The importance of sensible eating becomes magnified for body builders, who do well to maintain sensible bulking and skip desserts during offseason training. And by the way, these facts apply to anyone, not just body builders.

Why Pendulum Swings of Sensible Bulking and Sugar Binges Don’t Work

Testosterone Reduction

When you bulk up by eating fatty and sugary foods, you body turns the food into fat instead of muscle. Fat cells contain a different chemistry, which includes an enzyme called aromatase. Aromatase changes testosterone into a type of estrogen. Why is this counter-productive? Testosterone is vital for synthesizing protein and building muscle.

The more belly fat you have, the less testosterone is produced. The less testosterone you have, the more belly fat you end up with. An article in Low T Center explains how the two are linked.

Bodybuilders want to avoid testosterone depletion in the offseason.

Cortisol Is Also a Problem

In times of stress, the body releases a hormone called cortisol — the fight or flight hormone. It shuts down the body’s immune system and reproduction functions. It does this so energy can be channeled into fleeing or fighting. Consequently, the body’s testosterone production reduces, muscular inflammation occurs, and you get food cravings. Fat will also be attracted to the belly area.

What’s the Answer?

Fitness writer David Robson recommends:

  • Sensible bulking. Follow the 80/20 rule of eating 80% clean calories. Eat foods like skinless chicken, vegetables, brown rice, eggs, fish, etc. Allow only 20% of dirty calories from food sources.
  • Cardio. Keep your cardio rates up. For example, continue treadmill exercises to 2-3 sessions a week during the offseason (reduced from 5-6 a week during season training).
  • Eat 5-6 daily meals. Don’t engage in big meals in the offseason but continue eating 5-6 small meals, which supports lean muscle mass and does not set up your body to store fat.

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