirit makes us want to eat everything in sight for the next few months so here’s everything you need to know about bulking and the holiday season.
How to Approach a Holiday Bulk
The last few months of the year can be extremely enjoyable and miserable at the same time if you constantly monitor your physique’s progress. Consistent athletes tend to split up the year in two, for the first six months they go through a cutting cycle in which they’re ready to compete and look good by summer, after this they tend to bulk up and add quality mass to their frame so they can lean out by the beginning of the following year. Bulking as a whole is supposed to be a completely positive and fulfilling time frame in which the athlete can grow his physique to new lengths, the holiday season shouldn’t be able to modify this perspective.
Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and other popular holidays usually mean that a lot of calories will be consumed, giving you the perfect opportunity to grow. The holiday season is perfect for tricking the physique into growing by allowing it to consume foods that it wouldn’t normally receive on a daily basis; it’s worth mentioning that a lot of these holiday foods are actually really healthy and packed with macronutrients. Most of the festivities involve turkeys, chicken and different types of meats along with a wide selection of fruits and vegetables not to mention the heavenly yet dreaded pies and cakes.
The holiday season is the perfect time of the year to experience new things inside and outside of the gym; nutrition included. If you want to do a “lean bulk” take it easy on the desserts but go wild on the protein-packed foods and be willing to take your weight training to the next level along with added cardio time, it’s simple science, if you want to grow you need to eat more but if you want to avoid getting extremely “fat” then it’s only natural to step up your training.
The holidays are nice while they last but it’s always the post-holiday madness that will make anyone go nuts. As it was already mentioned above, the key to having a successful bulk is finding a balance between training and nutrition, the biggest mistake that non-bodybuilders do during the holiday season is increase their daily food intake while completely avoiding the gym. If you keep your workout regimen in check while taking advantage of the extra calories that your body will use then it shouldn’t really be a problem to get back in contest condition shape after your bulk is finished.
The normal thing to do after a bulk would be moving forward and jumping into a simple cutting cycle, the key to successfully transition from a bulk to a cut is by simply going back to a regular and consistent nutritional routine. After all the turkey, cake, pie, alcohol and sweets, the body will greatly benefit from a simple high protein, medium carbohydrate and low fat diet.
Stay away from the sugary foods that you consumed during the holiday season and pack your fridge with bodybuilder friendly foods. As far as training goes keep the cardio consistent and keep the weights heavy, the change of diet alone will highly benefit your wellbeing and performance inside and outside of the gym. Be consistent and try to stay away from cheat days for the first month or two, start playing with your diet and training based on your progress.
Is Bulking Worth It?
This is probably the most important question worth answering regarding bulking simply because many fail to understand the purpose of a bulking cycle. Believe it or not, just most fitness athletes and bodybuilders like to bulk and cut throughout the year, there are also others that like to stay lean year-round because they don’t believe in the benefits of bulking which is absolutely wrong.
Bulking makes your body composition change, you will be at a heavier weight and therefore you will be able to lift more iron if your diet is kept in check. The more weight and repetitions that you can perform regardless of your body weight will directly transfer into hypertrophy that will later lead to greater levels of muscle growth and development.
Arguing that athletes that don’t bulk are lazy would be completely out of context because it’s extremely difficult to stay lean year round but saying that bulking is also for the lazy is also utterly wrong. Bulking has its purpose as it allows the body to rest and to be in a completely different position in which it can benefit from the added mass.
At the end of the day bulking will always be an effective dieting method if performed correctly as it’s without a doubt a necessary tool in order to be a successful bodybuilder or fitness athlete, use the holidays to your benefit and don’t be afraid to grow, just remember, it’s harder to gain muscle than to lose fat.