T Nation

Carb Cycling When Bulking

To be clear from the get-go, I mean bulking as in going from a newbie to someone who looks like he lifts weights.

I have been lifting for size since the beginning of July and I have a couple of questions. Firstly I started at 184lbs at 15% bodyfat, but because I am 6’3" I decided to bulk anyway and ignore the usual “get below 10% party line”. I am now 196lbs at 16% bodyfat (accumeasure calipers), which by my maths means I have put on 8lbs lean mass and 4lbs fat. Does 1lb fat for each 2lb muscle sound right, or is that too high? If it is too high then I was wondering if I should start being a bit more careful about how I do my bulking.

The second part of the equation is that I am now struggling to put weight on, despite growing very quickly for the first two months. I thought newbie gains were supposed to last much longer than that, so I am really starting to ratchet up the calories. That being so, and my fat gain up to now having been about half my muscle gain, I was wondering if I should start thinking about carb cycling or something similar? Up to now I have kept it fairly clean, but not worried about nutrient timing or anything like that, just eaten loads of wholefoods. I have seen some of the big guys on here saying newbies should avoid things like carb cycling because they over complicate things, but I am now assessing my options and it seems it might slow my fat gains as I push the calories upwards. So I am looking at Dr Hyght’s “How a Bodybuilder Should Eat” and Thib’s Carb Cycling Codex.

For the record my short term (up to five years) goal is to get as big as naturally possible. My long term (up to ten years) goal is to do a show.

In my opinion, I think a lot of the ‘newbs should avoid…’ advice is simply because they tend to overcomplicate things. Thibs lays things out pretty well.


I’m bulking and doing a simpler version of carb cycling, basically what was laid out in one of the t cell threads about it. I’m not tracking calories or anything so it’d be hard to give specifics as to the macro ratios.

I forgot to mention it, but it does seem to help in terms of putting on less fat, at least for me compared to last year. Basically I’ve been bulking for the last year and a half, but I took 3 months to cut and get fat under control again. After that 3 month break, I started carb cycling.