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Why Is Bulking Up Difficult For Some People?

Why Is Bulking So Hard? – The Real Deal

When it comes to building muscle and gaining weight, some people find it easy while others struggle to make progress. This can be frustrating, especially for those who put in a lot of effort and time at the gym and in their diet. There are several reasons why bulking up can be difficult for some people, and understanding these factors can help you overcome these obstacles and reach your goals.

Not consuming any meat or dairy products and still want to gain? Learn more about how do vegans bulk up!

Genetics | Improper Nutrition | Ineffective Training Program | Aging | Poor Lifestyle Choices | Calorie Intake For Bulking | Hypertrophy Workout Plan | Key Takeaways | FAQs

Why Is Bulking Hard? – 5 Key Factors

1. Genetics

According to studies, it is proven that genetics play a significant role in determining an individual’s ability to gain muscle mass. Some people are naturally gifted with a higher number of muscle fibers, which makes it easier for them to bulk up. On the other hand, some individuals have a lower number of muscle fibers, which makes it more challenging for them to build muscle mass.

Furthermore, genetics also determine an individual’s metabolism rate. A high metabolism rate means that the body burns calories faster, making it harder for individuals to consume enough calories to gain weight. This is why, individuals with a high metabolism rate have to consume a higher number of calories to gain weight and build muscle mass.

On the contrary, if you’re struggling to lose weight and cut, then learn more about the fast metabolism diet!

2. Improper Nutrition

Another factor that affects an individual’s ability to bulk up is their nutrition. Consuming the right amount and type of food is crucial for muscle growth. In fact, according to a study, those trying to gain muscle mass and bulk up should consume 1.8-2grams of protein per kilo of their bodyweight. This study also talks about the importance of amino acids through diets or supplements to boost muscle hypertrophy, leading to the kind of gains you want.

A diet that lacks adequate protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats can make it harder to gain muscle mass. In contrast, consuming excess calories without the right macronutrient balance can result in gaining excess fat, rather than muscle mass.

Moreover, it’s essential to consume enough calories to support muscle growth. If an individual isn’t eating enough calories, the body will use the available energy to maintain vital bodily functions, rather than building muscle mass.

Struggling to clean bulk? Try the Viking Diet! Make sure to make adjustments according to your daily calorie requirements so you’re in a caloric surplus and on your way to bulking.

3. Ineffective Training Program

The type of training program an individual follows can also impact their ability to bulk up. A training program that isn’t challenging enough or lacks variation can limit muscle growth. Additionally, overtraining, which involves training for extended periods without rest, can lead to muscle fatigue, making it harder for the muscles to repair and grow.

On the other hand, the right training program can stimulate muscle growth by targeting different muscle groups and increasing the intensity of the workout. Additionally, incorporating progressive overload into the workout routine, which involves increasing the resistance or weight lifted over time, can also help stimulate muscle growth.

Trying to boost muscle growth? Try the Vertical Diet. Make sure to adjust the macros to fit your assigned daily caloric intake.

4. Aging

Age is another factor that affects an individual’s ability to bulk up. As an individual ages, their body’s production of hormones that promote muscle growth, such as testosterone, declines. This decline can make it harder to build muscle mass.

Additionally, as an individual ages, their body’s ability to recover from intense workouts declines, making it more challenging to stimulate muscle growth. Therefore, older individuals may need to adjust their training program and diet to suit their age and capabilities.

Training hard even as you age? Make sure to incorporate these 5 cool down exercises to boost your post-workout muscle recovery and growth!

5. Poor Lifestyle Choices

Several lifestyle factors can affect an individual’s ability to build muscle mass. Factors such as stress, inadequate sleep, and smoking can negatively impact muscle growth. As per a study, stress increases the production of cortisol, a hormone that promotes the breakdown of muscle tissue, making it harder to build muscle mass. Additionally, inadequate sleep reduces the body’s production of growth hormone, a hormone that promotes muscle growth.

Moreover, smoking reduces the body’s production of testosterone, making it harder to build muscle mass. Therefore, individuals who want to bulk up should adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes stress management techniques, adequate sleep, and avoiding smoking.

Improve your performance in and out of the gym with a healthy exercise-sleep cycle!

How Many Calories Do You Need For Bulking?

If your daily goal is bulking (or even shredding), you need to calculate your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). This is the number of calories you burn in one day.

Your TDEE comprises of your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). This is the number of calories your body needs on a daily basis to stay functional and healthy along with the calories burned during digestion or physical activities.

To know how many calories you need for bulking, it’s important to know your TDEE.

Here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Calculate Your BMR

The Mifflin-St Jeor Equation is a widely used method to calculate BMR. The formula is slightly different for men and women:

  • For Men: BMR = 10 * weight (kg) + 6.25 * height (cm) – 5 * age (years) + 5
  • For Women: BMR = 10 * weight (kg) + 6.25 * height (cm) – 5 * age (years) – 161

Step 2: Adjust for Activity Level

Multiply your BMR by the your activities, taking into account exactly what you do on a daily basis. Here’s how to do it:

  • Sedentary (little or no exercise): BMR x 1.2
  • Lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week): BMR x 1.375
  • Moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week): BMR x 1.55
  • Very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week): BMR x 1.725
  • Extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training): BMR x 1.9


Let’s calculate the TDEE for a 30-year-old woman who is lightly active, weighs 60 kg, and is 165 cm tall.

Calculate BMR

  • BMR = (10 * 60) + (6.25 * 165) – (5 * 30) – 161
  • BMR = 600 + 1031.25 – 150 – 161
  • BMR = 1320.25 kcal/day

Adjust for Activity Level

She is lightly active, so we use a factor of 1.375.

  • TDEE = 1320.25 * 1.375
  • TDEE = 1815.34 kcal/day

So, her estimated TDEE is approximately 1815 calories per day.

Step 3: Monitor and Adjust

The TDEE of the woman should be the starting point of her bulking or maintenance phase. This means gradually, she needs to increase the calories she intakes to start the gaining process.

Remember, these calculations provide an estimate. Individual needs can vary based on metabolism, muscle mass, and other factors.


In order to calculate the TDEE, you can use online tools and calculators. You’ll simply have to put your data such as age, height, weight, fitness level, daily activities, physical activities, etc. This will give you a quick estimate so you won’t have to rack your brain doing this mentally!

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Hypertrophy Workout Plan – Complete Training Routine When Bulking

Day Muscle Group Exercises
Day 1
Chest Bench Press
Incline Dumbbell Press
Dumbbell Flyes
Cable Crossover
Day 2
Back Deadlift
Bent Over Rows
Lat Pulldown
Seated Cable Row
Day 3
Legs Squats
Leg Press
Deadlifts (Leg focus)
Leg Curls
Calf Raises
Day 4
Shoulders & Arms
Shoulders Military Press
Lateral Raises
Front Raises
Arnold Press
Upright Rows
Day 4
Shoulders & Arms
Biceps Barbell Curls
Hammer Curls
Preacher Curls
Concentration Curls
Day 4
Shoulders & Arms
Triceps Triceps Dips
Skull Crushers
Triceps Pushdown
Overhead Triceps Extension
Day 5
Core Planks
Russian Twists
Flutter Kicks
Cable Woodchoppers
Ab Wheel Rollouts

Here are a few tips when you’re training for hypertrophy on your bulk:

  • Progressively overload the resistance or weights when working out.
  • Get the right gym wear so you experience peak performance during workouts
  • Make sure you’re eating in a calorie surplus, especially when it comes to consuming protein.
  • Give your muscles enough rest between workouts.
  • Drink enough water so you’re hydrated.
  • Make sure your form is right to prevent injuries and max out your gains.
  • Incorporate multi-muscle exercises.
  • Keep a journal or workout log so you know which muscles you’ve worked.
  • Get enough rest to give your muscles time for recovery.
  • Consider protein supplements.
  • Stay consistent with your training.

Key Takeaways

In conclusion, building muscle and bulking up can be challenging for some individuals due to various factors, such as genetics, nutrition, training program, age, and lifestyle factors. However, by understanding these factors and making the necessary adjustments to their diet, training program, and lifestyle, individuals can overcome these obstacles and achieve their desired muscle mass and physique.


Why is bulking harder than cutting?

Bulking is often considered harder than cutting because you need to increase your caloric consumption strategically without overloading fat on your body. This is why, many people wonder – why is clean bulking so hard? Well, it all comes down to the challenge of carefully developing a diet that includes enough protein, carbs , and healthy fats to boost muscle growth while maintaining a caloric surplus. This is far more complicated than creating a calorie deficit for cutting. Adding to that, you need consistent, progressive overload as you train so you’re stimulating muscle growth.

Why is it hard for some people to bulk?

Bulking is difficult for some people while it’s easy for others and this happens due to several reasons. For starters, genetics play a huge role in whether you bulk easily or not as some people have a faster metabolism or lesser muscle fibers, which makes bulking difficult. In addition, if they’re not taking proper nutrition or consuming enough calories, they may be hindering their muscle growth. Moreover, ineffective training program or a workout routine that’s not challenging enough may not lead to muscle stimulation or growth. And lastly, with poor lifestyle choices such as insufficient sleep or high stress levels, you might be sabotaging your bulking process.

Does bulking get easier?

Yes, bulking can get easier with time and the right approach to training, nutrition and lifestyle. When you understand why bulking is difficult for you, it’ll help you make the right changes and tweaks in your life to set you on-track for bulking. The basic approach to bulking should include maintaining a caloric surplus, progressively overloading during your workouts so your muscles are constantly challenged and maintaining overall healthy lifestyle choices. As time passes and you learn more about your body’s responses, you’ll know which foods benefit you and which don’t, helping you craft a customized bulking meal plan.

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