mind pump strength training

1427: Don’t Make These 6 Bulking Mistakes | Mind Pump

Key Takeaways

  • Bulking doesn’t just mean eating anything and everything you want
  • It’s easy to ignore overall health when bulking: if you are bloated and having digestive issues, you won’t perform well
  • if you don’t train properly, you’ll just pack on fat without gaining strength
  • Meal prepping and eating whole foods are just as important in bulking as they are in losing weight
  • Bulking goal: gain lean body mass, minimize fat, and gaining strength – you want to be stronger at the end of a bulk session than when you started
  • The scale doesn’t tell you everything you need to know – it’s important to measure lean muscle gain


The Mind Pump hosts are Sal Di Stefano (IG: @mindpumpsal), Adam Schafer (IG: @mindpumpadam) and Justin Andrews (IG: @mindpumpjustin).

In this episode, hosts Sal, Adam & Justin detail the six most common mistakes people make while trying to bulk and how to gain muscle without the fat.

Bulking Myths

  • People think bulking means you can eat as much food as you want and quality doesn’t matter
  • Most people think bulking is easy because you are trying to gain weight versus lean out
  • Bulking is more complex than just eating more calories
  • It’s easy to ignore overall health when bulking: if you are bloated and having digestive issues, you won’t perform well
  • In the search for calories, people often eat too many grams of carbohydrates and not enough protein
  • Consuming too many calories of saturated fats and processed foods will probably make you will lethargic and cause digestive problems
  • Just because weight is going up on the scale, doesn’t mean bulk is successful
  • Bodyweight fluctuates regularly because of water retention, sodium, etc. – don’t be a slave to the scale and assume you lost/gained muscle
  •  Overapplying intensity without good programming

Bulking Tips

  • This is a great time to switch to bulk while you’re probably consuming more calories anyways
  • Gaining muscle is a slow process, gaining fat is easy
  • You can gain lean body mass from whole foods even if you don’t have the calories
  • 80% of the time you should be consuming whole, natural foods; the other 20% can be less healthy
  • Alternative strategy: if you can use whole foods to hit your protein goal early in the day, supplement with less healthy foods to reach your calorie goal
  • The goal should be to consume whole foods, even protein shakes should be an emergency food
  • Hack: start your day with high protein to front-load the day – eat extra eggs, use leftover protein from the previous dinner in an omelet  
  • After 3-4 weeks of bulking, take a few days and stay at a slight deficit  
  • Hydrostatic weight is the most accurate way to track muscle gain
  • Next most accurate, tape measure waist (for men) and hips (for women)
  • Shoot for 1LB of body fat for every 2LB of muscle
  • Make meal prep easy: Ground beef, chicken thighs, rice

The 6 Bulking Mistakes

  • Mistake 1: Consuming too much junk food to hit calories but ignoring whole foods
  • Mistake 2: Not tracking and hitting protein
  • Mistake 3: If you stay in surplus too long (e.g, 3-5 months) your body will adapt to high calories and you will gain fat and look “skinny fat”
  • Mistake 4: Being married to the scale
  • Mistake 5: Not meal prepping
  • Mistake 6: Don’t just train hard, train properly – strength should be increasing
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Notes By Maryann

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