T Nation

Bulking? - How Much Is Too Much?

Here’s the dilemma: I’m a college athlete who’s looking to bulk up this off-season. However, I’m also on a college budget, meaning I can’t buy all the food I need to eat on my budget.

However, my school’s sports program pays for the meal plans for it’s athletes, meaning I can eat as much at one sitting as I please. Due to my schedule, I can only make it for dinner though, due to my schedule. For what’s it worth, I usually get dinner about 1 hour after the strength and conditioning.

Long story short, I usually down about 1000 calories at dinner. Is my body going to be able to effectively use these calories? Would I be better served to eat half of that, and just try to get some more food later? Any advice would be useful.

if you can get as much as you want at dinner, why not take a few containers with you and grab some stuff “to go”?

$40/week can get you a lot of good food if you shop smart. Bargain shop, and look at adds. I like to use a membership to sams club to get large quantities of things like chicken breasts (6 pounds of chicken for $11) or big bags of raw almonds and walnuts. Also: protein powder is your friend. At $30ish for a 5lbs. tub (whey), if you use 4 scoops a day a tub will last you around 20 days. That’s about a $1.50/day for a large quantity of high quality protein.

I’m also a college student. I’m consuming about 3300 kcal/day with a 33/33/33 macro split. This week’s groceries totaled less than $40.

Some tips:
-Stay away from canned/frozen veggies. They will cost a comparable amount to raw veggies.
-Watch sale adds. Most stores will have a great add once in a while. Use those weeks to stock up on things that are cheap (read: if steak is 3.99/pound, but more than you need for the week).
-Make a menu, post it on your fridge. A menu lets you make a list. Also, it’s very hard to not stick to a diet when you have only to look at the fridge real quick.
-Protein power is your friend
-Portable stuff like beef jerky is great, but expensive. Buy yourself a few containers. It’s easy enough to make a portable meal and take it anywhere.
-Tuna is a pretty quick and convenient source of protein. Just don’t go too crazy on it.
-never fall for that 2 for $4 bullshit. One item will still be $2, unless the sign says otherwise–no need to purchase more than you need (unless it’s a good deal. see above.)

Above all: bargain shop! A lot of times there will be things in a grocery store that just don’t make sense. Look for them, and save money.

[quote]Schmazz wrote:
Here’s the dilemma: I’m a college athlete who’s looking to bulk up this off-season. However, I’m also on a college budget, meaning I can’t buy all the food I need to eat on my budget.

However, my school’s sports program pays for the meal plans for it’s athletes, meaning I can eat as much at one sitting as I please. Due to my schedule, I can only make it for dinner though, due to my schedule. For what’s it worth, I usually get dinner about 1 hour after the strength and conditioning.

Long story short, I usually down about 1000 calories at dinner. Is my body going to be able to effectively use these calories? Would I be better served to eat half of that, and just try to get some more food later? Any advice would be useful.[/quote]

Guy, one Mc Donald’s Value meal has more calories than that. If you are afraid of eating 1,000cals in one sitting, I really don’t see any large muscles in your future.

Gawd, when gaining my breakfast is 1,000cals.

[quote]Professor X wrote:

Guy, one Mc Donald’s Value meal has more calories than that. If you are afraid of eating 1,000cals in one sitting, I really don’t see any large muscles in your future.

Gawd, when gaining my breakfast is 1,000cals.[/quote]

My issue is not taking in 1k calories. I realize that my metabolism is extremely fast, and I know that I need to take in a shit-ton of calories. I usually take in around 4-5k per day. My question is if the 1k calories is less effective than 500 and 500 taken an hour or so apart.

I’ve read the articles and realize that I need to eat a crapload. I understand that not taking in enough calories is usually the issue with younger types not making any gains; but I can assure you that I do everything to rectify this problem. My question pertains to the EFFECTIVENESS of this bulking, not whether or not I SHOULD bulk.

Just take the number of calories you plan for a day, divide by six (approximately) eat em 2-3 hours apart and maybe front load the first meal a bit. Any more complicated formulas than that is a waste of your time at this point. If you ask about gaining fat next you’re defeated before you even start.

my dinners over 1000 calories everyday. thats nothing

[quote]Schmazz wrote:
Professor X wrote:

Guy, one Mc Donald’s Value meal has more calories than that. If you are afraid of eating 1,000cals in one sitting, I really don’t see any large muscles in your future.

Gawd, when gaining my breakfast is 1,000cals.

My issue is not taking in 1k calories. I realize that my metabolism is extremely fast, and I know that I need to take in a shit-ton of calories. I usually take in around 4-5k per day. My question is if the 1k calories is less effective than 500 and 500 taken an hour or so apart.

I’ve read the articles and realize that I need to eat a crapload. I understand that not taking in enough calories is usually the issue with younger types not making any gains; but I can assure you that I do everything to rectify this problem. My question pertains to the EFFECTIVENESS of this bulking, not whether or not I SHOULD bulk.[/quote]

If your metabolism is that fast, why would you even be concerned about whether your body can consume 1,000cals “efficiently”? People with fast metabolisms are burning more calories all day long “efficiently”. We are questioning why you are asking the question in the first place because it should be obvious that it shouldn’t be a concern in the first place.

1,000cals is not a lot of food for most guys who are carrying more muscle than average. You were informed that some of us eat that much in only one meal yet you still keep asking as if it isn’t clear yet.

If you are an 85lbs girl, then maybe 1,000cals in one sitting is too much. If not, how do you expect to get big if you don’t eat big? Your plan was, what, 10-12 meals of only 500cals?

The overwhelming majority of people who get paid to train athletes don’t believe in mass eating.

It pains me to say this, but I’ve seen so many great physiques ruined by people on this site.

These “food enablers” often urge young athletes to gorge themselves, thereby accruing pounds and pounds of useless fat and even developing new fat cells which they’ll carry around with them forever.

A thousand calories at dinner is not a big deal, but please don’t buy into the mindset that you have to eat that many at every meal.

[quote]TC wrote:

A thousand calories at dinner is not a big deal, but please don’t buy into the mindset that you have to eat that many at every meal.[/quote]

I don’t think anyone wrote that or even implied that someone needs to eat 1,000cals at every meal. He mentioned one meal DINNER in which he ate 1,000cals and was concerned about whether his body could use the calories efficiently.

If someone is gaining pounds and pounds of useless fat as if muscle gains aren’t the priority, then they miss the point completely. How many times does that need to be written out? I think the last time I explained that whole philosophy was just over a week ago in that 14 year old’s thread.

Did I need to write it here again so no one would misunderstand what is written? If so, why?

[quote]TC wrote:
The overwhelming majority of people who get paid to train athletes don’t believe in mass eating.

It pains me to say this, but I’ve seen so many great physiques ruined by people on this site.

These “food enablers” often urge young athletes to gorge themselves, thereby accruing pounds and pounds of useless fat and even developing new fat cells which they’ll carry around with them forever.

A thousand calories at dinner is not a big deal, but please don’t buy into the mindset that you have to eat that many at every meal.
[/quote]

“sniff” “sniff” i smell a shit storm coming this way. however true this may be.

From: http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1575031

Just in case anyone tries to put words into people’s mouths when they haven’t been uttered or implied.

[quote]Wrong concept. The goal is NOT fat gain. The goal is gains in muscle mass. It is just accepted that someone pushing for providing their body with everything it needs MAY just have to accept some level of fat gain in order to make the most gains in muscle mass.

Why? because you can’t predict when your body is going to grow the most or even the EXACT point that you have eaten the specific number of calories to where one more or one less would equal too much or too little food for muscle mass to grow.

That is the concept behind “bulking up”, to give your body everything it needs to grow, not to simply gain fat or even want to gain any fat. The less fat gain (with none being ideal) in relation to muscle mass gained the better. However, the guy worried about any fat gain to the point that they never grow much muscle is who you do NOT want to be.

Bottom line, slowly get your body used to eating more food. It isn’t uncommon for me to be able to eat nearly a pound of beef in one sitting. There is no way I could have done that at only 14. You work your way up slowly. Obviously, you need to start adding more to your plate.[/quote]

[quote]Clifford wrote:
TC wrote:
The overwhelming majority of people who get paid to train athletes don’t believe in mass eating.

It pains me to say this, but I’ve seen so many great physiques ruined by people on this site.

These “food enablers” often urge young athletes to gorge themselves, thereby accruing pounds and pounds of useless fat and even developing new fat cells which they’ll carry around with them forever.

A thousand calories at dinner is not a big deal, but please don’t buy into the mindset that you have to eat that many at every meal.

“sniff” “sniff” i smell a shit storm coming this way. however true this may be.[/quote]

I think the question is, why do people think in extremes? It is like you are either trying to gain muscle with ZERO fat gain or while simultaneously losing weight…or you are trying to become a sumo wrestler. If you tell any kid to “eat big” suddenly this means completely disregard any common sense and gain 50lbs of body fat.

What the hell?

[quote]Professor X wrote:
From: http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1575031

Just in case anyone tries to put words into people’s mouths when they haven’t been uttered or implied.

Wrong concept. The goal is NOT fat gain. The goal is gains in muscle mass. It is just accepted that someone pushing for providing their body with everything it needs MAY just have to accept some level of fat gain in order to make the most gains in muscle mass.

Why? because you can’t predict when your body is going to grow the most or even the EXACT point that you have eaten the specific number of calories to where one more or one less would equal too much or too little food for muscle mass to grow.

That is the concept behind “bulking up”, to give your body everything it needs to grow, not to simply gain fat or even want to gain any fat. The less fat gain (with none being ideal) in relation to muscle mass gained the better. However, the guy worried about any fat gain to the point that they never grow much muscle is who you do NOT want to be.

Bottom line, slowly get your body used to eating more food. It isn’t uncommon for me to be able to eat nearly a pound of beef in one sitting. There is no way I could have done that at only 14. You work your way up slowly. Obviously, you need to start adding more to your plate.[/quote]

nice save. but i think TC was refering to all your fanboys who seem to blow everything you say out of proportion. you gotta admit that every time the word “bulking” comes up ppl always seem to mention your name. i kinda feel bad for you they give you a rather bad rep

[quote]Professor X wrote:
From: http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1575031
Wrong concept. The goal is NOT fat gain. The goal is gains in muscle mass. It is just accepted that someone pushing for providing their body with everything it needs MAY just have to accept some level of fat gain in order to make the most gains in muscle mass.

Why? because you can’t predict when your body is going to grow the most or even the EXACT point that you have eaten the specific number of calories to where one more or one less would equal too much or too little food for muscle mass to grow.

That is the concept behind “bulking up”, to give your body everything it needs to grow, not to simply gain fat or even want to gain any fat. The less fat gain (with none being ideal) in relation to muscle mass gained the better. However, the guy worried about any fat gain to the point that they never grow much muscle is who you do NOT want to be.

Bottom line, slowly get your body used to eating more food. It isn’t uncommon for me to be able to eat nearly a pound of beef in one sitting. There is no way I could have done that at only 14. You work your way up slowly. Obviously, you need to start adding more to your plate.[/quote]

Yuck. My head hurts. That post was full of nuance. It also means I have to think for myself and actually track my progress. Your point that I should gradually start eating more to find my body’s sweet spot just doesn’t seem right for me.

Why should I have to monitor my progress and adjust things based on my progress? I don’t want to think for myself. I just need someone over the Internet to tell me what to eat and when to eat it.

I want to read one article that will tell me absolutely what to do 100% of the time. I need straight answers! Should I eat 1,000 calories at every meal, or 100 calories? Don’t give me any bullshit like “It depends!”

[quote]Clifford wrote:

nice save. but i think TC was refering to all your fanboys who seem to blow everything you say out of proportion. you gotta admit that every time the word “bulking” comes up ppl always seem to mention your name. i kinda feel bad for you they give you a rather bad rep[/quote]

It isn’t a nice save, because anyone who pays attention to what I am actually writing (INSTEAD OF WHAT THEY THINK I AM TRYING TO SAY) would already know that. TC has already shown that he skims posts just like many others do. He sees someone call some 120lbs guy who hasn’t gained weight in 10 years out for why they haven’t acted on any of these goals they have and then he has chastised that person for flaming.

If direct quotes are needed to show that what I get blamed for isn’t true, then I can provide that all day. Anyone who reads my posts knows I do regular cardio (daily for any interested). Anyone who actually reads what I write knows that no one is told to go gain tons of body fat. That previous post to that 14 year old was simply the most recent proving this.

I’m not sure what it will take for people to stop “reading into” what is written, and frankly, at this point, I am losing the ability to give a shit.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
If you tell any kid to “eat big” suddenly this means completely disregard any common sense and gain 50lbs of body fat. What the hell?[/quote]

After reading that “Refined Physique” discussion, I think that, yes, saying something like “Eat big” is way to general. If you remember that thread, Thibs said, “Don’t count the carbs from green vegetables.” There were then about a dozen follow-up questions about whether you should count the carbs from milk.

I am starting to understand why articles are written the way they are. Most people reading them are truly too stupid or too lazy to see nuance.

“Eat big” becomes, “Eat like the guy from SuperSize Me.”

Hell, there’s probably a reason we don’t see much from writers like Cy Willson. Could the current crop of fanboys even get his articles?

People were recently fawning over an article that only pretended to discuss two physiological principles I learned about my freshman year in college. “Man, my head is like totally spinning!” My head didn’t spin when I was 19, and it’s not spinning now. But people were tripping out over that BASIC stuff. Imagine what a real scientific article would do to people?

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
Professor X wrote:
If you tell any kid to “eat big” suddenly this means completely disregard any common sense and gain 50lbs of body fat. What the hell?

After reading that “Refined Physique” discussion, I think that, yes, saying something like “Eat big” is way to general. If you remember that thread, Thibs said, “Don’t count the carbs from green vegetables.” There were then about a dozen follow-up questions about whether you should count the carbs from milk.

I am starting to understand why articles are written the way they are. Most people reading them are truly too stupid or too lazy to see nuance.

“Eat big” becomes, “Eat like the guy from SuperSize Me.”

Hell, there’s probably a reason we don’t see much from writers like Cy Willson. Could the current crop of fanboys even get his articles?

People were recently fawning over an article that only pretended to discuss two physiological principles I learned about my freshman year in college. “Man, my head is like totally spinning!” My head didn’t spin when I was 19, and it’s not spinning now. But people were tripping out over that BASIC stuff. Imagine what a real scientific article would do to people?[/quote]

But, hey, if the authors get to continue making ridiculous claims that they KNOW every clueless fan boy will take as the undeniable literal truth, then how can any poster here be held to an even higher standard?

I actually have to write, “the goal is NOT to become fat as a mutherfucker” after every post?

“Hi, I weigh 130lbs at 6’5” and I haven’t gained a pound in 5 years, what should I do to get big?"

“Eat until you gain weight.”

This will then be followed with several posts chastising me for telling some 130lbs bean pole to become obese.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
Hell, there’s probably a reason we don’t see much from writers like Cy Willson. Could the current crop of fanboys even get his articles?[/quote]

What ever happened to that guy? He wrote some really great stuff.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
I actually have to write, “the goal is NOT to become fat as a mutherfucker” after every post?[/quote]

Even that is too general. When Thibs wrote that stuff about only being able to gain .5 lbs. of muscle, I had a real “WTF?” moment. Thibs is not a “hype” person, and he is by far the most qualified person writing on this site. He doesn’t make shit up to pimp his productions. But think about it…

Imagine you’re writing an article. You could say, “Muscle gain is non-linear. This means you might not gain any muscle for several months; after which, you will gain several pounds in a single week.”

What do you think will happen? Honestly.
You’ll get about 2,000 questions asking if it’s possible to gain 1 pound of muscle in a single week? Others will ask if it’s possible to gain 1.2 pounds of muscle in a week. And on and on.

The same thing with the 10% bodyfat guideline. People have to have some arbitrary number. Put aside that these people are not getting DEXA scans done, and thus have NO IDEA what their bodyfat percentages are. Thus, ANY number you throw out there is meaningless.

Just throw some absolutes out there or else (almost) NO ONE will get the point. The point in his article was that you can’t gain a lot of muscle week-after-week and that you don’t need to get fat to gain muscle. By saying that in a nuanced way would lose 95% of the audience.

[quote]conner wrote:
CaliforniaLaw wrote:
Hell, there’s probably a reason we don’t see much from writers like Cy Willson. Could the current crop of fanboys even get his articles?

What ever happened to that guy? He wrote some really great stuff.[/quote]

I imagine the official story will be that he’s too busy working in the lab to write articles. My own opinion is that he’s too smart for the current crop of readers.

That’s also why, imho, we don’t see anything from Bill Roberts. Or really anyone who can write about complex and relevant scientific subjects. There’d be an implosion of the fanboys’ “minds.”