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If that swimsuit buried in the bottom of your dresser drawer and deflated gram-worthy pool floatie tell you anything, it’s that summer is over. For many, fall is categorized by crisp morning air, pumpkin-flavored everything, and all the cozy things, making it the perfect transition into winter. However, the last four months of the year aren’t just known for colder weather and restful holidays- this season is special for fitness lovers who aim to be more lean come springtime. For them, this season is known as “bulking season.” 

Bulking is known as the muscle-gaining phase of body recomposition. In this stage, you’re meant to consume more calories than your maintenance for a specific time period, typically lasting 3-6 months. Experts generally recommend entering a caloric surplus of 10-20% of your daily weight maintenance calorie needs. While you’re working hard strength training multiple times per week, these extra calories not only fuel you, but help grow your muscles. 

During the bulking period, it is recommended that macros fall in the 40-60% range for carbohydrates and 15-30% range for fats. In order to limit fat gain and encourage lean muscle mass gain, 30-35% of calories should always come from protein, regardless of other macro breakdowns. By consuming an optimal amount of protein, your body will be stimulated throughout the day as it engages in a process called muscle protein synthesis (protein is used to repair muscle that is damaged from exercise). N2G’s Whey Protein Powder is extremely beneficial during the bulking phase because it is a complete protein source that is specially formulated to release the right proteins to your body at the right time. Use the code “BULKINGSEASON” on your next order containing N2G protein powder to receive 10% off!

Bulking is typically considered enjoyable because of the opportunity to eat more freely and frequently. However, if you’re hoping for complete dietary flexibility, bulking might not be for you. Many make the assumption that bulking is simply eating whatever types of foods they desire, so long as they’re gaining weight. This is known as “dirty bulking,” which typically results in more fat gain than muscle, making it harder to see results at the end of the recomposition process.

The goal of bulking is to gain anywhere from .25-.5% of your body weight per week- gaining less or more than this is a healthy indicator that you need to reevaluate your food choices. To find a balance between a clean bulk and a flexible diet, try following the 90/10 rule: 90% of weekly calorie intake is dedicated to healthy, whole foods, and the remaining 10% to the higher fat/sugar foods that you enjoy. 

Do you think that bulking is right for you at this point in your fitness journey? 

We’ve formulated 4 High-Protein Bulking Recipes just for you:

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