(This turned out long… I tried to bold important stuff. You can skip most of the first two paragraphs.)
Background: I’ve been lifting for about 8 years and have been satisfied with slow (after the newbie gains) but steady progress. Last year, in my mid 30s, I gained 10 lbs on a hectic vacation for the first time ever, and doing my typical slight deficit to lose it at a responsible rate was just keeping my weight stable around 165-166 despite it being fall when I have an easy time losing. I realized I was getting older and that I needed to get more serious now under the logic that if I peak at, say, 35, that peak will be greater than if I keep grinding at the same rate and peak in my lower 40s. That only matters to me because I want to gauge my potential now when it should be greater than my potential at 40.
I further reduced calories and got back to my usual weight of 155 lbs. I then cut down to 148 (145 until I regained water weight) using a 1800-2000 calorie 90% liquid keto diet which, gastric discomfort in the first week aside, was the easiest thing I’ve ever done. I have no intention of running keto again, but I lost very little off my lifts and I felt like I got a good foundation laid to begin my first true bulk cycle, accompanied by my first foray into AASs, 500 mg test administered 250 mg every 84 hours. I’ve just had my third dose. (From what I’ve read, I’m not violating any rules by mentioning that in this subforum, and I am only looking for nutritional advice which might differ a little had I not mentioned it.)
I’m not clear on something, though. It’s hard to tell, for obvious reasons, when you read about bulking on a place where mention of AASs is not allowed if doing a “bulking cycle” generally means “bulking on cycle” or if it just means eating more for n weeks/months without any sort of exogenous aid. I’m guessing it’s usually the former, at least on lifting/bb forums.
Why’s that matter? Well, I’m trying to figure out the size of the surplus I should aim for. My maintenance is somewhere around 2100-2300 kcal which is a little low, but I was a fat kid and briefly a fat adult (peaking around 215). I’m 5’10, 151 lbs now and am upping the calories each day. I feel great and my recovery time has already improved beyond my wildest expectations.
I’m trying to figure out if 2800 would be good for my whole run, or if I should be doing something like 3500 instead. I have a very rare (in my life) opportunity to do everything perfectly for the next four months or so including 100% measured prepped meals, and I would rather make bigger gains now and cut later than feel like I played it safe with a really lean bulk. Cutting later is no big deal for me. There’s also the psychological effect of bulking vs recomping. I don’t think I need the extra motivation, but I won’t deny seeing quick changes in the mirror is a factor.
Meal Plan: Breakfast: Shake (whey).
Post: Basmati, brown, wild rice.
Dinner: Chicken, turkey, salmon, cod, or haddock; rice, sweet potato or white potato; steamed broccoli or [I need a broccoli alternative or two here].
Late: Shake (whey).
I can mix up the Late shake to make it part whey, part casein if people still think there’s a benefit to a slow-release protein overnight. I haven’t really kept up and don’t know where consensus stands on this today. I could also use some advice on how to add carbs to the shakes. It’s so much easier adding fat, heh…
Today’s macros: 160 g protein, 80 g fat, 320 g carbs = 2440 kcal. I will drop fat gradually to around 60 g (slow to be safe).
Supplements: The usual suspects, plus a few of questionable merit… CMH, leucine, beta-alanine, 2:1 citrulline:malate (not taking for performance), choline, fish oil, D3, K2, zeaxanthin, lutein, B-12 injections, and (probably temporary) milk thistle, dandelion root, DIM, and NAC.
I should scale my macros up by keeping the same ratio of protein to carbs while keeping total fat about the same as before, right? And should I ramp up the calories pronto? Because I was fat for much of my life, I have a hard time letting myself eat more now. I think I need someone to figuratively shake me and tell me “Stop screwing around and start eating more tomorrow!” if that is indeed good advice. Give me a number to aim for and I’ll start tomorrow.
P.S. If I’ve unwittingly spouted any pseudoscience here, hand me my ass in reply.
P.S.S. Help me incorporate some spinach in here… It’s probably my favorite food. Fresh organic spinach cooks down to practically nothing and costs a lot, so it only really makes sense for salads or soups in my experience, and I’m not sure canned or frozen shredded spinach stacks up well against the mighty broccoli…