Blowfish Feels.

I’m at that point in during my bulk where I feel like Kirsty the Blowfish. I started this bulk at the end of the summer and made a lot of progress and have put on 17lbs in total since then. Especially since the beginning of January when I started my new training regimen I have been seeing some massive changes.

I only have a another 3kgs to go until I reach my goal weight so as you can imagine I’m feeling pretty fluffy right now with all of this extra weight I’m not used to. For what I’m sure was the first time in my life I actually wore a full length vest to the gym this week. Anybody who knows me will know I live in a crop top. All I keep trying to remind myself is how worth it this is going to be when I cut back down and get to see what’s underneath this. I know for a fact my legs and glutes especially are sooo much thicker than they were before and even with the body fat over them from bulking they are already very noticeable. It’s so tempting just to end this bulk now and get those lean feels back but right now I’m just focusing on that end goal.

One thing I was definitely not expecting from this was to have to go out and buy new clothes. My ass is barely fitting into my jeans right now so I’ve had to resort to wearing leggings 24/7, I don’t want to go out and buy new jeans as I know that I’m going to be cutting back down shortly so I have no idea what my end size is going to be. Aside from the jean situation I did have to go out and buy all new bras, they were practically bursting at the seams. Now this one isn’t exactly a complaint. Actually, boobs are not something that I was blessed with so its quite nice to have some for a change., but as all the chicas reading this will know decent bras are bloody expensive. I’ll be sad to say bye to the boobies when it’s time to cut. I definitely won’t be sad to say goodbye to the hamster cheeks look I’m rocking right now.

All in all though I’m still feeling great about my progress and my look right now. Even though I’m having a moan about hamster cheeks and having practically zero abs I also know that I’m still pretty lean, I’m just not used to seeing myself with this much body fat so my mind is still getting used to it. Only a few more weeks to go now.

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Bulking – Food Diary & Bloating.

When I first started this bulk for a long time I found it very difficult to eat enough carbs during the day without feeling absolutely stuffed and bloated. I usually would eat quite a lot carb diet. Not intentionally, but I just tend to eat a lot of spinach, broccoli, berries that kind of thing which don’t equate to an awful lot of carbs over the day.

When starting a bulk it’s not good enough to just eat more calories, you have to make sure your calories are made up of the right amount of carbs, protein and fat. Since I had been used to eating very low carbs for such a long time soon as I started trying to eat carbs again I would feel so full after only a few mouthfuls and I would be so bloated and uncomfortable for the rest of the day. This then caused me to miss the rest of my meals for the day because I felt so stuffed and my stomach felt so hard that I could not even force myself to eat any more. So instead of eating more calories each day I was actually ending up eating less calories and my weight was not going up any at all.

I decided to start keeping a food diary every day and kept writing notes of which meals were making me feel the worst and which ones weren’t so bad. After a bit of trial and error I made a list of the foods that worked best for me and a list of the foods that I should stay away from and made up a new meal plan.

I decided that any brown rice or wholemeal pasta were a definite no. In my new meal plan to make up my carb intake I chose to stick with just sweet potato, oats and a protein shake that also contained carbs as I noticed that I could eat enough of these without feeling sick and overly full.

I also decided to eat a smaller amount of carbs with each meal during the day, rather than eating most of my carbs around my workouts which I know a lot of people tend to do. At the moment I am eating 6 meals a day on training days, all between 400 – 450 calories so 2500 in total and on rest days I am adding an extra meal of 500 calories to bring my caloric intake up to 3000.

What also helped me was increasing my calories slowly of the course of a few weeks. I had been eating about 1800 calories a day for as long as I could remember and very low carbs. So even when I kept my calories at 1800 but started eating slightly less protein and more carbs this was a big change for me and I felt a lot fuller for longer. So the first two weeks I decided to just keep it at 1800 and let my body adjust to the carbs again. From then on I put my calories up slowly by 200 a week until I was at my target.

There was a lot of trial and error this time round with the food side of things but this was my first proper bulk so I didn’t know what would work for me and so had i to experiment a bit and chop and change things around. It took a while because I was having trouble with the carbs at first and was also nervous about putting on weight so kept stopping and starting. This meant the first few weeks my progress was very up and down, i was putting on weight but very slowly and kept stopping and stalling.

When i finally got everything on track and started to feel comfortable with it i started seeing so much progress and such massive changes. I’m actually really enjoying it now and my weight has been going up steadily and on track. My shape is really filling out and even though i have not one shred of an ab right now i am actually feeling really confident in the way i look. I never thought i would be happier with having more body fat on me but seeing the rest of my body changing so much and my legs getting so much bigger has really gave me that confidence that what i’m doing is working and i can have that body that i can see in my mind.

I guess this has taught me a really valuable lesson and that is i need to love my own body in every condition. There are always going to be things regarding my physique that i want to tweak or work on or improve, but that doesn’t mean i can’t love the way i look and still want to work on making it better. I’m currently 8kgs heavier than i was last summer and i can definitely see the difference. My legs especially are so much bigger and my strength has come back and improved so much. I had planned on reaching 62kgs and then cutting back down but as i’m only 4 more lbs away from reaching that target i think i will extend my target to 64kgs and drag this bulk out a few more weeks since i’m having a lot of fun with it. Then bring on the summer shreds!

 

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My Bulk So Far.

I said when I started blogging again that I was going to blog my bulk and then when it comes to it my cut. So here is my first bulk blog post.

** FYI – I’m sure a lot of people reading my blog will know this already but just for anyone who doesn’t already know –

Bulking is being in a caloric surplus and gaining muscle (also unfortunately a bit body fat that inevitably comes with it). Usually people bulk in the winter so that when they have that little bit of extra body fat it’s not the time of year we want to be showing off our bods.

Cutting is what happens after the bulk. When all of that lovely muscle has been built up underneath but the layer of fat that comes with all of the added calories is still covering the muscles. Of course they need to be shown off so cutting is being in a caloric deficit and burning away that fat so that you can show all of those lovely muscles you worked so hard for.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way.

I had been on a half hearted bulk starting from around October but I was really struggling with eating properly and I was extremely nervous about putting on any weight. Even in my usual diet I don’t eat a lot of carbs to begin with, so when I wrote out my meal plans for my bulk and worked out my macros I planned to slowly up my calories by about 200 every week as I had heard this way works best. However even upping my calorie intake by that small amount was really difficult for me, especially since I was going from eating a lot of protein and fewer carbs to eating a lot more carbs. I felt so bloated all day and was feeling to stuffed i didn’t want to eat my next meal so wasn’t managing to finish my calories each day.

Also because when I was about 18 I put on about a stone in weight and was extremely unhappy, I was so nervous about gaining even a little bit weight this time round. I knew that in order to get the physique I wanted I would have to sacrifice my abs and leanness for a little while, but that didn’t make it any easier mentally. I had been making progress but it was very slowly and it was messing with my head having so much anxiety about planning my workouts and meals. You will know from my previous blog posts last year was a very tough year for me mentally so I really had no confidence in myself at the time.

So that’s when I messaged my lovely friend Lauren Levine to ask for her help. We worked together in Ibiza a few years back and ever since she has been such an inspiration to me watching her fitness journey. I thought to myself If I have a professional like her coaching me online and advising me then it would put my mind to rest. I would not have to worry about what if I am doing it wrong, or what if I wasn’t doing the right kind of training, or what if I wasn’t eating the right foods and I gained to much body fat instead of muscle. I knew in my head I had read every single book on bulking, ready every online article I could find, downloaded every piece of info I could. But lets face it my anxiety was really overwhelming me and I was worry worry worrying about not getting it right. So to put my mind at ease I asked Lauren to help me.

My training the past few weeks has been all about lifting heavy again and building back up my strength which I was very excited about. My sessions feel so much more effective and I have started to really enjoy it again. I think even just having somebody else plan them for me has took a massive weight off my mind so that I can solely focus on the training itself and the eating without any worries or concerns.

It took a bit of playing around with my carbs and meal times to find out what worked best but now I’m up to 2500 calories a day / 3000 calories on rest days and finding I am not bloated and actually feeling a lot more energised. I realised that a lot of carbs don’t agree with me. I now stick to just oats or sweet potato for my carbs as I realised that whole-wheat pasta and brown rice were really making my stomach feel huge and uncomfortable which was making me even more stressed. I also had to start my meals a lot earlier in the day. I used to not eat until about 11am but its pretty difficult to fit in 3000 calories between 11am and 9pm and not be absolutely stuffed. So now I also have a meal before I leave for work at about 7am and start eating at this time, this helps me to spread my meals out better during the day and not feel like I was forcing my meals in. I decided to buy a gainer shake with carbs in for after my workouts instead of just the standard whey, an easy way to get in a few of those extra calories. Lauren also advised me to track my calories and meals on my fitness pal which is actually a great and very easy way to keep a food diary instead of writing everything down like I was.

My body has changed so much in only 4 weeks, my weight is steadily going up now at a good pace (unlike before when it was very slow and kept pausing). I am loving my training and happy to be working on all of the big lifts / compound movements. I finally have my eating on track and in a routine that I find manageable and easy to prep. So now I feel like everything is in place, I have found what is working for me and am really looking forward to seeing how my body is going to look by the end of this bulk as I definitely feel and look much better than I did at the beginning of the year. It just goes to show that eating calories and being lean doesn’t always make you look your best. I personally feel that I look a lot better now than I did when I was a bit leaner, I feel like my muscles are filling out more and I have a lot more confidence!

I’ll keep you updated with anything new I try and if anyone has any tips or good advice I’m all ears. Like I said the past few years I have been focusing on maintaining my shape and staying lean, this is my first proper bulk so I’m open to suggestions.

3 weeks difference in this picture. Lots of training. Lots of food. Lots of sunbeds.

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