One of the ongoing debates on T-Mag seems to be whether or not you can gain muscle mass ('bulk') and lose body fat ('cut') at the same time. Although I believe this is theoretically possible most of us would be pretty damn happy if we could just induce hypertrophy without adding body fat, or reduce body fat without experiencing any muscle atrophy or strength loss.
Along these lines, a thought in terms of nutrition: Is it possible then to 'bulk' (meaning here to induce hypertrophy but not necessarily gain body weight) WITHOUT consuming calories above maintenance?
If you are 1) training for hypertrophy, 2)consuming enough carbs to push large amounts of protein into your muscles, and 3) giving those muscles adequate rest, recovery, and rebuilding time it seems that this goal should be possible without all the excess calories (after all it's protein that builds muscles not calories).
Of course the gain in muscle mass has to come from somewhere and so if you're not losing fat and you're keeping a neutral energy balance where would the gain come from? Is it still just better to balloon up, eat everything in sight, and then lose the fat later? Something tells me that there must be a better way. Maybe eating year round at maintenance plus or minus a few hundred calories and then altering the macronutrient content and training program depending on the focus. I don't know. Any takers on this?