T Nation

Cut Some Carbs or Keep Eating?


when I started my bulk at the end of may, I'd thought that getting to a BW of 200lb by February would be a reachable, realistic goal. well, now it's mid-October and I've already hit 200, and 210 or even 220 by February seems realistic.

I've been eating everything in sight, all of my meals on training days are challenging to finish (probably roughly 400-600kcal/meal depending on what is available, roughly 3000kcal or more total from P/C alone) and about a month or so ago I started making a concerted effort to eat more on non-training days (mostly at work, sometimes on weekend trips, but likely not 3000kcal), I beat my training log in some way every session and my chest and arm circumferences are going up, shirts are tighter at the shoulders, etc.

I'm noticing fat gain, which I expected, and though I'd much rather be lean, I do want to gain as much size as possible by February. so, I know if I want as much muscle gain as possible I have to keep eating.

I suspect that I have the answer to my own question, but this is uncharted territory for me. 195 is the heaviest I've ever been and I was much weaker and smaller then. I guess I could just use a "keep on truckin', son" affirmation here.


Keep on keeping on.


To gain quality muscle, you need to keep your strength for some time (keep trucking along as you said)...stretch it out as long as you can. So if you find your fat levels seem to be increasing more than your strength, most people tend to hold their weight for some time (not over-eat, not under-eat), maybe even take more care of recovery (e.g. less volume/frequency), then push ahead again when ready (e.g. when appetite gives you the signal to eat more).

So gaining isn't linear, it's often broken up by periods of maintenance (helps to solidify gains without excessive fat gains). Main point is to not go to extremes (get scared when stomach expands, which is normal).

I find that some people can be a bit unrealistic when it comes to gains, they expect 75%+ of it to be pure muscle. For those with average genetics/and hectic lifestyles (or just those who don't want to be pernickety), I'd say just over half your gains being lean is pretty reasonable.

I guess it's good to see what others have done (for reaffirmation), here's a good old thread to get a little idea:


Basically, most agreed that they gained around an inch on their waist for every 5-10bs of bodyweight gain.

Some gain more fat around their waist than others (genetics - fat deposits), so you can't always go just by how fat you feel around the midsection (assuming you didn't have very endomorphic qualities). Even really skinny guys would really hold themselves back just going by their abs (genetics again).

Hope that helps


In other words, try not to asses things too much, keep it simple and enjoy making PR's in the gym...otherwise you start to get stressed and want to change things (lack of consistency).

See your destination, and enjoy the ride without looking out to the left or the right lol


You could add some cardio also... One mistake I made on my last bulk was to completely shut down cardio.

Cardio is great, first of all you wont lose muscle mass if you dont over do it, second, you will feel way better than just lifting weights.

Probably I would add some cardio and reduce a little bit on the carbs maybe, so you could lose a little bit of that "bloating" feeling. But if you dont create a calorie deficit, dont expect to lose weight.

But if you gained already too much fat, cardio wont do much, and you'll have to make a choice. Its important to do cardio all the time, at least I see it that way.

If it was me?

Listen, the winter is coming, so the heck with it. Gain some more weight and then you can start to cut on, lets say March or April, and then losing weight reaaaalllly slow, and if you do things right, you wont lose strength.

Take care


^This I agree with.

^This should be read as subjectively as possible.

Lets use numbers to illustrate my point:
You stared bulking in late May (we will call that June) and it is currently October.
You have bulked for 5 months.
Cutting the fat you gained during a 5 month bulk should only take you 1-2 months.(IMO)

If you continue your bulk until February you will have bulked for 9 months.
Cutting the fat gained over 9 months should only take you about 3 months.(IMO)

This idea that fat takes a really long time to lose is silly. I also don't think average Joes, myself included, are in danger of losing all our hard earned muscle by cleaning up our diets and adding in cardio.

That being said I think bodybuilders are more in danger of losing muscle while dieting as there body seeks equilibrium and they may be well beyond "average" muscle mass.


I'm more into bodybuilding, although I like both worlds, still, one thing is cleaning diet and adding cardio, other is losing weight. But I look at it more or less like this: Cutting or bulking should be a slow process for optimum results, its easy to gain weight or lose weight, the hard part is doing it on the right spots.

But maybe its just my BB mindset talking, and also, my last bulk was really really dirty, therefore my cutting season was way longer also, so yeah, I agree with you mostly also.

I also agree that the general panic on losing muscle on cutting seasons is a little bit silly, as far as I can understand, your body is programmed to let muscle mass go only in drastical cases, which is not the case when you just cut some calories. As you get more experienced, you get to understand that this whole thing of eating every 2 hours, eating fast, slow carbs, fast protein, and on, and on, are just small details that sometimes get your eyes off the big picture. Just count your calories for gaining/losing weight, eat your carbs smartly and use them right (mostly after workout), do your cardio and lift heavy, and you're all set.


That's a nice thread.
I'm doing my first serious bulk (of one year and I'm right on track for my goals) and due to old lifestyle and genetics (lots of cardio due to sports and not that too diet) I'm truly a skinny fat, all my fat is in my belly section, so sometimes when I've had many carbs I look 7 months pregnant...and it can be a bit discouraging. But my strength is increasing non-stop so it's all worth it I guess.


I'm reading through that thread and it's a good affirmation of what I need to keep doing.

thanks for the pat on the back fellas.


I think your body composition could be helped tremendously with some PHA training - If you like I can PM you the info

not seeing how you are holding your fat makes it somewhat difficult, but in general getting too fat can really jack your metabolism & hormones to a point where it becomes counter productive... posting a front & back pic with your shirt off would be helpful

too fat means your estrogen kicks up, your insulin essentially becomes less anabolic, & your test levels start to drop - post a pic if you can


To be fair, I'd say your bodyfat would have to be a true 18%+ before the adverse effects you're mentioning would happen (individual). Most bodybuilders would start to change direction (fat loss) when getting far past 15% bf.

Even then, I think that those effects are mostly felt from stress more than bodyfat alone. Over-training would lead to that, a lot of work/personal life stress would lead to that...etc.

On another note:

Like others have mentioned, it wouldn't risk much muscle at all trimming 10-15lbs of fat (muscle loss only becomes an issue when in very lean stages). Example; if you were to start at 210lbs (15% bodyfat) and lose 15lbs of fat, this would take you to 195lbs with around 10% bodyfat (assuming you didn't majorly screw it up lol)


Have been following this discussion with great interest.

I notice that (its just me) post about the fat related problems becoming an issue at around 18% bf.

Do you have any threads/references that i could take a look at to do some more reading into this..hadn't come across this before and have read around this pretty well.

Just for reference i am coming at this from the opposite direction ie getting my bf down below 19% for the first time in my adult life, and at 53 i seem to be having to fight for every half pound of it.
I had thought and planned for a quick hard hit to get me from 19% down to around 15% with appropriate training and diet and then start a much longer gain of lean muscle.

Also for reference : stress is certainly a major issue mainly in that i work a predominantly night shift pattern (12 hours) part of which creates stress related water retention..almost definitely the cortisol.

Sorry to butt in on the discsssion, probably ought post it as a separate new thread but interested in the way this one is going.






@ Big Nurse:
Have you had tests run on your blood?

If you go up into the Pharma tab and click on T-replacement you will find allot more information about this.

If no one here can help I would post your question there.



I could probably get that done--what kind of things would i need to be looking at ?


I can't really help you but to direct you to people that are smarter than me.

Post your situation in the Pharma T-replacment section.
Tell them you have recently lost a lot of weight.
Worried about your hormone levels.
Looking to get a blood test/panel.
They should be able to tell you exactly what to ask your doctor for.
The more info you give them the better feedback you will get.


yeaaa buddy. lol you know what my progress has been like. there's nothing like pulling a +20 lb DL PR after failing to get it off the floor, and after working a 12 hour shift.

I had a look at myself with my shirt off in the same spot as my avi, and I'll be damned if I can't still see a bit of serratus, and my outer lats look like they are thicker than before and attaching slightly lower. I will try to put up some pics over the weekend, or failing that maybe I'll just take a video with my phone (not in the same spot as the avi though).


I would avoid putting up pics unless directly to people who actually know what they are talking about.

What I mean is this...I just lost some body fat. If I go back to gaining, even if I keep tighter control of my waist, the change will be less noticeable in pictures to untrained eyes. They will mostly just notice I may look smooth 2 months from now than right now....while ignoring the 5-10 added pounds of muscle with it from filling out.

Hearing people like that bash your progress will not help you at all.

The average person who is not a bodybuilder only really notices "lean" and "not lean". That is why I was told I was just obese for so long and that if I ever dropped weight I would be under 190lbs.


^ True, which is why I would never post my bulked pictures lol

I'd rather just put my head down, and plod along. Doubts in your own head are bad enough, let alone from other people


Hell, I posted mine and got nothing but how fat I was. Apparently the muscle doesn't matter with most of these people.

That is why so few ever get big but EVERYONE wants to let us know how great they eat and how they never eat anything but rolled oats and vitamins.

Avoid the pictures on this forum until you build that base of mass. Many of these people will have you turned around so bad you start stagnating like them.