Fitness | Winter 2015 Bulk and MuscleFood.com Review

My latest fitness journey began in October 2015 with the start of my winter bulk. For the non-fitness-minded, a 'bulk' is where you eat as much as you can and left as heavy as you can, to increase your muscle mass. A 'cut' is where you reduce your calorific intake to reduce the amount of fat to lean out, but keep the same muscle mass, giving you that 'beach body' look.

Why bulk now?
It is the perfect time to bulk. I quit my job at Disney and I moved back to London. I now work for myself five days a week, and do a bit of guiding on the side on the weekends. Since being back I have managed to get into a regular 3-day-a-week split and more importantly my nutrition is back on track.

My lifts are now the highest they have ever been and I have hit some fantastic PRs. In France my motivation, nutrition and lifts had gone down the drain and I lost a tremendous amount of strength, but i have now managed to more than build that back up.

As a testament to how important nutrition is, I have now gone from 66kg to 73.5kg in 15 weeks (including 1 week as a rest week). This is heaviest I have ever been and you cannot imagine how pleased I was to see the scales tip 70kg. I will soon have the pleasure of hitting 75kg.

The bulk so far
That increase in mass is fast: 500g (about 1lb) per week, which undoubtedly means that a good bit of this is fat, but judging by how quickly my lifts are going up, and the visible changes in my body, there is a good deal of muscle there too. I feel much stronger and confident than before and I am 100% dedicated to my winter bulk.

My goal for this winter bulk is to go from 66kg to around 80kg by Summer 2016. I am already more than half way to my goal and still have over 4 months left to go. The ideal plan would be to be relatively lean at 78kg to 80kg, so I'll have to cut a bit before summer too. After summer, of course, I would like to keep progressing to well over 80kg. I'll post some progress pics in the summer. We'll see how it goes...

Food and supplements
I starting off the bulk aiming for 3200 calories per day, I am now at 3500 a day and I feel that I may need to up this soon to keep growing. To be honest, this is a lot of calories but I don't them hard to get in on most days if I'm at home - I eat pretty big meals.

As far as supplements are concerned, Impact Weigh Protein (Chocolate Smooth) and Caffeine Pro pills (as a pre-workout) are all I use. Both are from MyProtein. I also take a multi-vitamin every day - Centrum in my case. I have also recently started having Omega 3 every day to help with my joint mobility, as my knees were hurting from squats. I can honestly say that the Omega 3 has worked wonders after a couple of weeks of taking the pills daily.

The quality of food is important
I have started to take a lot more notice of the food I'm putting in to my body - when something is so small and has so many calories, why is that? Plus, if I'm going to be eating at least 3,500 calories a day from now on, I'd like to know that it is at last semi-healthy.

MuscleFood has been key to my new diet regime, and after a chat with the company they agreed to send me over £50 worth of products to try and review honestly for you. Here is what was sent to me:


My box consisted of:
  • One protein shaker
  • Prutella Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
  • Protein Pizza: Mighty Meat
  • 6 Low Fat Pork Sausages
  • 2 Steak Hache (Hamburgers)
  • 2.5kg of Chicken Breast
My first thought was, wow. Without asking me what I wanted, they sent me everything that I like. I'm a picky eater but they guessed well.

Here's what I thought of each product:
  • Muscle Food Shaker - This is a standard shaker bottle like every other one I have ever owned. It's the type with a wire ball inside instead of one of the ones with a grill-type design. I prefer this design. I have been using it as a dedicated water bottle (which is great as a standard 500ml bottle is never enough for a workout). I already have quite a few shakers, and this one is as good as any other. Thumbs up.
  • Mighty Meat Protein Pizza - This is a 350g pizza and the standard price on the website is £4.95. When I looked at the macros for this, I was a bit shocked at how few calories they were which goes to show how different these products are from those on the supermarket shelves. They do list the macros by slice but, to be honest, we all know this is part of a meal and we'll be eating all of it at once. Therefore you can expect 658 calories, 76g of protein (wow!), 30g of carbs and 24g of fat (13g is saturated) per pizza. I had to add in some fries as a side to get to over 1000kcals, or otherwise I wouldn't hit my daily calorie goal. The taste was very good as far as the chicken and beef were concerned, but I'm not a huge fan of ham in general but I ate it anyway. Very tasty overall and I can't wait to try some of the other pizzas. The 77g of protein is just incredible and is essentially half of what I need in a day which makes this a huge help.
  • 2.5kg of Chicken Breasts - Now, I usually would avoid chicken breasts as I just find them to be bland and boring to eat, but since I tried these everything has changed. Now, I can't eat the other parts of the chicken without commenting on all the fat in them! I've been converted to chicken breasts! I've used the chicken as pizza toppings and used it in a stew and it is delicious. It is obviously still blander than any other part of the chicken but there's nothing MuscleFood can do about that. The chicken tasted fresh and was just delicious. There were 12 chicken breasts in the pack which makes each one just over 200g - therefore I won't need more than one in a meal. I just need to figure out how I'm going to get through this much chicken, though!
  • Steak Hache Hamburgers - These were delicious but one burger was more than big enough for me. I usually have two normal sized burgers from any other brand which shrink. These didn't shrink as a testament to how lean they are.
  • Low Fat Pork Sausages - Of all the meat based products I tried, this was the only one I didn't like. These were too meaty for me, and I guess i've been used to all the added crap that's in supermarket sausages. I couldn't eat these at all and had to cook something else.
  • Prutella Chocolate Hazelnut Spread - This was the other product that disappointed me. I am a big fan of nutella (though I rarely buy it), but this spread had a problem that many protein products do. You could taste all the bits and grains of protein powder and it just didn't work for me. The taste wasn't but, it was just the bittiness that was too much for me. 
I am excited to try more of their products soon - yes, I'll be paying for them - and the fish (especially the Salmon) looks delicious, and the variety on offer is huge. They even do supplements!

Delivery is ultra-fast, they have next day delivery options and the packaging is fantastic - it's like a mini-fridge to keep all your food cool even if it is out on the porch all day.

Pricing is comparable to supermarkets, although slightly more expensive - this is premium quality food after all! Sign-up for the email though and the exclusive offers sent to you will slash the RRP, or get a 'Protein Discount Card' for even more savings!

On the other hand, eating 100% lean meat like this means eating a lot more of it, as the food from MuscleFood does have a lower calorie count and usually much less far. On a shred/cut, this food would be a god-send as you could eat as much as with supermarket food, but have much fewer calories!

If you use my MuscleFood link, you can get free food added to your order, including 4 chicken breasts at no extra cost to you!

Overall, I highly recommend the products from Muscle Food, and although I did not pay for this first order, I will undoubtedly be ordering from them again. Their meat just tastes so fresh and the fact it is so lean is a huge plus to me. All the certificates and accreditations they had on their website about quality and responsibly sourced meat and fish also inspires me with confidence. It is impossible to like every kind of food (again, I'm a very picky eater), and the sausages and spread didn't do it for me.

This post was part-sponsored by Muscle Food who provided me with some of the food which has been mentioned in this article. This is an honest review and the free products have not influenced my opinion of them.
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About Giovanni Costa

Radio journalist, newspaper editor, travel writier, tour guide and Disney Cast Member. These are just some of the things Gio has done in the past few years. He loves visiting new destintions, trying new food and wants you to come along for the ride!
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