If you’ve been following me on Instagram or Snapchat then you would already know that on Monday 19th September I started my lean bulk. This means I’ve started counting macros again, I have to eat A LOT more, I’ve restricted my cardio and I’m ready to grow some muscle.
Firstly, if you don’t know what a bulk is then it’s eating at a caloric surplus to build muscle/gain weight. Muscle cannot be built out of thin air (sadly). Additional calories above what your body normally needs is required for new muscle tissue to be created. So, after working out my calorie maintenance level I calculated my macros (macronutrients) to define exactly what my body needs in order to gain muscle. By not increasing my calories drastically I hope to gain 1 pound (ish) a month – 0.25lb a week.
This way my body gains as little fat as possible which will make it easier to shred when it comes to cutting. Since there is a limit to the amount of muscle the human body is capable of building (and the rate at which it can be built), it means that there is a limit to the number of calories your body is capable of using to build muscle. If you supply your body with more calories than that amount, those extra calories will always be stored in the form of fat, not muscle. It’s almost like an extra surplus on top of the required surplus. Exactly why I’m avoiding making the surplus too big. Therefore, this also means that if the caloric surplus is too small, muscle will either not be built (at all), or it will be built at a rate so stupidly slow that it might as well not even exist in the first place (why even bother?!).
Why am I doing a lean bulk?
At the beginning of the year I said I had done a ‘mini’ bulk – but I didn’t. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, I hadn’t done my research and I was stupidly doing what everyone else was doing. Not to mention I wasn’t eating enough AT ALL. Gah, it makes me cringe how naive I was! If there’s 1 tip I would give: Do your research!
So yes, when it came to my ‘cut’ (like I had even gained any muscle in the first place?!) I was slowly losing weight to reveal a toned body yet I didn’t have the muscle I wanted. Since then i’ve been working out in the hope to grow muscle but it just wasn’t happening. So, I knew I had to go on a bulk. I’m aiming for a surplus of 200 calories a day – achievable? We will see.
Here we go…
The first day of my bulk (Monday) was a struggle. A big struggle, actually. Using MyFitnessPal I started the day by adding in all the foods I was going to be having for the day. The more I added food, the more it seemed like I was getting further away from my calorie goal for the day. Carbs, upon carbs, upon carbs. I pretty much hit my fat and protein macros for the day but I had roughly 40g carbs left and had only hit about 1,850 calories – 350 below my goal. It wasn’t great but by the end of the day my stomach hurt from all the fibre and I had a belly full EVERYTHING. Well, that’s what it felt like.
The second day proved slightly easier. In fact, I found myself waking up extremely hungry. Okkkk then. So, 110g of oats later (topped with a banana, seeds, protein and raisins) I was satisfied and another day of stuffing my face continued. I didn’t struggle with food throughout the day and again I hit my fat and protein macros with 20g of carbs left and 200 calories. An improvement but I still wasn’t hitting my macros perfectly.
As the week went on my macros increased slightly (not perfect) but it didn’t get any lower than previously stated. I found myself no longer finding it hard to eat and the bloating went down a hell of a lot but mentally I found it hard to keep increasing my food intake.
I started my bulk with the intention of 1 HIIT and 2 LISS sessions a week. However, the first week I completed 3 LISS sessions and no HIIT. My HIIT session was planned but truth be told I was too tired after a tough upper body workout. Therefore, this week I will be saving my HIIT for the evening (I workout in the morning). This will also give me a burst of energy after sitting on my backside at work all day. Other than that I will be completing 2 LISS sessions (30-40 minutes fast walking). That’s it. At the end of the week I found my weight increased slightly in terms of lbs. Therefore, I will not be altering my macros this week.
Seeing as I didn’t completely hit my macros perfectly last week I’ll be trying my hardest to hit them for the new week. I will also:
– Strive for new PB’s
– Be in bed and ready for sleep at 10pm (sleep is one of the best forms of recovery)
– Have active lunch breaks. AKA, walking round the car park at work like a crazy woman.
– Complete 1 HIIT, 2 LISS sessions
Tip: Create achievable goals for the week that aren’t crazy hard to accomplish but will also give you a sense of achievement!
There we have it – week 1 down! You can follow my bulk journey on my Snapchat: hannahandfit or Instagram: @hannahandfitness. I post daily progress pictures, food inspo and a whole day of eating over on snapchat. Plus, the likes of my VERY FUN EXCITING life – ok, don’t hold me to that.
Have a lovely Sunday everyone and here’s to a new week! Create goals, get in those workouts and be positive!