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  1. #1
    Registered User Tombo86's Avatar
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    Coming off a long cut, working up to maintenance/bulking calories. Includes photos

    Hi everyone. I'm just now coming off a long cut and wondering whether it is advisable to jump straight in to maintenance/bulking calories? I've read a couple of snippets that suggest the body is more prone to putting on fat after a cut if you increase your calories too fast. Is there any truth to this? The reason I ask is that my cut wasn't done "properly". My goals have shifted considerably from when I started. At first I just wanted to lose weight to get healthy and make it easier to put my socks on in the morning so I did most of it on diet alone (1200 calories per day). It's only been this past couple of months where I've been lifting, getting my macro's right and eating more calories (1500).

    As I now want to be more aesthetic, I don't want to repeat past mistakes by not doing any research so if anyone has any advice for the proper way to come off a long cut that would be great.

    All in all I lost 72lb over 7 months and my current stats are...

    Height: 5'10"
    Weight: 140lb
    Body fat: Scale say's 13% but it's doubtful. It's likely more as I have little lean mass (and scales are inaccurate anyway). I just took some pictures now if anyone fancies giving me a rough estimate.

    Regardless of going about my cut completely wrong I'm really glad to be rid of the fat. I feel like I have a decent base to work from now and by some miracle I seemed to have gotten away with having any loose skin (barring a tiny overhang on the top of my belly button). Please ignore the red patches on my photo's. It's just a bit of psoriasis. I promise I don't have leprosy

    Thanks in advance!
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  2. #2
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    Congrats on the progress however you ate wayyyyyyy too little to achieve what you have achieve. Follow a novice program and slowly add calories.
    What I would personally do if aesthetics is the goal is the following
    A
    3x5 Squat
    3x5 Bench
    3x5 Weighted Chin-Up
    1 Isolation
    B
    3x5 Squat
    3x5 OHP
    1x5 Deadlift
    3x5 Weighted Chin-up
    I'd run that 3 days a week of your choice followed by 2 days of rest (I liked Mon, Weds Fri). As far adding calories Id add more carbs (100-200 calories) after stalling on a lift keeping the protein and fats the same. Eventually should build you up to maintenance and beyond. And also I'd put your bf at around 13-15%
    1 year 4 months
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    Originally Posted by Tombo86 View Post
    It's only been this past couple of months where I've been lifting, getting my macro's right and eating more calories (1500).
    What kind of routine are you following? Have you made progress on your lifts over the last 2 months? Has your weight continued to drop at 1500 calories?

    IMO you've already started improving by going from 1200 to 1500 calories, probably want to repeat that bump and get up to around 2000 to build some muscle. 2000 calories isn't much for a bulk, but at 140lb it should be a good, slow start. You definitely have a lot of weight to gain (lean mass) because right now you are very underdeveloped. Just be realistic about muscle growth - it's a long journey.

    Good job on the cut - didn't go about it the best way, but you lost the fat so it was successful. Just be smarter about bulking up.
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    Originally Posted by Tombo86 View Post
    Hi everyone. I'm just now coming off a long cut and wondering whether it is advisable to jump straight in to maintenance/bulking calories? I've read a couple of snippets that suggest the body is more prone to putting on fat after a cut if you increase your calories too fast. Is there any truth to this? The reason I ask is that my cut wasn't done "properly". My goals have shifted considerably from when I started. At first I just wanted to lose weight to get healthy and make it easier to put my socks on in the morning so I did most of it on diet alone (1200 calories per day). It's only been this past couple of months where I've been lifting, getting my macro's right and eating more calories (1500).

    As I now want to be more aesthetic, I don't want to repeat past mistakes by not doing any research so if anyone has any advice for the proper way to come off a long cut that would be great.

    All in all I lost 72lb over 7 months and my current stats are...

    Height: 5'10"
    Weight: 140lb
    Body fat: Scale say's 13% but it's doubtful. It's likely more as I have little lean mass (and scales are inaccurate anyway). I just took some pictures now if anyone fancies giving me a rough estimate.

    Regardless of going about my cut completely wrong I'm really glad to be rid of the fat. I feel like I have a decent base to work from now and by some miracle I seemed to have gotten away with having any loose skin (barring a tiny overhang on the top of my belly button). Please ignore the red patches on my photo's. It's just a bit of psoriasis. I promise I don't have leprosy

    Thanks in advance!
    wow!! what a transformation!!! congrats OP!!! i bet u feel great!!!
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  5. #5
    Registered User runuali's Avatar
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    Awesome progress, well done.

    I would start to bulk up, add more calories and lift heavy, use an online calculator to roughly estimate your maintenance and you will have to trial it out until you find your correct maintenance, then add a small surplus on that and build some quality muscle.
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    Registered User Tombo86's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WizzyL View Post
    Congrats on the progress however you ate wayyyyyyy too little to achieve what you have achieve. Follow a novice program and slowly add calories.
    What I would personally do if aesthetics is the goal is the following
    A
    3x5 Squat
    3x5 Bench
    3x5 Weighted Chin-Up
    1 Isolation
    B
    3x5 Squat
    3x5 OHP
    1x5 Deadlift
    3x5 Weighted Chin-up
    I'd run that 3 days a week of your choice followed by 2 days of rest (I liked Mon, Weds Fri). As far adding calories Id add more carbs (100-200 calories) after stalling on a lift keeping the protein and fats the same. Eventually should build you up to maintenance and beyond. And also I'd put your bf at around 13-15%
    1200 calories was way to little I know. I never found it difficult though to be honest and didn't have much of an understanding of nutrition.

    I currently do the "fierce five" routine 3 times a week and love it. I've made good progress on my lifts despite the deficit however I'm told this is due to my CNS adapting.

    Thanks for the advice : )
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  7. #7
    Registered User Tombo86's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sunsean View Post
    What kind of routine are you following? Have you made progress on your lifts over the last 2 months? Has your weight continued to drop at 1500 calories?

    IMO you've already started improving by going from 1200 to 1500 calories, probably want to repeat that bump and get up to around 2000 to build some muscle. 2000 calories isn't much for a bulk, but at 140lb it should be a good, slow start. You definitely have a lot of weight to gain (lean mass) because right now you are very underdeveloped. Just be realistic about muscle growth - it's a long journey.

    Good job on the cut - didn't go about it the best way, but you lost the fat so it was successful. Just be smarter about bulking up.
    Thanks a lot. The cut was done badly hence why I wanted some advice on upping calories. One thing I forgot to mention was that every time I had lost a stone I took a "diet break" for a week where I would eat at maintenance calories of 2400. After a couple of days in a deficit after the week I'd find my weight was usually a touch lower. More recently though I started a new job as a dog handler which keeps me very active through the day. I've had a couple of weeks at 2500 calorie maintenance and still lost weight. I don't know if it's a real thing but I seem to need a lot of calories just to maintain. Thinking back I have always eating a lot but to get 5 stone overweight I was eating A LOT.

    Sorry, I've gone on a bit of a ramble. To answer your questions...

    Currently lifting on the fierce five routine. Progress in the lifts have been mostly down to my CNS adapting I think as it's the most taxing ones that have increased the most.

    Squat has gone from 60kg - 80kg (5 reps)
    Deadlift has gone from 60kg - 130kg (5 reps)
    Bench from 40kg - 50kg (8 reps)

    The smaller exercises haven't increased much at all. The deadlift is the standout one but when doing them at 60kg it didn't feel like my muscles were failing but more like my body and willpower was. I spoke to a couple of powerlifters in the gym and they said it's normal when you first start. I can't see how the increase in any of my lifts is muscle growth due to my caloric intake but I think it's more likely I've adapted to the stress it puts on my body. I went from hating deadlifts to LOVING them. Still hate squats though 😂

    I'm almost certain I'll need more than 2000 calories to build muscle but I'm going to start there regardless and monitor progress. I know it's very subjective but roughly how much weight should I expect to gain during a lean bulk as a newbie? My weight will initially rise due to the usual reasons but once it's settled I'd like a good idea of expectations so I can correctly monitor it.

    Thanks for the advice : )
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  8. #8
    Registered User Tombo86's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dski79 View Post
    wow!! what a transformation!!! congrats OP!!! i bet u feel great!!!
    I feel mega. Unstoppable hahaha.

    Thanks a lot : )
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    Registered User Tombo86's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by runuali View Post
    Awesome progress, well done.

    I would start to bulk up, add more calories and lift heavy, use an online calculator to roughly estimate your maintenance and you will have to trial it out until you find your correct maintenance, then add a small surplus on that and build some quality muscle.
    Cheers. I'll check out a TDEE calculator. Is there any truth to your metabolism adapting to lower calories and thus lowering your TDEE? It doesn't make much sense to me unless the body has somehow got more efficient to burn less calories.

    It's going to be nice to be lifting on a proper amount of food. I worked hard to get to this base where I could start building some muscle and all that discipline has led me to an awesome place where I can now eat more, still lift (which I love) AND build some muscle. Plenty to look forward to which feels even better after "earning" it (fast forward a year to my thread titled "I got fat again").

    Cheers!
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    Originally Posted by Tombo86 View Post
    Cheers. I'll check out a TDEE calculator. Is there any truth to your metabolism adapting to lower calories and thus lowering your TDEE? It doesn't make much sense to me unless the body has somehow got more efficient to burn less calories.

    It's going to be nice to be lifting on a proper amount of food. I worked hard to get to this base where I could start building some muscle and all that discipline has led me to an awesome place where I can now eat more, still lift (which I love) AND build some muscle. Plenty to look forward to which feels even better after "earning" it (fast forward a year to my thread titled "I got fat again").

    Cheers!
    Yes the body will adapt over time to lower calories, you could try adding small increases on what you are consuming now, I did this, I was on 1400 calories but sometimes I only managed 1200, so I went to 1600, 1800 and then 2100. Trouble for me was that I couldn't quite find my correct maintenance and I couldnt for the life of me keep at 2lbs, I was averaging around 3, as a result i have seen some fat gain in my mid section but I am still lean everywhere else so hopefully on my next cut it will be easier and get removed from the mid section which is usually the last to go.

    You will have to accept that when you bulk there will be fat gain, nothing you can do about that im afraid.
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    Registered User Tombo86's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by runuali View Post
    Yes the body will adapt over time to lower calories, you could try adding small increases on what you are consuming now, I did this, I was on 1400 calories but sometimes I only managed 1200, so I went to 1600, 1800 and then 2100. Trouble for me was that I couldn't quite find my correct maintenance and I couldnt for the life of me keep at 2lbs, I was averaging around 3, as a result i have seen some fat gain in my mid section but I am still lean everywhere else so hopefully on my next cut it will be easier and get removed from the mid section which is usually the last to go.

    You will have to accept that when you bulk there will be fat gain, nothing you can do about that im afraid.
    Yep for sure. I've no problem with gaining some fat while bulking as like you said, it's to be expected. I think a lot of trial and error will be needed though. Losing 10lb of fat will be easy after what I've already done haha
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    Originally Posted by Tombo86 View Post
    Yep for sure. I've no problem with gaining some fat while bulking as like you said, it's to be expected. I think a lot of trial and error will be needed though. Losing 10lb of fat will be easy after what I've already done haha
    Yes you are a master of the cut because you have done it already, keep that in mind and dont let if put you off gaining some of it back, this time you are in control, I have never "purposely" gained weight, that concept was new to me but after my next cut, I will do it again and I will do it better.

    Best of luck.
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    Originally Posted by runuali View Post
    Yes you are a master of the cut because you have done it already, keep that in mind and dont let if put you off gaining some of it back, this time you are in control, I have never "purposely" gained weight, that concept was new to me but after my next cut, I will do it again and I will do it better.

    Best of luck.
    Thanks very much and same to you. I'm excited to be on this journey now. Also I get to see what these "newbie gains" are all about haha.
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    Originally Posted by Tombo86 View Post
    I've read a couple of snippets that suggest the body is more prone to putting on fat after a cut if you increase your calories too fast.
    People are more prone to overeating at that time and blaming it on mystical forces. Guys who think muscle flies on their body from poverty training also overeat pretending it's muscle gain.


    Originally Posted by Tombo86 View Post
    I did most of it on diet alone (1200 calories per day). It's only been this past couple of months where I've been lifting, getting my macro's right and eating more calories (1500).

    Sounds ridiculous. My training buddy weighs 125 and cuts to stage condition at 1600-1800. You seem to be unskilled at tracking macros or infatuated with undernourishment. You've done a lot of work to be sure to get where you are. I'd record what you eat in some type of journal and take a reasonable increase in calories to your base. Track progress and make moderate adjustments. Above all be patient, train consistently, and take good care of yourself.

    Originally Posted by Tombo86 View Post
    At first I just wanted to lose weight to get healthy and make it easier to put my socks on in the morning
    Don't lose sight of those goals in the pursuit of further progress.
    Create the opportunity
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    Congrats on your progress!!! And yes Ive managed to mess up many a long cuts but regaining back too fast. First of all your body just isnt used to the sudden change as well as (at least for me) once I start eating carbs it induces cravings to wanting even more carbs. I usually wind up blaming any gain the first month on "water weight". Takes me about a month to say hey its fat you dumb smuck and back to dieting again. Look up the term Reverse Dieting. You really want to gradually reintroduce the new calories and nutrient ranges.
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    Originally Posted by EjnarKolinkar View Post
    People are more prone to overeating at that time and blaming it on mystical forces. Guys who think muscle flies on their body from poverty training also overeat pretending it's muscle gain.





    Sounds ridiculous. My training buddy weighs 125 and cuts to stage condition at 1600-1800. You seem to be unskilled at tracking macros or infatuated with undernourishment. You've done a lot of work to be sure to get where you are. I'd record what you eat in some type of journal and take a reasonable increase in calories to your base. Track progress and make moderate adjustments. Above all be patient, train consistently, and take good care of yourself.



    Don't lose sight of those goals in the pursuit of further progress.
    Thanks for the advice. I wasn't unskilled at tracking macros. I had no concept of them whatsoever. It was calorie counting only and I counted every single thing that went in my mouth (using my fitness pal). Tracking accurately was the only way I could stay disciplined as when I hit that limit that was it. I didn't allow myself any excuses to eat any more. Was it wrong? Most definitely, but it happened. 5 weeks in those 7 months were spent at maintenance calories and I was averaging a 4lb per week loss for my first 5 months or so. It slowed down a lot towards the end though as expected.

    So the way forward is just to keep counting my calories as usual, keep it clean and aim for around 200 above my TDEE while lifting 3 x per week as usual. Does that sound right?

    Thanks for the advice : )
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    Originally Posted by SugarFree1 View Post
    Congrats on your progress!!! And yes Ive managed to mess up many a long cuts but regaining back too fast. First of all your body just isnt used to the sudden change as well as (at least for me) once I start eating carbs it induces cravings to wanting even more carbs. I usually wind up blaming any gain the first month on "water weight". Takes me about a month to say hey its fat you dumb smuck and back to dieting again. Look up the term Reverse Dieting. You really want to gradually reintroduce the new calories and nutrient ranges.
    Thanks for the solid advice. I'll check out reverse dieting. Yesterday I allowed myself 2000 calories and it felt great. Nice and satiated
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    Originally Posted by Tombo86 View Post
    Thanks a lot. The cut was done badly hence why I wanted some advice on upping calories. One thing I forgot to mention was that every time I had lost a stone I took a "diet break" for a week where I would eat at maintenance calories of 2400. After a couple of days in a deficit after the week I'd find my weight was usually a touch lower. More recently though I started a new job as a dog handler which keeps me very active through the day. I've had a couple of weeks at 2500 calorie maintenance and still lost weight. I don't know if it's a real thing but I seem to need a lot of calories just to maintain. Thinking back I have always eating a lot but to get 5 stone overweight I was eating A LOT.

    Sorry, I've gone on a bit of a ramble. To answer your questions...

    Currently lifting on the fierce five routine. Progress in the lifts have been mostly down to my CNS adapting I think as it's the most taxing ones that have increased the most.

    Squat has gone from 60kg - 80kg (5 reps)
    Deadlift has gone from 60kg - 130kg (5 reps)
    Bench from 40kg - 50kg (8 reps)

    The smaller exercises haven't increased much at all. The deadlift is the standout one but when doing them at 60kg it didn't feel like my muscles were failing but more like my body and willpower was. I spoke to a couple of powerlifters in the gym and they said it's normal when you first start. I can't see how the increase in any of my lifts is muscle growth due to my caloric intake but I think it's more likely I've adapted to the stress it puts on my body. I went from hating deadlifts to LOVING them. Still hate squats though

    I'm almost certain I'll need more than 2000 calories to build muscle but I'm going to start there regardless and monitor progress. I know it's very subjective but roughly how much weight should I expect to gain during a lean bulk as a newbie? My weight will initially rise due to the usual reasons but once it's settled I'd like a good idea of expectations so I can correctly monitor it.

    Thanks for the advice : )
    As a newb, you should expect decent gains for your first bulking phase, a lot due to CNS conditioning, also if you've never lifted before your body will build muscle easier than someone who's been lifting for years. But rate of growth is pretty standard for everyone, and while your STRENGTH gains will be greater as a newb, you should still keep your bodyweight gain to around 3lb/month to minimize fat gain.

    I'd recommend stabilizing your diet so you can track it more linearly. When you're jumping from 1200 calories to 2500 calories back and forth, it's hard to get a concrete grip on what your body is reacting to. Pick a modest caloric surplus so you're gaining a few pounds every month. Start with what you think your maintenance calories are for 2-3 weeks, EVERY DAY, and see how your bodyweight responds and adjust accordingly.
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    Originally Posted by sunsean View Post
    As a newb, you should expect decent gains for your first bulking phase, a lot due to CNS conditioning, also if you've never lifted before your body will build muscle easier than someone who's been lifting for years. But rate of growth is pretty standard for everyone, and while your STRENGTH gains will be greater as a newb, you should still keep your bodyweight gain to around 3lb/month to minimize fat gain.

    I'd recommend stabilizing your diet so you can track it more linearly. When you're jumping from 1200 calories to 2500 calories back and forth, it's hard to get a concrete grip on what your body is reacting to. Pick a modest caloric surplus so you're gaining a few pounds every month. Start with what you think your maintenance calories are for 2-3 weeks, EVERY DAY, and see how your bodyweight responds and adjust accordingly.
    The times I ate more calories was purely to take a break from dieting, mostly for mental reasons really. Once I'm bulking I'll be keeping it nice and steady and very much enjoying the extra calories I'm sure haha.

    I'm surprised at the 3lb per month of weight gain. That's higher than I would have expected. How much of that would I expect to be fat gain? Even 2lb of muscle gain per month sounds a bit crazy when I think of it. If that's achievable on a first bulk I'll be a very happy man indeed.

    thanks again!
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    Originally Posted by Tombo86 View Post
    How much of that would I expect to be fat gain?
    You can't know for sure, but 3lb per month is a good number. Beginners are expected to gain around 1-2lb of muscle per month (give or take).
    Last edited by GA1N5; 12-04-2018 at 02:04 PM.
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    Originally Posted by GA1N5 View Post
    You can't know for sure, but 3lb per month is a good number. Beginners are expected to gain around 1-2lb of muscle per month (give or take).
    That's a fair bit more than I expected. If I can achieve that I'd be more than happy.
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    You won’t be gaining 3lb of muscle in a month most likely, but it’s practically impossible to ONLY put on muscle with ZERO fat gain. 3lb/month allows for optimum muscle growth with minimal fat gain. Just enough to ensure you are growing.

    Being too cautious about fat gain can impede your muscle gains - IMO it’s better to commit to the bulk to add as much mass as possible within a specific timeframe. I’d be hella frustrated if I spent 6 months “bulking” but never really progressing much because I’m scared of gaining weight. I’d rather put on a few pounds of fat and lose it later.
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    Originally Posted by sunsean View Post
    You won’t be gaining 3lb of muscle in a month most likely, but it’s practically impossible to ONLY put on muscle with ZERO fat gain. 3lb/month allows for optimum muscle growth with minimal fat gain. Just enough to ensure you are growing.

    Being too cautious about fat gain can impede your muscle gains - IMO it’s better to commit to the bulk to add as much mass as possible within a specific timeframe. I’d be hella frustrated if I spent 6 months “bulking” but never really progressing much because I’m scared of gaining weight. I’d rather put on a few pounds of fat and lose it later.
    You're pretty much speaking my mind here. The sound of a lean bulk is very appealing but it also only seems possible if you really know your TDEE properly. I'm not afraid of putting fat on at all. I don't find it difficult to lose so I'm perfectly happy putting some on along with the muscle. I'm just surprised so much muscle can be gained on a monthly basis. I was expecting something like 10lb per year haha.

    All in all I'd rather be 200 calories above where I think I need to be for my first bulk. If I find I'm putting fat on too fast I'll cut it back but I'd rather go a bit over than go a bit under and be working out and eating for no muscle gain. 200 calories per day over my calculated "bulking calories" is going to be just under an extra 1lb of fat per month (on top of what I would have gained anyway) which is a small price to pay to be gaining muscle and figuring out a more accurate TDEE for future bulks/cuts. I can lose that in a weeks cut (doing it properly this time) so it's no biggie whatsoever.
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    Originally Posted by Tombo86 View Post
    You're pretty much speaking my mind here. The sound of a lean bulk is very appealing but it also only seems possible if you really know your TDEE properly. I'm not afraid of putting fat on at all. I don't find it difficult to lose so I'm perfectly happy putting some on along with the muscle. I'm just surprised so much muscle can be gained on a monthly basis. I was expecting something like 10lb per year haha.

    All in all I'd rather be 200 calories above where I think I need to be for my first bulk. If I find I'm putting fat on too fast I'll cut it back but I'd rather go a bit over than go a bit under and be working out and eating for no muscle gain. 200 calories per day over my calculated "bulking calories" is going to be just under an extra 1lb of fat per month (on top of what I would have gained anyway) which is a small price to pay to be gaining muscle and figuring out a more accurate TDEE for future bulks/cuts. I can lose that in a weeks cut (doing it properly this time) so it's no biggie whatsoever.
    The most important thing as you're bulking and monitoring your bodyweight is: make sure you are progressing on your lifts. The combination of your lifts/strength improving and your bodyweight going up means you are absolutely gaining muscle.

    Re: the amount you can gain in a year, it's a sloping scale, you gain more your first year than your second or your third, etc...for guys who have been lifting for years, they will gain MUCH slower than someone just starting for the first time. There's a max of lean bodyweight each of us can achieve, so at some point ideally we would stop gaining and just maintain, but very few of us ever reach that ultimate potential, so it's a constant back and forth of cutting and bulking to get as big and lean as we can.
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    Congratulations.

    Now stick to a proven routine, and eat to support your training.
    = Formerly obese crew =

    Total weight loss June 06, 2016 - April 17, 2017: 52.4 kg / 115.5 lbs

    My completed journey to 10% or slightly-below-10% BF: https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=173635211

    Lean bulking since May 22, 2017: https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=174454421
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