T Nation

First Serious Bulk - How Do My Macros Look?


#1

(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…


#2

Body weight x 15 = estimated maintenance calories.

Add 300-500 calories to that number.

1 gram protein for body weight. Multiply that number by 4 and subtract it from the total. Fill the rest of that number with carbs/fat.

Make good food choices. The rest is minutiae. Don’t over complicate it. Bulking or dieting is just math sustained long enough to echeive a goal.

Also I didn’t read your post after the first sentence. Even if I did I would have posted the same reply.


#3

Heh it’s okay, I expect several people to tl;dr. I know I’m thorough. I hope someone gets into some of the minutiae, though. I actually want this crazy-regimented if it seems worth the trouble or not. I go all-out on projects and, in a way, it makes it easier.

That formula puts me just under 2800–I just wonder if the Pharma subforum qualities of my post mean it makes sense to further increase the surplus if I don’t have any problem with cutting later.


#4

I don’t really like your meal plan. You have two meals a day and two shakes of whey. And I’m assuming you’re training after your first shake. Well in that case you have zero carbs pre workout which is a mistake that I did for quite some time. You should have a solid breakfast. I don’t know, an omelette with vegetables, greek yogurt, cotage cheese, fruits, nuts, meat… But something! And some carbs! By that logic you should eat less or no carbs on your dinner. I also don’t think you should reduce fat.

Anyway you say you feel good and recovery is good. There’s no reason to bump your calories by 400 or even 1000 overnight. Trust me, I’ve done the maxi bulk and I don’t recommend it. Just adjust week by week. You didn’t gain weight or even lost? Well then increase your carbs by 20 per day. And adjust

Final thing, I see you take many supllements, you certainly have some money to buy intra carbs workout, which would increase performance as well as your carbs


#5

I don’t get it… You only have rice at this meal?


#6

You missed the point of my response to you entirely.

You’re 150 something pounds. This is like worrying about finger placement on curls when you don’t known how to or can’t do a pull up.


#7

Indeed… But maybe he’s 5’6?


#8

He’s 5’10”. I’m 5’7” and know what going from 150 to 200 actually entails at that height. It’s not in the details. It’s in the total amount of time one spends in a surplus. Not the details of said surplus to the leaf of spinach.


#9

Each meal should have:

  • protein
  • carbohydrates
  • fats
  • vegetables

Right now, one of your meals meets this criteria. Having a shake is fine but it can’t just be whey, add yoghurt, spinach and some fruit or oats.


#10

Did anyone actually read that wall of text?

The starting point is always just a guess. Be prepared to adjust up or down depending on reaults


#11

Actually I can’t figure out how someone could spend 15 minutes typing all of that extra info (no I haven’t read the wall of text) and then spend like no energy in describing the meal plan. He literally just spit out a list of foods.

Quantities, meal portion sizes, total macros, total calories are completely unknown. As if, you know, those were the less important component and it was worth discussing more about broccoli vs spinach in a diet.


#12

So I went back and read it.

Dude’s 150lbs at 35 years old, is using steroids, and wondering where he can fit spinach into his diet…


#13

So your overcomplicating the whole thing and going about it backwards. You have all this focus on everything that doesn’t matter. Spinach vs broccoli, how to add carbs to a shake, etc. and you have all your carbs in the afternoon or evening. Believe me, I’ve done a very similar bulk/recomp over the past 18 months. If you eat clean and lift hard you will make gains. Try to stick to these simple rules

  1. 1-1.25 grams protein per lb of body weight. I prefer 1.25 as it helps keep me lean. I’d rather have the scale move a little slower and keep abs. JMHO
  2. Starchy carbs in the morning, pre workout, and post workout. I try to be done with them by 3-4pm.
  3. I wouldn’t go higher than 60 on fat. That’s all you really need
  4. 5-7 meals evenly spaced.
  5. Lots of veggies
  6. Aim for a 500 cal surplus’s. Track everything and make adjustments as needed.
    You’ll gain 10 lbs in the first two months on AAS regardless so just eat and put in the work

#14

And based on the fact that your nutrition approach needed help, I’d head to the pharma forum and make sure your not jacking yourself with a bad protocol on your cycle.


#15

I agree with pretty much everything but this. This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Carbs after 4pm are exactly the same as before 4pm.


#16

Yes, just like carbs from skittles are 4 calories each just like carbs from a sweet potato are 4 calories each. I also think the 5-7 meals a day dogma is bunk. If the reasoning of no carbs after 4 is to limit insulin why would we recommend eating 7 times a time which will speak insulin each time?

I am only responding to this to reinforce my original post. This stuff does not matter and getting hung up on the details is pointless. If you want to bulk, eat a surplus, enough essential macros(6-10 grams of essential fatty acids and enough protein for LBM) and fill in the rest with non essential macros(carbs/fat etc) to which works best for you. Keep the surplus to an amount that isn’t so high that you have more energy intake than needed and store of later(fat). Maintain said surplus long enough to reach goal.

Or let’s just over complicate it for the sake of over complicating it.


#17

Oh god this… didnt know he was taking AAS. I give up.


#18

This is more of a yes and no thing though. I do agree with you in that your statement is correct per se. That being said, I wouldn’t recommend a lifter treat them the same, for a whole host of reasons I am fully sure you know about and don’t need to be discussed now. My point is, yes it’s good to avoid over complicating this stuff but it’s as important to make sure one establishes good eating habits for long term success.

And yes, the steroid thing is kinda sad.


#19

You are actually articulating my point better than I am. My example was to show the absurdity of using science to justify getting bogged down in the details while missing the point in the broad sense.

Also I eat skittles when I squat sometimes.


#20

I’m not a candy guy but I used to drink chocolate milk before and during training so I can relate!

Also who hasn’t tried the milk & a shit ton of sugary cereals after training because “Gotta fill the glycogen storages back” lol