T Nation

Fastest Way to Progress?

Just wondering what some of your opinions and ideas are on the fastest or best way to get to your ideal physique. I’ll make the assumption that those answering this question are looking to increase muscle mass while maintaining or decreasing BF% in the long run. For example, trying to increase LBM and strength while keeping body fat below a set percentage. What would you say is the best and/or fastest way to reach this?

  1. Bulk big, cut big mentality: Bulk at a serious calorie surplus (dirty bulk) and cut at a pretty big caloric deficit for a good amount of time (until the next dirty bulk).

  2. Clean bulk, stay cut mentality: Keep calories JUST above maintenance as to not gain any fat, but still add some muscle.

  3. Bulk/recomp mentality: Bulk in a way that doesn’t increase BF% too drastically (some is ok) at the cost of a little potential muscle gain. Recomp when necessary or at given intervals.

Go

For a rank beginner, a strength base is generally a good idea. Generally speaking, potential for sarcoplasmic hypertrohpy is a function of strength/total muscle mass. As a beginner, you can very quickly add strength/muscle mass if you eat enough. A 4-8 month program designed to milk your ability to make linear strength progress along with a fairly heavy bulk would serve your average beginner well.

After that start, adding in some higher rep training would be a good idea along with a cut. From what I’ve observed, keeping some strength work in with more hypertrophy based programming is idea for long term muscle growth. Again, this is due to the apparent relationship between strength and potential for muscle growth. You’ll notice IFBB pros like Kai Greene do plenty of high rep hypertrophy work, but also have days where they lift heavy. I’ve heard routines like PHAT do a good job at achieving this sort of balance between heavy and high rep work.

All of the above is based on observations/evidence from other people’s progress/routines, not my own. I do not have scientific studies or similar facts to back up these ideas, but they seem to hold true except in extreme cases.

I would say CS is key.
In life common sense goes a long way.
Staying healthy, avoiding injuries, joints issues will pay in the long run.
The highway, fastest way might work for sometime(weeks, months) but an olympic athlete takes 10 years to develop in most sports.

So many do very well starting with the end in mind.
Establish a 10 years plan, a 3 years, a yearly and answers will come to you simply.
Today your profile says you avoided the pitfall of get big fast, so you are a winner.
The rest is details. Stay healthy, avoid believing in dreams of adding weight fast.
Just readjust using your weight, waist mesure, photos and Mirror every 3-6 months.

If clean many consider adding muscles on average 1 pound monthly the first 24 months and 3 pouds each of the next 8 years.
Just ask guys over 35, guys with 10 years plus experience, they are likely to speak the truth. Thib had an article about the impossibility of adding muscle fast. There was also an interesting post from a guy with over 20 years Under the bar about what would be his suggestions to his youngerself when he started.

[quote]Andrewdwatters1 wrote:
Just wondering what some of your opinions and ideas are on the fastest or best way to get to your ideal physique.[/quote]
The best way to reach your ideal physique is to forget trying to get there fast. We’re all in this for the long haul, so there’s no rush.

[quote]For example, trying to increase LBM and strength while keeping body fat below a set percentage. What would you say is the best and/or fastest way to reach this?

  1. Bulk big, cut big mentality: Bulk at a serious calorie surplus (dirty bulk) and cut at a pretty big caloric deficit for a good amount of time (until the next dirty bulk).

  2. Clean bulk, stay cut mentality: Keep calories JUST above maintenance as to not gain any fat, but still add some muscle.

  3. Bulk/recomp mentality: Bulk in a way that doesn’t increase BF% too drastically (some is ok) at the cost of a little potential muscle gain. Recomp when necessary or at given intervals.[/quote]
    The majority of people would do best with some combination of 2 and 3. “Slow and steady” bulking, either with moderate cardio along the way, brief “recomp periods” when/if things get out of hand, or with a dedicated fat loss phase after a set goal is reached.

Option 1, swinging between extremes like that, will most likely encourage excessive fat gain during the bulk and runs the risk of muscle loss during the extreme cut.

Option 4- STEROIDS- I would imagine that would be fastest way justctp be honest. Not suggesting it to a begginner but its just the honest answer that popped in my head before I even readcthe thread.

[quote]Reed wrote:
Option 4- STEROIDS- I would imagine that would be fastest way justctp be honest. Not suggesting it to a begginner but its just the honest answer that popped in my head before I even readcthe thread.[/quote]

Diet still matters quite a bit on roids from what I’ve read, even though it does make it easier to add muscle/lose fat while maintaining muscle.

If you do go steroids, consider eating 2-3g of protein per lbs of body weight and don’t worry if you start getting pudgy, you should be able to maintain or even add some muscle mass while cutting, which will go faster than for a natural lifter.

Trust me when I say on 2g of Test your diet honestly doesn’t matter to much at all ( obviously of your a IFBB pro it makes alot of difference but if powerlifting or strength in general is your goal keeping the standard 1.5-2g of protein per bkdyweight is fine, along with high carbs and high fat )Sure having a clean high protein diet would only help stay leaner but your body is forced to grow and almost no matter how much or how shitty I eat I get leaner when on.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

The best way to reach your ideal physique is to forget trying to get there fast. We’re all in this for the long haul, so there’s no rush.

.[/quote]

This concept has always grabbed my interest in an odd way , it makes me think about it as someones “occupation” or what they spend alot of thier time doing. Swimmers, throwers , runners , rock climbers…carpenters and mechanics.

You spend enough time in certain body positions/ postures , they start to stick.
You can look at people on the street , watch thier posture, how they move and you could guess what they do.

If you shake a guys hand and it is clammy and smooth , you could guess he finds hard physical labor to be very unpleasant.

Lots of other things …

Learnt a lot from this guy -basically train like a mad man then eat as much clean food and quality supps as you can get your hands on to ensure recovery.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

The best way to reach your ideal physique is to forget trying to get there fast. We’re all in this for the long haul, so there’s no rush.
[/quote]

Is this necessarily the best view for someone that’s 30+ and facing a slowing metabolism/longer recovery mighty soon? One could make the argument that you should take advantage of relative youth to cut the fat leaving them at a healthy BW in case loose women, kids, or life get in the way. Granted, the same argument could also be made for muscle gain, no?

Some people are easily able to gain muscle with very little fat.

Some people are easily able to gain fat with very little muscle.

Some people have to fight for any sort of weight gain.

Most people are somewhere in the middle of those three extremes.

We’re all different and the correct approach very according to your individual needs.

[quote]1 Man Island wrote:

Is this necessarily the best view for someone that’s 30+ and facing a slowing metabolism/longer recovery mighty soon? One could make the argument that you should take advantage of relative youth to cut the fat leaving them at a healthy BW in case loose women, kids, or life get in the way. Granted, the same argument could also be made for muscle gain, no?[/quote]

Loose women are attracted to a man’s money, not his physique.

As a 35 year old I’ll say that being strong is way more useful than being skinny.

[quote]1 Man Island wrote:

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

The best way to reach your ideal physique is to forget trying to get there fast. We’re all in this for the long haul, so there’s no rush.
[/quote]

Is this necessarily the best view for someone that’s 30+ and facing a slowing metabolism/longer recovery mighty soon? One could make the argument that you should take advantage of relative youth to cut the fat leaving them at a healthy BW in case loose women, kids, or life get in the way. Granted, the same argument could also be made for muscle gain, no?[/quote]

Yes and no.

Do you have an advantage when younger? Of course. But if you start looking at the big picture, not so much. With today’s supplements, their is no excuse. Anybody over the age of 30 that is working out semi-seriously will make great gains with proper nutrition and supplementation. I’m 47 and found that with the Anaconda protocol (remember that?), I could easily recuperate from the “Six Weeks to Superhero” Program, as well as the iBodybuilder. The two weeks without the stuff killed me.

All I am saying is NOTHING compares to gains when you are young (under 25ish), but don’t sell yourself short if you are older and look at the big picture. Fast is also a relative term…

[quote]Field wrote:

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
The best way to reach your ideal physique is to forget trying to get there fast. We’re all in this for the long haul, so there’s no rush.[/quote]
This concept has always grabbed my interest in an odd way , it makes me think about it as someones “occupation” or what they spend alot of thier time doing. Swimmers, throwers , runners , rock climbers…carpenters and mechanics.

You spend enough time in certain body positions/ postures , they start to stick.
You can look at people on the street , watch thier posture, how they move and you could guess what they do.

If you shake a guys hand and it is clammy and smooth , you could guess he finds hard physical labor to be very unpleasant.

Lots of other things … [/quote]
Agreed, for sure. It’s pretty much a stereotype, but I think there’s definitely something to the fact that many “IT guys” look like they spend 20 hours a day at a computer, most professional chefs look like they spend 20 hours a day around food, and there’s such a thing as the good ol’ boy farmer who’s “country strong” from baling hay and carrying feedbags.

Kinda related, there was a book a few years ago that talked had pictures of top athletes from a bunch of different sports.
http://viz.cwrl.utexas.edu/content/athlete-howard-schatz-and-beverly-ornstein

Looking at the pics, it’s definitely clear that (obviously) different sports develop drastically different physiques and people with different builds seem to gravitate towards particular activities. I’m almost positive there have been a few threads here about these pictures.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]Field wrote:

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
The best way to reach your ideal physique is to forget trying to get there fast. We’re all in this for the long haul, so there’s no rush.[/quote]
This concept has always grabbed my interest in an odd way , it makes me think about it as someones “occupation” or what they spend alot of thier time doing. Swimmers, throwers , runners , rock climbers…carpenters and mechanics.

You spend enough time in certain body positions/ postures , they start to stick.
You can look at people on the street , watch thier posture, how they move and you could guess what they do.

If you shake a guys hand and it is clammy and smooth , you could guess he finds hard physical labor to be very unpleasant.

Lots of other things … [/quote]
Agreed, for sure. It’s pretty much a stereotype, but I think there’s definitely something to the fact that many “IT guys” look like they spend 20 hours a day at a computer, most professional chefs look like they spend 20 hours a day around food, and there’s such a thing as the good ol’ boy farmer who’s “country strong” from baling hay and carrying feedbags.

Kinda related, there was a book a few years ago that talked had pictures of top athletes from a bunch of different sports.
http://viz.cwrl.utexas.edu/content/athlete-howard-schatz-and-beverly-ornstein

Looking at the pics, it’s definitely clear that (obviously) different sports develop drastically different physiques and people with different builds seem to gravitate towards particular activities. I’m almost positive there have been a few threads here about these pictures.[/quote]

that was a cool link.

But one thing, Golf is not a sport :slight_smile:

[quote]1 Man Island wrote:

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
The best way to reach your ideal physique is to forget trying to get there fast. We’re all in this for the long haul, so there’s no rush.[/quote]
Is this necessarily the best view for someone that’s 30+ and facing a slowing metabolism/longer recovery mighty soon?[/quote]
JFG is spot-on. But to add my two cents…

I think, for a relatively-older beginner, it’s more important to train smart right off the bat. So, research effective training, nutrition, and supplement practices. Start off following a program/template instead of designing your own routine on day one. Set concrete, manageable, reachable goals. Use a foam roller/care about tissue quality. All the stuff we eventually figure out. It’s just a higher priority that “older” dudes learn it sooner rather than later, because they’re trying to maximize the proverbial bang of every training day’s buck.

Also, the age-related slowed metabolism is due in part to changing hormones and in part to a natural drop in lean muscle (the old “use it or lose it” concept - by never training/using it, you’re finally starting to lose it). Both of these issues can be at least partly addressed by lifting, so it’s almost like a self-correcting situation to a point.

So, not sure if I actually got to the question, but basically, at 30+, you’re still in this for the long haul and there’s still no rush. It’s just that you’ve got to use all your available resources (smarts, patience, money, etc.) to make it a softer kick in the ass every time you’re dragging yourself out of the gym after a session saying, “Man, I really shoulda started training years ago.” Yeah, you should have, but you started now, so make it count.

Random note: Not that I’m counting or anything, but this is my 5,000th post. Beginners forum rules, Bigger, Stronger, Faster forum drools. Just sayin’.

CC is spot on
" it’s more important to train smart right off the bat"
at 45 you heal slower than at 15 so avoid injuries, B smart !

No more than 10% increase each week in increase of exercises, weight, sets, and reps.