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  1. #1
    Registered User gipper53's Avatar
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    Advice on bulking after a year of cutting

    Sorry in advance for the somewhat long post!

    Hard for me to believe it's been almost a year since I started this journey of getting in shape! I've been on a cut since mid January, and dropped almost 60lbs (235 down to 177@ 5'-10"). Went from size 38" pants to 31". Added a small amount of lean mass in the process. Been diligent on my calories and nutrition, dedicated lifting with Fierce Five novice routine and doing various cardio (running, biking). I hit the weights religiously but sometimes slack on the cardio. It's been a success. It's now a lifestyle and easy for me to sustain the training and nutrition. People who haven't seen me 4+ months barely recognize me. I posted this thread in early October, I'm 6 pounds leaner since then.

    https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...post1563121531

    I'm making my final push in December to drop a few more pounds of fat, I would love to get under 175lbs. Take a week off to rest then start my first 'real bulk' cycle come New Year. Based off wisdom here, I would like to do a slow, clean bulk (2-3lbs a month) until June, then evaluate next steps. The questions/comments I have on how to approach this:

    1. I've been doing Fierce 5 novice routine the entire year while cutting. I've made some variations to keep it fresh (different rep ranges, switch from pendlay rows to t-bar rows, that sorta stuff), but decent strength gains stalled out months ago. After a year will I still see gains on this program when I start eating at surplus?

    2. From question 1, after a year am I ready for Fierce Five intermediate routine? Or stick to the novice and see how far it takes me?

    3. Or...should I look into a different novice level routine?

    Appreciate any advice. Damn I'm looking forward to January!
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  2. #2
    Harsh Truth Distributor xsquid99's Avatar
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    How do you feel about your major lifts, do you think you've fully exhausted your noob gains? Programs are really up to you to decide and sometimes a change in program after running the same thing for a long time can bring some new life to your workouts and reinvigorate your love for the gym. I ran SL 5x5 for a long time when I first started, I'm just finishing my second full year of lifting and about 7-8 months ago I stumbled across Coolcicada's PPL while browsing the forums and decided to give it a try. I really love it and plan on continuing it for at least another 3-4 months. I occasionally add variations as required based on equipment availability in my gym during certain hours, but for the most part I follow it as written. I love that it allows me to hit everything twice a week, which has resulted in some better than expected gains for me.

    https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...ght=coolcicada
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    Omega Weapon EjnarKolinkar's Avatar
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    Most folks gain weight too fast after a year long diet. I'd quit worrying about losing 2 pounds and spend a while getting used to maintaining. Once you get good at maintaining, which takes many folks a while, you can push into gains.

    In the 1-2 pounds a month range works really well for most folks and tends to avoid wasting time on long diets. 15-20 pounds of gains over the next year is nothing to sneeze at. Training drives muscle growth. Creating a long period where you are focused on training and not gaining fast or dieting is likely a wise plan.
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    I'll Mod 'til I'm dead. ironwill2008's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by gipper53 View Post
    1. I've been doing Fierce 5 novice routine the entire year while cutting. I've made some variations to keep it fresh (different rep ranges, switch from pendlay rows to t-bar rows, that sorta stuff), but decent strength gains stalled out months ago. After a year will I still see gains on this program when I start eating at surplus?
    That's a long time to remain on basically the same program.


    2. From question 1, after a year am I ready for Fierce Five intermediate routine? Or stick to the novice and see how far it takes me?
    Apply the old adage; If it ain't broke, don't fix it. IOW, if you're still adding weight to the bar on a reasonably consistent basis while maintaining good exercise form, stick with what's still working. Don't change anything until that's no longer the case.



    3. Or...should I look into a different novice level routine?
    Beginner/Novice programs all exploit the same basic factor that moves beginners forward most efficiently---frequency of body part training (working all muscle groups usually three times per week). But that only produces gains for a finite amount of time; when progress eventually slows, and all means have been brought to bear to force it to keep moving forward, a different tactic is required. This usually involves more training volume---multiple exercises for the same muscle group(s), different rep counts, etc. I


    Of course, it's not physically possible to keep up with just adding more and more exercises to a FB program; when one of the three training parameters (volume/frequency/intensity as expressed as a % of 1-rep max) increases, one or both of the others must decrease proportionately. The usual way to do this is by incorporating a split program such as Push/Pull/Legs.
    Last edited by ironwill2008; 12-07-2018 at 08:50 AM.
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    You can't out-train bad nutrition.

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  5. #5
    Registered User gipper53's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by xsquid99 View Post
    How do you feel about your major lifts, do you think you've fully exhausted your noob gains?
    This is what I'm not sure of. While cutting I've basically been stagnant on strength gains for a while. But...what will eating at a surplus do? I don't know if I still have noob gains that can be had because I've not been eating for gains.

    I do feel I've used this time go get a decent handle on form and a 'feel' for how to lift. I've not injured myself, so that's a start!
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  6. #6
    Registered User gipper53's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by EjnarKolinkar View Post
    Most folks gain weight too fast after a year long diet. I'd quit worrying about losing 2 pounds and spend a while getting used to maintaining. Once you get good at maintaining, which takes many folks a while, you can push into gains.

    In the 1-2 pounds a month range works really well for most folks and tends to avoid wasting time on long diets. 15-20 pounds of gains over the next year is nothing to sneeze at. Training drives muscle growth. Creating a long period where you are focused on training and not gaining fast or dieting is likely a wise plan.
    Thanks for the reply. My weight loss has been pretty slow the last few months, I think it's been 8lbs over the last three months that I've lost. So I'm not too far away from maintenance eating as it is. My plan is to slowly start adding calories and see what happens. Likeley start with about +250 a day and see what happens over a month. Add 100 more if needed.

    The 175lbs is more of a mental thing and hitting another goal than actually making much real world difference.
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  7. #7
    Registered User gipper53's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ironwill2008 View Post
    That's a long time to remain on basically the same program.




    Apply the old adage; If it ain't broke, don't fix it. IOW, if you're still adding weight to the bar on a reasonably consistent basis while maintaining good exercise form, stick with what's still working. Don't change anything until that's no longer the case.




    Beginner/Novice programs all exploit the same basic factor that moves beginners forward most efficiently---frequency of body part training (working all muscle groups usually three times per week). But that only produces gains for a finite amount of time; when progress eventually slows, and all means have been brought to bear to force it to keep moving forward, a different tactic is required. This usually involves more training volume---multiple exercises for the same muscle group(s), different rep counts, etc. I


    Of course, it's not physically possible to keep up with just adding more and more exercises to a FB program; when one of the three training parameters (volume/frequency/intensity as expressed as a % of 1-rep max) increases, one or both of the others must decrease proportionately. The usual way to do this is by incorporating a split program such as Push/Pull/Legs.
    Thanks for the reply, solid advice. So does it make sense to stick with my current program and see if I make progress for a month or two. If not, time to change it up? Seems like a sensible approach.
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    I'll Mod 'til I'm dead. ironwill2008's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by gipper53 View Post
    Thanks for the reply, solid advice. So does it make sense to stick with my current program and see if I make progress for a month or two. If not, time to change it up? Seems like a sensible approach.
    Yes; give it another month or so. If you haven't been able to progress most of your lifts by then, it's likely to be time to move on to something else.


    IMO, it's always a good idea to not be in a big hurry to change stuff in one's training. Towards the end of one's ability to realize 'noob' gains, progression is no longer linear; you might bail on an exercise/rep scheme/program/whatever just before you would have made a break through if you'd have stuck it out another week.
    No brain, no gain.

    You can't out-train bad nutrition.

    Nothing good comes from negativity; where the mind goes, the body follows.

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  9. #9
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    If you want to gain true muscle it will be a slow process and everyone will be different.
    I would stay on the diet your on with just adding 200 or 300 more calories in your macros.
    Dieting down and then bulking up is what is called yoyo dieting to where eventually you'll be back cutting again.
    Why?
    Why not take it methodically over the long run and gain as much muscle as possible?
    It may only be 3-5 pounds over the year.
    If you just want to gain weight for weight gaining sake then go ahead but it won't be a mostly muscle gain you'll just fill out with some fat storage as well.
    If your bodybuilding it's not really the way to go IMO.
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    My weight has remained pretty much the same for the past 6 months, got pretty fat last winter but lost it fast due to work...setting a bridge in the summer is great cardio, lol.

    But anyways, try to spend some time getting ised to eating at maintence level. Like others jave said, and try to add weight to the bar when you can.

    Tbh...the best gains ive had with strength and physique came after I stopped worrying about what weight I was pushing and my body weight...just ate 3 meals a day, nothinf like stuffing my face, and just enjoyed lifting.
    Lifting log
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    Bodyweight 163
    Squat 285 1 1.75×BW
    Bench 195 1 1.2×BW
    RDL 330 2.02×BW
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    Originally Posted by Garage Rat View Post
    If you want to gain true muscle it will be a slow process and everyone will be different.
    I would stay on the diet your on with just adding 200 or 300 more calories in your macros.
    Dieting down and then bulking up is what is called yoyo dieting to where eventually you'll be back cutting again.
    Why?
    I certainly want to avoid that. I'm very conscience about not putting much fat back on with this bulk, and would rather take it slow and stay leaner through the process.

    Originally Posted by Garage Rat View Post
    Why not take it methodically over the long run and gain as much muscle as possible?
    It may only be 3-5 pounds over the year.
    If you just want to gain weight for weight gaining sake then go ahead but it won't be a mostly muscle gain you'll just fill out with some fat storage as well.
    If your bodybuilding it's not really the way to go IMO.
    Maybe I'm off base a bit, but I'm lumping myself into the "noob" category. Even though I've been lifting for nearly a year, it's been largely with the goal of maintaining the muscle I had during a long term cut. While I've made modest gains they've been just that...modest. Now with going to a calorie surplus, can I expect to gain a decent amount of 'noob' muscle in 5 months or is that wishful thinking at this point? 5 lbs in the first year of lifting and eating for muscle gains seems low to me, but I honestly don't know. This will be a whole new experience for me.
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  12. #12
    Registered User gipper53's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Gaston40 View Post
    My weight has remained pretty much the same for the past 6 months, got pretty fat last winter but lost it fast due to work...setting a bridge in the summer is great cardio, lol.

    But anyways, try to spend some time getting ised to eating at maintence level. Like others jave said, and try to add weight to the bar when you can.

    Tbh...the best gains ive had with strength and physique came after I stopped worrying about what weight I was pushing and my body weight...just ate 3 meals a day, nothinf like stuffing my face, and just enjoyed lifting.
    Thanks for the info, that's encouraging. I'm approaching this with the mindset that this will take time and to enjoy the process. I'm not looking for any shortcuts, but I also like to do things efficiently where possible. I'd rather not remain stagnant for months if I can avoid it, and not sure if eating at maintenance for several months is going to do for me? Not being a wise a$$, just asking honestly what benefit several months at maintenance will achieve? Can I start with +200 calories a day and take it month by month and evaluate results? One month blocks seem like reasonable time frames to gauge progress and adjust accordingly.

    One thing I have not done at all so far is take any body measurements. Other than my waistline every time I've needed new pants, I have never measured and just gone by the mirror. I will start measuring once the bulk starts.
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    Harsh Truth Distributor xsquid99's Avatar
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    Everyone is different, but I saw consistent gains for about a year and a half even while cutting 55 lbs over the first 7 months of that period. When bulking, some people will tell you to just limit yourself to about 2 lbs per month to minimize fat gains, but another way to look at it would be to "eat for gains only", meaning keep lifting and if your lifts stall out for a few weeks then slowly add more calories until they pick up again. This is a way of keeping yourself in check as not to put on an unnecessary amount of weight/fat. Regardless, I would still look into a routine that has you hitting each muscle group twice per week.
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