Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
May 7, 2017
So here we go, two weeks of work about to come to an end…are you all happy? Well, I hope you are not, because I love writing about things that can affect the average gym rat like myself. When you think about the goals you have in your life and the way you seek them out, there is always a path you need to take in order to get to it. Now I have adopted a lot of old school tendencies in this regard, mainly because I am a bit old fashioned at heart and laying the foundation that was never there to begin with is pretty hard. Building your body and your fitness is a lot like building your house. You have to install all of the important things first, like the water, the gas, and the underground electrical provided you are going that respective route (please go that route…so much easier than doing overhead services…take it from a former electrician). Then you have to have the sewage connected, and then you have to decide whether you want a basement or a lower level and yada yada yada. Man, building a house can be pretty brutal. Either way, there is a lot you have to have before you can start thinking of what style home you want to have. This is why the foundation work is the hardest part of the job when it comes to building. It’s imperative to embrace an idea of what your goal is and you must prepare accordingly. For me, trying to get leaner and healthier has been my goal from the beginning, and it has only been since recent that I have really worked to do that. As a part of this series I have been putting together the last couple weeks, I have been giving some good perspectives about two major eating regimens in the fitness world…reduction and addition.
Now I am going to admit, I was insanely ignorant about some things up until about a week ago, and so for me to write this particular blog is kind of a funny situation. I’ve tried my best to follow the fitness trends as of late, and let’s face it, that landscape is always changing. I mean, you got Black Metal Yoga, Suspension Barre, Underwater TRX (Seriously! I googled this as a joke and this was apparently a real thing a couple years ago!), EDM Pool Spin Classes, Orange Theory and of course….Men’s Skating Aerobic classes. Trust me, these boutique ideas are cropping up everywhere, and hipsters with too much time and money are making these people richer than the guys that keep farting out Fast and Furious and comic book movies. Now I hate to dog on these things because to each their own, and in some cases this stuff does work. Of course, you might find me trying out some kind of fitness regimen that would allow me to look and move like the elves from Lord of The Rings, but that might be down the line (too late… https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/the-lord-of-the-rings-workout-one-plan-to-rule-them-all/…this might be a work out some time this week!! And not to mention this workout was created by a dude named Steve!) And on that note, yes…the characters from Lord of the Rings had to be in monstrous shape, considering they ran for three days with no food and little water, battled hordes of orcs on multiple occasions and walked for months!! So yeah, tell me being an elf was not physically demanding. Anyway, where was I.
Okay, before I got off onto the usual distracting tangent about the Lord of the Rings, I was talking about learning about trends in the fitness. I still can’t believe I never really knew this…dirty bulking. I stumbled across the term last week when I was doing some research about the pros of going on a higher calorie diet to add weight to your frame, and so it was kind of funny how I never even knew this sort of thing existed. Truth be told, I thought all bulking was the same, and it took nearly five years of being entrenched in the fitness world to finally come across this. Maybe I should stop looking at the trends and look more at the foundations, like maybe I should make sure my septic tank is good rather than making sure the windows I just installed were really used form recycled Sam Adams bottles. Let’s get down to the brass tax of what dirty bulking is. Basically…you eat and work out. There is no rhyme or reason to the madness, for the idea is to consume as many calories as possible and try to get on as much weight as possible. It is rather funny how many of the magazines and online sources describe the idea of dirty bulking…that it is a lazy man’s way of gaining muscle. I mean, it sounds really good to be true, the ability to eat pizza and donuts and burgers and still turn the gut busting flab into muscle by working out profusely. Now if you do it well and work out quite a bit, you can certainly make something out of this in regards your bulk, but the long term effects are horrendous, which we will get into later. Now the other side of the coin is clean bulking, which is basically the more scientific and calculated approach to the whole idea of gaining mass and muscle. Remember last week when I gave you a rundown of what Dwayne Johnson eats in a day? While I thought it was disgusting due to my dietary and ethical standards, he is doing a clean bulk regime due to the very fact that he is eating actual food, not conglomerations of additives and chemicals that constitute something you might see down the potato chip aisle.
Either way, both of these measures are pretty dangerous for a fellow like me. The fact I cannot seem to stop myself from eating is something that has been firmly rooted in my mind over the course of a lifetime, and so adding more calories might lead me down the road of gaining weight again. So yes, going with a bulking regime is not something for me. But here is the point that has to be made when you do this sort of thing. You have to have your mind in the right place when it comes to this sort of thing. You have to understand that no matter what, even if you do do a dirty bulking regime, there is always going be consequences on your body…especially if you are eating food that is not exactly the healthiest. Listen, we all want to be like the Jason Momoa and Canelo Alvarez with flowing muscles and a rugged manliness that will make the opposite sex weak in the knees. But you have to remember the biggest issue that comes from bulking, and that primarily comes from body dysmorphia (which of course can hit people on the opposite spectrum as well). So when you do bulk, you have to take so many details into consideration.
Now before you start spouting off “calories are just calories,” I just want to be clear that I really don’t support either method, but if I did, I would definitely go for the clean bulking. Trust me, when you take it from a guy that was eating anything and everything within site and gained 30 pounds and added some tightness to his clothes, the concept of dirty bulking was kind of a silly one. Trust me, in 2014 I was doing okay, for I looked decent still and was progressing normally in my workout regimen. But when I gained a whole lot of weight back, I knew the fact I was still eating Taco Bell and sandwiches on a regular basis was not going to help me in this endeavor. So I did start working harder and some better results came into fruition. But despite all of the so called hate that is being circulated on the internet through fitness magazines, clearly there is some results on the subject? http://www.menshealth.co.uk/food-nutrition/will-dirty-bulking-help-you-build-muscle Just about every source I really looked at said “No” to the dirty bulking, so sometimes you have to kind of look at the results from a different perspective. So I googled “dirty bulking” and found a link that did a comparison. If you dirty bulk right—not rely on Domino’s for your complete sustenance—you can still get some good muscle size and look physically imposing. While the “too good to be true” thing is correct, achieving a decent musculature through dirty bulking is possible. Many of the advocates that speak favorably for dirty bulking do have a caveat to their madness of course—you may have to do a body fat cut if you are looking for body definition. If this is the case, then why would you do dirty bulking if you were going to have to put yourself through hell to get the washboard abs? Cutting is generally popular with competitive body builders, who need the size to get the muscles up front and then dump the fat to get the “cuts” they so desperately want.
So this is the reason why so many more publications and trainers alike try to push the clean bulking method. While the increase in calories and macro nutrients is the foundation of the idea much like dirty bulking, the change comes from the fact that you have to eat “clean” pretty much all of the time. That means preparing your food at home and not going to Chili’s every other night to eat their burgers and nachos. And then you have the other side of the coin. While there is usually no rhyme or reason to the eating schedule of a dirty bulk, most clean bulking methods force you to eat multiple meals a day (and not mention, they are pushing a certain protein powder onto their adoring public as well, so be ready for that). What this basically amounts to is you have to be very stringent about your intake. The primary task of bulking is to obviously take in more calories a day than you burn, which can be a tough endeavor in itself considering so many fitness apps might have an issue with measuring the proper amount of calories you are actually burning up. In fact, the inaccurate calorie is the number one reason why people are stating fitness apps might not make you healthy at all! (aside from the fact that you can easily shut off the app and not even use it, of course). There is one downside to the whole clean bulking saga, and that is a pretty obvious one. There is a thin line between clean bulking and dirty bulking, and it could easily be one you can jump back and forth on.
Let’s face it, that cheat meal could turn into a cheat day. That cheat day could turn into a cheat weekend. Let’s not forget we can just eat a little extra on vacation, and then work that stuff off when we get home. There are so many things that could go wrong with the bulking aspect of fitness that your decent physique could suddenly deteriorate and lose a lot of the gains you were formerly making. You have to remember that when you do bulk, you are going to gain some fat in the process, because you will need carbohydrates and fat to keep yourself alive. And you also need to try and get some cardio in during the week as well, because strengthening your heart and allowing better blood flow in your body will rejuvenate your blood vessels, allowing you to work harder in the gym and get the lung capacity you will need to do those supersets that you desperately wanted to try. This is why there areas many people trying to push the mentality of not counting calories, for your body will naturally tell you whether you need more.
Right now, I can tell you there are days where my body is screaming for food, and that is the world I am living in right now. Even if I ultimately decide to try bulking regimen, it will have to be way down the line before really decide (if ever) that muscle is the way to go for me. I doubt that will happen, but I never thought I would be vegan either!
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Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
Meet the Author
Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
When you read this blog you are reading through the eyes of someone who is winning the battle of real weight loss. Steve is not a fitness professional, but he is someone we can all learn from.
Steve shares his journey once a week here on our blog. We hope that you find a spark of inspiration from reading his blog.
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. The author of this blog is an independent writer and is not an associate of Parsons Training, LLC. Any information or images displayed are done so solely at the authors discretion. Any dietary or fitness commentary is exclusively that of the author and in no way dictated by the company.