The concept of the ‘Dirty Bulk’ has been around the physique game forever, basically you lift big and eat even bigger, anything you get your hands on you attempt to fit it in your mouth – burgers, fries, flavoured milk, peanut butter on toast, pizza. There is really no limit, as long as the scales are going up its happy days all round. So the whole idea behind it all is to gain as much ‘weight’ as you can with the hopes of all the extra calories helping you pick up some muscle mass along the way, we bulk up then we cut down to expose all the lean gains hidden underneath. That is the idea anyway, so how about we take a look at why this may in fact be hindering our progress.
Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use glucose from the carbohydrates you eat for energy or storage for future use. When we bombard our bodies with excessive amounts of carbohydrates our insulin levels get all out of kilter. When our Insulin levels go through the roof it actually makes it more difficult to build lean muscle as the nutrient partitioning moves towards fat stores rather than that of the muscle stores. Increased Insulin levels also decrease testosterone production, we all know how important testosterone is when it comes to building muscle mass, but wait that’s not all – higher levels of fatty tissue increases an enzyme called Aromataze; aromataze converts your testosterone into estrogen. Now the shoes on the other foot – all of a sudden you’re asking the Mrs ‘does my arse look fat in these pants’ haha.
We need to manage our Insulin levels and create Insulin sensitivity, this way we can time the ingestion of our carbohydrates for maximum efficiency. If we just shovel carbohydrates down left right and centre we become Insulin resistant – Insulin resistance makes it more difficult to lose body fat, this often leads to drastic measures or super low calorie dieting with truckloads of cardio to get all this new found fat off and muscle mass is often compromised in the process.
So the best way to go about it is to get lean and then get bigger. Stop worrying about what the scale says, get your body fat low so your more insulin sensitive then your body will respond better to correctly timed carbohydrates, slowly increase calorie intake gauging progress and DON’T GET FAT !!