I'm a pretty diligent user of the search function on here, but I had a few questions about bulking:
1.) Since I'm coming back from a layoff during which I had been focusing on developing my aerobic capacity, I'm basically going the all out "eat clean, but eat a whole, whole lot" near-force feed approach to bulking. I started out about 2 weeks ago at 160, and I obviously have a lot of work to do. I've been seeing what I think are pretty amazing gains. I took some pics right before I got back into it, and I've been thinking that I will take progress pics at the 2 month mark to evaluate the effectiveness that the bulk has seen at that point. Is two months a reasonable amount of time after which I could evaluate this bulking strategy? My concern is that I don't want to set a point for evaluation that is too early in the process.
Goals: I want to be 200lbs by September 1st, preferably with ~10% bodyfat. Right now, my focus is on getting stronger and gaining lean mass.
Thing is, although I've seen huge strength gains, it's hard to evaluate just what role the bulk is playing in my development. Coming back from a 3-4 month layoff is obviously different from starting from scratch, and I've also introduced a very large amount of protein into my diet, along with supplementing with creatine for the first time. So many variables that it's hard to evaluate. I'm pushing a whole lot more weight than I was 2-3 weeks ago, but obviously I'm interested in continuing the bulk while still evaluating it down the line.
Any helpful thoughts on that? Sorry if it's something of a noobie question....I posted this thread on the bodybuilding forums because of the fact that my interest in in BBing. I'm not afraid of gaining fat despite the fact that I'm a FFB--I'm just interested in optimizing my gains and being able to systematically evaluate what is doing what. It seems that since there are so many inputs involved, evaluation is somewhat difficult.
2) This is more of a question about the rationale behind bulking. It seems like there are two general schools of thought:
One school, often seen in the bb.com-type of places is the "500 calorie/day surplus" model. The other, seen often here, is the "eat a whole lot of f***ing food" model. I've selected the latter, at least to give doing it a shot. My question is this: is the TNation model more a result of the fact that the "eat what you can" style of bulking allows you to optimize gains for your particular body (i.e. many bodies can, perhaps, put on more than 1lb of lean mass/week as you often see as part of the 500 calorie surplus argument), or is it more a matter of the fact that people generally undershoot their true BMRs when weightlifting and thus miss their calorie goals?
It ultimately seems like the 500+ rule is a conservative approach with low upside but low downside, while the TNation model is about optimization, with a potential downside depending on the person's goals. Is that a fair assessment? Or is the TNation standard more simply a matter of acknowledging imprecision--i.e. the fact that it's very difficult for us to truly gauge what our bodies need to grow, so it's best to err on the side of caution and give it whatever we can?
Apologies for wall o' text.