How to Mentally Prepare For a Bulk

Posted by Ryderwear HQ on


Just as the weight room has become accepted as a sweaty haven for more and more men & women, so has the idea of bulking. Once a ritual of only the most hardcore lifter, even casual gym-goers are now embarking on bulks to increase their muscle mass, strength and change their body composition. But budding bodybuilders beware - bulking is not for the faint hearted.

While at its essence, it’s about deliberately increasing your caloric intake so you’re in a caloric surplus, it’s not just about all you can eat Taco Tuesdays and daily donut servings. It’s a complex routine of meal prepping, macro-counting and peeling the calluses off your hands as you lift heavier and heavier.

There’s also an entire mental side to bulking that often goes unmentioned, especially for anyone embedded in diet culture or social stigmas that give negative connotations to fat & weight gain. Caring for your mental health when you’re bulking is essential, here’s how you can prepare for what lies ahead.

1. Be prepared to accept fat or weight gain
Bulking is about being in a caloric surplus (when you consume more calories than you burn), so fat gain is inevitable. Accepting that weight gain is part of the journey is vital, which means avoiding overreacting to bloating or whenever the scale goes up. Instead, focus on acceptance - that it’s only temporary and part of a larger goal, which is working towards a stronger, more confident self.

2. Make an informed choice
Before you embark on a bulk, it’s important to make sure it actually aligns with your goals and your lifestyle! Think about whether it’s something you can commit to doing. Bulking half-heartedly will only frustrate you, and cause you to waste your time chasing unrealistic results.

3. Focus on performance, not looks
Bulking is about getting stronger, not slimmer - so shift your focus to performance and celebrate the improvements in your training and your strength. As a result, your attention will move from what you look like, towards what you can do. When you think less about your bodyweight and more about weights at the gym, you’ll bulk more effectively, make faster progress with your strength, and possibly even repair your relationship with food - seeing it as something to fuel your fitness, rather than something to be afraid of.

4. Understand the process
Take the time to understand what happens when you bulk, all the gritty details included. Understand that you may look bigger in the mirror, your muscles will look less defined, and your abs may not be visible. Your physique may not look its best, you may find it difficult to eat enough and even experience some discomfort due to the amount of food you have to eat. Remind yourself to focus on how you feel, not how you look. Instead of fixating over the number on a scale, focus on how great you felt after that heavy lifting or HIIT session, and appreciate how you were able to add an extra rep or an extra plate to the bar. Fitness should be a celebration of what your body can do, rather than something to grind through out of a sense of obligation.

5. Treat Yourself to a new Wardrobe
Don’t force yourself to fit into the smaller clothes that won’t compliment your physique. It’s important to make sure you have clothes that are comfortable and still make you feel good about your bodily changes. You deserve to feel confident and comfortable at any size! Leave those too-small pieces in storage and check out these Ryderwear fits that feature luxe, soft fabrics and high-performance designs for those heavier weights you’ll be lifting (and they’re available in every size).

Staples Leggings
Confidence at its best. Move without restriction in the four way stretch fabric that moves with your curves.

Adapt Boyfriend Sweater
With an oversized fit for peak comfort, this sweater is perfect for warm ups, recovery days and everything in between.

Base T Shirt
Lightweight enough for your toughest workouts, comfortable enough to wear for whatever comes next. This staple shirt gets you through any activity with ease. 

Ease Fleece Pullover
The loose fit offers a casual, comfortable feel, with a lightweight fleece fabric and classic design that means this pullover can be worn as both a streetwear staple and in the squat rack with ease.