Bulking For Winter: Minimise Your Fat Gain - StrongLife

Bulking For Winter: Minimise Your Fat Gain


We’re well into October, which means for many they’re starting a bulking phase for the winter to pack on some size.

However, if you’re not careful, over the coming weeks and months you may end up packing on more fat than lean muscle.

Today, I just want to go through a very simple strategy to cover how to increase your calories to ensure you’re gaining mass whilst also minimising fat gain.

The last thing you want to do is wake up next March only to realise you’ve “bulked” a little too hard and are now carrying an excess of bodyfat.

You end up doing a severe “cut” to strip the fat off only to realise over the last 6 months you’ve gained very little lean tissue and all that food and training just left you swelled.

Let’s dive in:

First of all, I despise the terms “bulking” and “cutting“.

Both terms feed the ideas that it’s feast or famine for lifters.

Bulking lends itself to the idea of hiding behind a “bulk” in order to rationalise eating a Snack Box a day and whatever junk food you like. It gives you the excuse that if you’re looking a bit out of shape it’s because you’re “bulking brah”.

The cutting phase then is all about an extended period of highly restrictive eating which eliminates food groups, has you feeling hungry all the time and further enhance your poor relationship with food.

Let’s look at the basics:

In reality – a “bulk” is essentially a period of time where you are looking to gain some mass in the form of lean muscle tissue.

To increase weight/mass, you must be consistently consuming more calories than you expend.

To minimise the amount of fat gain, you want to keep that calorie surplus in the range of 500kcals per day.

Splurging on junk food and having too high of a surplus is your #1 way to skewing your muscle:fat ratio,

To ensure optimal gainzzz, aim for 1-2lbs of weight increase per week.

Keep track of your physique using a mirror and pictures (maybe not in the gym where people are trying to train, broseph).

Gaining too much fat? Decrease your calories a little.

Not gaining enough weight? Increase calories a little.

Track. Assess. Adjust. Repeat.

So how do you get started to ensure you don’t just get fat from day one?


Take your current calories to maintain weight and add 10%.

Hit that daily and track your progress over the next 2 weeks. Refer to above.

Once you hit a plateau, add another 10% and follow above steps.

Repeat until you are happy or until your bodyfat is verging on getting too high.

Spend 4-6 weeks bringing yourself back down to your new maintenance calorie levels before going into a cut.

This way you will soften the decrease in food volume and also allow your metabolism to adjust to it’s new weight before dipping into a calorie deficit.


One of the big mistakes made is people diving straight into the top range end of calories for their bulk too soon.

If your body has been surviving on 2,000kcals a day then suddenly introducing 3,500kcals tomorrow will mean it has not up-regulated to use those excess calories so they will go straight into storage.

Take your time.

Taper your calories up to required levels.

Track your calories weekly.

Assess your progress weekly/fortnightly.

Adjust calories where needed.


“If you ain’t assessing, you’re only guessing”.

Colm Duignan

Colm Duignan

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