The photo above is dramatic before and after picture of my co-founder Caleb Daiz. The photo is Caleb’s journey and the result of two brains coming together to figure out how to bulk up, a problem that not only Caleb had, but I myself had, as well as the 25,000+ people that our app has served thus far. Figuring out how to bulk up is not easy. How to get big biceps, triceps, or a big chest. How to get bigger legs or a wider back, or how to just get big in general! BULK is the app we created to meet this problem at its core and create a space for beginning lifters, similar to how Caleb started. This is for the community of people we call the hard gainers.
Maybe you already know what a hard gainer is because this is your narrative but if you don’t, A hard gainer is someone that has struggled with figuring out the ever elusive secret on how to gain weight (muscle, fat, all of the above!). I know some of you are probably like, “wtf would I want to gain weight, and how is that hard for anyone” while others are like “Yes! I eat everything in sight but I still look like tales from the crypt keepers!” Well for those of you that don’t know, it is extremely hard for some people to gain weight. My co-founder Caleb and I were both members of this group of people and that is where Bulk came began.
My body weight is something that I have also struggled with for as long as I can remember. I could literally eat 2 large pizzas by myself every night for a week and get on the scale and see that I lost weight. As I got older my weight was a huge detriment to my confidence, and while I know now that you need to be happy where you are at all times, bulking up was a huge goal of mine.
My story was a little different from Caleb. I had lots of experience in the gym being that I ran track for middle school through college, however, the types of workouts I always performed were workouts that would help you stay lean, and strong, because as a runner, the less weight you have to carry around the track, the better. The goal to bulk up is very common post track running or even swimmers after they are no longer competing. After hard work and extensive research, I would soon reap the benefits and reach my goal.
When I met Caleb it wasn’t our intention to create Bulk. We connected upon the fact that we loved mobile app development, and we even started working on an app pretty soon after meeting. We were creating an app that could connect people to events going on in the area, parties specifically. In time, we both learned that we could barely stay awake at parties anymore and that we both had this similar narrative of being skinny guys in school and eating our asses off but still not gaining weight.
At that point, we started working out in the gym together and we went through so many different apps to try to assist us in gaining the weight that eluded us for so long, but we soon came to realize that there were no apps out there that were weight gain specific. We used myFitnessPal the most and it was cool if you knew what food to eat but the hard part for us using it was we weren’t as creative with coming up meals. When your gaining weight you have to eat a ton, so creativity is pretty important or you will quickly become unmotivated.
Caleb and I had been working out for about 4 months and we figured out how to gain weight through google and asking random people in the gym. We both managed to gain a significant amount of weight, however, we had hit a plateau. We couldn’t get over this hump that we were stuck at and it was frustrating, which called for more research.
We figured out there was so much that we were doing wrong, and that the reason for us gaining weight in the first place was just because your muscles will pretty much respond to anything that’s remotely effective if your muscles are unfamiliar to it. But once your muscles adapt, your progress will remain stagnant.
The main things we needed to change were:
1. Actually keeping track of what weight we were lifting, rather than just randomly lifting whatever weight we felt like lifting that day.
2. Increasing the weight as our strength increased.
3. Changing what exercises we performed every 3-4 weeks.
4. Hitting our body parts more than once a week.
5. Taking the right amount of rest between sets.
From a nutritional standpoint, we knew that we should be eating a surplus of calories(eat more calories than we were burning).,however, we didn’t realize we should be eating a specific amount of protein vs carbs vs fat.
It was at this point we played with the idea of making a simple app for us to keep track of all this stuff. It started as a joke, but the more we talked about it was the more it began to become something real. We soon realized that a party app clearly wasn’t what we were passionate about creating and it wasn’t different enough from what we saw that was already in the app store. This is when the great pivot took place.
2 years later, Caleb and I huddled in front of his computer as we stared at the publish button. We had spent two long years personally programming this app that would solve not just our problem but every person that ever felt subconscious about being super skinny in their clothing. We put our heart an soul into this software because it was something that we were passionate about because we experienced the same narrative, and we also knew that we could make something that we could both be proud of. During the development process we made a pact that we would build something so good enough, that even if no one else used it, it would be something that we would use ourselves.
That was the key. Creating something that we would actually use ourselves. This emotional attachment to both of our narratives and the idea that maybe even one person would use it made it satisfying enough for us that we could put the maximum amount effort in to create this. Caleb took a deep breath and hit the publish button, and May 5th, 2014, Bulk was born 🙂
“We would build something so good enough, that even if no one else used it, it would be something that we would use ourselves.”
Since then we have done what we can with updates, but having our full-time jobs had really hindered us from really executing our vision because unfortunately we only get 24 hours in the day, and about 10 of those hours went to our full-time jobs, and 6 went to sleep. Even with a lot of the distractions, we accumulated 25,000 users organically just from people searching for us in the app store. That was amazing to us that these many people would actually seek out the solution to this problem just like us. It made us realize that this was a bigger community of people than we thought.
As of this month, Caleb and I decided to go full time on Bulk so we can give it our all and really create something that this community could be proud of. It’s a scary thought but we are passionate when it comes to this subject and we really enjoy doing it. That being said we have so much more ideas to come and we hope you all follow our journey and help us to build this community so that it is no longer a niche but something that is more widely addressed in the fitness industry. Thanks to all of our supports this far, and if you are struggling with how to gain weight, and you haven’t done so already, download the app and let us know what you think!