It amazes me how physique athletes cling to old concepts. The bulk up thing is not as beneficial as many may think. Everyone knows that dieting should be about fat loss not weight loss, and about muscle preservation. Yet how many times do you hear someone say “I will bulk up to this much and then diet down to this much weight”. We know the scale only gives a number, and that number does not reflect Lean Muscle, Fat Weight, or Water Weight. It is just a number.
Anabolically it makes much more sense to keep body fat levels in a decently lower range all year long and to function as an athlete. Extra, non-functional body weight is just added metabolic stress that serves no purpose.
Bodybuilders seem to forget that carrying around 50-60 lbs of lean mass gained through years of training is ALREADY a metabolic stress. It’s already “bulked up” weight. It’s more weight than you were naturally meant to carry around. So when they “bulk up” even more their metabolisms are under severe strain and can’t keep up and it also causes strain on the cardiovascular system. For example there are way too many bodybuilders with sleep apnea.
Then when it comes time to dieting down , with all the enormous strain on their systems, systemically speaking, they must sacrifice quality mass, that otherwise would have been sustainable, had their weight not got out of hand. Then there is the whole health side of it.
Bulking up is like yo-yo dieting. The problem here isn’t just that fat gets more stubborn to come off, but the type of fat you gain is the more dangerous. Visceral fat is also the most dangerous fat health wise. It is the fat that surrounds the organs. It’s been proven that yo-yo dieters gain more and more visceral fat as a percentage of absolute weight, as time goes on, and they go through more and more cycles of dieting and bulking. And Physique athletes who get lean, then get fat, are indeed Yo-Yo dieters. It has the same Metabolic Consequences.
So think about this during your off season when you only judge things by the scale and not by the mirror and the bio-feedback clues your body is sending you that you are at a point where the weight you are gaining is non-functional and doing more harm than good.