Reminiscing back to my first bulk I recall intently checking the scale every single morning to see if I had gained weight over the past 24 hours.
If my weight had gone up, I’d be happy, and if it didn’t, I would be disappointed and eat more.
Most individuals approach their bulks the same way.
DO NOT DO THIS!
I was young (well, younger) and naïve.
Your weight on the scale at the end of the day is ultimately just an arbitrary number.
Some of the best looking guys I know weigh less than 185 pounds and look 220 because of their low level of body fat, muscular development, and awesome genetics.
The thing is, while the scale is seemingly the most obvious way of measuring progress, it is BY FAR the worst.
If you are gauging size gains simply by the scale, you are probably on the fast track to muffin top city, or are already a citizen there (you will get fat).
This happens because when you are so fixated on the scale weight going up, you completely start to lose sight of why you are doing this in the first place.
To gain muscle WITHOUT body fat.
While this is difficult to do, it is next to impossible if you are using the scale as your gauge.
You could go binge on pizza, burgers, donairs, ice cream, chips, donuts, etc. and then weigh in 5 pounds heavier tomorrow morning.
Does this mean you gained five pounds of muscle?
But, many people will actually believe that this weight increase is a good thing, completely unaware that they just loaded their body up with a bunch of excess food that will simply cause bloating and result in storage of extra fat.
Stop using the scale, and start using your mirror.
If you are gaining weight, but your abs are disappearing more and more on a daily basis, are you really making any progress whatsoever?
No you are probably just making more work for yourself by piling on fat that you will need to strip off later, and screwing up your insulin sensitivity.
If your fat gains are eclipsing your muscle gains on a pound for pound basis, you are doing something very wrong with your diet or training.
This is where your trusty old mirror comes in handy.
When the scale starts going up, fantastic, you are eating enough food to put on weight, BUT, now take a look in the mirror, are you maintaining a lean body composition and putting on a favorable amount of lean muscle in contrast to the amount of fat you are putting on?
Truly ask yourself that question.
Typically, even the most advanced of lifters will reach a point where their muscle gains will start to stagnate and wane in comparison to their fat gains.
They recognize this right away because their strength isn’t going up in the gym as much as it was before, and they are blatantly starting to pack on an unfavorable amount of body fat when they assess their physique in the mirror.
This is a red flag that it’s time to take a step back from the bulk, and get your insulin sensitivity back and cut down to a leaner base again.
I was very guilty of relying on the scale, and it completely shrouded my deluded view of my physique, and what kind of progress I was really making.
There was a point when I was still learning how to diet that I was literally putting on 3x as much fat as I was muscle on a pound for pound basis, and I still continued to chug sugar dense weight gainer shakes and eat exorbitant amounts of chocolate bars because I figured, hey, a pound is a pound and each pound will make me bigger.
I have learned the hard way, and you will too if you don’t adopt the principle of using the mirror as your guide from now on.
Excessive amounts of stored fat on your physique are unhealthy, and completely counterproductive to bodybuilding goals, so keep them to an absolute minimum at all times.