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Bulking for beginners

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System
System Posts: 1,904 MFP Staff
I am going to go ahead and put some information here that I see asked a lot about bulking.

I would also highly recommend that everyone read the below link:
http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10049766/bulking-a-complete-guide-for-beginners/p1 < it used to be a sticky but I don't know what happened to it.

Clean bulk VS dirty bulk. Please note that a clean bulk has absolutely nothing to do with eating clean. Clean bulk means that you want to minimize fat gains, and are shooting for a 250 calorie surplus, or just about a .5 pound per week gain. Dirty bulk refers to those that want to pack on a lot of weight fast, and do not care so much about fat gain. Typically, this would be about a 500 calorie surplus, and looking for a one to two pound gain per week.

Once the rate of gain has been determined do the following:

1. If you are using TDEE method then just increase your calories by 250, 500, etc, over maintenance and eat to that number. If you are using MFP method then set MFP to gain x amount of weight per week.
2. Take starting measurements of waist, arms, chest, shoulders, and thighs. Also, plan on taking measurements about every two to three weeks to track progress.
3. Marcros should be .6 to .8 grams of protein per pound of body weight; .45 grams of fat per pound of body weight; fill in rest with carbs.
4. Make sure that you meet micronutient needs and eat nutrient dense foods like vegetables, rice, fish, chicken, etc. However, there is nothing wrong with filling in your calories with calorie dense foods like ice cream, cookies, bagels, chips, etc. I mean if you are bulking then you should eat the foods you enjoy, right? Please note that I am NOT saying eat 100% oreos, twinkies, ice cream, and pizza.
5. If you are new to lifting then you should identify a structured lifting program like all pro beginner, strong lifts, new rules of lifting, starting strength, etc, and run said program. If you are not new to lifting then you can run whatever program you have been running, just make sure that it has progressive over load built into it.
6. I would recommend using a food scale and accurately tracking your intake through faithful logging; however, this may not be necessary for all.
7. Note, that just because you increase your calories by 250 that this does not mean that you will immediately start gaining a half pound per week, you may have to keep bumping up calories until you start gaining. Also, as you gain weight you are going to need to bump up your intake, as your TDEE is going to be higher at 175 pounds, then it was at 170 pounds.
8. Fat gain is inevitable (just like judgement day LOL). You need to accept that if you are going to bulk then you are going to gain fat. For most the ratio is about 1:1, so for every ten pounds that you gain then you will gain five pounds of fat and five pounds of muscle. The fat gain ratio is a little higher for females than males, but I don't have an exact number on that..I would assume 1.25:.75 fat gain to muscle for females, but that may be wrong.

This post assumes that you have already determined that your body fat is low enough to bulk. For males it is recommend to bulk at sub 15% body fat; for females that range is about 18-20%. < These are just ranges and everyone is going to be a little different.



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Replies

  • ndj1979
    ndj1979 Posts: 29,136 Member
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    AsISmile wrote: »
    Bump.
    Also nominating this for must read.

    Eta: that post you mention is still in the must reads.

    is it?

    It use to appear at the top as a sticky but I did not know it was still in must reads….good to know.
  • ndj1979
    ndj1979 Posts: 29,136 Member
    Options
    Oh no! What am I doing? A mega dirty but clean bulk? My TDEE is around 2000, but I eat 4000 a day!

    I weigh 70kg, I plan to bulk until the end of winter, before eating my Shreddy-Brek in spring. I'll probably weigh around 80 by then.

    what are your goals?
  • Giolis
    Giolis Posts: 1,204 Member
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    Thanks for the link and even more for the concise summary!
  • Giolis
    Giolis Posts: 1,204 Member
    edited August 2015
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    Usually you let your body fat % be your guide. If you start at 15% you don't want to get higher than 20% before you start to cut. You can cut at a lower percentage but you should bulk for at LEAST 3 months (if not 6). The shorter the amount of bulk time the more likely you are to loose a good amount the muscle during the cut. A lot of people maintain for a month or so before they start a cut. The theory is that the maintenance month "locks" in the muscle gains. Plus it's easier to adjust you cals from maint to a cut, than from bulk cals to cut cals. Makes sense to me I but don't know if that's what actually happens in reality.
  • EmmaLeighDanks
    EmmaLeighDanks Posts: 4 Member
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    Hiya I'm new to this, been using app for 5 days and already gained 3ib ;) any tips?
  • CSARdiver
    CSARdiver Posts: 6,252 Member
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    Flagged for excellence!
  • Giolis
    Giolis Posts: 1,204 Member
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    Hiya I'm new to this, been using app for 5 days and already gained 3ib ;) any tips?

    Get a digital scale and weigh everything and log everything you eat on a daily basis. Most likely you're underestimating how many calories a day your eating.
  • EmmaLeighDanks
    EmmaLeighDanks Posts: 4 Member
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    Sorry to clarify I'm looking to gain lol so 3ib in 5 days is excellent ;) I was eating well below maintenance and am now eating 1000 above on a dirty bulk :)
  • LolBroScience
    LolBroScience Posts: 4,537 Member
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    Sorry to clarify I'm looking to gain lol so 3ib in 5 days is excellent ;) I was eating well below maintenance and am now eating 1000 above on a dirty bulk :)

    Then continue eating at that level if you don't mind the fat gains.
  • EmmaLeighDanks
    EmmaLeighDanks Posts: 4 Member
    Options
    I defo don't mind the fat gain have bmi at 16.7 ish so any gain is good lol what foods are good for high cal intake? I cook from scratch so most food are low cal :(
  • LolBroScience
    LolBroScience Posts: 4,537 Member
    edited August 2015
    Options
    I defo don't mind the fat gain have bmi at 16.7 ish so any gain is good lol what foods are good for high cal intake? I cook from scratch so most food are low cal :(

    Full Fat Dairy
    Nuts
    Nut Butters
    Oils
    Dessert Foods
    Pasta
    Rice
    Beans
    Bagels, Bread
    Cereal
    Fatty Cuts of Meat
  • EmmaLeighDanks
    EmmaLeighDanks Posts: 4 Member
    Options
    Pretty much what I've been eating then lol been eating a lot of steak chicken potatoes cereal pasta mince pancakes homemade fruit smoothies etc
  • mantium999
    mantium999 Posts: 1,490 Member
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    Good stuff here
  • ndj1979
    ndj1979 Posts: 29,136 Member
    Options
    Good post. How long do you reccomend bulking for before you start cutting?

    You should have a goal weight in mind and bulk to that number...

    I would say minimum 3-4 months...
  • psuLemon
    psuLemon Posts: 38,413 MFP Moderator
    Options
    ndj1979 wrote: »
    I am going to go ahead and put some information here that I see asked a lot about bulking.

    I would also highly recommend that everyone read the below link:
    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10049766/bulking-a-complete-guide-for-beginners/p1 < it used to be a sticky but I don't know what happened to it.

    Clean bulk VS dirty bulk. Please note that a clean bulk has absolutely nothing to do with eating clean. Clean bulk means that you want to minimize fat gains, and are shooting for a 250 calorie surplus, or just about a .5 pound per week gain. Dirty bulk refers to those that want to pack on a lot of weight fast, and do not care so much about fat gain. Typically, this would be about a 500 calorie surplus, and looking for a one to two pound gain per week.

    Once the rate of gain has been determined do the following:

    1. If you are using TDEE method then just increase your calories by 250, 500, etc, over maintenance and eat to that number. If you are using MFP method then set MFP to gain x amount of weight per week.
    2. Take starting measurements of waist, arms, chest, shoulders, and thighs. Also, plan on taking measurements about every two to three weeks to track progress.
    3. Marcros should be .6 to .8 grams of protein per pound of body weight; .45 grams of fat per pound of body weight; fill in rest with carbs.
    4. Make sure that you meet micronutient needs and eat nutrient dense foods like vegetables, rice, fish, chicken, etc. However, there is nothing wrong with filling in your calories with calorie dense foods like ice cream, cookies, bagels, chips, etc. I mean if you are bulking then you should eat the foods you enjoy, right? Please note that I am NOT saying eat 100% oreos, twinkies, ice cream, and pizza.
    5. If you are new to lifting then you should identify a structured lifting program like all pro beginner, strong lifts, new rules of lifting, starting strength, etc, and run said program. If you are not new to lifting then you can run whatever program you have been running, just make sure that it has progressive over load built into it.
    6. I would recommend using a food scale and accurately tracking your intake through faithful logging; however, this may not be necessary for all.
    7. Note, that just because you increase your calories by 250 that this does not mean that you will immediately start gaining a half pound per week, you may have to keep bumping up calories until you start gaining. Also, as you gain weight you are going to need to bump up your intake, as your TDEE is going to be higher at 175 pounds, then it was at 170 pounds.
    8. Fat gain is inevitable (just like judgement day LOL). You need to accept that if you are going to bulk then you are going to gain fat. For most the ratio is about 1:1, so for every ten pounds that you gain then you will gain five pounds of fat and five pounds of muscle. The fat gain ratio is a little higher for females than males, but I don't have an exact number on that..I would assume 1.25:.75 fat gain to muscle for females, but that may be wrong.

    This post assumes that you have already determined that your body fat is low enough to bulk. For males it is recommend to bulk at sub 15% body fat; for females that range is about 18-20%. < These are just ranges and everyone is going to be a little different.

    I am putting this on here in regards to Mr.M27 who is banned from the forums, and tried to keep the gaining forum "broscience" and "pseudoscience" free….he also taught me a lot about what I know about bulking/cutting/lifting, etc….



    Good post NJD. But I would like your opinion, and others, on the bold part. After read the Lean Muscle Diet (Alan Aragon's book), it is was suggested that if you are new to lifting that trying to bulk would not necessarily be very effective as your muscles will essentially not be "primed" for growth but will be "primed" for efficiency. Would you generally recommend for a person to establish a baseline, both with eating (so you know your true maintenance and you rebaseline RMR/BMR post cut/deficit) and lifting (to address the efficiencies gained in the first few months) prior to doing a bulk?


    And if you prefer, I can start an entire thread on this if preferred.
  • ndj1979
    ndj1979 Posts: 29,136 Member
    Options
    psulemon wrote: »
    ndj1979 wrote: »
    I am going to go ahead and put some information here that I see asked a lot about bulking.

    I would also highly recommend that everyone read the below link:
    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10049766/bulking-a-complete-guide-for-beginners/p1 < it used to be a sticky but I don't know what happened to it.

    Clean bulk VS dirty bulk. Please note that a clean bulk has absolutely nothing to do with eating clean. Clean bulk means that you want to minimize fat gains, and are shooting for a 250 calorie surplus, or just about a .5 pound per week gain. Dirty bulk refers to those that want to pack on a lot of weight fast, and do not care so much about fat gain. Typically, this would be about a 500 calorie surplus, and looking for a one to two pound gain per week.

    Once the rate of gain has been determined do the following:

    1. If you are using TDEE method then just increase your calories by 250, 500, etc, over maintenance and eat to that number. If you are using MFP method then set MFP to gain x amount of weight per week.
    2. Take starting measurements of waist, arms, chest, shoulders, and thighs. Also, plan on taking measurements about every two to three weeks to track progress.
    3. Marcros should be .6 to .8 grams of protein per pound of body weight; .45 grams of fat per pound of body weight; fill in rest with carbs.
    4. Make sure that you meet micronutient needs and eat nutrient dense foods like vegetables, rice, fish, chicken, etc. However, there is nothing wrong with filling in your calories with calorie dense foods like ice cream, cookies, bagels, chips, etc. I mean if you are bulking then you should eat the foods you enjoy, right? Please note that I am NOT saying eat 100% oreos, twinkies, ice cream, and pizza.
    5. If you are new to lifting then you should identify a structured lifting program like all pro beginner, strong lifts, new rules of lifting, starting strength, etc, and run said program. If you are not new to lifting then you can run whatever program you have been running, just make sure that it has progressive over load built into it.
    6. I would recommend using a food scale and accurately tracking your intake through faithful logging; however, this may not be necessary for all.
    7. Note, that just because you increase your calories by 250 that this does not mean that you will immediately start gaining a half pound per week, you may have to keep bumping up calories until you start gaining. Also, as you gain weight you are going to need to bump up your intake, as your TDEE is going to be higher at 175 pounds, then it was at 170 pounds.
    8. Fat gain is inevitable (just like judgement day LOL). You need to accept that if you are going to bulk then you are going to gain fat. For most the ratio is about 1:1, so for every ten pounds that you gain then you will gain five pounds of fat and five pounds of muscle. The fat gain ratio is a little higher for females than males, but I don't have an exact number on that..I would assume 1.25:.75 fat gain to muscle for females, but that may be wrong.

    This post assumes that you have already determined that your body fat is low enough to bulk. For males it is recommend to bulk at sub 15% body fat; for females that range is about 18-20%. < These are just ranges and everyone is going to be a little different.

    I am putting this on here in regards to Mr.M27 who is banned from the forums, and tried to keep the gaining forum "broscience" and "pseudoscience" free….he also taught me a lot about what I know about bulking/cutting/lifting, etc….



    Good post NJD. But I would like your opinion, and others, on the bold part. After read the Lean Muscle Diet (Alan Aragon's book), it is was suggested that if you are new to lifting that trying to bulk would not necessarily be very effective as your muscles will essentially not be "primed" for growth but will be "primed" for efficiency. Would you generally recommend for a person to establish a baseline, both with eating (so you know your true maintenance and you rebaseline RMR/BMR post cut/deficit) and lifting (to address the efficiencies gained in the first few months) prior to doing a bulk?


    And if you prefer, I can start an entire thread on this if preferred.

    yea, now that I think of it, that part probably does not make sense, as those that are new to lifting are more than likely going to want to lose fat and maintain muscle mass.

    I think when I wrote that I was seeing a lot of people post on the gaining forum that are either "skinny fat" or recovering from an ED, and I was thinking of those people as the "new to lifting" types that might bulk. But everyone else would probably qualify as an "intermediate lifter"…

    Yes, I agree that one should establish a baseline for lifting and eating…..

    how did you like aragon's book?