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  1. #1
    Registered User Carolinas2018's Avatar
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    4 Month Bulk With Pictures

    Hi all,

    Looking for honest feedback here. Not seeing the progress I’m hoping for and want opinions. Doing everything right (read my last thread for details). Doing Fierce 5, eating roughly 3,300 calories a day and staying conscious of macros. Roughly 175g protein, 110g fat and rest carbs. Sleep, stress, etc. all good. I’ve been busting my ass in the gym, but I definitely don’t have great genetics for it so I’m moving slowly. I’ve aimed for three pounds a month and did a great job at tracking with that. I’ve gained exactly 12 pounds in my 4 month bulk. Here are some stats.

    May 1st
    Weight: 168lbs

    DB Bench: 50lbs 3x5
    Smith Squat: 110lbs 3x5
    Smith OHP: 35lbs 3x5
    DB Deadlift: 40lbs 3x8

    August 30th:
    Weight 180lbs

    DB Bench: 75lbs
    Smith Squat: 180lbs 3x5
    Smith OHP: 75lbs 3x5
    DB Deadlift: Went to 60lbs and then started doing one-legged. Currently doing 35lbs on each leg 3x8

    Pictures are attached. I also can post more if it’s helpful, but I don’t have ones with different poses.The first one is before before the 4-month bulk and the second is after.

    My goal isn’t to become a bodybuilder so I don’t have crazy expectations. I want a lean, muscular physique. Aesthetics are my goal, strength second. I’m for sure starting to notice the extra fat building around my stomach, and I don't notice a huge different in muscularity, but I’m hoping it’s just me. Am I doing anything wrong? How does the bulk look? Also, is it time for a cut?

    And just a note, I’ve had to do the smith exercises because I’m at planet fitness. I’ll be switching to just free weights when I move on to the intermediate routine.
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    Last edited by Carolinas2018; 09-02-2019 at 06:24 AM.
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  2. #2
    Registered User mick98x's Avatar
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    Id cut down the calories, don't bulk yet. If you cut now you can probably build muscle and lose fat at the same time.

    Also start using free weights now.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Carolinas2018's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mick98x View Post
    Id cut down the calories, don't bulk yet. If you cut now you can probably build muscle and lose fat at the same time.

    Also start using free weights now.
    Thanks the reply. That’s what I’m thinking to.

    Do you think this bulk was at all success from the pictures?
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    Toronto Millz12323's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Carolinas2018 View Post
    Thanks the reply. That’s what I’m thinking to.

    Do you think this bulk was at all success from the pictures?
    If you got much stronger then yes its successful. Your expectations seem a little off though. You're not putting on much muscle in 4 months. Keep getting stronger though and you'll be happy effectually
    Recent best lifts
    Bench - 235x9, 250x6, 270x1
    Squat - 295x8, 340x5, 355x1
    Deadlift - 430x11, 445x8 455x7, 485x5, 495x1
    OHP - 145x10, 150x9, 155 5x5, 170x6, 190x1(@180 bw)
    3 mile run: 21:59 @ 170 bw.
    BW - 190 Getting fat mode
    531 Log: https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=177172201
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  5. #5
    Registered User Carolinas2018's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Millz12323 View Post
    If you got much stronger then yes its successful. Your expectations seem a little off though. You're not putting on much muscle in 4 months. Keep getting stronger though and you'll be happy effectually
    Wow, really? Ok, I just thought I would see more progress than that. I’ll cut for about two months then get back at it with the strength gains with free weights.. Appreciate the reply.
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    Never accept defeat! backinthegymbro's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mick98x View Post
    Id cut down the calories, don't bulk yet. If you cut now you can probably build muscle and lose fat at the same time.

    Also start using free weights now.
    I recommend this as well. I started a 4 months cut and gained muscle and strength while losing fat at the same time.
    You can see my progress here if you're curious. https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...7494651&page=1

    If you do decide to continue bulking, i would eat less calories than you are now. You've gained 12 lbs in 4 months, but no one gains 3 lbs of muscle per month.
    So a lot of it is fat as well, which is something you don't want.
    Last edited by backinthegymbro; 09-02-2019 at 03:40 PM.
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    Registered User Carolinas2018's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by backinthegymbro View Post
    I recommend this as well. I started a 4 months cut and gained muscle while losing fat at the same time.
    You can see my progress here if you're curious.

    If you do decide to continue bulking, i would eat less calories than you are now. You've gained 12 lbs in 4 months, but no one gains 3 lbs of muscle per month.
    So a lot of it is fat as well, which is something you don't want.
    Damn, dude! That’s impressive as hell. iI might PM you if that’s cool. I started (and am still trying to completely) skinny fat. Any other tips for me other than what I’m doing? I’ll do that cut then. I was thinking of cutting for about 2 months until I’m back at 170lbs. Then I’ll bulk again.

    And any feedback on the bulk pics?
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  8. #8
    Never accept defeat! backinthegymbro's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Carolinas2018 View Post
    Damn, dude! That’s impressive as hell. iI might PM you if that’s cool. I started (and am still trying to completely) skinny fat. Any other tips for me other than what I’m doing? I’ll do that cut then. I was thinking of cutting for about 2 months until I’m back at 170lbs. Then I’ll bulk again.

    And any feedback on the bulk pics?
    You can always pm. I'll be glad to help if i can.

    I think first thing to do is ask yourself what you want to accomplish.
    If you want to be lean with a muscular physique, i definitely recommend a longer cut. The reason for this is: New lifters will gain muscle very fast.
    So you will be able to gain muscle despite on a cut. This way you lose fat and get muscles which is ideal.
    Muscles also look much better with low body fat. You'll be able to see all the definitions etc, without them being hidden underneath a layer of fat.
    Someone very lean will look much more impressive than someone slightly bigger with 20% body fat.
    People also vastly underestimate a cut. 2 months is not much time.

    If i were you, i would cut for the next 6 months and see how you will look then.
    I don't know how tall you are, but you can use those online calculators to measure your calorie maintenance.
    Then i would suggest eating 500 calories less than maintenance and be very strict with your diet.
    Count all your calories with myfitnesspal.

    As for feedback on your bulk: I think your strength and lifts all went up tremendously. Definitely great progress there.
    Physique wise, i can't see that you gained a lot of muscle but perhaps it's just the angle/picture.
    3 lbs a month is too much for a bulk if you're natural in my opinion. So if you decide to bulk again sooner or later, i would eat less calories and track your progress and then keep adjusting the amount until you gain mostly lean muscle mass without the excess fat.

    As for tips: Have a good lifting routine, a clean diet and work hard in the gym.
    Don't take long breaks between sets. 1-1.5 minute average.
    Have good form. Always push yourself to the max. And always try to lift heavy enough so you struggle with the 6th rep or so with set 3 and 4. Progressive overload, lots of volume, etc.
    Training each muscle group twice a week has benefitted me the most.

    Also what's really important is to always flex your muscles during reps.
    So for barbell curls for example, always flex your biceps as hard as possible at the top. (peak contraction principle)
    With tricep exercises, flex your triceps when your arm straightens out.
    With dumbbell flyes for chest, squeeze the chest muscles together at the top etc.
    This way you really activate your muscles and get a better mind muscle connection.
    Also flex after your set is finished and get the blood pumping.

    Cardio is also your friend when it comes to getting a lean physique.
    Even if you hate it, just try to do incline walking on the treadmill for 15 minutes after each work out.
    It will burn a nice 100+ calories and when you get better, you can pick up the pace.

    I also recommend training abs every day, 6 days a week.
    (decline) sit ups, lying/hanging leg/knee raises, cable crunches, seated twists with a stick.
    This way when you do get to the lower body fat percentages, your abs will already be there.
    Last edited by backinthegymbro; 09-02-2019 at 05:50 PM.
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  9. #9
    Registered User Carolinas2018's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by backinthegymbro View Post
    You can always pm. I'll be glad to help if i can.

    I think first thing to do is ask yourself what you want to accomplish.
    If you want to be lean with a muscular physique, i definitely recommend a longer cut. The reason for this is: New lifters will gain muscle very fast.
    So you will be able to gain muscle despite on a cut. This way you lose fat and get muscles which is ideal.
    Muscles also look much better with low body fat. You'll be able to see all the definitions etc, without them being hidden underneath a layer of fat.
    Someone very lean will look much more impressive than someone slightly bigger with 20% body fat.
    People also vastly underestimate a cut. 2 months is not much time.

    If i were you, i would cut for the next 6 months and see how you will look then.
    I don't know how tall you are, but you can use those online calculators to measure your calorie maintenance.
    Then i would suggest eating 500 calories less than maintenance and be very strict with your diet.
    Count all your calories with myfitnesspal.

    As for feedback on your bulk: I think your strength and lifts all went up tremendously. Definitely great progress there.
    Physique wise, i can't see that you gained a lot of muscle but perhaps it's just the angle/picture.
    3 lbs a month is too much for a bulk if you're natural in my opinion. So if you decide to bulk again sooner or later, i would eat less calories and track your progress and then keep adjusting the amount until you gain mostly lean muscle mass without the excess fat.

    As for tips: Have a good lifting routine, a clean diet and work hard in the gym.
    Don't take long breaks between sets. 1-1.5 minute average.
    Have good form. Always push yourself to the max. And always try to lift heavy enough so you struggle with the 6th rep or so with set 3 and 4. Progressive overload, lots of volume, etc.
    Training each muscle group twice a week has benefitted me the most.

    Also what's really important is to always flex your muscles during reps.
    So for barbell curls for example, always flex your biceps as hard as possible at the top. (peak contraction principle)
    With tricep exercises, flex your triceps when your arm straightens out.
    With dumbbell flyes for chest, squeeze the chest muscles together at the top etc.
    This way you really activate your muscles and get a better mind muscle connection.
    Also flex after your set is finished and get the blood pumping.

    Cardio is also your friend when it comes to getting a lean physique.
    Even if you hate it, just try to do incline walking on the treadmill for 15 minutes after each work out.
    It will burn a nice 100+ calories and when you get better, you can pick up the pace.

    I also recommend training abs every day, 6 days a week.
    (decline) sit ups, lying/hanging leg/knee raises, cable crunches, seated twists with a stick.
    This way when you do get to the lower body fat percentages, your abs will already be there.
    Thanks dude! Appreciate the advice, I’m going to apply all of it. I am looking for a lean physique so I will lengthen that cut a bit.

    Yeah, I don’t think I made a lot of size gains as well. You don’t think it’s abnormal that my strength went up like that but I didn’t gain a lot of size?
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  10. #10
    Never accept defeat! backinthegymbro's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Carolinas2018 View Post
    Yeah, I don’t think I made a lot of size gains as well. You don’t think it’s abnormal that my strength went up like that but I didn’t gain a lot of size?
    It is a bit weird however sometimes someone's lifts can go up as he gets better with the form. Bench press for example is all about balance.
    Any new lifter will struggle with keeping the barbell in a steady path, which is why they will have trouble with 45 lbs for example when they might be able to bench 70 lbs instead. So as you lift more, you get a better feel of things.
    Also your muscles simply were never used to a certain exercise. So they jump up in numbers fast without real change to the muscle size.

    Still, some people go to the gym for years and still look the same.
    It's either because they train with low intensity (on their phone in the gym or talking a lot or taking 10 minute breaks between sets), maybe it's because their diet is awful.
    But usually, i noticed it's because they have no idea what they're doing training wise.
    It really helps to have a great training routine that lets you hit each muscle group twice a week.
    I don't have personal experience with fierce 5, however if you're still on it after by the end of november and you don't have the desired result, then i recommend changing your routine to a different one.
    I'm using a modified split routine myself which i posted in my transformation thread, but you can always pm me as well if you have more questions or if you want to try it out.

    Good luck with your gains! If you train properly, diet strictly and work hard, the results will definitely come.
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