DON'T EVER BULK AGAIN, PART 1: THE HISTORY OF BULKING
Ah, the old ways of thinking. Use leaches to suck out your blood so you don’t get sick. If you eat foods high in fat, you will gain fat. Eating eggs increases your cholesterol levels. And my personal favorite, to gain muscle, you need to eat as much as possible. Unfortunately, there is a correct way to add calories to your diet to grow, and an incorrect way. Instead of “bulking,” you should add extra calories to your diet in s specific, methodical way to start seeing increases in muscle growth.
The idea of eating everything in sight to grow is outdated, and just not true. Most people use it as an excuse to eat whatever they want, and to feel better about themselves for being fat and out of shape. Yeah, I said it. If you can’t see your abs, you don’t need to bulk. You need to diet.
The bottom line is bulking is unnecessary, and severely unhealthy, especially if you are already fat. What’s the point of weighing 300lbs if your belly sticks out farther than your chest? I guess it will be cool to have 10+ people carrying your coffin, along with the extra expenses for your family to cover because of your XL sized burial plot, but other than that, being overweight is not something to strive for. So how did the “See-Food Diet” and “Bulking” become synonymous with one another?
EUGEN SANDOW AND THE ORGIN OF BODYBUILDING
The idea of the perfect physique can be traced back to Greek and Roman times. Greco-Roman artwork displayed ancient society’s obsession with the perfect, muscular physique. So how did it become ok to eat whatever you want to gain a pound of muscle?
During the late 1800s and early 1900s, bodybuilding was just coming into existence. Before this time, strongmen ruled the physique landscape. People would come out in droves to watch these men perform their epic strength feats. Most of them were overweight with large belies. Then Eugen Sandow showed up.
Born Friedrich Wilhelm Muller, Sandow is known as the father of modern bodybuilding. In 1889, he entered, and won, his first strongman competition in London. For the next four years, he honed his athletic and marketing skills. In 1893, Sandow found himself at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. People were more fascinated by his lean physique and muscular appearance than his feats of strength. Then in 1894, he was featured in a short film series by Edison Studios. The series featured him flexing his muscles, rather than lifting anything heavy. Modern bodybuilding was born. In 1901, Sandow organized the world’s first major bodybuilding competition, and the rest is history.
HOW DID IT BECOME OK TO BULK?
It’s obvious from the history of modern bodybuilding that athletic, ripped physiques are more appealing than overweight, out of shape beer bellies. The question then becomes why is it ok to bulk when trying to gain muscle?
The first mass monster to appear on a bodybuilding stage was the man himself, Dorian Yates. He absolutely destroyed the competition with his size and conditioning. Every successful bodybuilder today caries the same size and conditioning as Dorian Yates. Gone are the days of Frank Zane symmetry. Enter the era of mass monsters.
Many calories are required for the muscle size of Dorian Yates, Ronnie Coleman, Jay Cutler, Dexter Jackson, Phil Heath, and Shawn Rhoden. However, they are Mr. Olympia champions. Everyone else isn’t. It should also be noted that when they compete, they are completely depleted. No water, no body fat, and just enough glucose to pump up their muscles without looking flat. It is no surprise then that two months later they are 20-30 pounds heavier. However, they aren’t even close to fat. All their abs are still showing, and their limbs are veiny and ripped. They may have “bulked-up,” but most of that was their bodies gaining back water weight and glucose, not body fat. Ever wonder why it is so easy for them to get down to 3% bodyfat in 12 weeks? It’s because they AREN’T FAT before they begin their pre-contest diets.
So now you can start to see how it became a myth that you must overly eat an excessive number of calories to gain muscle mass. Not to mention that it’s ok to gain 20-30 pounds while “bulking.” The truth of the matter is that the common person should only gain 10 pounds, at most, while “bulking.” In fact, instead of calling it bulking, why not refer to it as what it is. Eating extra calories to supply enough amino acids to be used for muscle building. But alas, we live in a society of overindulgences.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
Now we are starting to see why we find ourselves in our current bulking predicament. However, there is more at play. In the next part, we will look at the other major reason why people think it is ok to eat whatever they want to gain muscle.
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