I’ll take one post off from training and nutrition for recomp.
Though I’m writing articles mostly about body recomp, however, in my real life I just go with a more adventurous approach, which is clean bulking.
And that lead me to the motive why this post is being created. This time I want to write something different, it’s about the mindset we need to be equipped especially when we switch from losing weight to building up muscle.
From a person that used to prioritize fat loss, jumping from recomp to my first bulk is scary.
However, since that I had learned so many things during the process.
Therefore, this post would be for everyone that wish to start their first bulk. I’ll be sharing every bittersweet, dilemma moment, and the thing that you need to expect during the bulking phase as a beginner.
I hope this could make everyone that is new to bulking be more confident in yourself, and you know that you are not alone.
Learn Your Motives to Bulk
Body recomp has a high reputation in fitness. As a person that tried it before, I can clearly claim that it wasn’t nonsense. The progress was great, and I was finally able to see a bit of muscle definition on myself through recomp training and dieting.
Why did I shift from body recomp to clean bulking?
This is my reason. Throughout my recomp progress phase, I found that I have a goal higher than this. I want more visible muscle, and I found another motive that I didn’t even think about–I want to have the physique of a bodybuilder.
In fact, this is my dream that being hindered for a long time.
Before that I have a lot of doubt, I am afraid to put on a tinny winny of fat. And I did not believe that ‘muscle definition’ is a word for me.
My mindset actually shifted a lot. I started believing I am able to build strength. I believe that if I worked hard enough, there is possible for me to achieve any type of physique that I want. Most of all, fat gain no longer haunted me because I know how to deal with it.
The point here I wanted to share with you all is that. Don’t just settle yourself when you finally achieve somewhere. There would be infinite possibilities we could achieve throughout our lifetime. When you found that you reach a benchmark, you are allowed to go further than that.
Don’t just settle there, try on different things you want to achieve in your journey.
Your Muscle Will Remain Hidden First
Here’s some knowledge for you if you are new to bodybuilding, if you really want visible muscle. A bulk and cut cycle could actually help optimise solid muscle.
The difference between clean bulking and body recomp is that in body recomp the main focus is still losing fat, but you try to recompose the fat into muscle. While clean bulking is that, you need to increase weight(both muscle and fat) and need to eat in calories surplus. You need to expect some fat gain together with muscle gain during a bulk.
A clean is still a ‘bulk’, you still need to expect fat gain but you need to make it as steady as possible.
That is the thing that frightened most of the beginners when we started our first bulk.
There are stories that someone looks leaner instead of bulkier even they are on their bulk. That might be their case, but we know that everyone genetics aren’t the same. And their starting point might be also different from yours, they might have a lower fat percentage or have greater fat-burning genetics.
For most beginners, if you have already had some amount of body fat, your muscle will still remain invisible during this phase. That often leaves us not sure whether did we gaining muscle.
In this phase, looking at appearance could be discouraging and actually it doesn’t tell your progress. Instead, we need to look at the performance and energy level at the gym. You will feel more strength over time, and your arms and legs will feel more solid instead of fluid. That is the best indication you are making great progress.
When you go through your bulking cycle and go with a proper cut. That’s the moment you will thank yourself.
Others Opinion is Just Opinion
There are different types of person, each of them have different goals and perspectives, so as you that is reading my post.
Therefore, when we first started bulking, there would be uncertainty because this is the first time we tried out. There would be some occasions when you go on a gathering and others said that ‘you’ve gained weight.
I believe that is not the thing that we wish to hear, what we wish to hear is that ‘Do you going to the gym?’ instead of ‘you’ve gained weight.’
However, we need to know that although newbie gain is really a thing, however, not every one of us that started our first bulk will have visible muscle in the first place. Building visible and really solid muscle takes time, in most case scenarios, our muscle will be hidden under a layer of fat.
There is also a scenario when someone that has a different opinion towards weight training, would directly relate your look to the result’ lifting weight leads us to look bulkier.
As a female, I heard this more often.
Yes, that is the fact bulking makes you bigger, but that is not your final goal. Bulking is a long term process, this is the investment you gave yourself the opportunity to try. Only you know what you are doing, but they did not.
We can’t judge something just from how it looks like in the. Just as you can’t just a painting when it’s still in the painting process.
If you are often surrounded by people that think weight loss is the king, and if they have a bad reputation for weight training, that is just their opinion. If you are truly a loyal fan of building a strong physique, this is your lifetime to create it, no one could make the decision for you.
Opinion is just opinion. Their advice might be out of some good intentions. That means that they care for you. Be thankful for them being kind to you, but you have your own right to choose how to treat your body.
Sometimes you will miss that previous version of you that look skinny and thin. Although that ‘skinny’ version was not as muscular as now, at least you don’t need to have that uncertainly when you get surrounded by someone that is thinner than you.
You know that you are building muscle, but you can’t help for the moment you feels bigger compared with other girls.
Especially when you see those that were currently cutting. They look lean and shredded than you. You started questioning whether your approach is worthy. You compare with the amount of food with them, your previous version of you will start reminding you ‘calories is bad, you eat too much, or not doing enough cardio is laziness’.
There is no definition for everything that we do. The difference of traits says nothing to your personality and discipline. If you found you tend to be hungrier and sometimes you are just exhausted and wanted to take a rest day, just take it.
The thing that differentiates both of you is your goal. Not how and what you are doing currently.
Different goals have different approaches, and what you doing now is just carrying out the steps in order to achieve your goals. A person that is bulking have a goal to get as much muscle as possible in that period of time, a person with cutting goal will be prioritize losing fat.
Stop comparing and be grateful for what you had done. You are doing all the good work by spending time training your muscle. And the hard work you are doing should not be discarded by yourself.
As long as you keep your goal in mind, you are always better than yesterday.
Align you mindset to your goal
I put my fat lost goal apart. Focusing on only one thing at a time, which is gaining muscle.
Since I made that decision, there would be some trial and error. Even sometimes I really questioned and felt uncertain about the things I do.
There would be lots of uncomfortable when you shift from one previous goal to another, and both of them seems to contradict each other.
As a person that used to fear of gaining fat, there would be moments I chickened out when I notice a fluctuation in my weight. I used to add in cardio after weight sessions, but this time I need to skip a few sessions of them and focus on the weight session. Sometimes I will still feel guilty for taking a rest day, or not calories cycling throughout the week.
But then I realised that “Wait a minute, I’m bulking!’.
This is what we need to expect when we switch from one goal to another, there would be moments we repeat our previous habits and forget about our current goal. That is normal, and what we need to do is just quickly align ourselves with the goal, and return to what we should do.
Sometimes I found myself returning to the previous habit, which is not eating enough, skipping rest days or not getting enough sleep. When I intentionally eat less, and later I remind myself that my goal is to build muscle, I am no longer in a weight loss phase.
Mindset is king. When you decided to make some change, you not only need to change the diet and your training, the most important is your mindset and how you perceive yourself be. There would be times when you forget about your goal, but remember that the moment you realised your mistake you can always improve it.
Keep Going On and Trust Yourself
Bulking phase is hard and tough. The process might appear tricky for beginners because when we start, we did not equip with the experience. We need to make sure we did our training and nutrition properly, and that often required overtime experience to find out the best method that works best for us.
There would be ups ad down throughout the journey. The results might not visible right away. Some of us even need to spend years to see visible results. You need to always fix things up when it is not working.
The question I kept asking myself when I feels like quitting is, “Which type of person you want to be?”
Learn your motives, those that make you feel the burning force within you. When you look at the physique that you always wanted to be, tell yourself ‘I can be like that.’
Our life is meant to experience different things, if you found something that motivates you, trust yourself you can be it.