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  1. #1
    Registered User tpreston92's Avatar
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    Cut or continue bulking?

    I have been on a bulk since August last year and have gone from 143lbs (28inch waist) to 166lbs (32inch waist).

    I'm starting to carry a fair bit of fat round my waist and hips so should I consider cutting now?

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    Last edited by tpreston92; 08-13-2019 at 08:57 AM.
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    Registered User tpreston92's Avatar
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    Any advice whatsoever?
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    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tpreston92 View Post
    I have been on a bulk since August last year and have gone from 143lbs (28inch waist) to 166lbs (32inch waist).

    I'm starting to carry a fair bit of fat round my waist and hips so should I consider cutting now?

    Gone from:



    To:


    based on those numbers you’ve put on almost all fat. You need to diet back down and revisit your training program and next time you go into a mass adding phase lower your calorie surplus
    If you don't get what you want you didn't want it bad enough
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    Registered User tpreston92's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Tommy W. View Post
    based on those numbers you’ve put on almost all fat. You need to diet back down and revisit your training program and next time you go into a mass adding phase lower your calorie surplus
    I've gained on average 2lbs a month which is supposed to be the optimal rate for lean muscle growth?
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    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tpreston92 View Post
    I've gained on average 2lbs a month which is supposed to be the optimal rate for lean muscle growth?
    that does not mean that you are gaining muscle just because you are gaining weight. As I mentioned I’d review your training program
    Last edited by Tommy W.; 08-14-2019 at 12:41 PM.
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    OP, what exactly is your workout?

    What was your bench, squat, and deadlift last August? Now what are they?
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    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    Plus visually OP I just see fat now covering the muscle you previously had. A year's worth of a mass adding program should have shown better results.
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    Originally Posted by tpreston92 View Post
    I've gained on average 2lbs a month which is supposed to be the optimal rate for lean muscle growth?
    2 lbs a month is probably optimal, but if your waist grew 4 inches and they say 5-7 lbs usually = about 1 inch around the waist, then yes, most of your weight gain was fat and not muscle.

    Not lifting hard enough, bro.
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    Registered User tpreston92's Avatar
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    Looks like I'm going to have to start over AGAIN. This will be the third failed bulk now and its get tiring when I'm slogging it out 5 days a week in the gym. I've worked out my macros, followed my nutrition down to the last meal and made sure I've progressed every week and gained weight slowly. I don't know what else I am meant to do.
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    Hi ! You should focus on gaining lean mass only. Keep your daily caloric intake not more than 500 Calories above your maintenance calories (BMR). You will gain lean mass which will spark your metabolism further and reduce body fat percentage.

    Manish Yadav
    ACE Certified-Personal Trainer & Nutrition Specialist
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    Originally Posted by manishyadav1979 View Post
    Hi ! You should focus on gaining lean mass only. Keep your daily caloric intake not more than 500 Calories above your maintenance calories (BMR). You will gain lean mass which will spark your metabolism further and reduce body fat percentage.
    As a PT I would have thought they would have advised you a few things:-

    1. You can't just add lean muscle nor focus on it calorie/ nutritional partitioning doesn’t work that way when ever you gain weight you will gain some fat the idea is to minimise it as best you can with a small surplus and optimal training.

    2. Your lean bulk is based off your maintenance TDEE and not BMR. So 200-300 calories above maintenance TDEE is optimal.

    3. Very very likely you will be build lean mass whilst in a calorie surplus significant enough to lower your overall body fat percentage. To do that you either cycles cutting and bulk or attempt a recomp/ maintenance training.

    4. Your metabolism is not effected much by lean body mass in terms of other factors which effect overall calorie usage therefore I would advise not trying to utilise that as fat burning tool.

    As for the OP what training program are you doing, what are you 1-3rm major lifts like? Do you have your macros monitored? And how long have you been weight training for?
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    Registered User tpreston92's Avatar
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    My DL is 100kg, Bench 67.5kg, OHP 40kg, Row 50kg, Squat 60kg (I know this sucks, I keep trying to increase then find my form gets sloppy so I deload and start again. This seems to be a continuous cycle with the squat, I just cant seem to master it).

    I'm doing the Viking Bare Bones U/L/P/P/L stickied on here as it's the only programme I like.

    I've been training since around Summer 2015 but obviously spent a year or so not having a clue what I was doing. I know now that I need to be following a programme, increasing my lifts, tracking calories/macros and being in a 200-500 cal surplus and that i should be gaining 2lbs a month on average. I thought I had everything in check.

    My problem is when I start bulking I get all the fat on my lower back and hips and stomache and it looks gross. My arms and shoulders seem to have some definition but everywhere else is non existent. I've been working my chest hard and I still have no definition on my lower pecs and they just blend into my rib cage.
    Last edited by tpreston92; 08-15-2019 at 02:56 AM.
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    Saturday - Upper Body:

    Bench Press 3 x 8 67.5kg
    Overhead Press 3 x 8 40kg 8, 8, 6
    Pendlay Row 3 x 15 45kg 15, 15, 14
    Incline Dumbbell Press 3 x 8-10 22kg 10, 10, 9
    Assisted Chin-up Machine 3 x 6-8
    Standing Lateral Raises 3 x 12-15 6kg 3 x 14
    Face pulls 2 x 12-15 15kg 2 x 15
    Bicep Curls 3 x 8-10 35kg 3 x 8
    Tricep Dip Machine 3 x 6-8

    Sunday - Lower Body Session A (Quad Dom):

    Back Squat 3 x 8 60kg
    Leg Press 3 x 10-12 170kg 3 x 12
    Hack Squat 3 x 10 70kg (black bar) 3 x 12
    Bulgarian Split Squat 3 x 12-15 9kg Dumbbells 3 x 12
    Leg Extensions 3 x 12-15 40kg 3 x 15
    Abductor Machine 3 x 12-15 50kg 3 x 13
    Calf Raise Smith Machine 2 x 12-15 70kg 2 x 15

    Cable Crunches 3 x 12-15 37.5kg 3 x 12


    Tuesday - Pull Day:

    Barbell Bent-Over Row 3 x 8-10 50kg 3 x 10
    Wide-Grip Pulldowns 3 x 8-10 50kg x 3 x 10
    Seated Machine Row 3 x 10-12 40kg 3 x 12
    Straight Arm Pulldowns 3 x 12 -15 15kg
    Dumbbell Shrugs 3 x 10 20kg 3 x 15
    EZ Bar Curls 3 x 12-15 12.5kg 3 x 12
    Bicep Curl Machine 3 x 12-15 15kg 3 x 12
    Incline Hammer Curls 2 x 12-15 10kg 2 x 15

    Wednesday - Push Day:

    Flat Dumbbell Bench 3 x 8-10 26kg 3 x 10
    Incline Dumbbell Flyes 3 x 12-15 16kg 3x14
    Dumbbell Seated Shoulder Press 3 x 8-10 18kg 10, 8, 8
    Seated Lateral Raises 3 x 12-15 6kg 3 x 14
    Pectoral Machine 2 x 12-15 40kg 2 x 13
    Close-Grip Bench Press 3 x 6-8 55kg 3 x 8
    Incline Skullcrushers 3 x 10-12 20kg 3 x 12
    Rope Tricep Pushdowns 2 x 12-15 15kg 2 x 13

    Thursday - Lower Body Session B (Ham Dom):

    Deadlift (black bar) 3 x 8 100kg 3 x 8
    Barbell Stiff-Legged Deadlift (black bar) 3 x 10-12 62.5kg 3 x 12
    Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift 3 x 12-15 22kg 3 x 12
    Hamstring Curls 3 x 12-15 55kg 3 x 12
    Rear Kick Backs 2 x 10-12 47.5kg 2 x 12 each leg
    Calf Raise Machine 2 x 12-15 70kg 2 x 15

    Cable Crunches 3 x 15 37.5kg 3 x 13
    Planks x 3 95secs

    My current progress. Copied and pasted from my notepad on my phone.

    I guess I will have to cut until I'm happy with how I look again and repeat the whole process.
    Last edited by tpreston92; 08-15-2019 at 02:58 AM.
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    Originally Posted by tpreston92 View Post
    My DL is 100kg, Bench 67.5kg, OHP 40kg, Row 50kg, Squat 60kg (I know this sucks, I keep trying to increase then find my form gets sloppy so I deload and start again. This seems to be a continuous cycle with the squat, I just cant seem to master it).

    I'm doing the Viking Bare Bones U/L/P/P/L stickied on here as it's the only programme I like.

    I've been training since around Summer 2015 but obviously spent a year or so not having a clue what I was doing. I know now that I need to be following a programme, increasing my lifts, tracking calories/macros and being in a 200-500 cal surplus and that i should be gaining 2lbs a month on average. I thought I had everything in check.

    My problem is when I start bulking I get all the fat on my lower back and hips and stomache and it looks gross. My arms and shoulders seem to have some definition but everywhere else is non existent. I've been working my chest hard and I still have no definition on my lower pecs and they just blend into my rib cage.
    Your lifts are a tad low for a split you have defined but that probably wont be the overall problem as any split will work. Are you following the prescribed progression of increasing weight once you hit the required volume? When did you start the Bare Bones series?
    The Bare Bones series is a very good program however it is more volume based then strength based due to the rep ranges so it could be possible you would benefit from a more strength orientated program such as Fierce 5 which drops the rep ranges down as volume seems to not be your driver it seems.

    Have you attempted a more strength to hypertrophy ratio balanced based program before? Also some of your lifts based on your note book aren't within the rep range suggested by the Viking Bare Bones was this because of failure or you haven't been doing it?

    For example most of your major compounds you are doing 3x8 where its prescribed to do 32 reps within 4 sets. Its not a major thing but you might be missing you on your major lifts.

    As for your nutrition as long as you are getting enough protein that will be the driver to muscle growth as you were in surplus of calories. Not to sound rude or anything its more for clarification you were consistent with both your nutrition and workout program? As obviously doing some weeks of the monitoring protein and actually working out will not produce results it requires progressively overload throughout.

    When you bulk I am afraid you can't decide where the fat goes that is genetics. I wouldn't be too disheartened it happens have you progressed since you start and if so how much weight intensity have you increased by (starting lifts vs current lifts on major lifts).
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    Originally Posted by hardyboysare View Post
    Your lifts are a tad low for a split you have defined but that probably wont be the overall problem as any split will work. Are you following the prescribed progression of increasing weight once you hit the required volume? When did you start the Bare Bones series?
    The Bare Bones series is a very good program however it is more volume based then strength based due to the rep ranges so it could be possible you would benefit from a more strength orientated program such as Fierce 5 which drops the rep ranges down as volume seems to not be your driver it seems.

    Have you attempted a more strength to hypertrophy ratio balanced based program before? Also some of your lifts based on your note book aren't within the rep range suggested by the Viking Bare Bones was this because of failure or you haven't been doing it?

    For example most of your major compounds you are doing 3x8 where its prescribed to do 32 reps within 4 sets. Its not a major thing but you might be missing you on your major lifts.

    As for your nutrition as long as you are getting enough protein that will be the driver to muscle growth as you were in surplus of calories. Not to sound rude or anything its more for clarification you were consistent with both your nutrition and workout program? As obviously doing some weeks of the monitoring protein and actually working out will not produce results it requires progressively overload throughout.

    When you bulk I am afraid you can't decide where the fat goes that is genetics. I wouldn't be too disheartened it happens have you progressed since you start and if so how much weight intensity have you increased by (starting lifts vs current lifts on major lifts).
    Thanks for the advice.

    I have been following the programme since last August when I decided to bulk but to be honest I spent a lot of time practising to get the main lifts down due to sloppy form previously. I also missed odd days in the beginning and had quite a few cheat meals so nutrition wasnt the best also. As of the last 6/7 months I have been committed to everything though but the lack of results is ruining my enjoyment of it. I have always kept protein consistent throughout the whole process as I know the importance of it.

    In regards to the progress on the lifts - my bench has increased 27.5kg, ohp 20kg, row 10kg, dl 40kg, squat 20kg (I really struggle with the squat due to my flexibility). Other accessory lifts have been increasing in small increments also.

    I just don't know where to go from here. Do I continue to bulk and hope my body comp will iron itself out once some muscle growth has occured and my skinny fat days are behind me or will I just get fatter? Do I cut and start again properly?

    When I was like I was in the first pic I liked how i looked in the mirror and people would comment on how slim and toned I looked. I was scared to lose anymore weight at that point though as i did feel underweight. Now i just feel like a sack of s**t and I'm in a worse position than I was before.
    Last edited by tpreston92; 08-15-2019 at 06:09 AM.
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    Also I know I said I'd increased to a 32inch waist but I've actually measured again properly and its 28.5. Maybe it was some water retention/bloating? I am on creatine.
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    A typical day of eating would look like:

    Breakfast - oats, milk, protein powder, peanut butter/almond butter, berries

    Snack - fruit (banana, oranges, apple)

    Lunch - 2 turkey and tomato wholemeal bagels

    Snack - protein bar

    Dinner - prawn and chorizo stir fry (wholewheat noodles, peppers, onion, courgette, prawns, chorizo, sriracha sauce)

    Before bed - milk or yoghurt

    I stay away from sugary stuff like snacks, chocolate, sweets, processed foods, sugary drinks which doesnt bother me as I dont have a sweet tooth anyway. I do however usually have a cheat meal on a saturday like a pizza or takeout and the odd alcoholic drink but never overboard.
    Last edited by tpreston92; 08-15-2019 at 06:18 AM.
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    You might want to try doing a straight 5x5 program and workout every other day. Thats for building strength.

    For your diet dial back the surplus to maintenance.

    See how that goes.
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    Originally Posted by tpreston92 View Post
    Thanks for the advice.

    I have been following the programme since last August when I decided to bulk but to be honest I spent a lot of time practising to get the main lifts down due to sloppy form previously. I also missed odd days in the beginning and had quite a few cheat meals so nutrition wasnt the best also. As of the last 6/7 months I have been committed to everything though but the lack of results is ruining my enjoyment of it. I have always kept protein consistent throughout the whole process as I know the importance of it.

    In regards to the progress on the lifts - my bench has increased 27.5kg, ohp 20kg, row 10kg, dl 40kg, squat 20kg (I really struggle with the squat due to my flexibility). Other accessory lifts have been increasing in small increments also.

    I just don't know where to go from here. Do I continue to bulk and hope my body comp will iron itself out once some muscle growth has occured and my skinny fat days are behind me or will I just get fatter? Do I cut and start again properly?

    When I was like I was in the first pic I liked how i looked in the mirror and people would comment on how slim and toned I looked. I was scared to lose anymore weight at that point though as i did feel underweight. Now i just feel like a sack of s**t and I'm in a worse position than I was before.
    Its down to you really you have two options really in my view:-

    1. Work at TDEE maintenance and keep progressing as far as you can on the Viking Bare Bones, your strength level has gone up so progress has been made it might just be better to start from the novice program and progress from that as it could be you are lacking recovery from trying to follow a 5 day split program. This could be effecting your strength thus effecting muscle growth. Ensure you are getting the correct protein and fat macros whilst ensuring progressive overload is continuously present either through weight intensity or volume.

    2. Start a cut and consider running a program which is more aimed towards strength increase and try and progress on that. To me at least the Viking Bare Bones PPL/UL has too much volume for a cut and you will stall out very quickly. Aim to lose around 1% of body weight per week and once at the leanness you are happy with then stay at the level for a while and only add calories in order to progress at the gym, this is simply the leanest way of building muscle but it is slow and progress can be very slow.

    Hmmm the comment about creatine does mean you could be retaining water so my advice would be to do the first option for a bit and see if you can progress further before cutting. Just make sure you have the correct macros and your correct maintenance TDEE (as in you are not gaining anything) and keep progressing on the bare bone program. There is no harm trying anyway.
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    Originally Posted by hardyboysare View Post
    Its down to you really you have two options really in my view:-

    1. Work at TDEE maintenance and keep progressing as far as you can on the Viking Bare Bones, your strength level has gone up so progress has been made it might just be better to start from the novice program and progress from that as it could be you are lacking recovery from trying to follow a 5 day split program. This could be effecting your strength thus effecting muscle growth. Ensure you are getting the correct protein and fat macros whilst ensuring progressive overload is continuously present either through weight intensity or volume.

    2. Start a cut and consider running a program which is more aimed towards strength increase and try and progress on that. To me at least the Viking Bare Bones PPL/UL has too much volume for a cut and you will stall out very quickly. Aim to lose around 1% of body weight per week and once at the leanness you are happy with then stay at the level for a while and only add calories in order to progress at the gym, this is simply the leanest way of building muscle but it is slow and progress can be very slow.

    Hmmm the comment about creatine does mean you could be retaining water so my advice would be to do the first option for a bit and see if you can progress further before cutting. Just make sure you have the correct macros and your correct maintenance TDEE (as in you are not gaining anything) and keep progressing on the bare bone program. There is no harm trying anyway.
    I don't think recovery has been an issue as I've always felt fine when I've gone back into the gym. Plus the programme is spread out nicely to ensure you're not working the same muscle groups too frequently. I enjoy the variety of different exercises too. I think novice programmes like starting strength and fierce 5 etc. would bore the hell out of me plus they're too strength focused. I'm more about hypertrophy.

    I've worked out my maintenance to be 2200 cals with 67g fat, 173g protein, 245g carbs. I may just go on a short intense cut and get rid of this excess fat and aim to do it in 2-3 months then concentrate on shorter lean bulk cycles. My aim is not to get huge anyway, I want to have a lean toned physique.

    At least in this time I can go back to focusing on my form and mind muscle connection. As my main lifts have got heavier I've noticed my form getting sloppy again. Using too much lower back in the DL, not engaging chest properly in the bench Press and back rounding on the row. I need to work on my hip flexibility for the squat too cause 60kg is poor, it's no where near on par with my other lifts.

    I've got a wedding to go to late April next year and a holiday in June so want to use this as a benchmark to improve my physique somewhat.
    Last edited by tpreston92; 08-16-2019 at 02:12 AM.
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    Originally Posted by tpreston92 View Post
    I don't think recovery has been an issue as I've always felt fine when I've gone back into the gym. Plus the programme is spread out nicely to ensure you're not working the same muscle groups too frequently. I enjoy the variety of different exercises too. I think novice programmes like starting strength and fierce 5 etc. would bore the hell out of me plus they're too strength focused. I'm more about hypertrophy.

    I've worked out my maintenance to be 2200 cals with 67g fat, 173g protein, 245g carbs. I may just go on a short intense cut and get rid of this excess fat and aim to do it in 2-3 months then concentrate on shorter lean bulk cycles. My aim is not to get huge anyway, I want to have a lean toned physique.

    At least in this time I can go back to focusing on my form and mind muscle connection. As my main lifts have got heavier I've noticed my form getting sloppy again. Using too much lower back in the DL, not engaging chest properly in the bench Press and back rounding on the row. I need to work on my hip flexibility for the squat too cause 60kg is poor, it's no where near on par with my other lifts.

    I've got a wedding to go to late April next year and a holiday in June so want to use this as a benchmark to improve my physique somewhat.
    Well you will have to choose which direction you will go and stick with it. Just to point out the strength/ hypertrophy connection is very very close so don't think a more strength driven program will not cause hypertrophy as it will I have never done a high volume program always stuck with the rep range for my major compounds of around 5 reps.

    Getting stronger is about gaining muscle especially on the major compounds you can add supplementary exercises to support the extra volume. The choice is yours and the program is your choice just ensure you continuously progress somehow.
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