It is common practice for bodybuilders to count their macro nutrients when cutting weight in order to achieve a lean, aesthetic physique. Diet is the determining factor in order to cut fat and retain muscle mass. When cutting, a caloric deficit is needed to see a decrease in body fat percentage. However, this deficit must be controlled in order to prevent muscle loss. On the other side of the spectrum, bodybuilders will bulk in order to put on muscle mass. During this bulking phase, it is common practice for amateur bodybuilders to omit counting calories and eat as much and as often as desired. There is no tracking of carbohydrates, fats, or protein intake. The idea here is that you want to load your body with nutrients in order for it to have sufficient materials to grow. Well I am about to rock your world.
This is a FOOLISH practice and a HUGE mistake. Counting macro nutrients is equally as important during bulking as it is when cutting! This is especially true for those of you who put on weight quite easily because you may find yourself quickly putting on more fat than muscle. Hard gainers, you may be thinking this doesn’t apply to you, but boy are you wrong! I will get to you in a moment, but for now let’s talk about bulking in general.
It is true that while bulking you want to be in a caloric surplus. This means being above your body’s metabolic rate. What is your metabolic rate? Well, this is your body’s daily caloric needs in order to function properly throughout the day. This rate is a combination of your resting metabolic rate (your body’s natural energy expenditure) and the energy you expend based on your activity level. The ideal caloric surplus is 250-300 calories above your metabolic rate. This will ensure you have the necessary materials to build muscle while limiting the excess calories which would be turned into fat. I see so many guys going WAY above this. Do you know what happens to them? They put on a lot of excess fat. At first this may look like quality mass as your physique begins to “fill out.” However, you will quickly learn that this excess mass is mostly fat and not muscle as you had once thought. This fat will not only hide your gains, but it will be extra weight that you will need to get rid of whenever you decide to go on a caloric deficit. You will be kicking yourself when it comes time to get that Spring Break bod and you have to work twice as hard as the guy who counted his calories and bulked properly.
Crushing that dirty bulk!
Now hard gainers, don’t think I forgot about you and your bulking needs. Controlling your dietary intake is important when looking from an overall health perspective. If you are shoving your face with burgers and fries every day, you are filling your body with saturated fats and large quantities of sodium. Excess saturated fat and sodium can lead to atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, and various other diseases. You may be young and kicking now, but in order to stay that way you need to start taking care of your body RIGHT NOW. You can easily bulk on a low fat, high carb, and high protein diet. While your fat intake should be slightly higher than that of an easy gainer, it still needs to be moderated for your own benefit.
If you want to learn more about dieting/health/nutrition, keep searching through Campus Elite’s Dining Hall section for great information on dieting and food management! We have numerous food-related articles such as finals week meal plans, super-food smoothies, and tips on what to order when eating out!
If you are interested in learning about different foods you can eat that are college friendly or how to successfully execute a college bodybuilding diet, check out my YouTube channel! Alpha Mentality Fitness.
We have a series called “Straight Off the Grills” where we provide tips and tricks for college students when it comes to tackling a healthy diet while in college. We provide alternatives to protein shakes, fruits/vegetables that last a while in your refrigerator, and various other food tips! Along with this we talk about common problems college kids face when trying to combine the college and fitness lifestyle along with various workouts, eating challenges, and daily vlogs!
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