T Nation

Controlled Bulking and Caloric Consistency


#1

I started off many years ago and fell victim to the advice of eating a huge caloric surplus and worrying about the fat loss later. I went from a skinny-fat 170 lbs to 240 lbs in a short time period. I finally realized how fat I was and decided to lean down. This has been a multi-year struggle due to concerns about the amount of strength I had to lose in order to maintain the caloric deficit for such a long period of time. I am now in the 165-170 lb range at an honest 10% body fat with a 29.5" waist. My lifts have dropped significantly, but I had to accept my mistake and move on. I now feel like I have a good foundation for bulking while staying lean.

I know my maintenance intake is around 2300 Calories unless I need to add in cardio expenditures which is a few times per week. I have proven this by counting calories for 6 months and tracking weight loss versus calculated expected weight loss. When I start bulking, this may increase slightly since I know my metabolism has slowed down.

My question is regarding calorie intake. I know consistent excess is required for the body to put on muscle beyond beginner gains. I plan to consume 2600 Calories per day to begin and track weight gain closely following the initial carb-up period. While cutting, I maintained an average of 1800 Calories per day (500 kCal deficit) and lost 1 lb per week. But, I often altered the consumption based on anticipated events. If I knew I had a party or other event on Friday, I would reduce calories by 300-400 per day for a few days in advance and allow myself to consume these in excess on Friday. This prevented such a huge impact on my social life.

When bulking, how does the body interpret this? If I am going on vacation for a few days and want to consume 3500 Calories per day, would 1500 Calories per day on the 2-3 days leading up to it take the body out of an anabolic state? Or, is it something that should be maintained from a weekly perspective? I find it easiest to alter my caloric intake and consume low calories on weekdays and higher on weekends, so it would be something that I do often if won’t have a negative impact on muscle gain during bulking.

Thank you


#2

Keep at 2300 and add a peri workout drink.

All problems solved.


#3

You did not answer his question.

To the OP what you plan on doing is perfectly fine. If your weekly avg. comes out to the same amount there are no issues. Just make sure you take in the necessary calories daily to feel good and hit the weights hard. Hell, I personally would probably keep the calories the same and count the vacation as cheat days after all you are gaining and a few days will not kill you.


#4

Yes, I did.

He is complicating his life to the X degree. Party on a Friday??? It’s one day. Go and have fun. Vacation? It’s a vacation… Go on vacation and stop worrying about the small stuff.

What he is describing is what? 2% of a year? Maybe 3%?

You actually think that 2-3 days before his vacation he will loose all his gains because he ate less??

Answer stands.

He is sweating the small stuff and not looking at the big picture.


#5

Thanks Seraphim.

JFG - that was just generic advice that didn’t answer the question. After adopting the careless approach and seeing how long it took to recover, I want to make a calculated effort.

I’m not talking about only prior to vacation. I’m referring to it being a weekly occurrence. If my maintenance is 2300 and I eat 2000 daily Monday through Friday and then binge with 4000 each day on the weekend, does this affect progress drastically? Does the body interpret this as a need to halt muscle gain to preserve energy? Or does it interpret it as still being at a caloric excess long term and stay anabolic?

I’m aware of the standard advice out there, but I’ve been doing this long term and I’m looking for ways to think out of the box to make it more livable and easier to participate in normal activities. I remember coming across some posters who are well-versed in nutrition and human anatomy on here, so I was hoping to find some studies done on this type of calorie cycling.


#6

If you are eating 2000 calories a day and you should be at 2300, what you eat at the end of the week is irrelevant.

You either stick to a diet or you don’t. Either is fine. You are looking for work around for lack of organization or putting in too much thought into it.

Again, I stick to what I said.

Stick to your diet, Peri workout nutrition (not part of your 2300) and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Overall diet and consistency will trump by a large margin the answer you want to hear.


#7

You think Peri-workout nutrition gives more than 1-2% gains.That is small stuff. Keep a solid diet and peri-wo nutrition is useless.


#8

I’m not going to argue that one. I believe in peri work out and at 50, I definitely feel it.

You don’t, that is fine. Your position.

OP can do what he likes, but I stand by what I said.