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View Full Version : Is there any way beyond cutting/bulking phase alternation?



RazorTongue
11-02-2017, 10:03 AM
Hi. After being consistent for many many months, I don't see significant results on my cutting phase and I've obviously hit plateau at gaining volume since I don't eat consistently over my required calories - in fact it might be detrimental to my hard earned muscles. I don't know if there's any plan at all besides alternating both phases, which is demotivating as hell (I DREAD the cutting phase, all the more when I don't see anything positive on it) to get rid of some belly fat (yeah, I know there's no such thing as spot reduction) while gaining overall volume. I'm keeping it like this, for about 90' a day, being my HIIT cardio like 30''-45'' at 90/95% of heart rate and 2' of walking at 60% until I complete like 5-6 cycles:

1 - Chest-Tris-HIIT Cardio
2 - Quads-Hamstrings-Calves-Abs
3 - Back-Bis-Shoulders-HIIT Cardio
4 - Rest
Repeat

Obviously I'm feeling a bit annoyed and ain't using steroids nor supplementation, for I'm piss poor and wouldn't rely heavily on them. I don't need to go like 8% bf but I'd really could do with a significant reduction (I might be well over 20). I've been wishing that supersets, good nutrition, discipline, following my routine and generally low rest between sets might help reduce the problem, but it doesn't. Should I get skinny again to get rid of the beer belly or what? Help and sorry for my ignorance.

cosm0
11-02-2017, 10:17 AM
You know your diet is an issue and you arent eating enough, so why don't you correct it. If you arent eating enough you aren't going to improve in your lifts and you aren't going to build muscle.

Keeping your rest low on sets has nothing to do with building muscle. Youd be better off giving yourself enough rest to lift the weight.

RazorTongue
11-02-2017, 10:29 AM
You know your diet is an issue and you arent eating enough, so why don't you correct it. If you arent eating enough you aren't going to improve in your lifts and you aren't going to build muscle.

Keeping your rest low on sets has nothing to do with building muscle. Youd be better off giving yourself enough rest to lift the weight.
Well, I mean my diet is an issue for improving my lifts vs cutting on fat. The classic above vs below maintenance calories for gaining muscle vs losing fat. The point of my post is to know if there's any way to improve on both aspects without alternating.

Imp81318
11-02-2017, 10:38 AM
You can try to do a re-comp, which is to eat at maintenance and lose fat at approximately the same rate that you build muscle but it is a VERY long and slow process. The reason that everyone on here recommends cycling cutting and bulking is because it is the most efficient way to make progress. I am no expert, but your routine looks like it has a lot to be desired and could be a big reason that you don't make much progress on your bulk.

RazorTongue
11-02-2017, 10:40 AM
You can try to do a re-comp, which is to eat at maintenance and lose fat at approximately the same rate that you build muscle but it is a VERY long and slow process. The reason that everyone on here recommends cycling cutting and bulking is because it is the most efficient way to make progress. I am no expert, but your routine looks like it has a lot to be desired and could be a big reason that you don't make much progress on your bulk.
What's the problem in my routine? I'm always open to suggestions.

cosm0
11-02-2017, 10:53 AM
What's the problem in my routine? I'm always open to suggestions.

What routine are you following? You mention doing things like drop sets and keeping rest low, sets off alarm bells straight away. Theres many good routines you can follow most recommend all pros for cutting, or fierce5 for bulking.

okayest
11-02-2017, 10:53 AM
At over 20% you have no option but to cut. If you don’t see the result of fat loss then you are doing something wrong. I also don’t understand what you mean by gaining volume? Do you mean building muscle? If you try to do both things at once you’ll definitely be discouraged by the incredibly slow progress of both things. Cut calories while doing whatever program keeps your strength up like a lowish volume strength program. And then when you are around 12%, slowly bulk with whatever program helps you build.

RazorTongue
11-02-2017, 11:24 AM
What routine are you following? You mention doing things like drop sets and keeping rest low, sets off alarm bells straight away. Theres many good routines you can follow most recommend all pros for cutting, or fierce5 for bulking.
Yep, I try to keep my rest between sets around 1 minute..., 15 sets for bigger muscle groups and around 6-9 for smaller ones.

Also what do you, okayest, mean by lowish volume strength? I've always thought that in order to preserve muscle low reps and high volume/even forcing to the maximum just like in bulking phase might be the answer. In other words, the average progressive overload all mixed up with a caloric deficit and some HIIT cardio.

Tommy W.
11-02-2017, 11:49 AM
Your post is all over the place. Bottom line is if you aren't losing fat you're eating too much on a weekly basis. Recomp is for a select few and at your skill level I wouldn't recommend it.

okayest
11-02-2017, 11:57 AM
Also what do you, okayest, mean by lowish volume strength? I've always thought that in order to preserve muscle low reps and high volume/even forcing to the maximum just like in bulking phase might be the answer. In other words, the average progressive overload all mixed up with a caloric deficit and some HIIT cardio.

I mean don't do a program that has so much volume that you, personally, can't recover from it and that you can't keep progressing in strength at it. You shouldn't be losing strength on a cut until you get pretty lean and even then some people can still manage to progress (slowly). Cutting is not the threat you think it is to muscle mass until you get lean too. You definitely should not have to get skinny on a cut unless you currently have very little muscle.

Cosmo asked you which program you follow and you didn't answer. Like he mentioned a program like All Pros which is stickied in the workout forum might be better for you than what you are currently doing.

RazorTongue
11-03-2017, 12:44 AM
I mean don't do a program that has so much volume that you, personally, can't recover from it and that you can't keep progressing in strength at it. You shouldn't be losing strength on a cut until you get pretty lean and even then some people can still manage to progress (slowly). Cutting is not the threat you think it is to muscle mass until you get lean too. You definitely should not have to get skinny on a cut unless you currently have very little muscle.

Cosmo asked you which program you follow and you didn't answer. Like he mentioned a program like All Pros which is stickied in the workout forum might be better for you than what you are currently doing.
I kind of started my current program following Stoppani's Shortcut to Shred (can't post links).
I've been browsing through the All Pros one and, whereas it seems a nice one, I think I'm in a more advanced level (lifting for more than 3 years) so I guess 3 days a week is not really the way to go. Your opinion?

BecomingSmaller
11-03-2017, 01:05 AM
How much weight do you lift for your sets, particularly bench, deadlift, squat. Time spent in the gym is not an indicator of how advanced you are.

RazorTongue
11-03-2017, 02:45 AM
I'm 24, 1.70, 65 kg, and it might be something like:
Bench press: 4x6 50kg
Squat: 4x8 80 kg

I rarely deadlift but definitely work with my own weight with pullups and several back exercises.

BecomingSmaller
11-03-2017, 02:54 AM
You are not advanced.

RazorTongue
11-03-2017, 03:20 AM
Obviously no pro by any stretch of imagination, but certainly not a beginner. Care to elaborate, please?

BecomingSmaller
11-03-2017, 03:25 AM
You are not at intermediate level with those lifts. If you have been lifting for 3 years you haven’t been pushing yourself hard enough or good enough. You need to re-evaluate your approach.

shesprints
11-03-2017, 03:31 AM
You are not at intermediate level with those lifts. If you have been lifting for 3 years you haven’t been pushing yourself hard enough or good enough. You need to re-evaluate your approach.

Check this out, perhaps:

https://symmetricstrength.com/standards#/

It measures your lifts against others of similar size and gender and even tells you if you are balanced, strength-wise.
(I have a lot of fun playing around with this to see what my weaknesses are).

philgriffiths
11-03-2017, 03:33 AM
Squatting 80kg and benching 50kg, yes, you are a beginner.

Get on a solid and proven strength training program (Stronglifts 5x5 for example Fierce 5) and sort your diet out to meet your goals.
As somebody said, your post is sort of all over the place, so I imagine your lifting routine is, likely as is your diet too.

At 20% bodyfat (at a minimum acording to you) then you need to lose weight, more specifically fat. Cut down to 12-15% bodyfat by running a calorie deficit (at 500 cal per day, you will lose about 1lb per week, and should be at your target weight in about 14-16 weeks) then you can focus on "building volume", by which I think you mean building muscle mass.

Hope this helps

BecomingSmaller
11-03-2017, 03:50 AM
Phil is spot on, reduce your body fat and use that time to work on your strength, at the end of the cut you should have more strength to make your bulk more effective.

RazorTongue
11-03-2017, 03:59 AM
Thanks for all your comprehensive answers. I'll definitely get on working. As for the "volume gains", yep, blame it on the language barrier since English is not my mother tongue.

In my defense I may add that I'm not counting the extra ~10 kg of the bar... of well, anyway, I've got a ton to do.

BecomingSmaller
11-03-2017, 04:01 AM
You always count the bar, and an Olympic bar weighs 20kg not 10kg

WolfRose7
11-03-2017, 04:49 AM
Check this out, perhaps:

https://symmetricstrength.com/standards#/

It measures your lifts against others of similar size and gender and even tells you if you are balanced, strength-wise.
(I have a lot of fun playing around with this to see what my weaknesses are).

I enjoy this site too, though I think their "proficient" is more intermediate than their "intermediate" lol.



Thanks for all your comprehensive answers. I'll definitely get on working. As for the "volume gains", yep, blame it on the language barrier since English is not my mother tongue.

In my defense I may add that I'm not counting the extra ~10 kg of the bar... of well, anyway, I've got a ton to do.

Count the bar, but either way you will get best results on a good novice program.

On topic, I'm also pro cutting at a decent pace. With a solid program you will still gain strength during the cut.

RazorTongue
11-09-2017, 11:11 AM
I've taken heed of your advice and just started with Fierce 5 novice programme. To start with, I feel my workouts are a bit half-assed but I guess that's the point in order to follow a steady progressive overload from now on. As for frontal squats, they hurt the hell out of my wrists and I'm fighting hard in order to keep equilibrium, but I guess that's how it goes. An extra question: should I skip entirely HIIT training after my workouts? Is calorie manipulation enough or could I use it in order to get "extra calories" in if I've been indulgent on a cheat meal or something?

Thanks again.

Serpentarius
11-09-2017, 11:42 AM
I've taken heed of your advice and just started with Fierce 5 novice programme. To start with, I feel my workouts are a bit half-assed but I guess that's the point in order to follow a steady progressive overload from now on. As for frontal squats, they hurt the hell out of my wrists and I'm fighting hard in order to keep equilibrium, but I guess that's how it goes. An extra question: should I skip entirely HIIT training after my workouts? Is calorie manipulation enough or could I use it in order to get "extra calories" in if I've been indulgent on a cheat meal or something?

Thanks again.

Get a broomstick and walk into a door opening with it to get the bar into position to work on flexibility. HIIT (true HIIT) will impact training adaptations, the body tends to favor the last adaptations it necessitates, just do something moderate on a bike or whatever, dont kill yourself doing cardio in difficulty.

Kalagaraz
11-10-2017, 05:24 AM
Squatting 80kg and benching 50kg, yes, you are a beginner.

Get on a solid and proven strength training program (Stronglifts 5x5 for example Fierce 5) and sort your diet out to meet your goals.
As somebody said, your post is sort of all over the place, so I imagine your lifting routine is, likely as is your diet too.

At 20% bodyfat (at a minimum acording to you) then you need to lose weight, more specifically fat. Cut down to 12-15% bodyfat by running a calorie deficit (at 500 cal per day, you will lose about 1lb per week, and should be at your target weight in about 14-16 weeks) then you can focus on "building volume", by which I think you mean building muscle mass.

Hope this helps

Seconded on this. I LITERALLY have never lifted in my life till a month or so ago. I'm 29, 5'4, 157 pounds (started at 169 pounds).

Bench (3x5): ~55 kg (120 lbs from 85 lbs starting)
Squat (3x5): ~75 kg (165 lbs from 95 lbs starting)

I follow greyskulls lift program, so far have no stalled or had to deload while losing about 1.3 pounds a week.

WolfRose7
11-10-2017, 05:26 AM
I've taken heed of your advice and just started with Fierce 5 novice programme. To start with, I feel my workouts are a bit half-assed but I guess that's the point in order to follow a steady progressive overload from now on. As for frontal squats, they hurt the hell out of my wrists and I'm fighting hard in order to keep equilibrium, but I guess that's how it goes. An extra question: should I skip entirely HIIT training after my workouts? Is calorie manipulation enough or could I use it in order to get "extra calories" in if I've been indulgent on a cheat meal or something?

Thanks again.

R5rPKC2zgo4

Straps are a cheap and good option while working on mobility

RazorTongue
01-23-2018, 12:05 AM
Just a quick update to state that, following Fierce 5 Novice 3-day routine first, and now following the Intermediate 4-day one, my lifts have skyrocketed considerably being much closer to what Symmetric Standards show for intermediate at my age and weight..., but still, and tracking EVERY SINGLE MEAL, following macros, keeping my cheat meal strict (one per week and without getting too over the top) and even undereating 500-600 cals from my TDEE (at sedentary when truth is that I'm constantly walking throughout the day + my 4 workouts per week and some occasional 15 min HIIT cardio every now and then) I'm gaining weight. How can that be? It can surely get annoying and frustrating to sacrifice social life and food indulgence for nothing...