Fast Bulk vs Slow Bulk
The Study: Garthe et. al. (2013), Effect of Nutritional Intervention on Body Composition And Performance In Elite Athletics. EUR J SPORT SCI
- 39 elite athletes recruited for the study and split into 2 groups.
- For 8-12 weeks (dependant on length of their off-season) One group completed a fast bulk (high calorie surplus) and the another completed a slow bulk with a much more moderate calorie surplus. Both groups had adequate protein in their diets to facilitate hypertrophy.
- The higher calorie group gained weight at a rate of 0.4% of Bodyweight per week whilst the moderate calorie group gained weight at a rate of 0.2% of bodyweight per week.
- Unsurprisingly, the fast bulk group gained more than twice the amount of bodyweight than the slow bulk group
- However, there was only a small difference in lean mass (High calorie group averaged 1.7kg lean mass gained whilst moderate calorie group 1.2kg)
- Also, the fast bulk group put on 5 times as much body fat (1.1kg vs 0.2kg) compared to the slower bulk group.
- This study supports the idea that a smaller calorie surplus is better for maintaining a low body fat percentage in a bulk. However, if muscle gain is the sole goal, like open weight category powerlifters, then a faster bulk may be more beneficial.