Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bulking up for a year (or longer)

I've decided that I won't be dieting/cutting/shredding at all this year in 2014 and will be taking my time to "bulk up" and build some more muscle. I want to improve on what I feel are my weak-points and taking this amount of time to focus on them is what I feel would be best.

For the past few years I've always dieted down to look good for the warm spring and summer months, and bulked during the cold winter months. But the thing is I would stay lean all throughout the warm months and so my dieting/maintenance phase would end up being 9 months long! This only allowed 3 months for me to build new muscle.

Although it seems like I have made progress and built a little muscle through the years, I feel like I could make a lot more progress if I did it for longer than 3 months at a time. I mean how much "real" muscle can you build in 3 months, right? 

This will be the first time that I've "bulked" for this long in a while. Let's see how comfortable I'll feel being at higher body fat levels for an extended amount of time. I'm the type of a person who prefers to look shredded and feel svelte and lean instead of looking bulky and feeling big.

I intend to bulk extremely slow since I have all the time in the world now. I'll be doing what is referred to as "reverse dieting". Basically just slowly increasing carbohydrate and calories instead of jumping straight to bulking level calories right away.

Results of my 4 month bulk back in 2011-2012


My Diet

Since I was not eating any direct carbs in my daily diet while I was staying lean, I added in 30-40 grams of carbs a day to my daily intake. I did this for 2 weeks and gauged my weight and progress from there. I was still losing weight at this carb level which was expected, so I added another 30-40 grams. This means I was then taking in 60-80 grams of carbs a day. I gauged this for 2 weeks and was still losing weight. So now I'll take in about 100-120 grams of carbs. (I'm now at 120-160 grams)

During the holiday season it was difficult to just stick to this carb intake level. If it's a holiday or celebration, I won't monitor my carb intake and I'll eat as my heart desires. This does throw off my weight a bit because of the increased water and glycogen. I'll gain anywhere from 6-10 lbs depending on how much pig out. 

I do go back to eating at my designated carb level on "regular" days and I my weight will drop and become steady though. I've found it hasn't been difficult at all to go back to "regular" eating with IIFYM.

The carbs I've been eating haven't necessarily been "clean" carbs. Some days I'll have white rice. Other days I'll have pop tarts. Some days I'll have noodles or pasta. The source of cabs doesn't matter really. It's what is known IIFYM (if it fits your macros) these days. 

I used to be afraid of eating so many carbs and going overboard eating the "bad" carbs, but it's worked pretty well for me actually. While I was dieting, if I would eat some "bad" carbs I would start eating more and more carbs and all kinds of junk food like they were going out of style. Part of this was because I would go 2-3 weeks of clean eating and then I would have a cheat day. 

But with IIFYM because I know I can eat whatever I want when I want, granted it fits my carb intake level, I don't feel like I need to eat everything I want in one day. I know I can just eat it the next day or the day after that if I have no more room for it in my macros.

It's been working great so far and I recommend everybody give it a try to improve your relationship with food.

One of my favorite homemade meals: Rice stir fried with cut up chicken thighs and eggs


My Training

As far as my training goes, I've experienced crazy endurance, stamina, and pumps in the gym. It feels like I can workout forever and not feel like it's time to leave. 

When I was dieting, I would sometimes feel drained at the end of my workouts but with the increased carbs, I definitely feel the increased energy and pumps. My workouts now range anywhere from 90 -120 minutes. Yes, it can get up to 2 hours long but with the increased carbs comes increased training volume and I still feel great when I leave the gym.

I do a typical bodybuilding split of working each body part once a week. But since I am working on my weak points, chest and biceps, I'll do those two or even three times a week and cut back the volume on my stronger points, triceps.

Here's my current week split which starts on Tuesday:

Tuesday - Chest and triceps
Wednesday - Back thickness, traps, and rear delts
Thursday -Rest
Friday - Chest & shoulders
Saturday - Legs
Sunday - Back width and biceps
Monday - Rest

Here's an example of a Chest and triceps workout:
(format is exercise - sets x rep range)

Dumbbell incline bench press - 4-6 x 6-12
Incline dumbbell flyes - 4 x 8-15
Weighted dips - 4 x 8-12
Machine flye - 3-4 x 10-15
Cable crossover - 3-4 x 10-15
Tricep pushdown - 3 x 8-12
Cable overhead tricep extension with rope 3 x 10-15
Dips - 2 x reps to failure

Began my bulk with a Thanksgiving morning workout!
Another thing I want to mention about my training is that I've really been focusing on the mind muscle connection aspect. Due to some heavy training causing aching joints, I decided to do this to get a better training effect without having to use as much weight.

I'll write more about this in a different blog post, but I feel like it's working awesome for me! It feels like a totally new way of training.

I'm very excited about bulking for this long with no dieting phases. It's been such a long time since I've done this. I'm hoping to look like Flex Wheeler at the end of this lol...just kidding :)

What i'm going to look like in 2015 lol

Update

I'm not sure if anybody is still reading this blog since I haven't updated it since last year but I decided to write this post anyway to document and share what I'm doing. I'll still try to post more updates on anything "fitness" related in my life and new supplements I've been able to try out.


5 comments:

Lake Como said...

Glad to have you back, you've been missed!
I hope to have more posts from you!

Mark Church said...

Hey Duong,

I stumbled across your very first 12 week transformation picture and then started reading the thread you posted on it. I'm 31 years old, at 6'1-6'2 and 177 lbs. My body looks like yours did in the BEFORE picture. I've lifted weights on and off for the last 5 years, and gained some muscle, but would stop for lengthy periods of time before starting up again. Once more, I just started a couple weeks ago.

I have been noticing in a few of the threads I've come across by people like you, who used LOW CALORIE diets while exercising and lifting weights, and they got similar results as you did. Going from a pot belly "skinny fat" to ripped in only 12 weeks. Right before finding your picture, I came across a comment on another thread which said this below :

"I recently started a nutrition plan based on very low carbs and low calorie with daily vigorous exercise, so it has made me curious about these body processes (fat and protein metablolism/catabolism). One thing is definite, it is a very complicated process and apparently not completely or widely understood, even by "experts"--so opinions abound. In addition, everyone has slightly varying metabolic responses, a part of genetics, so there may not be one correct model.

One simple fact is sure. It takes more energy for the body to break down muscle (not glycogen) than to breakdown stored fats for energy. Your body nets less energy breaking down muscle. It does not make sense for the body to "use" muscle protein energy when stored fats are available. This assumes you maintain a full-body workout to maintain overall muscle tone.

For my part, I have definitely lost belly fat and increased strength and tone in the six weeks since I have started this nutrition plan. It might be harder to maintain as stored fat is used, but I can't see how this would affect the metabolic cycle." (end)


I'm starting to wonder if you have an excess of body fat (particularly belly fat) that weight training with low caloric intake, is going to feed your muscles with all the excess store body fat, without causing you to lose muscle mass. Do you think this theory has a flaw, looking back on it now?

Email me if you can with your answer, I'm interested.


mcnba@hotmail.com


Mark

Unborn said...

my best wishes and keep working ;)

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