Bulking and Constipation — How To Prevent Constipation While Eating A Lot
To gain weight and gain muscle you must eat more food than your body would normally require to sustain itself. It’s a fact. To grow, you must consume more energy than you need. This is called bulking, and many bodybuilders, weight lifters, and gym goers do a cycle where they go on a bulk to gain muscle and then go on a cut to loose fat while maintaining their muscle. For some, eating enough calories can be difficult. Bulking sometimes means stuffing your face full of food.
When you eat more food, you will create more waste. It’s a simple fact. However, if you are not eating a well rounded diet, filled with fruits, vegetables and plenty of water, your body will have trouble digesting al the food you have eaten. This can lead to painful constipation.
Why Talk About Poop?
I am writing this because of two reasons. One is that I have not been eating a smoothie every day for the last 6 weeks. Part of the reason is I am currently on a cut, and part of the reason is that it is winter and my new house is cold. The house is old and has a lot of drafts. Living in a cold house makes me want to eat hot food instead of smoothies. I’m especially hesitant to drink smoothies which have frozen ingredients. And in winter, most fruits are out of season, meaning I am purchasing frozen fruits.
Not drinking a smoothie at least once a day, like I normally do in the summer has had a noticeable impact on my digestion. My poo is a bit harder and does not come out as easily. Now, I’m not constipated or anything like that, but there is a noticeable difference in my digestive flow going from eating a lot of fiber to eating less fiber.
At my job I have a few coworkers who go into the toilet and sit there for literally 45 minutes at a time. It amazes me. To sit on a toilet, groaning and pushing for minutes at a time seems so awful. Normally when I sit on the toilet the process is painless and takes less than a minute. I don’t think it is my place to recommend some fruit or fiber filled foods to my coworkers, but when I see them going into the toilet and not leaving for 45 minutes I genuinely feel bad.
My personal experience of noticing how my body reacts when I end up drinking less smoothies, and seeing how long my coworkers sit on the toilet is reason enough for me to bring up the topic of constipation. But then there was a Reddit gainit post about someone who is on a bulk and eating a lot of calories and lots of protein and getting some terrible constipation. To quote for the post
So for the past three days i’d been suffering from the worst fucking constipation i’d ever experienced. Coincidentally, yesterday was also leg day so I thought what better way to relieve this nightmare by doing my squats and whatnot. Mistake #2.
Today I woke up with fatigued legs and thighs, stomach bloat, and worst of all, my ass was on fire.
My fatigued lower body made hauling my ass to the toilet and back (constantly) a pain and I must have gone 10-15 times with no success.
This individual has been eating a lot of food. He’s been getting all the extra calories he needs, and he’s made sure to get plenty of protein to help his muscles grow. He’s also been working out, doing compound lifts, such as squatting. Fantastic. These are all needed for a successful bulk and this individual is making “some pretty decent gains”.
The problem, as he has found out, is that his diet was not properly balanced. For proper digestion, and general health, you need to consume dietary fiber and drink plenty of water. From the post I am not convinced that water is the problem. I believe that a lack of fiber is what led to this redditor’s constipation problem.
Eat More Fiber
Getting dietary fiber is easy. It’s found in all kinds of things, but mainly comes from plants. Eat fruits and vegetables every day, and you will be getting enough fiber. It’s not just about constipation and good digestion.
Scientists used to believe that fiber was not useful for our health. now they know that even though our bodies do not directly consume the fiber, it is crucial for our health. Fiber helps control blood sugar levels, it helps prevent diabetes and heart disease, and reduces toxicity within our bodies.
More than half of all Americans eat less than half of their recommended daily fiber. These are the people like my coworkers. My coworkers do not workout at the gym and do not lift weights. They are not bulking or eating extra calories. It’s just that their diets suck. They eat junk food. One of them goes out to either Subway or McDonalds every single day at lunch. I cannot imagine how much sodium their bodies must get from all that fast food.
The amount of time I spend on a toilet is normally less than a minute. It’s quick, painless and I never need to push hard enough to grunt. It’s very foreign to me to hear others grunting or moaning when I am in a public bathroom. It sounds so painful and unnatural. But when I am not able to drink a smoothie for a week at a time due to some circumstance (such as traveling) I notice that pooping takes a bit more effort and takes more time. It makes me think that if I avoided fruits and vegetables for a month I would also be one of those people that takes over half an hour just to poo.
I obviously like smoothies. I found that smoothies were the easiest way for me to get extra calories when I was trying to gain weight and bulk. They helped me go from a muscle-less skinny sack of bones to a good looking athletic body type. They also keep me healthy. I know I am not lacking fiber, vitamins or protein because I drink good, healthy smoothies.
If smoothies are not your think, eating whole fruits and vegetables in other ways is just as good. Make a salad or a stir fry. No matter how you consume it, eating whole, plant-based foods will help you poop quickly and painlessly.
You Don’t Have To Water
As the redditor above mentioned, water is essential for your body to function well. When people get headaches, one of the main reasons is dehydration. Dehydration will lead to other issues, including constipation. If your poop is too solid and hard, it’s not going to come out easily. You must ensure that you consume enough water.
But you don’t have to actually drink pure water to get the water your body needs.
I actually go days at a time without drinking a glass of water. These are days when I eat a lot of fruits and veggies and/or drink a lot of smoothies. It’s perfectly fine to get your water from fruits, veggies and other sources. (Avoid sodas and other unhealthy liquids). Many plant-based foods have a lot of water in them, and it is enough to sustain your body in a healthy way.
When nutritionists say that you need at least eight glasses of water a day, they do not mean you must drink pure water. It does not matter what form your water comes in. What they mean is that you need a certain amount of hydration for your body to function correctly, including your digestive tract.
The important thing is proper hydration.
If you get all your water from whole fruits and vegetables, you are fine. Make sure you are eating healthy foods and staying fully hydrated. Hydration is key to a good poop and a healthy body.
Balance Your Diet
A lot of people who are bulking only pay attention to the amount of calories they consume and the amount of protein they are getting. It is true, this is largely all you need to worry about in terms of diet when gaining muscles. But you must consider other factors when you are thinking about your whole body’s health. A diet revolving around gaining weight and gaining muscle is not necessarily healthy. It can be, but it can also be unhealthy.
Our bodies are amazing and complex. We can throw an insane amount of abuse at our bodies and they are still able to function, heal and balance themselves. But we should not take our bodies for granted. If you want a long, healthy life, you must treat your body right. If you want to look good and have an attractive, athletic body, without injuries, you must treat your body right.
One of the absolute best things we can do for our bodies is consume a well balanced, diverse diet. Because our bodies are so complex, they need a huge range of nutrients; vitamins, minerals, fiber, water, protein, etc. To get all these different things we need a range of foods we consume.
To treat your body right, you must eat a healthy balanced diet. Diversify the foods you eat.
Eating chicken and rice every day of the week is OK for gaining weight. You can successfully bulk on a diet like this. But if this is literarily all you eat, you’re going to develop health problems. I had a friend who developed scurvy because he didn’t have any fruits in his diet.
When bulking, people forget about their micronutrients. These are important for your health, your well being and to avoid painful situations such as the constipation suffered by the redditor above.
Weight lifting beginners are especially prone to eating a ton of food and forgetting to round out their diet. Some foods simply do not have a lot of calories. That does not mean that you should not eat them. Eat the foods that give you lots of calories, but also eat the foods that provide you with other nutrition. Eat fruits, eat veggies, eat fish and eggs and lots of greens and whatever else you see at the supermarket. Diversify your diet or you might end up lacking something as simple as dietary fiber (leading to constipation) or Vitamin C (leading to scurvy).
To properly bulk, you need to be healthy and a balanced diet is the best way to do that. Smoothies are a great way to help balance your diet because of the wide range of whole food ingredients you can add into a smoothie recipe.