T Nation

Cycling Bulking & Cutting Phases?


#1

I read an article where Layne Norton used to do 3 months of bulking, and then 1 month of cutting to look overall leaner year round, as compared to bulking for 8-10 months straight, and i like how the strategy sounds.

However, i was wondering, are there any health dangers, or drawbacks to this strategy?


#2

Wrong website.

He doesn’t do it anymore. Old news.

Old thread here somewhere. I remember Thibs commenting.


#3

The only “danger” is a lack of progress with such a constantly shifting gears approach.

S


#4

Both approaches work, it’s a matter of which one works better for you. I prefer something similar where I’ll do a ‘minicut’ if body fat starts getting too high. Bring it down to a manageable level and keep going.


#5

3 months isn’t a very long time to bulk for


#6

I remember reading something from Layne where he does 3 weeks where he intakes a surplus of calories then one week at maintenance (or below), to avoid excess bodyfat. But maybe we are just reading different articles…


#7

[quote]parrao79 wrote:
I remember reading something from Layne where he does 3 weeks where he intakes a surplus of calories then one week at maintenance (or below), to avoid excess bodyfat. But maybe we are just reading different articles… [/quote]

Ben Pakulski advocates something similar where he alternates short phases of excess and restricted calories. The line of reasoning is that it’s closer to how our bodies actually evolved to grow. Back when we were hunters and gatherers, we would go for a long time living off a small to moderate amount of calories alternated with periods of excess calories when we hunted down a mammoth or something. To me, this would also correspond to a training stimulus for the hunters - they just finished sprinting and carrying/dragging pieces of meat.

Ben Pak says that basically this works better because during periods of restricted calories (I think he actually says maintenance) your body becomes more sensitive to insulin, leading to better growth when you raise the calories. Also, having a short period of excess calories doesn’t give your body enough time to become insulin resistant - another good thing.

I’m just sharing people’s theories, I’m not saying any one approach is best.


#8

I like to do a PSMF for a few weeks every 6 months or so.


#9

[quote]hairydinkbrah wrote:
I read an article where Layne Norton used to do 3 months of bulking, and then 1 month of cutting to look overall leaner year round, as compared to bulking for 8-10 months straight, and i like how the strategy sounds.

However, i was wondering, are there any health dangers, or drawbacks to this strategy?[/quote]

I like this strategy, but change ‘months’ to ‘hours’. So I’ll bulk for 3 hours, then I’ll cut for an hour, bulk 3 hours, cut an hour. This way I can bulk for 12 hours a day, cut for 4, and then sleep for 8 (I consider sleeping to be bulk/cut neutral).

Want more diet tips from flipcollar? Follow my blog, instagram, and youtube channel!!!

Just kidding I don’t have those things.


#10

[quote]flipcollar wrote:

I like this strategy, but change ‘months’ to ‘hours’. So I’ll bulk for 3 hours, then I’ll cut for an hour, bulk 3 hours, cut an hour. This way I can bulk for 12 hours a day, cut for 4, and then sleep for 8 (I consider sleeping to be bulk/cut neutral).

Want more diet tips from flipcollar? Follow my blog, instagram, and youtube channel!!!

Just kidding I don’t have those things.[/quote]

Why didn’t I think of that?


#11

What happens if you keep calories the same over a long period during bulking?

Let’s say you were 200lbs, and you increased your calories which allowed you to bulk up to 230lbs, but in the meantime you also went from 10% bodyfat to 17% bodyfat during that phase.

Now you just stay at those same calories that got you to 230lbs and continue to train hard on your lifts. You do this for a 18 months. What happens?

Your weight will not change from 230lbs because you’re eating the same number of calories every day. But what happens to your bodyfat percentage? Does it stay the same? Or slowly decrease throughout that 18 month period so you’re at a new ‘set-point’ where you’re something like 230lbs and 12% bodyfat?


#12

I’ve doing the zigzag approach with some success. Still too early to tell completely.

I started a bulk in October with 500 calorie surplus (roughly) at 9% body fat 32 inch waist, 168 pounds. I’ve stopped the bulk about two times to cut back a little because my abs were getting blurry. I spent about 2 weeks on the “mini-cuts” and went back to intermittent fasting and working out on an empty stomach.

I just recently checked my bodyfat again (Skulpt Aim – awesome tool BTW) and I’m sitting at 10%, with a 33 inch waist and my weight is 175. So I’m sure some of that is fat, but there has to be some muscle in there, because as well as tracking my weight and other measurements, I’ve also chronicled my results in pics. My most recent pic doesn’t look too much different than my starting pic from back in October.

Maybe I can switch gears easily because of the lean, anabolic shape I started from. So if I gained an actual pound or two of muscle since October, with a 1% jump in bodyfat (give or take a little of course) then I’d call that some success and will keep pursuing.


#13

I’ve had lots of success with cyclical bulking, but if youre a natural then once you get somewhat advanced the gains will seem to come very slowly… I wouldn’t say your spinning your wheels but it might seem like it.