As many of you know, we would consider ourselves “hard gainers”. I even wrote a post about it awhile ago, which you can read here. You may also know that we do almost everything regarding food and fitness together. You can read about our fitness journey together here. So when I told Evan I wanted to start bulking this Summer, he did too. We’re on our second month of bulking. So what all has gone into our first attempt at bulking?
Sidenote: we are not personal trainers, nutritionists, or really know anything about anything. This is just about what we’ve done, not that you should do what we’re doing. If you would like more professional advice on bulking, feel free to email or DM us on Instagram and we can refer you to people.
Diet is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of bulking, which makes sense. If you don’t increase your caloric intake in proportion to your expenditure, you can’t bulk. For the most part, our three meals stayed the same. We just added in more snacks and mass gainer. We each drink mass gainer in the morning. Evan eats an afternoon snack and dessert. I eat soup after dinner. Other than that, nothing has really changed in the food department. There’s a couple of dinner recipes we stopped doing just because they didn’t have enough calories, but we added in other recipes to our dinner cycle. Generally our meals looks like this:
- Breakfast: eggs, coffee, cereal
- Mass gainer
- Lunch: chicken and rice meal prep
- Snack: Bagel, banana, yogurt with oats
- Dinner: changes, but always something with carbs and a lean meat
- Protein shakes
- Dessert/Snack: Ice cream and soup
Honestly we don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. Right now our priorities are more on saving money than eating fresh fruits and veggies. We both love them, but they add on a bunch to the grocery bill. Also we’re not that great at cooking and don’t have much time to spend on it right now. We’re just figuring out how to cook meat so it doesn’t end up too dry.
If you want balanced meals, definitely add in fruits and veggies and don’t eat like us.
Our workouts haven’t really changed. I’m not in the gym as much due to the annoying migraine issues, but that doesn’t really have anything to do with bulking. We don’t do cardio regularly. I stopped because I was losing weight. Evan stopped because the government wasn’t forcing him to run and hike anymore. If you do cardio while bulking, which is probably a healthy thing to do, just make sure you’re eating enough so that you’re not burning up all the calories you eat. We’re just doing the same type of weightlifting routines we’ve always done. Evan is planning on switching to more powerlifting type workouts though, which will work well while he’s bulking. I’m looking at other workouts to change it up a little, but nothing extreme.
So I don’t don’t do progress photos or inch measurements very often. Progress photos maybe twice a year and measurements whenever I need a new bra or can’t fit into one of my old clothing items.
But the one thing we do often is weigh ourselves. We do that every morning. We have a smart scale from Amazon, which also measures things like body fat percentage, body water, etc. It’s been helpful. Here’s the link to the one we have. I first heard about doing this from @rustycurls on Instagram. If you’re looking for personal training, she’d be an awesome person to go to. Evan also knew that daily weigh-ins is common for bulking and cutting. We are doing a lean bulk, meaning we’re trying to gain between half a pound to a pound a week and eating healthy foods. We’re not trying to put on as much weight as possible with junk food because then it just turns into fat and not muscle. We still want to look lean even when we’re getting bigger.
Mindset is a huge part of bulking. We’re not eating that much more, but sometimes when your meal schedule gets off or you’re not feeling great, there’s a mental barrier you have to get past in order to eat and lift enough.
This has been super challenging for me. I’ve had a migraine for over a month. I’m not lifting as often as usual. It’s discouraging and makes me just want to give up with weightlifting and even trying to improve. I haven’t gained much weight, but this past week I started gaining more just because I was able to eat more and keep all my food down. I’m still over 10 lbs away from my goal, but now I feel like I’m at least getting somewhere. Mindset was more important for Evan in the beginning when he first started increasing his caloric intake, but now he’s just kind of used to it and it’s a habit. Doesn’t need to force it as much.
I know that my mindset is one of my weaknesses. I’m competitive and get frustrated if I’m not doing perfect or the best I can. Also I sometimes forget that it is not as easy for women to put on muscle as it is for guys. So for me, my mindset is something I really need to work on in order to improve.
We are bulking because we’ve both been thin for most of our lives. We want to be able to lift heavier and look muscular. It’s difficult, especially with my health issues right now. But this is where we are at so far. Evan has seen more changes in strength, appearance, and size. I haven’t yet. I would love to say that I am stronger and bigger, but that’s not accurate yet. The internet tends to show everyone’s gains, achieved goals, and best parts of their lives. I really try to keep it real with you all. So this is our bulking experience two months in.