T Nation

Bulking Advice Needed


I've been bulking for the past 3 months. I'm 6' and went from 185-205. Not surprisingly, I gained more fat than I should have. I'm sitting at probably 16-18% body fat which I'm not comfortable with.

I made decent gains for the first 2 months. Keep in mind that I started squats/deadlifts recently, hence the newbie gains:

BB Bench: 245x1 to 265x1
DB Bench: 110x4 to 120x4
BB Standing Press: 145x1 to 185x1
BB Squat: 205x1 to 275x1
Deadlift: 255x1 to 325x1
BB Curl: 115x1 to 125x1

The past few weeks, I've hit a plateau. My diet seems legit and is the same it has been throughout the bulk (adequate protein intake and 3500-4000 Calories daily). I'm really hesitant to increase Calories further since I don't think I can handle more fat gain. I'm still putting on 1 lb. a week.

I planned to start cutting at the end of January, but should I begin now? I haven't really reached some of the goals I had for this bulk cycle, but I've read that muscle grows in spurts. So, I don't really want to keep bulking if my body is not in a muscle growth stage.

Thanks for any advice.


Although you haven't given much detail. I think you answered your own question when you said you're not comfortable with being '16-18%'.


He might as well say goodbye to any gains made in the last 3 months if he immediately starts dieting now. You avoid that by not waiting until you start to panic before you cut back on carbs, calories or both. None of these guys will be gaining much at all if they are so turned around that they end up only trying to gain for 3 months at a time before dropping weight again.


If you don't compete and don't want to be the biggest guy you can be then do whatever makes you happy.

If you feel like shit then why in the world would you ask people on the net what you should do? I'm not saying don't listen to bigger and more advanced guys BUT I think when it comes to this "hobby" we follow, you need to just do what you feel is right. As many have said on this forum: bodybuilding is not for everyone and the only way to find out is just to try shit and see what happens...I'm still a noob but the more I get into this sport the more I find that you need to have a strong mind set, you need to stick to your goals and your decisions even if people think it's weird or doubt you. That's the only way to learn what works FOR YOU in my opinion.


While I wouldn't jump right into a 'cut' after only 3 months of 'progress' (maybe you gained 5 lbs of muscle?), you can scale back slightly for a month of so if the adipose is more than you like, then hit it hard some more.



Agree. Dieting is not the way to go if being a freak is his true goal, as it should be on a bodybuilding forum. However, reevaluating what he is doing, lowering carbs slightly or adding a session of light cardio in to try and control this fat gain would be beneficial in my opinion. Personally I have been bulking for over 3 years without having the need to 'diet' just making slight modifications.


^^ Like carbs cutoffs or morning cardio. Once I stopped doing these I started seeing fat gains.


IDK, to me 1 lb a week has always seemed like too much weight gain too fast, except for absolute beginners. I've yet to see someone who ate enough to gain 1 lb a week for an extended period of time who didn't also gain a significant amount of fat. If you're gaining that much fat you're obviously consuming too many calories and/or something is lacking in the training department (I'm going to guess both). I don't see how a recomp (leaning out at the same weight) could hurt at this point. I think an outline of your training and average macro breakdown of those 3500-4000 cals could give some insight into what your problem really is.


That would be why the goal is for people to monitor their own progress. These guys seem to just be doing shit randomly until they hit a wall.

If someone just reached a new body weight in less than 3 months, dieting immediately will likely get rid of any new muscle gains. His body has to get used to that new muscle.

That is why people are saying that.

If he wants to keep going in circles, then tell him to lean back down right now instead of reduce carbs or calories and slow down body weight gain for a couple of months while still training hard.


I suppose that I came across as being in panic-mode. I'm willing to stay at this BF% level for a few more months if it will help me pack on additional muscle or at least retain what I've gained. I'll obviously be depressed if I cut and end up lifting the same amount I did before the bulk.

I'll focus on ramping down calories slowly (still eating at an excess) and cleaning up my diet until I see a more modest weight gain per week (0.5lbs?).

I would go into details on my current diet, but there's not much to it. I fell for the glorified dirty bulk and the results showed. I made sure I had over 250g of protein per day and didn't really concern myself with the macros beyond that.


No one is saying remain at the same level of body fat.

There is a BIG difference between dropping weight drastically (like when someone has the pure intention of leaning up) and trying to hold your current weight but clean up your diet or drop carbs. Many might notice a small decrease in body fat during that time but it should not be the absolute goal. Not getting fatter should be.

That is why I started calling that "damage control" because some of you seem to have a difficult time understanding a concept.


Huh? I didn't say anything about dieting down. I said recomp and made it a point to mention not losing weight. Trust me I learned the hard way a long time ago that trying to diet down after reaching a new bodyweight for the first time is not a good idea. I fully understand that concept.


Experts in the field of body recomposition (Poliquin,Starness,McDonald) think 15 % of body fat is the highest a person should have before getting into cutting phase where they should lean to at least 10 % (optimaly 8% ) before going into new bulking phase.


Agreed. If your're gaining a lb per week unassisted, chances are that it's mostly fat or just food still undigested in the tract.


Have you built considerable amounts of muscle yourself?


Who knew gaining a shit load of muscle was so perfectly categorized for all people.

Let us know when you get big by relying on "the numbers" like that.

Even knowing your specific body fat percentage seems to do more harm than good unless you are an advanced lifter.


Same issue as with just about every basically healthy dude trying to bulk on here and not getting great results:
1) Too little progress in the gym for the amount of bw gained
2) Too little protein. Both may well be related.

Look up Hungry4more, see Macro Breakdown done correctly.

If you cannot gain strength fast enough no matter what, you will have to slow down your weight gain to match.

Your body has no reason to put on muscle at a fast pace considering how you're doing things atm.

Also, why max out on curls? I mean, you can do it and all, but I wouldn't chance it... Just track anything from your 4-15RM or whatever.

You are still weak enough to potentially make faster progress in the gym. So that's something you can improve on. Just have to figure it out.


What are your goals bro?


I've been searching, but haven't found his macro recommendations. How much protein do I need daily? ~350g? The BB Curl 1RM was more of a conservative estimate based on doing 115x4.

My long-term goal is to be over 200lbs at less than 10% body fat naturally.


Need? I dunno, a very, very small number.

Want to take in? 1.8-2 grams per lb... 1.5 will work too... But I'd go with more.
Then get on a routine which allows you to get strong fast enough all things considered, on a good range of exercises...

Total cals will need some experimentation on your part though... If you want to lean out, just eat enough so you aren't gaining much weight but keep the protein high and don't neglect fats... Again, look at H4M's BOI posts and his thread in the t-cell (I started it I think, somewhere in the latest three pages I suppose)...

Or just ask him.

For 205 lbs you definitely aren't strong enough to be lean either (if that makes sense).

How to train for this is something you will also have to experiment with a little... High frequency per bodypart/lift plus low volume per lift like what H4M is doing is one way, but it requires that you "get it" basically, it's instinctive-training -based... When to back off on what lift etc... I get the feeling a lot of guys on T-Nation need to be told exactly what to do and can't really figure it out themselves, so in that case a different, more forgiving approach may be needed...