Most people probably realize that bulking can make you real fat, real fast. You cannot expect to gain 10 lbs of muscle in a month, regardless of how advanced your training routine is. If you are gaining that much, you are either not natural or just praying to the Lard Demons way too often.
Of course, the mainstream bodybuilding media and gurus will rarely tell you this. For them it’s better if you continue to believe in scams such as eating big to get big. If you just get fat from similar approach, there’s always a back door for those bozos – poor genetics and/or training.
But, what about the opposite approach? Is slow methodical bulking better for preventing unwanted fat gains during mass construction phases?
WHAT IS SLOW BULKING?
Taking things low, no extra pressure
When people do a slow bulk, they usually aim for 1-3 pounds a month. This approach is certainly better than getting as big (fat) as possible in the shortest period of time, but it still does not guarantee actual progress.
Unfortunately, the following scenario happens quite often:
Jimmy, the natural bodybuilder, decides to bulk up. He logs online and after a long research comes to the conclusion that he wants to be lean and protecting his currently visible abs is a priority. The choice is clear – slow bulking is in order.
Jimmy does a slow bulk and gains 15 pounds in 10 months. Sadly, despite being extra careful and patient most of the gained weight is still fat, and Jimmy’s six pack abs are once again sabotaged. His waist is 3 inches bigger now. It sucks.
At this point Jimmy’s love for his lost visible abs overshadows everything and he decides to cut in order to resurrect his ripped stomach. Ironically, by the time the resurrection is complete, Jimmy is back to his previous bodyweight from 10 months ago before the slow bulk was started.
Something similar has happened to me and I am pretty sure many others can attest to it as well. There are several possible reasons for this marvelous experience.
1. Poor training routine
If your training routine is poorly designed and does not have a built-in progression mechanism, such as cycling your weights to get stronger, it may be the reason for similar failed bulking attempts. When there is not enough stimulus, the body has no reason to grow and doesn’t. Consequently, the extra nutrition is stored as fat. This would be the case regardless of bulking speed.
But, what’s the best routine to build muscle?
That’s a million dollar question. People may have different understandings, but there are two main common factors that have proven to be very important:
1. Progression (getting stronger)
2. Sufficient training volume and frequency;
You can’t be doing knee push-ups, followed by chest flies done with soda cans once every 10 days and expect to be massive.
2. You have already reached your genetic potential
Sooner or later we stop growing taller. The same is true for our muscle size. It’s very limited and it all comes to an end before you know it. Unfortunately for the natties out there, from that point onward all bulking efforts do only one thing – increase your waist size and thin your wallet.
At the end of the day, slow bulking is better than the fast version because you are less likely to become a fat big. This, however, does not make slow bulking more anabolic or anything like that.
You could be counting every gram of protein, carbohydrate and calorie during your dedicated slow bulk. This dedicated (psycho) approach will still not change the final result all that much, because the main muscle growth limitations are still present.
If you are just starting out, slow to medium bulking is recommended to avoid unwanted fat gains as much as possible.
If you have been training hard for a few years already, the following holds true:
slow bulking = getting fat slowly; fast bulking = getting fat fast;
Choose your poison wisely.