You’ve finally done it! You’ve bulked up and reached the size you always dreamed of being! All of a sudden, you’re walking around like a human tank and people are diving out of the way when they see you coming down the hall…
It’s a great feeling being your biggest and you’ll be smashing your personal bests down the gym no doubt! But there’s a problem…
With all that extra size, you’ve inevitably put on at least some fat as well as muscle. This somewhat diminishes the achievement of bulking up. Whereas before you felt small, skinny and weak… now you’re afraid to take your top off down the beach because of all the flab.
You can’t win!
So is there a way you can have your (protein) cake and eat it too? Let’s dive in and take a closer look…
Why You Get Weaker When You Get Leaner
Bulking up is actually relatively easy once you know how. You just need to lift heavy weights a few times a week and then spend the rest of the time resting up and eating big. This is what most people really don’t understand about bulking – it’s actually the resting and the eating part that makes the magic happen!
And as it happens, resting and eating is also what helps to make you stronger. The reason for this is that when you relax and eat a lot, you’re putting yourself in a calorie surplus. As far as your body is concerned, you have plenty of excess energy and it can do whatever it likes with it. That means you’re going to build plenty of muscle and build plenty of ‘fast twitch’ muscle fiber – the explosive powerful kind.
This type of muscle is highly inefficient from an energy consumption standpoint but that doesn’t matter to the body as long as you’re in a caloric surplus.
Conversely though, when you start eating less and/or exercising more, your body will need more energy. That means it can’t afford the running costs of your fast twitch muscle fiber and it will get replaced with the alternative ‘slow twitch’ kind.
And as a result of all that, you’re now going to be left with less explosive power. Did you know that couch potatoes actually have quite a lot of explosive power for this reason?
So what’s the solution?
Of course the first thing is to taper slowly from your high carb, high protein, low activity lifestyle. Try to more gradually introduce extra activity and reduce the amount that you’re eating.
At the same time, you also need to think about ways you can protect all that muscle you’ve built. Supplementing with BCAAs can help to do this for example.
More important though, you need to start training with heavy weights. When you do that, you’ll be telling your body that you need that fast twitch fiber and you’ll be learning to use the fiber you have more effectively. This strengthens your mind muscle-connection and it allows someone as thin as Bruce Lee to be as powerful as he was.
Switch to heavy lifts around your 1-3 rep max and you’ll stand the best chance of hanging onto that strength!