T Nation

How to Reduce Bloat When Bulking?

Hi guys,

I’ve been bulking for the past 5+ weeks and have made some pretty solid gains (both in terms of size and strength). That said, I’m struggling with an annoying bloating issue since last weekend.

A little background on where I started:

  • 6’2
  • 175lbs
  • 7% BF (professionally measured)

Current stats:

  • 187lbs (likely 5-7 lbs water…)
  • weight increases of 30-40lbs on various lifts
  • volume increases on various lifts (esp. pull ups)

To get sufficient calories in, I drink almost 1 gallon of whole milk every day and it has helped my growth a lot. That said, since last Sunday, I have an annoying bloat issue - my stomach area looks like a goddamned balloon and I am 100% sure that lal of it is water bc I could not have gained THAT much fat in 2-3 days (in fact, I’m pretty sure all of it is water bc if feels jiggly and disgusting).

Now, I know that drinking that much milk can result in bloating but I havent had this problem for the past 5-6 weeks.

Maybe this happened because I got in less than 5 hours of sleep in on Sunday and Monday nights due to some early-morning work travel (can you say 4am train to NYC…)?

If so, do you think that the bloat will wear off within the next 2-3 days after I get some good kickass workouts and some 7+ hours of sleep per night in (I got ~8 last night and it got a little better already)?

Also, more generally, what are your guys’ tricks re: dealing with bloating while bulking? I’m not that concerned with the looks since I’m focused on gaining muscle right now but the feeling is just god-awful :smiley:

thx guys

If you are feeling bad, chances are you won’t stick with whatever you are doing. Turn down your milk consumption to the point you at least feel decent and then slowly add more from there. You can also try to replace the “lost” calories with other high quality whole foods.

Also, try to take a wider view on your bulk, don’t rush it trying to pack on as much weight in the shortest amount of time.

Good luck!

Bread makes me bloated, is it in your diet?

I encountered the same problems after years of drinking a ton of milk. Suddenly it started giving me problems. Try to cut your milk intake (use protein shakes instead) and when you drink it, drink slowly. I had to cut 3/4 of my milk intake.

[quote]chobbs wrote:
Bread makes me bloated, is it in your diet?[/quote]

yup - whole grain bread is in my diet as well
never gave me any probs before…

[quote]Xav wrote:
I encountered the same problems after years of drinking a ton of milk. Suddenly it started giving me problems. Try to cut your milk intake (use protein shakes instead) and when you drink it, drink slowly. I had to cut 3/4 of my milk intake.[/quote]

interesting - I’m pretty much in the same boat. I can drink boatloads of milk and will only bloat up temporarily. One good night’s sleep and the bloat usually went away…

I thought about shakes but the prob is that 1 g of whole milk gives me about 2500 cal. per day. If I were to replace it with “clean” protein shakes, I’d go through a big canister in a week, which would cost ~$50 here. Milk is way cheaper, which is why I’ve been preferring it.

I know that there are bulking shakes out there but those are filled w. a ton of useless sugar and I fear that they’ll just make me fat instead of just bloated…

Funny thing is that I really bloated up after 2 nights of very little, bad sleep.
I’m hoping that, once I sleep in tomorrow and on Sat., the bloat will go away and stay away after I get back on track w. sleeping next week.

Grains and dairy can make a visual difference depending on leanness. Many bodybuilders prepping for a show completely take these out of their diet.

I know when I get irregular sleep, my weight fluctuates all over the place. This can be another possibility.

You might try replacing the milk by some plain greek yoghurt of equivalent protein content. Both easier to digest and less volume.

[quote]Xav wrote:
I encountered the same problems after years of drinking a ton of milk. Suddenly it started giving me problems. Try to cut your milk intake (use protein shakes instead) and when you drink it, drink slowly. I had to cut 3/4 of my milk intake.[/quote]
I actually just ordered a ton of protein powder to do this. I’ve been drinking about a gallon of milk daily to keep my protein intake where it needs to be, but the bloating is unavoidable at that quantity, even if you have some beastly lactase production lol - not to mention drinking all that milk actually isn’t good for you and is a hassle at times. I’m just going to have about half a gallon of milk a day, and use the protein powder + more fats and carbs from other foods to make up my intake.

I’m the same height as you OP and to be honest the bloating to some extent will always be there, but will look less significant the more muscle you gain.

Through my own personal medical history, experience, and conversations with gi doctors I would suspect the milk first.