I’m finally here, I made it 6 long months eating in calorie surplus. There have been tears, tantrums, and times I wanted to give it all up completely, but here I am staring at the finish line.
My weight is 11st7 which is 1st7 more than my leanest. This is comprised of not only new muscle built, but definitely a good portion of fat. Certain areas of my body seem to gain fat really quickly, such as my hips and arms, where as other areas like my legs have hardly gained any fat at all.
I wanted to write a final blog piece exploring the ups and downs, good times and bad, and summarising what I have learnt and would change next time.
Having always been slightly or quite majorly overweight all through my teens and early twenties I was delighted when I reached 10st and slipped into size 8 clothes. It really was something I never thought would be possible for me, so taking the decision to start gaining weight on purpose was a really tough one. I liked how I looked at the end of my diet last year but there was still improvements to be made, and once you get the bug for improving your body, I am sure a lot of you will relate, you will keep pushing the goalpost back. At first I just wanted to lose weight, then I wanted to look fit, then I wanted to look strong and now I want to look even stronger. The only way to build muscle is by eating in a calorie surplus and of course working hard lifting weights in the gym. However I have learnt a few things during this bulking season that will change how I enter it next time.
I have learnt that my body is very carb sensitive, and although some girls can get away with hundreds and hundreds of grams of carbs a day during a bulk, this season at least, that is not me. Next time I decide to bulk I will make sure to really slowly bring those carbs up. I think I jumped up a bit too quickly which meant in those first few weeks I gained weight a little quicker than I wanted. This then definitely leveled out for a long time and I began a more steady increase, but I think going into it slower is very important.
I have also learnt it is very easy to get relaxed and have a few too many treats. Diet mode for me is quite easy, when your heads in the game its a straight no. But with bulking you find you can actually fit those things in, or almost fit them in, and hey ho I’m bulking anyway it will all go to my booty. Next time I want to be stricter with the ‘extras’ shall we say, and minimise fat gain that way.
I can hardly believe I got through this when I look at some of the bad days. In the beginning I think I struggled the most. I saw my faint abs disappearing, and my hips instantly began to cling to the fat. For the first few months my size 8 clothes still fitted me fine, but as the months went on I was squeezing into them or wearing the few size 10’s I still had. There have been days where I have cried physical tears, told my boyfriend I was fat and ugly and hated myself and didn’t want to continue, but it wasn’t true, I was just slightly fatter than before, but also I was hugely stronger.
At my leanest in the summer I was bicep curling with 5kg and at a push 7.5kg dumbells. Now I am curling with 10kg and 12.5kg on my strong days.
My deadlift before my bulk was 70kg for reps 80kg one rep max. It is now 100kg for reps and 105kg one rep max.
Seeing my strength increase was what spurred me on, that and all my constant support from you guys reading my blog and writing to me on instagram.
When I started having those feelings of hating my body I reminded myself of what this body could do. I got into the gym and smashed a personal best and the feeling that gave me reminded me what it was all for. All this hard work has been for a reason…to gain new muscle, to get stronger and to look stronger. Shaping my body from the inside. Its hard to appreciate that when its covered in a layer of fat, but I do get moments when I realise how strong I now am. Carrying a heavy bag for a friend, going to the gym with one of the girls, lifting my heavy weekend bag into the overhead lockers on the airplane. It feels good to be strong, and this bulk has helped me become stronger both inside and out.
I weighed myself this morning and instead of panicking that I am nearly the same weight as I was when I was a size 12/14 and hating myself , I simply wrote the weight down and accepted it. Its just a number, my body is not the same as when I was bigger before. I’m still in my size 10 jeans that I couldn’t have dreamed of fitting into before my fitness journey began, and now to move on to the next phase. I have never been so excited in my life to diet.This time I know I can do it, I know how to do it, and I know exactly what works for my body. This time I am not scared of failure or worried I can’t maintain the weight I lose, I’ve done it before and I will do it again, this summer revealing an all new slimmer more toned than ever before version of me.