T Nation

Bulking Queries: Ratio of Fat to Muscle During Bulking


Good day all,

A bit about my progress to date:

I started lifting (free weights) in October 2008. I got some 'newbie' gains in the first couple of months but soon plateaued. After maintaining my routine until march 2009 I then stared a cutting diet (did plenty research and got all my ratios and numbers right, consistently lost ~1.5-2lbs/week) and kept lifting to remind my newly built muscles to stick around. I lost over a stone and reached my goal weight of 140 lbs (<10% BF) after 2 months.

My goal now is, for the first time, to bulk up a bit. I really only want to build my upper body. My legs, I guess it's genetic, are somewhat larger than my top half (thighs are 21" and my chest is 36"). So I want to add a few inches to my arms, chest, shoulders, etc. I am going for a more proportionate aesthetic - the grecian ideal. I'd like to bump my chest up to around 40" and my arms to about 14".

Ideally, I would like to put my body in a positive lean muscles building state to minimise the chance of gaining excessive fat.

Having done plenty research it looks like the diet and routine presented in the forum post "BULKING - A beginner's guide" is suitable for minimising fat gains and optimising lean muscle gain. I will be eating approx. 2900 kcal/day.

I was wondering how much fat (compared to lean muscle) I should expect to gain during my bulking session?

Also, I read that it is good to work the whole body regardless of what 'show muscles' one might be aiming for as it promotes growth hormone release. As my legs are already the size I want them, should I simply increase the reps to 10-12 to stop them getting bigger while on a surplus diet? Or should I stick to upper body only in my case?

Thanks guys and look forward to reading any responses.


You're a guy right? 140 lbs is nothing for a guy. And i'm afraid 21" legs aren't massive. And you don't have very high goals @ 14" arms.

Yes you do need to do your squats for your lower body. And yes, do all of the other compound lifts too, deadlifts (lower back), chins/ rows (lats), bench, overhead press, dips. Go for 3/5 sets of 5 reps as heavy as you can. Then add in other exercises where you see fit, curls for biceps etc, but they depend on goals.

Finally, of course you will gain fat, it is called a bulk for a reason. Just cut when you think you have the desired muscle mass.


I notice that you just joined TN and this is your first post...welcome.

That said, I think you'll find that you will get more of the responses you are hoping for if you post this in the Beginners forum.

You posted in the BB forum, which is more for those who have goals of greater than 14" arms and who already know the answers to these types of questions.

Go ahead and put your flame suit on because you got some incoming enroute to your location...and in the meantime, repost this in the Beginners forum.


Months you will gain more fat than muscle the other you will gain mostly muscle and so on. Growth goes by spurts so you can't predict and set a aim like 1 pounds a week and follow it with scale because there's too much factor like water retention etc.

Also unless you're a women, your goal are too look like someone who don't lift ? 14' arms ... and no your leg aren't huge. I hope you didn't come on this forum with this goal as your lifetime goal because right there I'm wasting my time.

For calories no calculator can help you really, eat, not gaining eat more, gaining too fast cut down a bit. Simple as that. And stay consistent !

For training what is your schedule exactly and do you gain strength at all or ?


You can not be serious.


I understand you're new here, and I can understand as I made several mistakes being a beginner on this site.

But in all honesty, you better be 4 feet tall or else your goals are pathetic. You're 140 lbs, you WANT your arms to be 14" (they're not even there yet). I understand you want to look better than you do now, but these are not bodybuilding goals.

Hopefully we'll get a post saying you're 4 feet tall. Then I'll apologize and we can continue.

If not, PLEASE post this in the beginner's section. You'll get MUCH better feedback.


Seeing you have done so much research, you should already know the answer.

Nobody 'wants' to gain fat, kid. This question has only been posted 1000 times this week. Funny enough is that the guys asking this are always under 150lbs. At 2900cal a day I doubt you have to worry about waking up one day and being immobile. In fact, with 21" legs and 14" arms I fail to see how anybody would percieve you as fat at all.

And yes work your whole body, it is stupid not to.

Enjoy your chicken and broccoli.


Hi again folks,

Firstly thanks a lot for your replies, I really appreciate it. Apologies if this was posted in the wrong section. I certainly didn't intend to rile anyone. I'll be sure to post in the beginner section in future.

@ marty.
Sorry, yes, I'm a 5'9" 24 year old male.
"'i'm afraid 21" legs aren't massive."
Don't be afraid marty. I'm content with my legs this size.

"You don't have very high goals @ 14" arms."
I am aware that the typical body builder would not consider 14" arms to be massive. None the less, thats what I'm going for. I don't want to be huge, just more proportional. To get there however, I must build my body, hence my coming here for some advice from the body building experts.

Off to my new home, the Beginners forum.

Thanks again.


The average active male has arms of 15", I just got 15" from developing into an adult.

You are not going to get 'huge'. It takes years and years of working hard to put on any noticable size.

A change of perspective should be on your priority list



Terrance85, don't get attitude dude. You asked bodybuilders for advice, and of course we will condemn your mediocre goals. 14 inch arms are great if you are 12. If you don't want to be a body builder, and are fine with average douche bag goals, then go to a different forum.


Can you post pictures of your current physique?


Rude, even if it was motivationnal... :wink: Don't get me wrong here, I agree with you.


I'll give you a 5/10.

decent trolling.