T Nation

Apathy Towards My Bulk

Okay… if you can all bear with me here. I don’t know if I need positive reinforcement… I don’t really know what the point of this post is.

First and foremost, I feel that my picture in the T-Cell is a bit misleading. I was sucking in some… a decent amount, really. I feel like I’m still fat as fuck. I can see love handles from every angle in the mirror… my stomach bounces every step I take. I can’t tell what’s loose skin and fat. I can’t help but think I’m starting this bulk too early… but I don’t fucking know! It’s not like I can go to my doctor and ask her opinion; she wouldn’t understand the bodybuilding lifestyle.

Not only that, but I ate like horrible shit yesterday and think it’s definitely made my physique NOTICEABLY shittier in the last day. I want to compensate for it, but I can’t help that adding in a decent amount of cardio or dropping calories will only mean diminished results number-wise.

Also, I was thinking about fasted morning cardio. Wouldn’t it actually mean that it’s just burning extra calories that I’m going to need to make up for later? Maybe I’m overanalyzing this concept, but that’s what it seems like to me.

Maybe I’m one of those guys who use to be really fat who’s scared to get “smooth” to gain muscle - but here’s the problem - if I was even SMOOTH when I first started this bulk I wouldn’t mind. When I sit this fat/loose skin combo lumps out over my belt. What’s on my stomach just seems too dense and thick for it to simply be loose skin.

Again, maybe this is a rant. Maybe I’ll post pictures tomorrow and compare to see if I’ve added considerable chunkiness since starting this bulk.

I need a response from someone knowledgeable! It’s not like I can talk to this shit with my parents… as they eat their fried shrimp and tater tots.

Fuck.

If you feel uncomfortable, it’s time to drop the calories and cut down for a bit.

Fasted cardio isn’t going to do jack shit if you aren’t in a daily deficit.

If you’re fat then lose weight.

My opinion is that no bodybuilders are ever “out of shape” when they’re bulking, even at their chubbiest - and you can tell. If you are out of shape, then get in shape first.

I do not profess to be a guru of any kind; I am just slowly making a migration to this site now… so forgive me if don’t know all the rules for posting on here and unintentionally break them.

But: why are you trying to ‘bulk up?’ Judging by the pictures in your profile, it would be much more benefecial for you to tighten up a bit and stay there, so that you can let your loose skin adjust some to the ‘new you.’ You don’t sound happy with the way you currently look; adding more ‘bulk’ will only make you feel fatter, since muscle gain will almost always come with some gain in fat.

As someone who tends to gain fat easily myself, I try very hard to stay relatively lean in the offseason, and it isn’t easy. Honestly, I usually still end up being 8-12 lbs heavier than I would prefer, and I never think about intentionally ‘bulking up’ as a natural trainee. Offseason to me means a slight increase in caloric consumption over maintenance (250-400 Kcals/day), just enough to allow for muscle growth to occur (exactly what Thib preaches).

Sorry if it’s not what you wanted to hear, I am just trying to understand your rationale for ‘bulking.’

As an FFB(didn’t come as far as you did though), I find my body image also ebbs and flows to this day, and it’s been 4 years. My only advice is to cut if you feel like it, but DO NOT get caught up in a perpetual cycle of bulking/cutting every time you start to feel small/fat. That’s a great way to ruin years of potential.

[quote]dj_eu wrote:
I do not profess to be a guru of any kind; I am just slowly making a migration to this site now… so forgive me if don’t know all the rules for posting on here and unintentionally break them.

But: why are you trying to ‘bulk up?’ Judging by the pictures in your profile, it would be much more benefecial for you to tighten up a bit and stay there, so that you can let your loose skin adjust some to the ‘new you.’ You don’t sound happy with the way you currently look; adding more ‘bulk’ will only make you feel fatter, since muscle gain will almost always come with some gain in fat.

As someone who tends to gain fat easily myself, I try very hard to stay relatively lean in the offseason, and it isn’t easy. Honestly, I usually still end up being 8-12 lbs heavier than I would prefer, and I never think about intentionally ‘bulking up’ as a natural trainee. Offseason to me means a slight increase in caloric consumption over maintenance (250-400 Kcals/day), just enough to allow for muscle growth to occur (exactly what Thib preaches).

Sorry if it’s not what you wanted to hear, I am just trying to understand your rationale for ‘bulking.’
[/quote]

The rationale comes from working my ass off for two years for this. I guess the issue I’m having is that I see the “Off-Season Bodybuilder” thread, and the guys, again, are simply ‘smooth.’ I don’t know if it’s because I lost a lot of weight that my stomach and shit are so manipulable (is that a word?) but it just doesn’t feel ‘right.’

What pisses me off is that I’ve worked my ass off for the last two years to go down the bodybuilding road… it’s the only reason I’ve been doing this. I don’t give a fuck about being some super ripped V-Diet imbocile, but I just don’t feel like I’m starting from a positive point. Also, my strength hasn’t budged for shit in these years. I just don’t have the caloric intake to fuel growth and progress in strength. Do you know how fucking disheartening it is to give 100% on every exercise every workout and make minimal, if no progress whatsoever?

Maybe I’m just crazy and need to see a goddamned psychologist or something. I just don’t want to take even LONGER to lose MORE weight… getting weaker and shit. Plus, I don’t want to just “stay here.” If I don’t have anything to work towards - what the fuck am I even doing? I’m not pissed at you man, I appreciate the feedback, I’m just sick as shit of not knowing which direction I need to take my physique.

[quote]abcd1234 wrote:
That’s a great way to ruin years of potential. [/quote]

And that’s another thing. I feel like in the last two years all I’ve done is shitted on some of the best years to gain muscle in my life.

read more about the fasted cardio thing, from what i’ve read and understand it’s not a bright idea if your larger than you want to be but CONCERNED ABOUT LOSING MUSCLE, likely you will lose muscle composition whilst retaining fat. Creating a caloric deficiency incrementally is a wiser option, incrementally being key.

[quote]dj_eu wrote:
I do not profess to be a guru of any kind; I am just slowly making a migration to this site now… so forgive me if don’t know all the rules for posting on here and unintentionally break them.

But: why are you trying to ‘bulk up?’ Judging by the pictures in your profile, it would be much more benefecial for you to tighten up a bit and stay there, so that you can let your loose skin adjust some to the ‘new you.’ You don’t sound happy with the way you currently look; adding more ‘bulk’ will only make you feel fatter, since muscle gain will almost always come with some gain in fat.

As someone who tends to gain fat easily myself, I try very hard to stay relatively lean in the offseason, and it isn’t easy. Honestly, I usually still end up being 8-12 lbs heavier than I would prefer, and I never think about intentionally ‘bulking up’ as a natural trainee. Offseason to me means a slight increase in caloric consumption over maintenance (250-400 Kcals/day), just enough to allow for muscle growth to occur (exactly what Thib preaches).

Sorry if it’s not what you wanted to hear, I am just trying to understand your rationale for ‘bulking.’
[/quote]

If that’s you in your avatar then you should speak up a lot more often. Good advice.

Well mate if you feel a little on the chubby side its time to take measures to change that. I’m getting that you were a FFB, well that makes two of us mate. I’m constantly checking myself in order that my bulker doesn’t turn into a Trey Brewer. I didn’t want to reach 270 and be a lard ass. Before I started I leaned out, which is something I preach others should do. It will allow you a somewhat clean slate to see what is what. By the sounds of it your pretty upset with your current situation, mate.

Well instead of sitting on your hands and squealling in agony, grab the fucking thing by the hunches and fuck it into submission. Feeling fat, cut calories and up the cardio. Throw in the ECA or start loading clen. Lift the same way you did bulking. Rely on the mind to propel the training because the body will fail long before it does. I can’t advice on what to do dietary wise because we all lean out differently. Look what the Chad did to Wolf when he cookie cuttered him. Personally, I have to drop carbs extremely low but its up to you to figure out what it takes. But it all starts with a drive or motivation that is hell-bent on destroying fat regardless on the strain on the shell, society, and risks. God speed.

-GB

SSC: sorry that you are upset about your current progress. To me, getting lean and staying lean when you were destined to be an overweight individual is more of a progress than any increase in my bench, squat, and deadlift can bring me. Because looks are more important to me than weights–I am a bodybuilder first, as shallow as that sounds. And also because it’s a hard, hard thing to do.

PRCalDude: yes, that is me 2 years ago at the OCB Presidential Cup. I am 16.5 weeks out of a show now where I hope to be a bit bigger and leaner.

Dude

First of all, congratulations on all of the weight you lost. I just saw your pics and DAYUMN you have really done very well at shaping up! As far as your Feb 09 pics, I mean it mostly looks like loose skin – stretch marks from losing so much weight. I think you’re not really overweight, but you just need to be “stapled up” and get that loose skin outta there! I mean, I dunno, cut for a bit? Use some calipers!

Idk, I’d say you look like you could use some muscle. I don’t think you need to be going on a diet right now.

I think you are saying these things because you’ve slipped up a bit and ate like shit for a couple of days. Even though you are looking to grow muscle, you should still be eating healthy, and not so much that the scale is moving out of proportion to your strength gains. You need a bit of dietary discipline, even when bulking.

I’m in the same boat as you. Dieted down from obese, but didn’t quite make it to ‘lean’. However, I’ll be damned if I’m going to weigh 157 lbs. I’ll rather get my strength up, and worry about losing fat later.

That’s just me, though.

Well SSC, this makes me think back to your thread you started to inquire about bulking.

Its kinda lame to just repeat a post over again, but I thought I would throw up one of my responses from that thread here, in this thread, because I think its appropriate:


"[i]Dude, again, congrats on the weight loss. Fucking awesome.

Just remember, gaining muscle takes a long time. For someone in your situation, it would be wise to eat a sufficient amount of food to grow and progress in strength, but there’s no need to overdo it.

It will take a lot more discipline than just winging it and chowing down on everything, but if you want to keep your body composition in check, its necessary.

Also, let’s just assume for a second that you get RIPPED.

Then, you go for your “bulk.”

I can almost guaran-damn-tee you that your visual fat gains will far outpace your muscle gains, and 3-4 months down the road, you’re not gonna look noticeably more muscular, but you will probably look fatter.

In your situation, slow and steady wins the race. I think you can start gaining now, but you need to do it nice and slowly. Keep track of your nutrition, as big of a pain in the ass as that may be, and add in carbs and protein in the morning and post workout.

Try to stay consistent for 2 weeks, and if you are not progressing in the weight room or the scale, add in a few more calories.

Do this for 6 months to a year, maybe take a small break for damage control fat loss, and resume.

5 years later, you’ll be a monster. [/i]"


I glanced at your log, and it looks like you’re taking in something along the line sof 4000+ Calories a day?

Fuck. That.

I think, in your situation, that is far too many Calories.

How many Calories were you taking in while dieting?

Did you transition to a “maintenance” phase before eating to gain? Or did you just jump right into the 4000+ ?

I’m afraid (and I’m speaking from experience) you will gain the fat back very easy if you go hog wild on the food. I think you should slowly and deliberately add Calories in something like 250 Cal increments over your maintenance intake in order to get to a decent food intake that’s not slapping pounds of fat on you, quickly.

Like I said before, you can gain fat much quicker than you can gain muscle, so don’t think force feeding yourself is going to put enough muscle mass on your in a short enough period of time to “fill out” and justify excessive fat gain. All its going to do is make you look like shit.

In your situation, if you still want to gain, is to adopt a sort of G-Flux approach and stay as active as possible while eating more food in order to put you in an optimal environment for keeping fat gains at bay and gaining muscle.

What I think will be very important for you to do, though, is to achieve a sustainable dietary approach, one that you can maintain for the long haul because it is going to take a damn long time to pack on some serious size, and you don’t want to be a miserable fat fuck the entire time you’re trying pack on the muscle.

Believe me, I’ve ruined diets within a matter of DAYS because of my insane appetite and propensity to gain fat (being a former fat ASS.)

I’ve done the whole “Fuck yeah! 20x bodyweight in Calories! Gonna get huge!” only to increase my waist size 3 inches in a weak and be noticeably fatter with a gut and no visible muscle mass to show for it.

I’ll be honest, I think you’ll struggle with this for a while. You’re gonna have to learn your body, making some mistakes along the way. I also think you will have to ignore the “Just fuckin eat” crowd, as you will probably need a meticulous attention to your food intake to ensure optimal progress while gaining.

Would be awesome to see you in the next physique clinic, if they ever do that again.

Anyways, hope you made it this far, as it seems noone actually reads posts more than a few sentences these days.

Good luck.

I have to agree with New Damage who has posted quite easily one of the best posts I have read here in a while.

I like to think that in this situation I can talk from both personal and professional experience.

Although yours is a frustrating situation; yes you want to increase muscle mass and yes you want to remain lean in doing so (dont we all), you have to remain as objective as possible in order to achieve your goals.

For you, now that you have lost an exceptional amount of fat your bodybuilding ‘journey’ has just begun. You have already achieved more than 99.9% of the world will do in a lifetime and yes you should be congratulated on your success. Remember that, and do not be hard on yourself. You have already proven a lot to yourself, you may not have realised it just yet.

The body has several homeostatic controls that regulate appetite and fat mass. And sadly, it seems that those who have a natural tendency to overeat dont quite experience the same reward mechanisms from eating, thus they tend to feel more hungry and dissatisfied with the meals that they eat. And remember, body fat also regulates appetite and fat mass too to an extent.

So it may seem that those those who have fat 1) Want to eat more and 2) May have a natural tendency to store more fat. Unfortunately when gaining muscle mass a proportion of weight will always be attributed to an increase in fat, we have top accept this. What we want to achieve is a ratio that favours the amount of muscle we gain, however.

You dont need 4000 kcals. Yet. You have to view this as a long term thing.

If you dont feel comfortable yet, lose some of the fat you have. And then re-start again, at a lower kcaloric level and with a higher energy expenditure.

With people who have been significantly fatter, gaining periods need to be a bit shorter in duration and interspersed with shorter periods of fat loss. To reduce the amount of fat that has been gained. So at the end of the fat loss period you are more muscualr than previousley and somewhat leaner. View this taking two steps forward and one step backwards.

Something in the region of 12 - 16 weeks gaining (say 3 - 4 training cycles) with 4 - 8 weeks moderate fat loss (1 - 2 training cycles) seems o.k.

A modest excess is all that is required, around 500kcals or so, especially if you eat a balance of proteins, carbs and fat. At first, anyway.

In the end though, the best thing you can do to remain leaner is to be MORE MUSCULAR.

Consider that energy expenditure depends on the foods you eat, your metabolic rate and your activity levels, the more muscle you have, the more ‘thermic’ foods you eat and the more exercise you perform, the more kcalories you will need to maintain and to gain.

Good luck, and please try to be objective

I think the above 2 posts are by far the best advice for you to be following and they sum up what I wanted to say.

Remember I am in the same boat as yourself, and I am following pretty much what has been suggested above. For example in the past 3 months I have gained 3kg body weight but remained at the same body fat percentage, it has been about a 2:1 ratio for muscle to fat. Probably slow progress but I am pleased with it none the less and this approach has been the best success for me ever.

It took me a while to figure out what my dietry approach should but to cut it short you need to establish what you can eat and feel satisfied enough that you don’t have uncontrolled binges and maintain your body weight, i.e your maintenance diet, but the satisfaction of appetite is a crucial part too as that is the only thing that can keep your nutrition consistent. Once you got nutritional consistency and satisfaction it’s pretty amazing how it flows on to other areas in your life. No more missed training sessions, binging, financial situation is much improved, and I even think you gain a couple of iq points, so I am no longer borderline retarded.

Now once you have established that, you can start to add calories and measure the results and keep track of it over the months and make adjustments as needed.

Not much to add to this post, really. Read what NewDamage typed.

[quote]NewDamage wrote:
Well SSC, this makes me think back to your thread you started to inquire about bulking.

Its kinda lame to just repeat a post over again, but I thought I would throw up one of my responses from that thread here, in this thread, because I think its appropriate:


"[i]Dude, again, congrats on the weight loss. Fucking awesome.

Just remember, gaining muscle takes a long time. For someone in your situation, it would be wise to eat a sufficient amount of food to grow and progress in strength, but there’s no need to overdo it.

It will take a lot more discipline than just winging it and chowing down on everything, but if you want to keep your body composition in check, its necessary.

Also, let’s just assume for a second that you get RIPPED.

Then, you go for your “bulk.”

I can almost guaran-damn-tee you that your visual fat gains will far outpace your muscle gains, and 3-4 months down the road, you’re not gonna look noticeably more muscular, but you will probably look fatter.

In your situation, slow and steady wins the race. I think you can start gaining now, but you need to do it nice and slowly. Keep track of your nutrition, as big of a pain in the ass as that may be, and add in carbs and protein in the morning and post workout.

Try to stay consistent for 2 weeks, and if you are not progressing in the weight room or the scale, add in a few more calories.

Do this for 6 months to a year, maybe take a small break for damage control fat loss, and resume.

5 years later, you’ll be a monster. [/i]"


I glanced at your log, and it looks like you’re taking in something along the line sof 4000+ Calories a day?

Fuck. That.

I think, in your situation, that is far too many Calories.

How many Calories were you taking in while dieting?

Did you transition to a “maintenance” phase before eating to gain? Or did you just jump right into the 4000+ ?

I’m afraid (and I’m speaking from experience) you will gain the fat back very easy if you go hog wild on the food. I think you should slowly and deliberately add Calories in something like 250 Cal increments over your maintenance intake in order to get to a decent food intake that’s not slapping pounds of fat on you, quickly.

Like I said before, you can gain fat much quicker than you can gain muscle, so don’t think force feeding yourself is going to put enough muscle mass on your in a short enough period of time to “fill out” and justify excessive fat gain. All its going to do is make you look like shit.

In your situation, if you still want to gain, is to adopt a sort of G-Flux approach and stay as active as possible while eating more food in order to put you in an optimal environment for keeping fat gains at bay and gaining muscle.

What I think will be very important for you to do, though, is to achieve a sustainable dietary approach, one that you can maintain for the long haul because it is going to take a damn long time to pack on some serious size, and you don’t want to be a miserable fat fuck the entire time you’re trying pack on the muscle.

Believe me, I’ve ruined diets within a matter of DAYS because of my insane appetite and propensity to gain fat (being a former fat ASS.)

I’ve done the whole “Fuck yeah! 20x bodyweight in Calories! Gonna get huge!” only to increase my waist size 3 inches in a weak and be noticeably fatter with a gut and no visible muscle mass to show for it.

I’ll be honest, I think you’ll struggle with this for a while. You’re gonna have to learn your body, making some mistakes along the way. I also think you will have to ignore the “Just fuckin eat” crowd, as you will probably need a meticulous attention to your food intake to ensure optimal progress while gaining.

Would be awesome to see you in the next physique clinic, if they ever do that again.

Anyways, hope you made it this far, as it seems noone actually reads posts more than a few sentences these days.

Good luck.
[/quote]

We are in somewhat of the same boat. I have gone from 5’10" 290 or so to 185lbs. Now I’m trying to put on muscle and I’ve noticed that even keeping a sharp eye on calories that the stomach regions tend to “reinflate” for lack of a better word at the start of a weight gaining period.

The key, I think, is to not let it get out of hand. Keep an eye on it and if it does go to far, drop a bit of fat before trying to gain size.

I think former fat guys like us are always going to have do gain muscle, then loose fat and on shorter cycles than guys who weren’t ever porked out.

Good Luck.

Excellent. I really, really, really appreciate all of the words, guys, especially the last four posts. I think something that’s been getting me down on a daily basis is seeing my stomach stick out from eating, which obviously will happen, but that there’s still the loose skin to accompany it, so it ends up looking much worse. Especially after drinking 200 oz. of water a day, haha, I look REALLY bloated by 5 pm.

I don’t think I’m going to waste what I’ve ‘already done’ at this point and go on another cutting cycle, but rather be more intelligent about what I’m doing, echoing the above posts.

I think I’m going to drop calories down in the 3,300-3,600 range for starters. Now that I have a better grasp of DC’s cutoff protocol and AM fasted cardio, I’ll be implementing that strictly to help assist with fat levels, and perhaps even doing some cardio a few days a week as well. I’m going to tweak my diet… in a much smarter fashion. I’m still going to keep the protein high (2X BW if I can,) and use carbs and fats intelligently.

Like you guys said, I know this is just going to be trial and error, and I should really start paying attention to how my body is responding to things. I know patience is the name of the game…

Anyway, thanks again for all of the replies and support!

I know most of this thread has been about the fat gain/loss issue. I also looked at your pics in your profile and you should be proud of your progress this far. Great job!

However I noticed in your second post in this thread that your strength “hasn’t budged in these years”. Now, I haven’t seen your routine or seen how intense your sessions are, but if you are eating to “gain” and your strength isn’t going up, maybe you need to look at a few other things along with your diet.

If your strength isn’t going up you are probably not buiding much muscle. If you’re not building much muscle but eating to do so, the cals will go somewhere.

Again, this is just an observation, but maybe something to think about.

Good luck!

cueball

[quote]cueball wrote:
I know most of this thread has been about the fat gain/loss issue. I also looked at your pics in your profile and you should be proud of your progress this far. Great job!

However I noticed in your second post in this thread that your strength “hasn’t budged in these years”. Now, I haven’t seen your routine or seen how intense your sessions are, but if you are eating to “gain” and your strength isn’t going up, maybe you need to look at a few other things along with your diet.

If your strength isn’t going up you are probably not buiding much muscle. If you’re not building much muscle but eating to do so, the cals will go somewhere.

Again, this is just an observation, but maybe something to think about.

Good luck!

cueball [/quote]

We just took care of getting him started on a new routine, no worries.