T Nation

Control Days While Bulking


I recently read an article by Thib where he says that people should use a control day when bulking. This day is where the bulkee ingests <50g carbs, once a week, to try to limit fat gain....
Any thoughts?


Sounds like carb cycling with only one low day a week.


I'm definitely going to be implementing a control day during my off-season this year. Most likely on Sunday - the day before leg day - that way my muscles will be able to absorb glycogen more efficiently that day. And I won't feel so bad about pigging out Saturday!


yeah chi, i was thinking about ordering a MAG-10 package....right now, im 6 foot 2, 180, pretty "cut" but I have little to show in terms of muscle. i decided to put the hot abz on vacation and do a clean bulk - im aiming for around 3,000-3,500 cals a day w/ around 250-300g carb, including periworkout.

i was thinking - mon thru fri are "baseline", sat is a high day, sun is a pulse fast or extremely low carb, and come monday i blast my tits into oblivion with the weights....any thoughts? ps it's hard to get enough calories when your goal is to "clean bulk"


As many here know, I advocate a high carb approach. If you don't have much in terms of strength, I'd keep protein and fat moderate and encourage you to take in 2g carbs/lb. on all training days with only one control day. You might feel as if you're puffy doing the high carb approach, however I believe that this is because carbs will make you retain more water. A weekly control day helps negate this effect.

You can do the fasting on the control day if you feel inclined, however I have no experience with it.


any chance you could post your "low carb" day's diet? What do you eat on those days? I think the MAG-10 thing might be a little overpriced and hard to justify on a "bulk"


I have details regarding my entire contest prep here on my blog page:


How's your carb cycling plan going?


I do low-calorie, low-protein days as control days while bulking. This works very well for me and I believe the anabolic response the days after the low day overcompensates what I lose during that low day by far! Additionally, I have one low-carb day while bulking. But I compensate the calories with additional far there.


Oh, pretty much what Dr. Clay was talking about cycling your macros opposed to only your carbs? That makes sense. If I understand correctly, you do two control days days a week: one low calorie and low protein/one moderate calorie low carb?


@ Brick,
I'm not really doing the carb cycling thing anymore...I've decided to listen and learn, and I am therefore "bulking." I'm trying to stay as clean as possible - to gain strength w/out excess fat gain. Some peeps in the BB forum say to eat pizza, cheeseburgers, etc....but I'm eating olive oil, whole eggs, oats, etc instead....Not as fun, but I do have my moments. Last night, for example, i gorged down over a quart of ice cream as part of my weekly treat. I was thinking that I could do that sort of thing on sat nights and follow w/ a pulse fast or low carb day on sunday and be ready to bust ass all week in the gym. Is the pulse fast really worth the $150 though? Or could I get the same effect w/ a low carb day?


Maybe you should try the low carb day and see how it works, then consider spending your cash. Personally, I'd rather spend it on groceries!

I'd agree with the sentiment about pigging out Saturday, followed by a lower carb day Sunday. You're reasonably light for your height, don't be too concerned about staying lean. Make it a goal to gain X weight, then assess how you feel at said weight -- say 200 lbs. Just some food for thought!


People who need to resort to constantly eating pizza and fast food items are those with mega-calorie intakes (>5000) for whom eating squeaky clean is too cost and time intensive (food preparation and time eating). Meeting a calorie need of 3000 to 3500 for a complete newb weighing a buck-60 to -80 is a joke and can be done with the foods you mention and some other items - fruits, veggies, lean meats, healthy oils, nuts, seeds, cheese, cottage cheese, protein powder, milk, yogurt, eggs, and egg whites.

You wrote: "I was thinking that I could do that sort of thing on sat nights and follow w/ a pulse fast or low carb day on sunday and be ready to bust ass all week in the gym. Is the pulse fast really worth the $150 though? Or could I get the same effect w/ a low carb day?"

You said you're learning, and this post indicates you still need to learn. Have a damn cheat meal once or twice a week and it call it a day (or night)! I haven't looked into some Biotest pulse fast, but a protein sparing modified fast can be done with five to ten bucks for a day with egg whites, chicken, turkey, fish, and some veggies.

Why are you thinking of some complicated shit when it's clear you should be on a lifestyle diet with some indulging here and there and learning how to set up a basic diet and training program?

If you have a cheat meal, just eat until satisfied - not until stuffed, which would cause a problem over time (fat gain). If you feel you need to eat a little less the next day, do so.

Do I think any type of fast is worth so much money? No! I've done protein sparing modified fast consisting of almost nothing but cans of tuna, salmon, and chicken; low fat cottage cheese; egg whites; and vegetables. Actually there were some days where I was pretty much on an old school fish and water diet. Cost? Next to nothing.


well, i'm going to bump my cals up to 3,500 per day, around 250-300 carb, 225-300 pro, 90-120 fat per day, and a little lower on workout days. I put on fat pretty easily, so im gonna do the MAG-10 pulse once per week to limit bad weight gain while still eating above maintenance on training days. this is all pretty avant garde for someone as "carbophobic" as me....but i'm trying to listen to all the guys on this site. I tried to fight it, but it's true - you gotta get a little fat, put on some serious muscle and look a little soft before you can get that 'shredded' look.


This guy is 6'2" and 180 lbs and has a lot of educating to do and you're telling him to pig out and go low carb the next day, when what can be done is simply having an ordinary cheat meal and picking up with his regular diet the next day.

Although I like what a lot of John Romaniello's stuff on here, your advice reminds me of something that he wrote on here that made absolutely no sense to me and I'd actually be interested if he explained the reasoning behind it. He wrote some stuff like pig out, followed by a REAL FAST for a day (NO FOOD!), and then some squeaky lean days - or some shit like that? May I ask what this is going to do - going to three extremes over the course of a week when a freaking regular dietary approach could be done the whole time?!

He doesn't need to be concerned with staying lean - well, if and until he overeats and has to deal with getting rid of unnecessary fat gain.

This is where people might come on and say shit like: "He's new; all he's got to worry about is gaining!" Well, I know MANY people who took this approach and quite a few more who've emailed me and it actually did little for them.

And I'm speaking for the majority of uninformed noobs here, NOT people like Professor X, Fatty Fat, Sky, Steely, and a few others who knew what they were doing from DAY ONE - knew what they were doing coming out of the gate and/or inherently know their bodies so well and how to train and/or aren't hit with shit genetics that make them sloppy when overfed. Clearly this guy is not in that league.

And the whole thing of trying to hit a weight (200 lbs in your example)... Well, anyone who likes to eat can hit a weight. As a matter of fact, I can hit 20 more pounds in a few weeks just by pigging out. So I have no idea where people are going with that approach, nor can people dictate what's going to happen with their bodies.

Twenty pounds is a big gain.


3,000 to 3,500 is where most normal sized men start out. Read my above posts. Why do you have to do some fancy ass "pulse" shit when you can do a PSMF for a few bucks for the day with a carton of egg whites and few cans of tuna and a tbspn of flax oil?


damn, i already ordered the MAG-10 fast....i hear you brick, i need to learn. I will try the MAG-10 fast, but i'm not nearly as concerned with my macros, as long as i'm hitting my numbers. It is a bit tough to eat a lot, especially since i try to avoid dairy (it upsets my stomach), but yeah, a lot of products out there are unnecessary. thanks for the feedback guys


You're welcome.

3,500 calories is not a lot to eat considering ordinary adults consume about 2000 to 3000 per day and they don't know shit about this or regularly train.


ya, either way i prefer needing to eat more over needing to eat less any day of the week...people who complain about "bulking" are either crazy or looking for some sort of weird attention, IMO. By the way, what do you, as a trained nutrition expert, think about Shugart's no-grain policy? Do you think he takes the FFB thing too far?


My week looks like this:
Mon - low cal, low protein. Only 1000 cals
Tue - high carb, high protein, moderate fat. 4500 cals
Wed - moderate carbs, high protein, moderate fat. 3600 cals
Thu - low carbs, high protein, high fat - 3600 cals
Fri - moderate carbs, high protein, moderate fat. 3600 cals
Sat - high carbs, high protein, low fat. 4500 cals
Sun - free day. High on everything

When dieting, I replace one high carbs day with another low carbs day and Sundays become moderate carbs days. No free meals no more.

Even while trying to gain weight, I don't really binge on Sundays. I might have some traditional Swiss dish for dinner and an occasional piece of cake, but most of the time I just eat more of my preferred clean foods.

This kind of cycling has works great for me. As a natural bodybuilder, I believe that manipulation of the endocrine system through cycling of macro nutrients is a very powerful tool.

Cheers, Para