What the Bulk!?!

For the last two months, I feel like all I’ve been talking and thinking about is food. It seems like I am constantly at the grocery store or with my head in the freezer to see what I am going to cook up next.

You might have seen my many posts on Facebook or Instagram about me stuffing my face with pancakes, waffles and Sweet Martha’s cookies.

This summer, especially after my performance at the Dakota Games, my goal was to get bigger and stronger so that I can be more competitive. In order to do so, it was clear I had to eat more.

Since the start of July, I have cut out the cardio, focused on lifting 3-4 times per week and increased my overall food intake.

Everyone seemed to take delight in my new eating habits, living vicariously through my excuse for being gluttonous.

I attempted at first to eat clean, but that quickly devolved to enjoying chocolate milk and macaroni and cheese.

I read and researched about what others had done to successfully pack on the pounds and I even wrote about some famous bulking plans here on Man Meets Goat.

There wasn’t a clear way to go about it besides just eat more and more.

The results are clear as I have definitely put on weight and people have noticed. This is also probably very much thanks to all the dedicated lifting. Here’s the numbers to date:

  • August 1st: 174 pounds
  • September 22nd: 180.2 pounds

I started 2014 (not purposefully) at an all-time low since high school of 160 pounds due to a ton of CrossFit training as I got ready for the Freeze Fest Team Challenge and not enough eating.

With weight loss and gain it’s hard to deny the truth of calories in, calories out. So cut to almost 10 months later and now being 20 pounds heavier has definitely been a welcomed change.

However, despite what everyone thinks, it has not been all fun and games. You don’t get to just eat ice cream sandwiches in mass and feel like a million bucks.

The introduction of dairy, grains and sugar on a daily basis into my diet made me feel sluggish and uncomfortable in my own skin.

My face felt full and my sides seemed to widen quickly. Love handles are anything but lovely. Being swole is great until you just look swollen.

I definitely made gains in terms of my lifting. I celebrated new PRs in the back squat and deadlift just last weekend at my first powerlifting meet.

Yet, my weekly CrossFit class has been pure punishment. This past weekend, a WOD of pull-ups, pushups and dumbbell Deadlifts should have been right up my alley.

I was totally excited at the start of the clock, but three rounds in I was already starting to breathe hard and slow down. My endurance feels shot and asking me to run more than 400 meters is just cruel.

I know that if I want to keep putting on muscle, I need to keep eating to properly fuel my body. I also know that if I want to get bigger, I have to put vanity aside and deal with the fact that I might get a bit more fleshy.

Yet, I also know that I didn’t feel healthy eating so much crap just to hit my daily calorie goals. And I also know that conditioning is a necessary part of the training equation.

Is there a happy medium? Can I get bigger and stronger, but eat better and cleaner? How can I achieve lean gains rather than just bulk? (This is turning into the end of a Doogie Howser episode.)

My personal training sessions wrapped up last week. My barbell club is coming to a close. Winter is coming. I need to figure out what’s next.

There are more competitions on the horizon, more goals I would like to achieve; but, more importantly, I need to just feel better about what I am eating and what I am doing to maintain my overall health and wellness.

Jeremy
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