T Nation

The Truth of Bulking: How Babylon Ruined Muscle Building


I understand this is my first post ,and it surely is a touchy subject to attempt a good(hopefully)discussion on, but I want to finally settle the whole "bulking" discussion with a theory I have. Before I even attempt to present the twofold theory, I would like to ensure that Bulking is properly defined. First of all, when we talk about Bulking, we need to understand it HAS to be synonymous with MUSCLE. I'm sick of Bulking being misrepresented as simply gaining weight--including fat. Even some supposedly "educated" people in the exercise field still believe in some mysterious substrate called "bulk." Someone who "bulked up" is "bulky" and I'm pretty sure they mean "appreciable amounts of muscle (by their standards of course) and a noticeable amount of fat."

This mysterious understanding leads to additional misconceptions. Now, people have accepted myths that are daughters of the great whore â??Bullqueenâ?? All of a sudden rep ranges are immediately associated with Bulk and his evil brother Cut. You see, Bulk fathered low reps, but Cut fathered high reps. â?¦of course unless Bulk was an illegitimate child of bull queen. What if Bulk did not descend from the blood of the Bullqueen but instead the BULKING, the true muscle builder.

In case you didnâ??t get the analogy, Iâ??m basically trying to reiterate the point that when we talk about Bulk but not BULLk, it means muscle. Now I will construct my argument with the following premises.
  1. First, if you lift weights you have to lift for size or* strength (* inclusive DISJUNCTION---means size or strength or both.) If you are lifting weights for any other reason you are automatically wasting time.
  2. If you say you are bulking you mean â??muscle building.â?? If you mean any other thing you are wasting time.
  3. If you want to build muscle, you need a surplus of nutrients.
  4. If you need a surplus of nutrients than you need a surplus of food.
  5. If you need a surplus of food, then a surplus of calories follows
  6. You lift weights either to waste time or to get bigger or* stronger (*inclusive disjunction)
  7. You donâ??t want to waste time.
  8. Therefore, if you lift weights, then you need a surplus**(**indicating an above maintenance amount) of calories.

Someone may now say â??Butâ?¦.what if you are cutting?....you are not lifting for size or strength so does that mean it is a waste of time?â?? First of all, my response additional premises:
X. A necessary condition for you to cut is that you have built an appreciable amount of muscle. If you have not built an appreciable amount of muscle you are wasting time.
Y. When you cut, you need to avoid losing strength. Some strength loss is likely, but the goal is to try to maintain strength. So if you are cutting, you are still training for strength.
Z. Maintaining as much strength as possible on a cut is the best way to ensure you are retaining the muscle you have built.

So the question arises: How much of a surplus of calories do we need? Well part of my theory is that there are two kinds of trainees. One kind of trainee adds a minimal amount of calories so that his muscle building diet is â??clean*â??(another child of the great whore).

The other trainee trains so hard that his body will scream hunger to him. His stomach just begs him for copious amounts of food. So this trainee overeats without even knowing it. It becomes like that situation where a human has not eaten for a long period and so he overeats when he finally gets his hands on food.

This is one of the reasons why starvation diets often end up in a huge rebound: Due to the fact that when they finally eat, they eat so much so fast their body cannot tell them they are full until twenty five minutes after the fact. So another argument results:

N. If you train, then you should be hungry. If you are are not hungry you are not training hard enough.
S. If you are trying to build muscle or strength, then you need to train hard enough.
O. If you are not training hard enough then you are wasting time.
Q. You donâ??t want to waste time

Therefore, you are bulking. (Due to the fact that if you are bulking than you are training hard enough because you are not wasting time).

 Part II:

I. A necessary condition for extreme results is an extreme training lifestyle.
II. You want extreme results
Therefore, you have to have an extreme training lifestyle.

My huge problem with 97% of people who train is that they want something, but donâ??t want to do what it takes to get there. This is not exclusive to building muscle, this is part of humanities hubris from original sin. In history, anybody and everybody who ever succeeded was always extreme in some fashion. Christ, Mother Theresa, MLK, Muhammad, had extreme success because they themselves were extreme. They were â??out of this worldâ?? or â??Out of their mindsâ?? â??Crazyâ?? â??obsessedâ?? â??weirdosâ?? â??lunaticsâ?? or whatever have you. Most scoffed at them initially. This will happen to you if you want to build muscle. You will be seen as a weirdo or obsessed. People will give you some good old fashioned psychoanalysis that you have to lift weights because you are â??compensatingâ?? for something. It comes with the territory though.

The people who scoff at you are the 97% I talked about. They are the homogenous bunch that opposes you because they hate to see someone having some kind of blatant success. They are like Satan and his bunch: They are all the same and miserable, so they want you to be like them. Misery loves company. So avoid the 97% like you would had you come across the Devil himself.

How extreme do you have to be? It depends on how extreme the results you seek are. Most people are busy. They have Jobs, Family, God (whether you think so or not) that all takes up part of their day. Regular life stressors are a given. Basically, if you really do want to build muscle or strength it has to be prioritized. I donâ??t buy that even people who work 70 hours a week donâ??t have time to train. There is always time. One hour a day isnâ??t very much to dedicate to training but if someone did 5-6 days a week for years (assuming they are training hard and right) very extreme results will occur over time. The thing is: How many people actually do this: I would say less than 3 percent of people who â??lift weights 5-6 times a weekâ?? actually go 5-6 days a week or if they do go they arenâ??t actually training.

For someone who wants the highest extremity of muscle has to make it his whole life. (aka bodybuilders, the Seraphim ofâ?? Bulkingâ??). Bodybuilders are the biggest and strongest because they make it their lives. Most people cannot do this, thus, they will never have a bodybuilderâ??s body. So:

III: If you want the muscle of the bodybuilder you have to train, eat, and live like one, which is extreme.
Therefore, if you want to have the muscle of a bodybuilder, you have to be as extreme as a bodybuilder. This is a universal principle, and final conclusion. I tried to lay it out as cohesive as possible so that from this point on, there is absolutely no confusion. The BULLqueen has now been bound and we can get on with our lives.




Sweet copy and paste job/WallofText/Will not be reading.


i had to type it on word because my computer kept freezing when i tried on this site. I'll make sure to put some pics up soon so I'm not discounted.


"Extreme measures yield extreme results"
That's all you really had to say.


and your the monkey that just sees. Monkey see.


show us some pics byron


Thank you for sharing your infinite wisdom good sir, do you accept donations through Paypal?


I've never done what most consider a bulk and have added a pretty lean ~60lbs. AmIdoingitwrong?


Maybe.... unless you are huge now. You know who "bulks up"? Guys looking to put on the maximum amount of muscle mass in a given time period. That means usually guys with goals of being some of the biggest in the room.

The ends justify the means.

If you can reach "huge" by keeping it extra close with your diet, more power to you. Do that.

That "60lbs" has to be put into context of what your goals really are, where you started and where you are now.

Because let's face it....if it could have been "100lbs", many would choose the latter.


if you lift weights you have to lift for size or* strength (* inclusive DISJUNCTION---means size or strength or both.) If you are lifting weights for any other reason you are automatically wasting time.

sure. all those olympic lifters training power are wasting time lolz.


The fact that you do all you can to progress is no guarantee that it's going to work. You can fail for various resaons:
- your training is ineffective even if you sincerely believe it is the best way to train. There are so many training systems by so-called experts that often contradict each other that it's easy to become confused.
- your diet may be ineffective. Again many experts will disagree among themselves. The latest example is the intermittent fasting diet.
- your level of hormone may be too low, due to overtraining or other factors, lack of zinc etc.
- you do too much cardio and it f**** up everything.

So someone can really do his best and still fail.


The great bulking debate will never be settled as long as there are people out there who come up with the most ingenious excuses for not training or eating. If the right attitude isn't there to begin with, no amount of explanation will suffice.


The people who believe power and strength are two completely separate entities are the same people who believe strength and size are. To seriously believe strength has nothing to do with power or vice-versa is another child of the BULLqueen. You are telling me right now that if an olympic lifter increases his poundages on a squat (they don't just do snatches ya know) he only got more powerful but magically gained zero strength? What planet do you live on?

I think its funny how rep ranges for size and strength became exclusive to a magical number, and how now you can train for "relative strength" "Functional hypertrophy" "hypertrophy" "hypertrophy-muscular endurance" "Muscular endurance" all exclusively. People actually think that if you lift a weight for 8-12 reps you only train for size and it is impossible to get stronger or if you do a heavy triple you are only getting stronger.

If you ever just took a junior high physics class, you would know power is just the rate at which work is performed. Work is Force times distance. Force is MASS TIMES ACCELERATION. You can increase power by 1) getting stronger 2) getting faster 3) both. Therefore, to assume OLY lifters exclusively train for speed (although it is emphasized more so than other forms of strength training) is a huge misconception.


Now were just splitting hairs. Everything is based upon a simple universal principle: If you are Bulking than you are building muscle. If you are not building muscle than you are not bulking. In your example you say that the person failed. If they failed in any fashion, then they are not bulking because bulking MEANS building muscle. If your diet is poor than you are not bulking because bulking means you are building muscle which necessarily implies that you are consuming a surplus of calories. If your hormone levels are too low to build muscle than you are not bulking. If you due too much cardio resulting in insufficient amounts of calories to build muscle you are not bulking. If you do your best but fail you are NOT bulking.


III: Tautology of excess calories for bulking

   If you eat an excess of calories, then you are in a surplus. Most people don't know what constitutes a surplus of calories because everyone is different. So you can either be conservative about it or you can ensure this excess through a true overabundance of calories. The best way to achieve this is through eating food that is extremely dense in calories. All food that is dense in calories are foods that are high in either:

A. Carbohydrates
B. Fats
C. Protein
D. All of the above

Since you are bulking and thus muscle building, you automatically need to increase the macro-nutrient that contributes to muscle building. Since muscles are made of proteins, you need to increase your protein. Now simply increasing protein will not build muscle even with training because this increase will hardly put a person in maintenance if they are training correctly. For instance, lets say a person eats 300 Carbs a day, 60 grams of protein and 100 grams of fat a day. Their total caloric intake is 2340. If they up their protein intake to 300 grams, than their is an increase of 240 grams of protein and therefore 960 additional calories. This puts the person up to 3300 Calories.
But if they are training correctly, than they will have expended calories during and after the weight training session. This in addition to the thermic effect of protein, could not possibly put them in a surplus. If they are in a surplus with 3300 calories they are either:

1) A woman
2) a 150 Lb Male who is over 40 who wants to remain 150 LBS
3) Ronnie Coleman's left calf.

Given this, simply upping protein is not sufficient due to its thermic effect, its effects on satiety, and another forgotten element.

IV: Fat and Carbs: The forgotten element

  I know that vets like X  don't need to be patronized on this one. Guys like him have the forgotten element. That is why they are the size they are. I have a feeling X didn't just increase his protein to achieve his size. Believe it or not, he probably upped his fats and carbs to. Which brings me to another universal:

If you want to build muscle, you HAVE to increase Carbs or Fats (preferably both) in addition to protein. The simple addition of protein even if it is 2 grams/LB is simply not enough calories. It gets offset through the strenuous exercise resulting in no muscle gain. Remember, if you are bulking you have to do strenuous exercise through some form of weight training. To ensure you are in an excess, you have to up one (better yet both) for two reasons:

1) insurance of calories
2) protein sparing effects of these two macro-nutrients

Remember that if you only eat excess protein without eating excess carbs or fats (or both), it is likely that the excess protein will be used for energy to burn, not build. Only upping protein without an increase of carbs or fats results in two things:

1) The body using the extra protein to maintain weight, since the body likes to maintain weight
2)The body utilizing the extra protein for reasons other than muscle building

But you increased the protein to build muscle. So if you want to ensure that the increased protein can be used for muscle (almost like your giving your body permission to do so) you have to also increase the other macro-nutrients. Your body has no ability to use the protein for muscle if it is busy burning the protein for energy because carbs/fats are low.


Dude, are you talking to someone specifically or are you trying to write your own article?

I honestly don't know who will find this more useful than the hundreds of articles already on the site.


^This. I swear i have read a dozen article that state basically the same things.


That is why I am stating universals that are true 100% of the time. It is relativistic thinking that kills people's progress. The universal is that if someone bulks they are building muscle. If they attempted to bulk but failed, then they are not truly bulking and therefore not building muscle. If they are bulking then they are eating in excess amount of food and training hard and effective. This is because you cannot build muscle without excess nutrients via food and hard, effective training. This is not an explanation, it is a LAW. There is no way around it. An "attempted bulk" doesn't actually exist because that would be an oxymoron or a redundancy. Why? Because:

1) Bulking means building muscle
2) You cannot be both building muscle and not building muscle. Either your body is putting muscle on or it is maintaining muscle or it is losing muscle. (Principle of non-contradiction) ~(M and ~M)
3)If you attempt a bulk then you have either attempted and succeeded or you have not
4) If you have not succeeded than you are not bulking
5) If you are bulking than you have succeeded because bulking means "muscle building"

It would be like saying "I attempted to drive a car"
Either you are driving a car or you are not
You cannot both be driving a car and not driving a car
Therefore, saying "You attempted to drive a car" is an indication of failure, because if you succeeded in driving the car than you were driving the car. There would be no reason to say "I attempted and succeeded in driving the car. (A and B) can be simplified to A.

Likewise, saying you attempted a bulk generally indicates failure. If you bulked, you built muscle. If you attempted to bulk and succeeded than you just bulked. But most people mean they failed at bulking when they say they "attempted" because if they really did succeed they would have no reason to use the word "attempt"

If your says to you "I'm going to attempt to not cheat on you" then:

Either she is cheating on you or she isn't
She cannot both be cheating and not cheating on you
She has no reason to use the word "attempt" unless she failed at being faithful, otherwise she would simply say "I am not going to cheat on you"

Bulk=muscle building
Bulk attempt=muscle building attempt
If you succeeded in the attempt than you are simply bulking
Generally, if you say you "attempted to bulk" means you failed because if you did succeed you would have no reason to use the word "attempt"


90% of people on this forum who obviously didn't read those dozens of articles because if they did they would look like they utilized those principles.