Thoughts On The “No Bull” Bulk – Part 1

As the title would suggest, this post is a memory dump of sorts. While I like to think (and think and think and think), cementing these ideas, for me, requires an expression. Either through talking about it or writing about it, I have to articulate my thoughts to cement my ideas. Since Sarah has heard me roar on and on about all aspects of this, I turn to y’all for a bit of cementing. Thinkering, if you will.

  • In line with my post on RMR and calories in general, I got my hands on a Bodybugg to play around with. I really like this device, especially in seeing how much calories are burned doing things like housework or just being on your feet versus on your arse. I write this at my own peril, as Sarah will likely put me to the mop because, “(you) want to burn calories.” Regardless, the device has determined my maintenance caloric intake to be right around 3000kcal/day.
  • Further, playing around with this device, I’ve found that I burn a LOT of calories doing simple intervals and long walks. For instance, last week I did a simple workout where I would “sprint” 100 yards and walk 300 yards. I did this 4 times, followed by a steady 1/4 mile jog. Later than evening Sarah and I walked 3 miles down at town lake. Total burn for the day: 3768(!).
  • Even though I just wrote about the No Bull Muscle Gain Plan (acronym…Nob MuG?) last week, I’ve been engaging in it for the better part of a month. In the book, Kelly wants to see weight going up at least 1lb every 2 weeks (the cycle length suggested in his book). This hasn’t been the case for me and it’s simple maths to see the reason why. My overeating phases have been at least 500kcal over maintenance per day while the undereating phase is bodyweight x 12, or ~2000kcal per day in my case. Spread this out over a week and you’ll see the dilemma: the per day average is ~3074 kcal or nearly maintenance, never mind what I’m burning above.
  • So in an effort to take any OCD tendencies out of this whole thing, I’m making it simple: the base is unmeasured/unweighted paleo and the difference is the milk. This is quite what I was eating like before but it allows for a little bit of caloric auto-regulation due to appetite, so if I’m a bit more hungry I just eat a bit more. I don’t go hog wild but eat to satiety.

4 thoughts on “Thoughts On The “No Bull” Bulk – Part 1

  1. Very good, Skyler!

    I’d recommend you weigh yourself and take bodyfat percentages every Monday morning immediately when you wake up, simply because you’d add plenty of weight throughout the day, whether in water or food. I don’t know about regulation of calories, but I feel that if you wish to gain mass, you shouldn’t cut back on the non-lifting/underfeeding days, as your body tends to grow more at rest. This would also help you get in more calories.

    I suggest you read Chad Waterbury’s recent interview at Tmuscle. He talks about decreasing rest periods being more metabolically demanding and that 35s-3min rest periods between sets have no effect on size and strength gains. In fact, many litters have seen greater size and strength gains on lower rest periods! If you were willing to try it out, why not scrap the intervals but reduce your rest periods? This way, you would still get some metabolic work done.

    I’m just speaking from my own experience, however. I don’t know how this programme actually goes! Also, I follow the leangains protocol as well and I know that it is extremely difficult to overeat on this scheme. That’s why I currently am relaxing the fasted state to 12h and getting more meals in. Once again, only my opinions!

    1. Hey Clement, thanks for your response!

      It’s important to note a couple things regarding this program and over/under eating. First, because I’m using a fasting scheme and tend to train in the late morning, I get a LOT of calories post workout, so I don’t worry about my underfeeding days stopping any gains. Second, my last weight training day of the week (before the under-eating phase) happens with a 1 day gap. So since I under-eat on Monday and Tuesday, my last weight workout is Saturday, leaving 1 day of over-eating to buffer me.Also speaking of Leangains, Martin under-eats on his off days and it clearly hasn’t had a negative effect on his ability to get strong/gain muscle!

      However, these are all points to consider should (more like when) I need to make adjustments to the program. It’s outcome-based decision making after all! Thanks again for your input.


      1. It’ll be interesting to see if, in time, those overeating days leave you feeling less than optimal. I’ve noticed than when I purposely over-indulge over a period of time, the “feel” segment of the look, feel & perform triangle degrades significantly. And I think this sensitivity is more pronounced the cleaner (in a Paleo sense) the diet is. Maybe this has something to do with increased leptin levels cruising the system? There is definitely a particular sweet spot at the intersection of satiation and the feel-perform axis that I need to hit to not only perform well, but to *feel* like performing well. I don’t want to get all Zen, here, but it’s in this spot that “flow” (both mental and physical) happens…nothing forced or pushed.

      2. Keith,

        Welcome back. When I switched my underfeeding days, I overate for 10 straight days and that was nearing my limit. I was happy to underfeed to 2 days, though I certainly notice a bit of inertia when switching the days and for the sake of this experiment will weather the storm. However, it’s not like Robb Wolf talked about during his mass gain: he wasn’t feeling all that healthy. I look forward to when I can get back to flow a little bit more.

        I actually have a blood test coming up before we change insurance but after that I’ll do what was originally the ABCDE: ~2 weeks overfeeding, 2 weeks at or just below maintenance (i.e. standard paleo). The symmetry might be enough to balance the feel aspect. We will see.

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