T Nation

Have Failed, Need Advice

Hey guys, I’m new here but I’ve been lifting for about 2.5 years. Looking at my pics, you’ll for sure say I don’t look that way, but I assure you I have been on a serious consistent split and have been attempting to do everything right for all this time. My problem is that I bulk up about 30 pounds each time, and somehow all of it falls off during the cut. I’ve gone through this depressing cycle three times now, which is why I don’t look too great at all.

I bulk up to 185ish, get a lot stronger, and then during the cut become scrawny again. I’m guessing my problem lies in nutrition, as maybe I overdid the calories towards the end of the bulk, but I still don;t understand how I don’t retain any of the muscle. Below is an image of me bulked at 185 5 months ago, and the next picture is of me now at about 160.

I’ve read the article “the truth about bulking” and I’m willing to give that a shot, but up until now I’m not even sure what exactly keeps going wrong and I’m hoping someone could offer some advice. Thanks in advance guys.

your training program sucks

What was your routine? and what are your current lifts?

Also what was the time frame for adding 30lbs? Because thats ALOT of weight to add even if it was a 4 month period as opposed to 9 months.

I think the problem was you added too much weight too fast and ended up getting too fat–sort of like a constant cycle of bulking and cutting improperly.

Need more info or else hard to help.

[quote]BuildingUP wrote:
What was your routine? and what are your current lifts?[/quote]

x2

As your lifts go up, you’re getting stronger. Strength comes from two things: increased neural efficiency (ability to recruit more muscle fibers), and increased muscle mass (hypertrophy).

If you’re lifting more after a bulk/cut cycle than before – if you’re stronger – then you very likely have added muscle mass, especially if you’ve been lifting for a few years. I say that because your CNS has already adapted to learning the exercise movements, so further gains in strength come from increased hypertrophy. (There’s still CNS adaptation involved, of course; just to a lesser amount than a beginner.)

Or in even simpler terms: if your lifts are higher after that bulk/cut cycle, you’ve added muscle mass. If you’re at the same weight now and have also gotten much stronger, you likely have a different body composition.

Sorry if that was a little oversimplified.

However, after 2.5 years, I would have expected more. As far as getting into what you were doing wrong, what you could change/improve… it’s going to need to get into discussions of training (exercises, sets/reps, frequency) and diet (macros, protein, timing). Hence the ‘x2’ on the questions.

Those are topics other people can help you with much better than me.

Bulk up to 185. Immediately follow that with a bulk up to 200. Then, bulk up to 225. Hold it at 225 for a while.

THEN maybe do a cut.

That’s the answer. I know you’re not going to do it, but it’s the answer.

You’ve seen the “progress” you make “bulking” and then “cutting” every few months. That’s what “keeps going wrong.” Try lifting for 4 or 5 years straight and focus on increasing your strength numbers, eat a ton of good food, and then maybe look in the mirror and evaluate whether you need to cut.

I don’t think you should have the bulk mentality, measure your body with a tape, make sure your lifts go up and look in the mirror. If your lifts go up and your measurements increase, but your waist is going up quick, drop some calories. IF your lifts go up, and measurements increase, but your waist stays the same, you have reached your sweet spot- stay around that caloric intake.

If lifts arent going up and you really are busting your ass in the gym, add some calories.

IMO thats a better way to add muscle mass.


Sorry guys, I didn’t know how to post the second cut pic in the same post. Here it is

Well, everything you guys say makes a lot of sense. As far as the time frame, it was a while this time. I tried to go as slowly as possible so it took about 8 months, if not more.

My routine was/is: Chest>rest>Back & bi’s>Legs>rest>Shoulder & Forearms>Biceps & Triceps>Rest. After the 170/175 mark of the bulk, progress slows so I add calories because I’m not seeing gains fast enough. I realize now that this is wrong and it’s probably what put the fat on me… As far as strength after the cut, I can say I am still a bit stronger now than I was last time I was cut for sure, but not as strong as I was when I was bulked.

[quote]BuildingUP wrote:
I don’t think you should have the bulk mentality, measure your body with a tape, make sure your lifts go up and look in the mirror. If your lifts go up and your measurements increase, but your waist is going up quick, drop some calories. IF your lifts go up, and measurements increase, but your waist stays the same, you have reached your sweet spot- stay around that caloric intake.

If lifts arent going up and you really are busting your ass in the gym, add some calories.

IMO thats a better way to add muscle mass.[/quote]
LOL. Dude, that is bulking.

That’s it in a nutshell. When we talk about bulking, we’re not talking about piling on fat, we’re talking about eating enough to promote optimal muscle growth.

So has anyone tried this method? It seemed very logical and sensible to me and this is what I plan on starting soon. Do you guys think it’s really possible not to gain any body fat while gaining like a pound or two of muscle a month?

[quote]JayPierce wrote:

[quote]BuildingUP wrote:
I don’t think you should have the bulk mentality, measure your body with a tape, make sure your lifts go up and look in the mirror. If your lifts go up and your measurements increase, but your waist is going up quick, drop some calories. IF your lifts go up, and measurements increase, but your waist stays the same, you have reached your sweet spot- stay around that caloric intake.

If lifts arent going up and you really are busting your ass in the gym, add some calories.

IMO thats a better way to add muscle mass.[/quote]
LOL. Dude, that is bulking.

That’s it in a nutshell. When we talk about bulking, we’re not talking about piling on fat, we’re talking about eating enough to promote optimal muscle growth.[/quote]

I know it is----I only phrased it like that because a lot of times when people bulk, they go ape shit on the food thinking it’ll make them grow more. I simply said it like that to show him how to go about it the right way.

OMG it’s Harry Potter!

[quote]caveman101 wrote:
OMG it’s Harry Potter![/quote]

I don’t understand?

[quote]David.J wrote:

[quote]caveman101 wrote:
OMG it’s Harry Potter![/quote]

I don’t understand?[/quote]
He doesn’t, either. Don’t worry about it. :wink:

[quote]JayPierce wrote:

[quote]David.J wrote:

[quote]caveman101 wrote:
OMG it’s Harry Potter![/quote]

I don’t understand?[/quote]
He doesn’t, either. Don’t worry about it. ;)[/quote]

Ahhh dirka dirka. So the recommendation would be a very slow conservative bulk?

[quote]JayPierce wrote:

[quote]David.J wrote:

[quote]caveman101 wrote:
OMG it’s Harry Potter![/quote]

I don’t understand?[/quote]
He doesn’t, either. Don’t worry about it. ;)[/quote]

http://tinyurl.com/bsw8672

I am not going to ask. Just not gonna do it.

Here I’ve been, trying to look up every saucy pic of Emma that I can get ahold of.

shakes head You need help, Caveman.

[quote]David.J wrote:

[quote]JayPierce wrote:

[quote]David.J wrote:

[quote]caveman101 wrote:
OMG it’s Harry Potter![/quote]

I don’t understand?[/quote]
He doesn’t, either. Don’t worry about it. ;)[/quote]

Ahhh dirka dirka. So the recommendation would be a very slow conservative bulk?[/quote]
Yeah, pretty much. It takes some experimentation, but find the right amount of food that allows you to get consistently stronger without putting on a ton of fat.

BUT I want you to keep in mind that you will not be lean as you do this. You will reach a certain level of bodyfat and stay there for a while. It’s just the way the body works.