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View Full Version : Is bulking as foolproof as cutting?



BradKemp
09-09-2012, 02:19 PM
With cutting all you do is lift weight (to preserve muscle) and eat at a deficit and you will lose fat. You can also have cheat meals and still lose fat if it fits in your macros.

Is it the same thing with bulking?

Do you automatically put on muscle if you lift weights, and eat at surplus? I'm not talking about like 1% muscle gain.

Do you need to be more selective with your food choices when bulking so that you don't gain a high % of fat compared to muscle? Or is it the same thing with cutting - eat whatever as long as it fits in your macros.

I know a lot of people look forward to bulking but I'm worried I'm just going to cancel out all the work I did to lose fat.

Maybe some people can share all the things that they did wrong when they bulked for the first time.

ScaleAndSteel
09-09-2012, 02:24 PM
Bulking is 100X harder than cutting IMO. It is far harder to put on muscle mass and minimize the amount of fat gain then it is to simply cut fat. When you cut your in a cut mindset. When you bulk it is much harder to keep your diet clean. I am finding that I am missing the ease of cutting because bulking is simply harder.

To bulk and minimize fat gain IMO you gotta do a slow bulk at about 200-350 calories over your maintenance. Gotta eat clean and lift heavy. The problem is that when I am no longer in that cutting mindset, all kinds of foods start getting very tempting. To do a proper bulk you still have to maintain your macros of fat, protein and carbs or good look with the failed bulk and long cut that will be in your future.

Also, adding muscle mass takes a long time. Cutting fat is much faster and you see your results much quicker. I hate bulking. I cannot wait to finish adding muscle mass so I can go back to the much easier cut and then just maintain for life.

Edit:

It took me several weeks to see my first veins in my forearms. Then a month later they started popping out on my bicep during lifts. That was my first big day for bulking...seeing a bicep vein. It is slow and sucky. Adding muscle mass just sucks IMO. It is nothing like seeing yourself get skinny in the mirror when cutting, especially when initially cutting from that fatman phase.

BradKemp
09-09-2012, 02:37 PM
Bulking is 100X harder than cutting IMO. It is far harder to put on muscle mass and minimize the amount of fat gain then it is to simply cut fat. When you cut your in a cut mindset. When you bulk it is much harder to keep your diet clean. I am finding that I am missing the ease of cutting because bulking is simply harder.

To bulk and minimize fat gain IMO you gotta do a slow bulk at about 200-350 calories over your maintenance. Gotta eat clean and lift heavy. The problem is that when I am no longer in that cutting mindset, all kinds of foods start getting very tempting. To do a proper bulk you still have to maintain your macros of fat, protein and carbs or good look with the failed bulk and long cut that will be in your future.

Also, adding muscle mass takes a long time. Cutting fat is much faster and you see your results much quicker. I hate bulking. I cannot wait to finish adding muscle mass so I can go back to the much easier cut and then just maintain for life.

Edit:

It took me several weeks to see my first veins in my forearms. Then a month later they started popping out on my bicep during lifts. That was my first big day for bulking...seeing a bicep vein. It is slow and sucky. Adding muscle mass just sucks IMO. It is nothing like seeing yourself get skinny in the mirror when cutting, especially when initially cutting from that fatman phase.

Thanks, I'll rep you when I'm off recharge.

So would you say bulking at a 200-300 surplus you would likely to gain 80% muscle 20% fat? That's just a little over 1 pound every 2 weeks.

What do you think the muscle fat ratio would be on a 1000 surplus?

Serpentarius
09-09-2012, 02:38 PM
You have to continually push harder and harder because if you dont put forth effort in the gym, you are gaining weight for nothing...so you have to make those calories really count.
Its easy to try to tell yourself that you can eat whatever because you are bulking and let it get out of control as well.

Do not listen to people that tell you to put on 1 lb a week, look at my Jan 1st to mid May of 2011 pics, i looked like crap because i followed that advice. And you know what, who cares if the guy that did that ends up with good lifts if he looks like a fat slob, you need to be more careful with calorie counting on a bulk than when on a cut because you do not want to spend extra time cutting. You cant see a guy and tell that he squats 350 when he is lean vs bearmode and squatting 450 at 25% bodyfat ya know.
Within reason...being leaner > high lifts, being fat sucks.

ScaleAndSteel
09-09-2012, 02:44 PM
Thanks, I'll rep you when I'm off recharge.

So would you say bulking at a 200-300 surplus you would likely to gain 80% muscle 20% fat? That's just a little over 1 pound every 2 weeks.

What do you think the muscle fat ratio would be on a 1000 surplus?

I honestly have no idea what the percentages would be. I decided to go into maintenance for a couple weeks then add like 100/150 cals a week. I am currently at 2600 which is 300 over and have been at that for like a month now. I have gained only 2/2.5 pounds so far but I look exactly the same fat wise. My forearm and bicep veins are getting more pronounced, my shoulders looking more cut, my quads are growing a bit, etc...

It is slow. It is a horse of an entirely new color for sure.

To Serp above me. I agree. I think its rather fortunate for me at least while I was cutting I was ignorant of what a bulk really was like. I always looked forward to bulking as that glorious, eat anything time! Oh how I learned the truth. Bulking is slow, your results are nothing like cutting and it takes 100X more attention to nutritional detail. Otherwise good luck with being fat and posting the next "failed bulk" thread.

BradKemp
09-09-2012, 02:46 PM
You have to continually push harder and harder because if you dont put forth effort in the gym, you are gaining weight for nothing...so you have to make those calories really count.


So would you say that how big your surplus is depends on how much effort you put in the gym?

Like if you lift weights but just through the motions you probably will just gain a fat even on a small surplus but if you go beast mode you could potentially have a higher surplus?

Serpentarius
09-09-2012, 03:04 PM
So would you say that how big your surplus is depends on how much effort you put in the gym?

Like if you lift weights but just through the motions in the you probably will just gain a fat even on a small surplus but if you go beast mode you could potentially have a higher surplus?

Well i mean the weight starts to get really heavy, and it is much harder to make consistent progress since you cannot always add a rep or weight every workout; otherwise everyone would be Arnold within a year ya know?
At a 250 calorie surplus, you better believe your strength and size is going to come slow, but it takes years to build up enough mass, that is why more than pushing hard in the gym, paying attention to food, etc...you need to be patient because it will take very long. You WILL have faster strength gains with a bigger surplus, but its not worth having to cut for 32 years because you wanted to get your lifts up.

Imagine if you bulk for half a year @ half a pound a week, you would only gain 13 pounds, pretend that was all fat, and you cut 1.5 lbs a week, done in 8.5 weeks. Now we put you on 1 lb per week, now you are going to have to cut for 17.5

One bit of advice, while going to the gym is important and a lifestyle, leave the gym at the gym and dont take it home and dwell on if you had a bad (weak) day there because it just makes you have an even worse attitude towards things, and dont be afraid to deload if something feels stupidly heavy if you need rest.

astigos
09-09-2012, 03:14 PM
Serp and Scale are both pretty spot on. I just came off a 3 month bulk myself and boy did I hate it. Sure I put on 30lbs on my squat PR, but watching yourself get slowly fatter is not a pretty thing. It's so hard to continue bulking when it is so contrary to the endgame of being lean, but it has to be done. I did a pretty dirty bulk of at least 500 calorie surplus. I stopped counting calories for nearly the whole time because I just thought, **** it I'm gonna get fat anyway no need to split hairs. I felt a sense of entitlement to my dirty "eat whatever I want" bulk after 6 months cutting. However, at the end of it I gained 12lbs and I certainly don't think I made more gains because I ate more than someone who was clean bulking.


In any event, I don't think there's ever been any clear cut number on the fat gain to muscle gain ratio. I've always heard that it's 50:50, and the max muscle gain per week is half a pound. I can't remember where I read that otherwise I would cite it.

kanis999
09-09-2012, 03:47 PM
In any event, I don't think there's ever been any clear cut number on the fat gain to muscle gain ratio. I've always heard that it's 50:50, and the max muscle gain per week is half a pound. I can't remember where I read that otherwise I would cite it.

It's all summarized well in these two articles:

http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/muscle-gain/general-philosophies-of-muscle-mass-gain.html
http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/muscle-gain/whats-my-genetic-muscular-potential.html

^ Read these if you haven't already

astigos
09-09-2012, 04:16 PM
It's all summarized well in these two articles:

http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/muscle-gain/general-philosophies-of-muscle-mass-gain.html
http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/muscle-gain/whats-my-genetic-muscular-potential.html

^ Read these if you haven't already
Yes! That's exactly where I read it.

KyleMQuinn
09-09-2012, 05:55 PM
I ****ed myself over when I tried to bulk. I gained 15 pounds, lifts did go up but I look fat, and ultimately I screwed over my mindset with it. It's hard to go from Clean Cut -> Dirty Bulk -> Clean Cut unless you're just an animal. I'm attempting to get back into cutting but it's harder than I imagined.

BradKemp
09-09-2012, 06:19 PM
It's all summarized well in these two articles:

http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/muscle-gain/general-philosophies-of-muscle-mass-gain.html
http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/muscle-gain/whats-my-genetic-muscular-potential.html

^ Read these if you haven't already

Thanks for the links.

Geou
09-09-2012, 06:55 PM
I must live in Bizarro world, because I find bulking a million times easier. It's so much less a struggle to eat a little extra than to stave off those creeping hunger pangs. But hey man, the key message here is not go overboard. I did it once, gained notable fat on my face and thighs, and hated it. Just like in cutting, you've got to keep your diet in check.

But I think you'll enjoy it just a bit more. ;)

kanis999
09-09-2012, 07:50 PM
I must live in Bizarro world, because I find bulking a million times easier. It's so much less a struggle to eat a little extra than to stave off those creeping hunger pangs. But hey man, the key message here is not go overboard. I did it once, gained notable fat on my face and thighs, and hated it. Just like in cutting, you've got to keep your diet in check.

But I think you'll enjoy it just a bit more. ;)

I kinda agree with this. Being on a caloric surplus enhances my mood, and obviously enhances my energy making the day better overall. You can get away with eating your favorite snacks more often.

It is very easy, however, to go overboard. All of my bulks have resulted in more fat gain than I wanted. This is mainly bad because you want to spend a high % of your year bulking compared to cutting. For me, it's almost been 50/50, which is nowhere near as efficient as I could be. So definitely make sure you continue to count calories and don't allow yourself to eat much more than 300 over maintenance. You can clearly see in my progress pics what happens when you eat 500+ calories over limit.

vismal
09-09-2012, 08:13 PM
I'm finding the bulk a little easier then the cut. As far as what I eat, the types of foods havent changed at all, just the amount. I was cutting at 2000 calories rest day, 2500 WO. Bulking now at 3000/3300. It is hard to exactly nail down 0.5lbs a week because my weight flucuates 3-4 lbs a day just based on water weight and such. I'm basically just weighing daily and tracking the trend. I still track calories and macros just like I did on my cut and never let myself eat over my calories "just because I'm bulking" I feel very strong in the gym. I'm doing Wendlers 5-3-1 and just did my maxes last week. Basically you do 95% of your percieved max weight as many times as possible. I was able to hit my squat for 6, deadlift for 4, bench for 3, and OP for 5 reps. I defedently look like I've but on some LBM and fat gain is minimal for the time being. I'm OK with gaining some fat though. As long as things don't get out of hand.

BradKemp
09-10-2012, 09:21 AM
Lets just assume that I go 300 above maintenance on my bulk.

Would it be better to go 400 surplus on lifting days and 200 surplus on non-lifting days for a 300 surplus average or would it be better to be 300 above every day no mater if I lift or not? Or even 500 on lifting day/100 non-lifting day.

I don't really care about the simplicity of keeping it the same every day so that's not a factor for me.

KyleMQuinn
09-10-2012, 11:43 AM
Lets just assume that I go 300 above maintenance on my bulk.

Would it be better to go 400 surplus on lifting days and 200 surplus on non-lifting days for a 300 surplus average or would it be better to be 300 above every day no mater if I lift or not? Or even 500 on lifting day/100 non-lifting day.

I don't really care about the simplicity of keeping it the same every day so that's not a factor for me.

That's your call. I like to keep it steady because the way I look at it on those off days you still need a calorie surplus to have those muscles recover. Others might do it differently but if I'm doing a surplus that surplus stays the same whether it's Tuesday or Sunday.

astigos
09-10-2012, 11:44 AM
Lets just assume that I go 300 above maintenance on my bulk.

Would it be better to go 400 surplus on lifting days and 200 surplus on non-lifting days for a 300 surplus average or would it be better to be 300 above every day no mater if I lift or not? Or even 500 on lifting day/100 non-lifting day.

I don't really care about the simplicity of keeping it the same every day so that's not a factor for me.
If you did any combination of things that you just mentioned you'd wouldn't know the difference. Your weekly calorie balance will still be identical. That being said I think it'd be a good idea to eat more on lifting days.

Serpentarius
09-10-2012, 11:45 AM
I eat around 300 surplus 6x a week (5 lifting, 1 running) and 100 surplus on my one rest day, works good so far.

Allegralol
09-14-2012, 08:06 PM
nice

mosdel
09-14-2012, 09:32 PM
good thread for me to read.

i had cut down to 145 lbs (at 5'8) and even though i still had a lot of fat on my body, i thought i'd try a few month bulk starting July 1st. first month was pretty damn good, i stayed consistant on 300 calories over maintenance, felt much stronger in the gym and noticed my lifts going up on everything.

well the summer caught up to me!, and august and first 1/2 of september i got in that mindset of "well i'm bulking, so its ok to eat this extra, drink that extra," etc etc. didnt turn out so well, lol and i basically gained fat. and my fat goes righ to my love handles and man boobs. now i've got to do a 3 to 4 week cut to rectify that mistake, and restart my bulk.

live and learn