After asking on my Instagram, there seemed to be high demand for me to share my journey and experience coaching myself through this bulk. This of course is going to be a multiple blog series because I have so much to say, but in today’s post I want to go through the basics and outline of my journey thus far. One thing that I want to remind you before starting all of this is that everybody and every body is different. This is my journey that I am working on and what seems to have worked for me so please do not try to exactly copy everything I did/do. Use these blogs as a starting point for you, but adjusting everything to your body, past history, goals, lifestyle, wants/needs, etc. I’m not sharing this to say look at me; I’m sharing it to help those out there who are in the same situation or may be curious about transitioning into a similar situation as me. I know a lot of people don’t talk about self-coaching because so many people have coaches, which is why I want to put as much content on this subject out there as I can. As always, I am always here to answer questions, talk, or just listen so please do not hesitate to reach out to me: comment below, email me, or DM on Instagram (@beyoutifully.healthy).
Last year, I’d been reverse dieting for a while, but during volleyball season (Late August to early November) it got difficult–we go out to eat a lot, on tournament days I would eat upward of 3000 calories most days, and then of course, I got injured and wasn’t able to workout for a month. So I decided as an athlete I didn’t need to track, and once season I ended I gave myself a two-week hiatus from tracking and working out before starting into my bulk. This was the week after Thanksgiving so I’ve been bulking from end of November to now or a little over two months. I have learned so much about the process, about myself, and this lifestyle in general throughout this. It hasn’t been easy, and I certainly have not been perfect–there have been many days I said screw it I’m still hungry, I’m going to eat. And part of me was okay with that due to my background of an eating disorder, if my body really needed more food who was I to stop it at this stage? It was a tricky balance because I did want to stick to my macros to accurately gauge my progress, but sometimes you have to do what you feel is best. However, overall I have been pretty in-tune and stayed on track so far with my bulk.
Now, I’ll go into the details of how I measured progress, when I increased my macros and by how much, where I started and why, etc. in a separate blog, but here I’ll outline a few things. After working with a sports dietitian for a few months and doing my own reverse diet (attempt) during the Fall, I had a general idea of starting my macros at what equalled around 2600 calories. Every day I tracked my macros, my weight, and how I felt/other important notes. It’s important to understand that bulking isn’t just about what your weight is doing, you have to take other factors such as digestion, tired levels, sleep, hormones, etc. into consideration too. Every week I would look at the previous week, compare it to other weeks and decide what my macros would do going forward. Essentially I did mostly everything a coach would do, minus sending in progress pictures because it was just myself. In this aspect, having a coach can be beneficial because they are an objective eye for progress and then tweak your macros from there–you don’t have to worry about the amount you just follow what it is given. However, I promise you that progress is possible by yourself too. Now, I am not competing any time soon if at all. If I ever did compete, I would get a coach so that I could be more precise, but as far as my goals for right now, coaching myself is perfectly okay for me.
Lastly, I want to touch some of the things I’ve learned. First, bulking is not just physical. Most people think it’s all about gaining the weight and building the muscle and it’s not. Don’t get me wrong it is a big part of it, I mean essentially your goal in a bulk is to build your physical appearance so that when you cut, you’ll have a better physique. And it’s tough to physically eat as much as people do on a bulk. People think oh yeah, I’d love to eat 3000 calories or bulking means you eat out all the time and eat lots of junk. First, off you may wish you could eat that much, but it’s hard. And don’t just use “3000” because that could be easy for some people, but those people are bulking at 4000 maybe. The point is that it is hard to shove more food down when you aren’t all that hungry or not even hungry at all. It’s hard to cut and be hungry, but it’s also so hard to eat a lot of food and always feel full or bloated, especially because you don’t get shredded like you do on a cut, you are supposed to be adding weight–muscle and fat. And this is where the fact that bulking adds a huge mental aspect to it too–especially if you’ve come from a background of an ED or body dysmorphia. So what I have learned to do is this: focus on things other than what my body looks like. I focus on my strength in the gym, on the fact that I get to eat a lot of yummy food; I focus on my PRs or the muscle I’m building or the fact that I actually have a booty now. I don’t have a coach to keep me accountable or you know to encourage me when I start doubting, so when coaching yourself you have to learn to be that for yourself and this is one way that helps. Also, I highly suggest you get support around you whether that be in your family, significant other, friends, social media friends, etc. because they can help encourage you and keep you going.
I know this was long and a little scrambled, but I wanted to get my thoughts out and give y’all the basics. I promise that the next two blogs will be more focused on actually how to coach yourself/increase your macros as well as specific tips on coaching yourself. Please let me know if there is any specific questions, or topics you want me to cover in regards to this. Thank you for everyone who is supporting me on this and I hope you can learn just one thing from my journey too.