Is bulking up to gain muscle a good idea?

Bulking and cutting are bodybuilding terms that describe the deliberate over-eating and under-eating to increase and decrease body weight with the goal of increasing muscle building ability during the bulking phase. This pattern is widely accept in the body building community as the best long term way to add muscle mass.

Christian Thibaudeau tells the truth about bulking as he tries to answers the question is bulking up to gain muscle a good idea? He puts forward a convincing case for going against the flow and draws the following conclusions:

  1. Bulking up won’t lead to any more muscle growth than ingesting an ideal amount of nutrients. You can’t force your body to grow muscle by feeding it more and more.
  2. By bulking up you’re actually reducing the amount of time per year where you can add muscle because you have to diet for a longer period of time to remove the gained fat.
  3. Bulking up will, over time, improve your body’s capacity to store fat and reduce its capacity to lose it.

They can’t prove it

The Testosterone Nation regulars lay down 8 training ideas that they think are true, but they can’t prove.

Two in particular got my attention.

In part one, Christian Thibaudeau really got me thinking about the role that childhood activity plays on determining our best body parts for muscle growth later on. When we are young, our play helps us to learn how to contract our muscles more completely. As a consequence, if we don’t use particular muscles when we are younger, we never gain the body awareness that leads to more complete neural firing.

In part two, Chad Waterbury goes out on a limb and endorses high frequency training (working a body part more than 4 times a week) as a fantastic way to increase muscle growth, provided you keep the volume of each workout low.

I think that the increased frequency would dramatically improve the neural coordination for activating the muscles; maybe this could make up for that lethargic childhood?

Choosing A Fitness Club

There are many things to consider when you are deciding on which gym to join. Here are a few that I have learned to look for.

Broken car glass in the parking lot. Gym parking lots are a haven for car break-ins. A thief needs about 20 seconds to get in your car and take anything of value that you left.

A scripted greeting. This tends to indicate that there are systems in place at the club. A good sign, for the most part, but be ready for the sales pitch. The control that systems offer a club pay off as consistent experiences for members and increase revenue in tanning and personal training sales.

“Broken windows” throughout the club. These are things other than cleanliness that don’t necessarily pop out at you, but which tend to impact the behavior of the staff and members. They are things that give people the impression that you can get away with stuff, or at least doing the same thing. These include weights not being put away, plates trees being misfilled, dumbbells not being paired, lifting accessories lying around, and paper towels on the floor. Since people tend to leave things how they found them, noticing these things can help you predict the future.

Empty paper towel, soap and shampoo dispensers, or disinfectant spray bottles that need to be filled up. These are things that the members need and should never be empty. A decent gym will bit the bullet and replace almost empty paper towel rolls with fresh ones to make sure they don’t run out. Staff at a bad gym may not even notice until someone points them out.

Bad attitude from any of the staff. I firmly believe that a positive attitude is the one thing that everyone should bring to work because it’s the only thing that EVERYONE can bring to work. A gym that allows its staff to air their grievances in ear shot of the members is one that lacks appropriate leadership. Any gym that has staff who are self-focused will never see you as the person who pays their bills and they’ll make you earn their respect if you want their help.

What did you learn last year?

Here is lesson 6 from the 13 things that Eric Cressey learned in 2006:

You see, goodwill — the willingness to help others — never runs out unless you allow it to by your own ignorance. These guys offered me tremendous information and expected nothing in return, but now that I’m in more of a position to help them out, their goodwill has paid off.