T Nation

First Bulk Mistakes. Don't Know What to Do

These are my progress pics taken this week, 6 months on from starting Starting Strength (didn’t used to really lift before 6 months ago, decided to give it a go after seeing how physically i was).

This is what i looked like at the start: http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=sl333r&s=6

I put on weight very quickly but i think i’ve gained a fair amount of fat because I went a bit crazy on GOMAD (probably a newb mistake) before setting my calories to 350 above maintenance. I personally think I look around 18-20% bf.

I don’t know now whether i should bulk for a little more of cut straight away. Ideally, I would like to go down to 150 pounds at 9-10% bodyfat then slow bulk next year to my 2 year end goal of being at 165 pounds 9-10% bodyfat (I have learnt from my mistakes at the start of going too crazy with the calories).

Also i feel nervous about cutting, i don’t know whether it would lose my strength gains? I don’t know much about it.

Here are my current photos:

http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=23u31n4&s=6 - taken after eating - felt bloated.
http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=2iuyqh0&s=6 - would like to improve chest : picture from front.
http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=2duxtnc&s=6
http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=2yunevb&s=6 - earlier this week
http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=saupus&s=6 - same as above, would like to improve chest

My stats aren’t great either:

5ft9
165 pounds

Deadlift: 120kg 1x4 (I really suck at these because I had a lot of technique issues)
Squat: 105kg 3x5 (Olympic style, below parallel, had to deload to sort out form, did three quarter squats of 120kg 5x5)
Bench Press: 65kg 3x5
Press: 52.5kg 3x5

do… not… cut.

You honestly look better than when you started, and haven’t gained large amounts of fat.

Why cut? Based upon the pictures, the vast majority of weight you put on are lean mass and muscle. Just eat at maintenance + 100-200 or so and just progressively increase the weights, albeit at a slower pace than SS has you do it. Keep increasing the weights, and eventually you’ll be at roughly the bw but with higher lifts on everything.

When did you stall?

Do you do rows? If not, do them.
Do you do pull/chin-ups? If not, please for the love of God do them.

[quote]magick wrote:
Why cut? Based upon the pictures, the vast majority of weight you put on are lean mass and muscle. Just eat at maintenance + 100-200 or so and just progressively increase the weights, albeit at a slower pace than SS has you do it. Keep increasing the weights, and eventually you’ll be at roughly the bw but with higher lifts on everything.

When did you stall?

Do you do rows? If not, do them.
Do you do pull/chin-ups? If not, please for the love of God do them.

[/quote]

I started doing rows a month ago, but not pull ups and chins.

The reason I started this thread was because i posted my pics on bodybuilding.com’s misc section and they said i should probably cut. But then agan, they seemed to place a lot of emphasis on abs even though I don’t think i have the stats / mass to really justify a proper cut.

I would like more muscle mass and stronger lifts before i cut. But, they made it seem as though i was fat… so , it just hits the confidence in the sense that as a noob to all of this i don’t know whether what i was doing was right.

I am not bothered about the beach body this year tbh, ideally i would like to slow bulk during summer and then cut next year.

And i hit my stalls last week.

Fuck bodybuilding.com

You cutting right now will be the end of your motivation and beginning of a spiral into a black hole. Either do a body recompish eating and lifting pattern/ eat at a 300-500 surplus with some conditioning added in/eat at 500+ and do a lot of conditioning.

But you don’t have enough bf to even warrant a body recomp, so that’s a stupid suggestion on my part.

Just eat more and try to add in some form of intense conditioning/or a jogging plan to be able to do a mile in under 7 min if you cannot do so already if you’re worried about gaining bf.

And do pull/chin-ups. Those + either BB or DB rows will make your back look considerably larger + helps considerably with your OHP and bench. Those combined will give you a much larger upper body and will help with self-esteem/pictures.

You currently weigh 165 at 20% Body Fat and want to get to 165 10% Body Fat in 2 years.

To accomplish this goal you will need to lose 16.5 pounds of fat and also gain 16.5 pounds of lean mass.

Does this sound like the kind of goal that will take 24 months to accomplish?

As a rank-noob with 6 months of lifting under your belt you should be able to gain that sort of lean mass in 6-9 months. While gaining muscle you will burn up some of that fat but once you reach your goal LBM you should be able to cut the remaining fat in 2-3 months. This should put your new time frame inside of 12 months.

In Summary:
Lift with intensity and consistency while eating above maintenance for another 6-9 months. (12 at the absolute most)
Then cut the fat for 2-3 months until you have hit your desired leanness.
If you have not accomplished your goals by then re-evaluate your entire life, something is wrong.


Just to echo everything that’s been said so far, you’re really in a good spot right now and you’ve done pretty much what Starting Strength was designed to do. You built a strength foundation (that, obviously, still needs work and isn’t where it should be) and you’ve added size so that you now look like someone who’s starting to lift weights.

Trying to cut now, just as you’re starting to “take shape” for lack of a better term, would be the real mistake.

Forget you ever heard about bodyfat percentages. They’re useless and they’re only going to confuse things. Base your progress on pictures, measurements, and performance in the gym.

[quote]5ft9
165 pounds [/quote]
For context, what did you weigh when you started 6 months ago?

Consider switching things up in your training. Wendler’s 5/3/1 BBB is a kind of “bulking”/muscle-building plan.


You’d still be training for strength, but the exercise variety (with stuff like direct arm work) would be a good change of pace. Plus there’s some regular conditioning/cardio that’ll help keep fat gain in check.

Try that routine with a smart eating plan for the next 3 months and monitor what happens.

Thank you to every one of you. I will take your advice and carry on with a slow bulk. I started at 140 pounds. It hasn’t been easy to bulk, it has been a complete change in lifestyle for me but do you know what? I am actually the happiest I have ever been so i guess i just don’t want to lose what i’ve gained. I want to keep improving. This has completely changed my life.

[quote]JLone wrote:
You currently weigh 165 at 20% Body Fat and want to get to 165 10% Body Fat in 2 years.

To accomplish this goal you will need to lose 16.5 pounds of fat and also gain 16.5 pounds of lean mass.

Does this sound like the kind of goal that will take 24 months to accomplish?

As a rank-noob with 6 months of lifting under your belt you should be able to gain that sort of lean mass in 6-9 months. While gaining muscle you will burn up some of that fat but once you reach your goal LBM you should be able to cut the remaining fat in 2-3 months. This should put your new time frame inside of 12 months.

In Summary:
Lift with intensity and consistency while eating above maintenance for another 6-9 months. (12 at the absolute most)
Then cut the fat for 2-3 months until you have hit your desired leanness.
If you have not accomplished your goals by then re-evaluate your entire life, something is wrong. [/quote]

One last question, how much should i eat above maintenance? Should i keep it at 300 calories above?

Keep doing what you’re doing, it’s working well.

methinks if you cut now
you lose much of what youve already gained.
ABs on a skinny guy = Big tits on a fat chick
Fuck Bodybuilding.com
keep trucking
lift heavy weights
no one will care about your abz
if the rest of your body is built well.
and then
you can cut
in three months
have abz

for those that didn’t know, tony is our resident poet.

[quote]Compoundex wrote:

[quote]JLone wrote:
Fantastic Reply[/quote]
One last question, how much should i eat above maintenance? Should i keep it at 300 calories above? [/quote]
If you have truly dialed in your calories to 350 above maintenance I would stay with that for now. Just remember to reevaluate your maintenance level as your BMR will increase with added mass and caloric expenditure of digesting the extra food, etc.

To help make this less of a guessing game track your progress through measurements and pictures. Convert those numbers into usable data to make estimations about current calories per pound of lean body mass then project those forward.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
Consider switching things up in your training. Wendler’s 5/3/1 BBB is a kind of “bulking”/muscle-building plan.


You’d still be training for strength, but the exercise variety (with stuff like direct arm work) would be a good change of pace. Plus there’s some regular conditioning/cardio that’ll help keep fat gain in check.
[/quote]
Also, I would strongly consider Chris’ ^recommendation^

For those with a primary goal of a specific size(ie 165#), I usually recommend some sort of bodybuilding plan once a certain level of strength has been established. If you think you are at that level, make the jump.

[quote]tonypluto wrote:
methinks if you cut now
you lose much of what youve already gained.
ABs on a skinny guy = Big tits on a fat chick
Fuck Bodybuilding.com
keep trucking
lift heavy weights
no one will care about your abz
if the rest of your body is built well.
and then
you can cut
in three months
have abz[/quote]

“abs on a skinny guy= big tits on a fat chick” such a true statement… OP you have made some quality gains and built yourself a nice platform to grow. Keep everything in moderation and continue progressing/bulking. Quite a bit fo difference between the before and after pics. good job!