[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
Stu, is it really necessary to ‘cut’ if you aren’t a competitor or in any sort of rush?
I know its important to always have to scale moving forward since it is an indicator of ‘growth’ but I guess my question would be… Train hard and eat a surplus for a few months and you always end up 25-30lbs heavier but you sure as hell aren’t rock solid and there is always a good layer of flab that comes in with it.
Instead of cutting, can’t I just hold the weight for like 3 months (remain same weight) and wait for the muscle to fill in? So bulk a few months, then hold it for a few, then bulk a gain, and rinse/repeat?[/quote]
Well, no one ever HAS to cut, it’s simply a matter, in terms of non competitors, of shedding some of the softness that the body accumulates when you’re not trying to stay as lean as possible (within reason of course! You won’t make any gains if you’re continually in a deficit).
Also, I’ll say that the whole “keep the scale moving forward” approach is so oversimplified that it’s probably done more harm than good for the average gym goer. Unless someone is seriously underfed (“I can’t gain weight for the life of me, but lookit my absz”), I think most people would be better off taking the time to look at the details of their diet instead of just trying to throw an extra 500 haphazard calories in each day in any way possible. This is MY opinion, so considering this is a public forum, I have no doubt people will scream that I’m generalizing as well,… and admittedly I am.
The idea of ‘holding’ a specific weight, (and this has been argued all over this site! At the end of the day people are going to disagree because there aren’t any studies on it as well as it being impossible to judge what someone’s lean composition truly is without a somewhat universally valid form of measurement) is something I don’t feel means that you’re standing still so to speak. Even if the scale isn’t moving, if your body has been making mirror-visible/strength visible progress in terms of adding lbm, synthesizing new muscle, in previous weeks, months etc, then just because the scale # didn’t budge this past week doesn’t mean that you’ve magically stopped moving in the direction of progress.
If you are truly supporting your workouts and recovery (and growth!) with the #s you’ve been eating, you aren’t suddenly going to require a giant jump every week to build an addition ~1/4 lb of muscle (or some small increment). And unless you’re already fairly shredded, believe me, your body has plenty of extra stored nutrients to access if it really needs it (again, assuming you’re still getting sufficient protein, healthy fats etc each day).
So if your question about not being in a rush means that you can cut to a point, relax a bit and then keep going, then yes I think it’s a good approach. Of course like I said, it’s because I honestly believe that there is still recomposition going on even when the scale progress stalls. It’s not because of some magic “my body has adjusted to the intake”. True more muscle means a higher BMR, but adjusting to an intake that is supporting adipose tissue just means that you’ve gotten used to eating more each day, not that your body really needs so much to support the few extra lbs of muscle you may have built while adding all that extra padding in the previous few months. I believe that it requires 2500 calories for the human body to build a new lb of muscle, and considerably less each day thereafter to maintain it. So think about how that fits into the big picture.
Also, deciding when to start ‘bulking’ again, is always a matter of how you feel about how you look. There have been countless threads about it in the past, but if you don’t feel comfortable with how you look, then the majority of experienced people will tell you to back off a bit or try to recomp intelligently instead of just plowing ahead hoping that in the end it will all pay off. For 99% of the people on this site, no one wants to be the guy who loves bodybuilding, but deep inside is embarrassed about how they look.
[If this turns into a repeat of the many threads that turned into arguing about set-points I’m out.]
Very reassuring to hear that from you.
Experienced the weight holding phenomena over the summer and I just wanted to make sure that I wasn’t delusional lol…