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  1. #1
    Registered User Curtis611's Avatar
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    Trouble cutting and bulking

    Hi there, 31yo male here, 6ft and currently 82kg. Long limbs build generally.

    Started working out in 2017. Have done a few bulking and cutting cycles and noticing an issue. I seem to be going in circles

    I seem to store fat primarily on my stomach and hips. Even when bulking I gain no facial fat or limb fat.

    I can get to around 13%bf or so, I start a bulk and aim to gain around 0.5lbs a week. I eat around 1.6g of protein per kg of bodyweight. At the end of Bulk I gain a extra strength but a soft stomach and still skinny arms etc. I cut and lose around 1lb a week. However to lose my stomach I have to get uncomfortably skinny everywhere else on my body.

    I train 4 times a week, Upper and lower split. I change my workout between straight sets and reverse pyramids etc every 6-8 weeks to maintain intensity.

    I have tried very slow bulking over a year, I have tried rapid bulking. The strength at the end along with fat gain is identical. My cuts seem to always lose too much strength.

    What could I be doing wrong? Is it possible this is just poor genetics?
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  2. #2
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    Could be a training issue. Bulking is no guarantee you gain muscle unless you are also making consistent progressive overload.

    Have you gotten stronger for reps in that time? For example, raised your 8-10 rep max across a broad range of lifts?

    In fact you don't even need to bulk to gain muscle often, especially if you are carrying added fat. It can be counterproductive because you start to look fat and switch back to cutting, breaking your progress with muscle gain.
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    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    How much strength are you gaining & losing with each cut & bulk cycle (and what is your corresponding bw going to/from)? It kinda sounds like your strength probably isn't going that far in either direction.

    Don't fall back on the poor genetics excuse. It sounds like it's a training issue.
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    NASM-CPT xsquid99's Avatar
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    "Upper and lower split" can mean a lot of different things. What exactly are you doing in the gym and have your seen increases to your lifts over the last 5 years?
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    Registered User Curtis611's Avatar
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    Thanks for replies.

    So bodyweight tends to go between 73kg and up to about 85kg, every time I get over about 83kg my abs disappear.

    As examples, end of Cut might be squatting 105kg for 10 reps. End of last Bulk got up to 115kg for 10.

    Dumbell bench press 36kg for 10 reps at end of Bulk. 34 for 10 at end of Cut.

    I keep my workout simple. 2 upper body and 2 leg days a week.

    Upper body day is bench, Cable rows, shoulders, bi's, tri's and abs.

    Legs is squats, Hamstring curls, leg extensions and calf Raises.

    I definitely do make progress when I Bulk but I get a fat looking belly before my lifts have increased enough. This is both very lean bulking slowly for a year and also trying to bulk faster. When I cut I find my lifts drop instantly within a week or two but not sure if this is normal?

    To get to the level of body fat where my muscles are defined I end up with such a skinny face everyone tells me I look ill!
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    Originally Posted by Curtis611 View Post
    So bodyweight tends to go between 73kg and up to about 85kg, every time I get over about 83kg my abs disappear.

    As examples, end of Cut might be squatting 105kg for 10 reps. End of last Bulk got up to 115kg for 10.
    I'd expect squat to go up 1.5kg to 2.5kg for every 1kg of weight gain over the long term. I'd look into your fixing your training.
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  7. #7
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Curtis611 View Post
    Thanks for replies.

    So bodyweight tends to go between 73kg and up to about 85kg, every time I get over about 83kg my abs disappear.

    As examples, end of Cut might be squatting 105kg for 10 reps. End of last Bulk got up to 115kg for 10.

    Dumbell bench press 36kg for 10 reps at end of Bulk. 34 for 10 at end of Cut.

    I keep my workout simple. 2 upper body and 2 leg days a week.

    Upper body day is bench, Cable rows, shoulders, bi's, tri's and abs.

    Legs is squats, Hamstring curls, leg extensions and calf Raises.

    I definitely do make progress when I Bulk but I get a fat looking belly before my lifts have increased enough. This is both very lean bulking slowly for a year and also trying to bulk faster. When I cut I find my lifts drop instantly within a week or two but not sure if this is normal?

    To get to the level of body fat where my muscles are defined I end up with such a skinny face everyone tells me I look ill!
    OK - but what about progress from the end of one bulk to the end of the next bulk? If there is none, you probably didn't gain muscle.
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  8. #8
    Registered User Curtis611's Avatar
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    Yeah so this is the issue, from end of one Bulk to next there is virtually no gain. Cutting seems to undo all of it! I can put on some good strength but too much belly fat, then gains go with the belly fat after my cut. Do you have any tips?
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    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    I don't think you are gaining and then losing muscle, I think the amount of muscle just stays the same and any differences in size are down to bodyfat (which accumulates on chest and limbs not just stomach).

    The small differences in strength between cutting and bulking can be explained by having more energy and peaking neural efficiency.

    So it is a programming issue as I though. There is something wrong with your routine and probably your method of progression
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    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    This is a classic case of spinning your wheels.

    You're just doing a list of exercises & not a thoughtful program geared towards increasing your lifts.
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    Registered User LancelotNL's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Curtis611 View Post
    Yeah so this is the issue, from end of one Bulk to next there is virtually no gain. Cutting seems to undo all of it! I can put on some good strength but too much belly fat, then gains go with the belly fat after my cut. Do you have any tips?
    I'd say stop cutting and bulking? After cut, eat at maintanance + 100. Watch the scale, and try not to increase your weight too fast.
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  12. #12
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    Talking It's Simple

    It really comes down to your genetics, some people have really good genetics. Stick to a caloric surplus for weight gain and caloric deficit for weight loss.
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