I get a lot of messages online asking me about gaining muscle mass, or rather, issues people are having with “bulking” and gaining QUALITY mass.
I will ask a few questions, and pretty quickly I realize that all they are doing is dumping into their gullets MORE of the same crap food they have already been eating all along, expecting to turn into Ronnie Coleman overnight. This is rarely accompanied with a corresponding change in training intensity or focus, which likely won’t matter much anyway if you are eating pizza, Ramen, and frosting-dipped Pop Tarts for every meal.
So this time around I am gonna go ahead and address this for the crowd with this month’s entry……..
“ARE YOU A BULKING ASSHOLE?!?!?!”
First, two disclaimers:
Yes, we all know those guys that start the day with 3 donuts, then have a triple Wendy’s burger and fries for lunch, pizza for dinner, and chicken wings and a few dozen Lil Debbies as a snack through the day, and still look huge and ripped as hell.
So, NO, I am not saying you can NEVER be lean and eat like shit, I am saying it is highly unlikely to occur (at least without supplements of the illegal variety).
This is more info for the average Joe or Jane on the street, even the serious lifting Joe and Janes, because a lot of you guys are…..let’s be honest……fuckin’ up.
I would even advance that the huge guy you envy, who eats like a total asshole, is STILL fucking up, even though he looks great.
I hate to sound sexist in any way, shape, or form, but I believe men can get away with being diet assholes a little easier than women. It seems many women struggle more with this than men, but guys, this doesn’t exempt you from the points I am making here.
I liken trying to gain quality muscle mass by simply eating MORE empty calories to pouring sugar in the gas tank of a car.
It might run, but it is not performing optimally, and you are destroying your car in the process.
So what are empty calories?
In my opinion…..processed foods, excess refined sugars, excessively fatty meats (especially those where fat content is higher than protein content), and pretty much anything we know as “junk food”.
Essentially, if your diet is made up of regular fast food, cookies/cakes/regular soda/fruit juices/sweets, fried foods and fatty meats like chicken wings, ribs, fatty steak, burgers, dairy/whole milk, etc., you are not getting quality nutrition to feed recovery and muscle growth.
You can’t just eat MORE of a shitty diet and gain good muscle.
You might gain SOME muscle, sure…..but you’re also likely to gain a lot of unnecessary fat.
I guarantee if you would have fed yourself with better quality clean food you would grow better quality muscle.
Am I saying you can’t ever eat these foods?
I cheat; I am the first to admit it.
However, at least 90% of my diet is quality clean food.
I have a solid foundation for growth and recovery, so the occasional slip-ups are not nearly as damaging. (I’ve gone over my diet in earlier columns, so I’ve covered “clean eating” already, but briefly it is lean meats, limited good fats, complex carbs, vegetables, and my main sugar source is fruits, but eaten sparingly.)
Let me single out one group (and I have been a culprit of this very behavior, so do not get salty) that will bulk (“going up a weight class”) but tend to not pay attention to how they are doing it.
I see the posts all the time…..people out eating burgers and fries, endless pizza, plates covered with ribs and wings, milkshakes, huge pieces of cake, ice cream, bacon out the wazoo. It’s almost an object of pride to show JUST how bad you can eat.
And I hear that “there are no weight classes in the jungle” slogan to justify unchecked and willy-nilly weight gain. I get the POINT of the saying, but too many use it as an excuse to go into a head-first food free-for-all.
Sure, you may throw on 50lbs and add pounds to your total, but how many more might you have added IF THAT 50 POUNDS WAS QUALITY MUSCLE RATHER THAN MOSTLY FAT???
This is just my opinion, but I now, and will always, advance that adding 20lbs of muscle is going to do WAY more than adding 20lbs of fat. About all you might get from the fat is some leverage, but the muscle will give you both leverage AND actual mass to use for strength.
And that applies in some way for geared lifters as well, who are often using more weight in a suit to get better leverages, but again, wouldn’t more muscle be more effective than just adding weight in fat?
I guess what I am trying to say, in my meandering way, is that I like to OPTIMIZE what I am doing for RESULT AND EFFICIENCY.
To me, it’s pointless at this time in my training career to use “bulking” as an excuse to eat like an asshole most of the time, then wonder why on my last 10lb bulk only 2lbs of the bulk was muscle mass. If I am going to seriously bulk, I might as well DO IT RIGHT. Otherwise, the whole undertaking just becomes an exercise in gluttony and you achieve way less progress that you might have if you had just eaten better/cleaner/more healthily.
Jesus I sound like my grandmother, I know, I know….this has become a lecture.
I don’t care what you eat, how, or when.
If you DO wanna eat like a dum-dum, and shovel in Fruity Pebbles by the truckload, fine, but then DON’T ASK ME WHY YOU CAN NEVER GET LEAN, OR GAIN GOOD MUSCLE MASS, OR WHY YOU ARE “STUCK” IN TRAINING.
And DEFINITELY don’t then act shocked when I advise you to clean up your diet.
Just zip it, and go back to eating that damn Long John.
Rant complete. 😀