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  1. #1
    Registered User SurfSt0ne's Avatar
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    Exclamation New to bulking - am I lean bulking too fast?

    I am to new to seriously working out/bulking. I used to always go to the gym and did machine workouts but never really changed my diet or my protein intake. I would chug a protein shake here and there, but never ever considered things like consuming protein intake (protein grams) to my body weight. In addition, in terms of diet I ate the minimum I needed. I was the type of person who could not each breakfast or lunch and still be fine. Most of the time I would have really low calorie meals. I didn't track my calories, but at least from the beginning of high school to end of college if not even a year after (my weight as a constant 115-122 lbs.)

    It wasn't till the beginning of this year that I realized that I am way too skinny and don't fit any shirts etc. I wanted to get bigger for my own health and well being. I went to the gym earlier this year for the first couple months (before COVID shut the gym down) and went from 120 lbs to 128 lbs. Note during this time, I didn't do compound movements like bench press, dead lifts etc. I was strictly just doing machines.

    As of about a month (6/24) - I incorporated compound movements (bench press, squats, dead lifts, inclined chest press) + free weight exercises. I do a Push, Pull, Legs routine. ( I got rid of machines - or put them on the lower priority).

    I also started eating ~3000 calories a day. I went from about 128 lbs to about 155 lbs right now in about a month and a week or so.

    I follow a strict diet of the following:


    Breakfast:

    * Fat Free Yogurt

    * Protein shake

    * Brown Rice

    * 3 Eggs

    Noon Lunch:

    * Rice + Healthy Vegetable Curry

    * Protein Shake

    Evening Lunch:

    * Rice + Healthy Vegetable Curry

    * Protein Shake

    Night Dinner:

    * Pasta (Semolina) + Pasta Sauce

    * Fat Free Yogurt

    * 2 servings (70 g) soaked almonds


    This is what I eat every day, it comes to around a little over ~3000 calories. My weight went from around 128 at the beginning to about 155 lbs. I only want to clean bulk and no dirty bulking. I am scared that I am gaining too much fat... What should I do T_T. I also should add I am 5 foot 9 inches.


    I did a TDEE Caloric intake and determined that I should be consuming 2,602 calories to maintain my current weight. I guess it doesn't make sense to do a TDEE back then when I was 115-120 lbs. Obviously this isn't all muscle gains - I certainly gained fat. I also noticed gains at the gym.


    e.g Bench press - went from benching on 6/24 75lbs to currently 105 lbs.


    e.g Skull crushers - went from 30-40lbs to currently 60lbs.


    I am trying to bulk clean and healthy. Please let me know your thoughts and suggestions - what I should do. I don't want to be gaining constant amount of fat.


    e.g Macro Breakdown for a day:

    Calories - 3085

    Carbohydrates - 457 g (Rice + Pasta)

    Protein - 189.4 - (Note my body weight is 155 lbs right now and I am def consuming much more than 1 g / 1 lb rule of thumb) (As a vegetarian protein sources are primarily shakes - but I also get it from Yogurt, Almonds, Eggs)

    Fat - 60.5 (All of these fats are from healthy sources like Almonds, Olive Oil etc. - NO TRANS FAT)
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    Last edited by SurfSt0ne; 08-03-2020 at 08:08 AM. Reason: Formatting
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  2. #2
    Gaintaining Mrpb's Avatar
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    You're bulking way too fast. You should gain only 2 pounds per month.

    Also make sure you get on a good training program like Fierce 5 Novice.
    Recommended science based fitness & nutrition information:
    Alan Aragon https://alanaragon.com/
    Brad Schoenfeld http://www.lookgreatnaked.com/
    James Krieger https://weightology.net/
    Jorn Trommelen http://www.nutritiontactics.com/
    Eric Helms & Team3DMJ https://3dmusclejourney.com/
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  3. #3
    Registered User SurfSt0ne's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    You're bulking way too fast. You should gain only 2 pounds per month.

    Also make sure you get on a good training program like Fierce 5 Novice.
    Do you suggest I cut down my calories? If so by how much?
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    Originally Posted by SurfSt0ne View Post
    I only want to clean bulk and no dirty bulking
    define clean and dirty bulking

    dirty bulking does NOT mean eating "dirty" foods, it means going way overboard with your surplus (which is exactly what you did)

    (c)lean bulking does NOT mean eating "clean" foods, it means eating in a slight surplus
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    Registered User SurfSt0ne's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by faithbrah View Post
    define clean and dirty bulking

    dirty bulking does NOT mean eating "dirty" foods, it means going way overboard with your surplus (which is exactly what you did)

    (c)lean bulking does NOT mean eating "clean" foods, it means eating in a slight surplus
    What is your suggestion on calorie cutting? What should my calorie be cut back to?
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    Originally Posted by SurfSt0ne View Post
    What is your suggestion on calorie cutting? What should my calorie be cut back to?
    figure out your maintenance calories and try a 200-300 surplus
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    team ketchup AdamWW's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SurfSt0ne View Post
    I also started eating ~3000 calories a day. I went from about 128 lbs to about 155 lbs right now in about a month and a week or so.
    That math doesn't seem likely to me...

    this would mean you've been eating 2500 calories over maintenance EVERY day... would would mean your TDEE is 500 calories...

    That isn't possible.
    The power of carbs compels me!
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    Registered User SurfSt0ne's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by faithbrah View Post
    figure out your maintenance calories and try a 200-300 surplus
    Here is some more info I just got - I just bought an expensive weight scale with the ability to estimate other things as well:

    Weight is 153.0 (give or take - also this is me after I ate 2 eggs, protein shake, and yogurt)

    BMI - 22.7
    Muscle Mass - 46.9%
    Water Weight - 62.8%
    Bone Mass - 4.9%
    Body Fat - 14.6%

    Is this good for a male 25 years old, and 5 foot 9 inches height?

    With this new information I used the the following TDEE calculator and determined the following:

    TDEECALCULATOR DOT NET
    It gave the following:

    Ideal Weight: 152-159 lbs
    BMI - 22.6% -> Normal Weight it is between 18.5 – 24.99

    Moderate Exercise 2,548 calories per day
    Heavy Exercise 2,836 calories per day
    Athlete 3,124 calories per day


    According to this I need 2,548 calories per day to maintain what I have right now. I want to get bigger and gain more healthy weight (am I thinking about this the right way)?

    I also do a PPL Routine:

    M - P , T - P, W- L, TH - REST , F - P and this repeats on an on
    Last edited by SurfSt0ne; 08-03-2020 at 10:59 AM.
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    OP all those numbers and calculations mean little when they don't work out in real life. The best way to get a handle on your TDEE is to meticulously track your calories for a few weeks - eating the same calories for that time - and seeing how your weight responds. You can then use that data to get a ballpark of your TDEE and go from there.

    Bottom line is you put on 20+lb in 5 weeks, which is WAY too much too fast, and is mostly fat. As someone else said for a "lean bulk" you want to gain about 2lb/month. No one can tell you exactly how many calories to eat, only time patience and real world data will tell you that.

    I would start with your actual TDEE (best guess) and eat that for 3 weeks. Weight stayed the same? That's your maintenance. Went up/down? Use that info to extrapolate your maintenance.
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    The scale you bought is very inaccurate for measuring body fat.

    Adjust your calories until you're gaining 1-2 pounds per month.

    Follow a well structured training program with planned progression.
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    Registered User SurfSt0ne's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sunsean View Post
    OP all those numbers and calculations mean little when they don't work out in real life. The best way to get a handle on your TDEE is to meticulously track your calories for a few weeks - eating the same calories for that time - and seeing how your weight responds. You can then use that data to get a ballpark of your TDEE and go from there.

    Bottom line is you put on 20+lb in 5 weeks, which is WAY too much too fast, and is mostly fat. As someone else said for a "lean bulk" you want to gain about 2lb/month. No one can tell you exactly how many calories to eat, only time patience and real world data will tell you that.

    I would start with your actual TDEE (best guess) and eat that for 3 weeks. Weight stayed the same? That's your maintenance. Went up/down? Use that info to extrapolate your maintenance.
    Do you have a suggestion on a good program for PPL? I have compiled from various different PPL routines I have seen and modified here and there.

    e.g for Chest day I do the following:

    1. 6-8 reps 4-5 sets - Bench Press
    2. 7-8 reps 4-5 sets - Lying Skull Crushers
    3.) 6-7 reps 3-4 sets - Inclined Bench Press
    4.) 6-8 reps 4-5 sets - Dumbbell Chest Press
    5.) 6-8 reps 4-5 sets - Dumbbell Inclined Chest Press
    6.) 7-8 reps 4-5 sets - Tricep T-Bar pull down
    7.) 7-8 reps 4-5 sets - Standing/Sitting Skull Crushers

    Also generally in this order as well
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    Originally Posted by SurfSt0ne View Post
    Do you have a suggestion on a good program for PPL? I have compiled from various different PPL routines I have seen and modified here and there.

    e.g for Chest day I do the following:

    1. 6-8 reps 4-5 sets - Bench Press
    2. 7-8 reps 4-5 sets - Lying Skull Crushers
    3.) 6-7 reps 3-4 sets - Inclined Bench Press
    4.) 6-8 reps 4-5 sets - Dumbbell Chest Press
    5.) 6-8 reps 4-5 sets - Dumbbell Inclined Chest Press
    6.) 7-8 reps 4-5 sets - Tricep T-Bar pull down
    7.) 7-8 reps 4-5 sets - Standing/Sitting Skull Crushers

    Also generally in this order as well
    Jesus Christ... that would take me 3 hours...

    You have no business doing that much volume right now.
    The power of carbs compels me!
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    Originally Posted by SurfSt0ne View Post
    Do you have a suggestion on a good program for PPL? I have compiled from various different PPL routines I have seen and modified here and there.

    e.g for Chest day I do the following:

    1. 6-8 reps 4-5 sets - Bench Press
    2. 7-8 reps 4-5 sets - Lying Skull Crushers
    3.) 6-7 reps 3-4 sets - Inclined Bench Press
    4.) 6-8 reps 4-5 sets - Dumbbell Chest Press
    5.) 6-8 reps 4-5 sets - Dumbbell Inclined Chest Press
    6.) 7-8 reps 4-5 sets - Tricep T-Bar pull down
    7.) 7-8 reps 4-5 sets - Standing/Sitting Skull Crushers

    Also generally in this order as well
    I recommend you do a novice full body routine (Fierce 5 is a good and popular one). You don't need that much volume and you don't need a split. You need to do the main compounds in the 4-6 rep range with heavy weight and get build a foundation before making it more complicated or creating your own routine.

    He's right:

    Originally Posted by AdamWW View Post
    Jesus Christ... that would take me 3 hours...

    You have no business doing that much volume right now.
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    Registered User SurfSt0ne's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sunsean View Post
    I recommend you do a novice full body routine (Fierce 5 is a good and popular one). You don't need that much volume and you don't need a split. You need to do the main compounds in the 4-6 rep range with heavy weight and get build a foundation before making it more complicated or creating your own routine.

    He's right:
    I am thinking of cutting my calories from 3085 -> 2575. The macro breakdown is the following:

    338 g Carbs
    179.2 g protein
    60.5 g Fat

    Is this okay? Also is that too much Fat? Should I make that Fat much less?
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    Originally Posted by SurfSt0ne View Post
    I am thinking of cutting my calories from 3085 -> 2575. The macro breakdown is the following:

    338 g Carbs
    179.2 g protein
    60.5 g Fat

    Is this okay? Also is that too much Fat? Should I make that Fat much less?
    I suggest 179.4 grams of protein
    The power of carbs compels me!
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    Originally Posted by SurfSt0ne View Post
    I am thinking of cutting my calories from 3085 -> 2575. The macro breakdown is the following:

    338 g Carbs
    179.2 g protein
    60.5 g Fat

    Is this okay? Also is that too much Fat? Should I make that Fat much less?
    Most if not all of your questions can be answered by reading the stickies at the top of the nutrition and losing fat forums.

    Basics for macros: .7g protein per lb of bodyweight, .4g fat per lb of body weight. These are your "minimums" so anything beyond that is optional. Hit these minimums for fat/protein and the rest of your calories can be whatever you want.
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    Originally Posted by sunsean View Post
    Most if not all of your questions can be answered by reading the stickies at the top of the nutrition and losing fat forums.

    Basics for macros: .7g protein per lb of bodyweight, .4g fat per lb of body weight. These are your "minimums" so anything beyond that is optional. Hit these minimums for fat/protein and the rest of your calories can be whatever you want.
    this, you need to study these things OP. buying an expensive scale to tell you anything else than your weight is a red flag
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    I suggest dirty bulking, u may get fat as hell but at least you'll be strong. Can always cut weight later
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    Currently I am 153 lbs so:

    107.1 g of Protein is the minimum (0.7 * 153)
    61.2 g of Fat is the minimum (0.4 * 153)

    So I guess it looks like I have been already reaching the minimum.

    My fear is if I go from 3085 to 2600 might stop my gains (although probably not true). From your guys' opinion, if you were in my shoes how much would you get the calories by? Also are you supposed to slowly increase your caloric intake? I read you have eat more and more calories to maintain overtime the gains you have?
    Last edited by SurfSt0ne; 08-03-2020 at 02:52 PM.
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    Start with 2600, adjust 1-2 weeks later if necessary.

    Your gains won't suddenly stop if you keep getting stronger in the gym.
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    Start with 2600, adjust 1-2 weeks later if necessary.

    Your gains won't suddenly stop if you keep getting stronger in the gym.
    That's true, as of a week or two ago - my weight was 148ish ; I checked this morning my weight is 151.8 (152). During those weeks I have been on a roughly 3K calorie diet. I am thinking initially since I was underweight and probably eating caloric surplus - I gained a lot of weight fast. Now I may be stable? What y'all think?
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    Originally Posted by SurfSt0ne View Post
    That's true, as of a week or two ago - my weight was 148ish ; I checked this morning my weight is 151.8 (152). During those weeks I have been on a roughly 3K calorie diet. I am thinking initially since I was underweight and probably eating caloric surplus - I gained a lot of weight fast. Now I may be stable? What y'all think?
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    Last edited by Mrpb; 08-04-2020 at 07:12 AM.
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  23. #23
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    Originally Posted by SurfSt0ne View Post
    My fear is if I go from 3085 to 2600 might stop my gains?
    Well if your weight really did balloon as quickly as you say...those "gains" are probably a lot of fat and some extra water.

    Sounds like your body wasn't too far from mine a while back. If that's the case I really don't think you need to be eating 3000+ calories a day to be making good gains. UNLESS you're doing lots of cardio every day. What do you do for work every day? How do you spend your free time. If both of those answers equate to sitting down most of the time, I agree with Mrpb that 2600 is probably more than an adequate starting point.

    Also what Adam said about your volume. A beginner should not be doing that much. You're likely going to be spinning your wheels and putting yourself at a huge risk for injury.

    EDIT- Also to add to that, don't look at several workouts and "compile" them. They are structured to work by themselves. When you go fudging around with them all you're doing is taking a nice recipe for success and creating a messy hodgepodge that will likely get you nowhere. Find a good full body routine and stick with that. Fierce 5 was already recommended, and I really like Allpro's Beginner Workout.
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    Originally Posted by SurfSt0ne View Post
    I am to new to seriously working out/bulking. I used to always go to the gym and did machine workouts but never really changed my diet or my protein intake. I would chug a protein shake here and there, but never ever considered things like consuming protein intake (protein grams) to my body weight. In addition, in terms of diet I ate the minimum I needed. I was the type of person who could not each breakfast or lunch and still be fine. Most of the time I would have really low calorie meals. I didn't track my calories, but at least from the beginning of high school to end of college if not even a year after (my weight as a constant 115-122 lbs.)

    It wasn't till the beginning of this year that I realized that I am way too skinny and don't fit any shirts etc. I wanted to get bigger for my own health and well being. I went to the gym earlier this year for the first couple months (before COVID shut the gym down) and went from 120 lbs to 128 lbs. Note during this time, I didn't do compound movements like bench press, dead lifts etc. I was strictly just doing machines.

    As of about a month (6/24) - I incorporated compound movements (bench press, squats, dead lifts, inclined chest press) + free weight exercises. I do a Push, Pull, Legs routine. ( I got rid of machines - or put them on the lower priority).

    I also started eating ~3000 calories a day. I went from about 128 lbs to about 155 lbs right now in about a month and a week or so.

    I follow a strict diet of the following:


    Breakfast:

    * Fat Free Yogurt

    * Protein shake

    * Brown Rice

    * 3 Eggs

    Noon Lunch:

    * Rice + Healthy Vegetable Curry

    * Protein Shake

    Evening Lunch:

    * Rice + Healthy Vegetable Curry

    * Protein Shake

    Night Dinner:

    * Pasta (Semolina) + Pasta Sauce

    * Fat Free Yogurt

    * 2 servings (70 g) soaked almonds


    This is what I eat every day, it comes to around a little over ~3000 calories. My weight went from around 128 at the beginning to about 155 lbs. I only want to clean bulk and no dirty bulking. I am scared that I am gaining too much fat... What should I do T_T. I also should add I am 5 foot 9 inches.


    I did a TDEE Caloric intake and determined that I should be consuming 2,602 calories to maintain my current weight. I guess it doesn't make sense to do a TDEE back then when I was 115-120 lbs. Obviously this isn't all muscle gains - I certainly gained fat. I also noticed gains at the gym.


    e.g Bench press - went from benching on 6/24 75lbs to currently 105 lbs.


    e.g Skull crushers - went from 30-40lbs to currently 60lbs.


    I am trying to bulk clean and healthy. Please let me know your thoughts and suggestions - what I should do. I don't want to be gaining constant amount of fat.


    e.g Macro Breakdown for a day:

    Calories - 3085

    Carbohydrates - 457 g (Rice + Pasta)

    Protein - 189.4 - (Note my body weight is 155 lbs right now and I am def consuming much more than 1 g / 1 lb rule of thumb) (As a vegetarian protein sources are primarily shakes - but I also get it from Yogurt, Almonds, Eggs)

    Fat - 60.5 (All of these fats are from healthy sources like Almonds, Olive Oil etc. - NO TRANS FAT)
    You've got a boatload of great guidance in all the responses posted thus far. Be patient, get your numbers dialed-in accurately, and try not to get ahead of yourself. The maximum lean muscle mass that beginners can gain in a year is around 6 lbs. Think about that when targeting how many pounds you're gaining each month and how much of that is fat/water.

    Finally, you can't just go by reference numbers as someone else alluded to. You need to adhere to a diet plan, monitor daily caloric intake closely, and check your progress and stats over time. That's the only way to get your true numbers dialed in right. Good luck!
    Without proper diets and effective meal plans dialed in, you might well be spitting in the wind.
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    Originally Posted by cljolley View Post
    Well if your weight really did balloon as quickly as you say...those "gains" are probably a lot of fat and some extra water.

    Sounds like your body wasn't too far from mine a while back. If that's the case I really don't think you need to be eating 3000+ calories a day to be making good gains. UNLESS you're doing lots of cardio every day. What do you do for work every day? How do you spend your free time. If both of those answers equate to sitting down most of the time, I agree with Mrpb that 2600 is probably more than an adequate starting point.

    Also what Adam said about your volume. A beginner should not be doing that much. You're likely going to be spinning your wheels and putting yourself at a huge risk for injury.

    EDIT- Also to add to that, don't look at several workouts and "compile" them. They are structured to work by themselves. When you go fudging around with them all you're doing is taking a nice recipe for success and creating a messy hodgepodge that will likely get you nowhere. Find a good full body routine and stick with that. Fierce 5 was already recommended, and I really like Allpro's Beginner Workout.
    Lot of variability with calories.

    I'm 6 foot and 142 needing over 3000 for even slow gains.

    Either way I think OP's counting is way, way off. The weight gain doesn't make sense at all.
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    Your gains will not freeze if you switch from a huge surplus to maintenance or slightly below for a couple of weeks. Muscle gain is a slow process and your muscles/strength are not going to vanish because you're eating a moderate amount less, you can still gain at maintenance.

    I agree with trying 2600 accurately measured and monitor your weight and strength gains from there. If you're gaining weight too fast (more than 0.5lb per week) then dial it back a little. If you're gaining nothing slightly increase by 1-200 calories
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    Originally Posted by 1stCoachJoe View Post
    You've got a boatload of great guidance in all the responses posted thus far. Be patient, get your numbers dialed-in accurately, and try not to get ahead of yourself. The maximum lean muscle mass that beginners can gain in a year is around 6 lbs. Think about that when targeting how many pounds you're gaining each month and how much of that is fat/water.

    Finally, you can't just go by reference numbers as someone else alluded to. You need to adhere to a diet plan, monitor daily caloric intake closely, and check your progress and stats over time. That's the only way to get your true numbers dialed in right. Good luck!
    Also this isn't strictly accurate, it depends whether you are talking about dry muscle fibre or actual visible muscle mass. You can certainly gain a lot more than 6lb of muscle in your first year. It's just that a large portion of muscle mass is made up of water etc. This does not mean you should only be aiming to gain 0.5lb per month of mass. 2lb per month is fine
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