Here are 5 basic guidelines about bulking:
1. Bulking when you are already too fat will decrease your insulin sensitivity, which will in turn negatively affect muscle growth.
2. The fatter you are, the more prone your body is to packing on and holding even more fat when you gain more weight.
3. Bulking up too much will lead to ectopic fat storage, which is essentially when you have consumed so many excess calories that your body isn’t just storing fat as adipose tissue, but it is also storing fat in your muscles. This leads to smoother looking muscles and can wreck your look.
4. Gaining fat in excessive amounts and then having to lose it all afterwards can lead to metabolic damage and stubborn fat storage.
5. If you are gaining more muscle than fat pound for pound as the scale goes up, you are likely too fat already and continuing once you get to this point is a recipe for disaster.
The Old School (What Not To Do) Mentality:
For a very long time many people have been lead down a path saying that they must excessively overeat everything all of the time to gain muscle.
This is often referred to as “dirty bulking”.
Many people—convinced that they are “hard gainers”—will then adopt this method and begin eating everything in sight like their life depends on it.
(Have you ever heard of a diet called GOMAD? It stands for “Gallon Of Milk A Day”, and it is a bulking diet that has helped a lot “hard gainers” gain muscle mass—while also adding tons of fat and sometimes creating lactose intolerance in people that had no problems with dairy before…)
While eating everything in sight will certainly help you gain weight, the ratios of muscle gain to fat are usually lopsided at best.
If you gain 40 lbs in 4 months, but only 10 lbs is muscle and 30 lbs is fat, is it worth it?
No, it's not.
After doing such an aggressive bulk, then you'll be forced to do an aggressive cut, to strip off all of that excess fat that you gained while bulking—which will usually lead you to losing most of that muscle that you gained when you were bulking.
Talk about spinning wheels.
Guys that follow this approach are adding and dropping weight all-year-round, but in reality they are only going from A right back to A in a huge circle.
Here's the problem with this approach…
Most guys think that when they are bulking, the heavier they are the better, and they get this tunnel vision on their scale weight, completely disregarding what they actually look like in the mirror or how their body is feeling at the time.
When in reality, “dirty bulking” is ineffective at best and downright harmful at worst.
It is ineffective because once you hit a certain body fat percentage (around 12%) your body stops building muscle effectively.
This is due to the fact that when you bulk hard and drastically raise your body fat levels—your insulin sensitivity drops just as drastically.
Insulin is what is responsible for shuttling nutrients to the muscle for recovery, and it has a direct and major impact on how both your muscle and fat cells utilize amino acids and glucose.
The Importance Of Insulin Sensitivity
When your insulin sensitivity is high, muscle cells will readily absorb glucose and amino acids when insulin tells them to open.
However, when you have a high level of body fat accrued on your physique, your natural levels of insulin are so high all of the time that it can have a severe desensitizing effect on muscle cells towards insulin’s nutrient shuttling effects.
Basically your muscles won't listen to your body when it tells them to open up and accept the nutrients they need to grow.
Compounding the issue, with diminished insulin sensitivity your body will become more and more prone to convert more of the excess calories you intake as body fat, as the muscle cells are no longer absorbing and utilizing the consumed glucose and amino acids efficiently.
In addition, once you get past a certain body fat percentage, you're simply accelerating the fat storage process.
It gets worse and worse the fatter you are too.
Not only is this unhealthy, it can lead to the creation of new fat cells that make it even harder to diet down once bulking ends.
When you first begin a “dirty bulk” all of the excess calories, which are converted into glucose, get used by the muscle and fat cells for energy usage and storage.
This is why your pumps and muscular fullness are so great the first couple weeks of hardcore dirty bulking.
When your glucose levels are constantly high though, you will start to overspill glucose into your body once your glycogen stores are full. (Which happens very quickly.)
This overspilling process is essentially excess calories that you don’t need being stored as fat.
Your muscles only need a certain amount of glucose to recover, and when you exceed that amount necessary for muscular recovery and growth, you have entered into the dangerous territory of all excess calories being converted right into stored body fat.
In addition, if you are already too fat and bulk up further than that, you are just making the process you need to complete to diet down all the more torturous down the road.
So How Do You Know For Sure If You’re Too Fat To Bulk Or Continue Bulking?
This decision comes down to knowing your body, using the mirror as a reference point, and assessing your overall results.
You need a calorie surplus to build muscle, there is no doubt about that, and gaining weight with a complete absence of some extra body fat is impossible.
The key is to minimize this, and once you get to a point where you’re too fat, you can diet down again in a quick and very easy way as you won’t let yourself get to a point where your metabolism is sluggish and your body fat is out of control.
Think of it this way, if you are bulking and for every 5 pounds you gain, only 1 of them is muscle, does it make logical sense to continue bulking?
You will probably just lose that muscle when you have to diet down to get rid of that 4 pounds of fat.
We suggest never letting yourself bulk up past 12% body fat. (15% body fat being the absolute max)
It’s ok to not have razor sharp abs all year, that would be unrealistic.
But if you notice that your abs have literally almost disappeared entirely, you are probably passing the 12% barrier and need to do a mini-cut back down into the single digit body fat % level.
Once you start getting too fat and are losing insulin sensitivity you will not only start looking really soft with a lot less definition, but you will notice your pumps in the gym aren’t nearly as good as they used to be.
Not being able to get a good pump in a calorie surplus is a surefire way to tell that either your diet sucks, or your body isn’t efficiently using the nutrients you are consuming any more—and your insulin sensitivity is starting to go down the toilet.
How Can You Speed Up The Fat Burning Process?
Red Burner is a great little tool for you to use when you are cutting.
It can help get you back down to a prime level of body fat so that you can start your bulk again in as quick and productive a manner as possible!
Red Burner Helps You Burn Fat Fast
So You Can Get Back To Building Muscle ASAP!
Red Burner is a premium fat burning supplement designed to help boost your metabolism, increase your body's fat partitioning abilities, reduce your appetite, and increase your energy levels.
Basically it's purpose is to help make your cutting cycles a lot more effective and a hell of a lot easier.
Combining Red Burner with a solid cutting diet and training program can have the fat flying off of your body in weeks rather than months.
Helping to prime your body for peak muscle building capacity, when you are at your leanest and meanest.
To recap, the most effective way to gain muscle while staying shredded is to:
Bulk up to 12% body fat, mini diet back into the single digits, then rinse and repeat.
This will not only keep your results maximized, but it will allow you to actually look good year round.