Bulking Questions … and Answers (Part 2)

September 24th, 2008 by

So in the previous post about bulking we touched on what determines whether or not you should consider doing a ‘bulk’ (I really dislike this word by the way), or not.

Again, let me just say to drive the point home, that bulking is not an excuse to get fat, get sloppy, etc. The point to a bulk is to simply gain muscle – obviously. However, a free-for-all caloric onslaught is a quick way to unnecessary fat gain.

An effective bulk is characterized by an attempt to maximize the muscle-to-fat-gain ratio, all the while understanding and accepting that yes, some fat is going to come.

I get asked questions like these quite often:

How long should I bulk?
How long do I have to bulk?

My previous answer was a simple, ‘it depends’, and the truth is, it does. How long a person bulks is going to be influenced by a number of things:

1. How much muscle do you want to gain? Clearly this is going to one of the big determining factors. The more muscle you need or want, the longer it’s going to take. To put that into context, the following are some generally accepted average rates of muscle gain for both males and females:

Year 1 – 20-25lbs
Year 2 – 10-12lbs
Year 3 – 5-6lbs

Year 1 – 10-12lbs
Year 2 – 5-6 lbs
Year 3 – 2.5-3lbs

You can see two things from the above quite clearly:

1. Males obviously have the potential to gain at a quicker and more substantial rate, all else being equal. (women averaging out to half the gains of males)

2. Muscle growth is a very slow process.

Don’t believe the hype behind those who say they’re packing on pounds and pounds of muscle – and staying lean at that – month in and month out; at least not drug free. They’re not. They may be packing on the weight, but I guarantee they’re gaining more fat than they should be. Yes, there are some who can gain at a quicker rate than others, but the above represents the average.

Now 10-12 lbs in a female is going to result in a very significantly improved physique, no question about it. Noel gained 11lbs of competition weight in one year, and the results were very obvious. So much so that it helped take her from an ‘also ran’ to a top contender.

But take a look at that – 10-12lbs of muscle sounds awesome doesn’t it? But look what it averages out to – about one pound per month. Doesn’t seem very significant anymore does it? But the reality is, it is.

More next time