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How Calorie Intake and Splits Influence YOUR Strength/Size Gain?


Hey guys,
just wondering how “fat” (little, nothing or stuff like this) do you usually get to gain strenght and size, im asking this because since my cutting i changed my routine in all angles , like rep ranges, volume and frequency and im still lacking of strenght
Even with low to moderate volume in high frequency (optimal for strenght) i was lacking in strenght on the big 3 lifts and i noticed my skin folds were increasing, indicating my calorie intake was at least ok. (now im doing a classical bb split)

I rembember when i was fatter, there was a point in my diet where i increased my calorie intake to the point where my strenght always went up without much effort, it was like a threshold, when I ate too much the strenght began to rise, but again i didnt track macros properly

Also wondering how splits influence your strenght and size gains usually


@ 2800 calories right now
Before cut : 182 lbs
After cut (6 months±) : 169 lbs
Right now 172~ 175 lbs
Primary goal: bodybuilding/size
secondary goal : strenght


Not a pro by any means but my experience.

I’m 224 and I gain weight at anything over 2500 calories (stupid cutting practices messed me up a bit). I try to do PL and BB rep ranges and weights. I’m really enjoying 5/3/1 BBB version. I get all 4 lifts in twice per week and the assistance is just right.

I’ve noticed a trend with what you pointed out. Eating more means better recovery and gains. That should be a no brainer.

There’s a perma bulker that used to post here who advocated eating yourself sick every day and lifting very often. That’s certainly one way to do it. I can’t justify carrying as much fat as I am right now, let alone perma bulking. Every lb of fat you carry over a certain point means extra aromatase enzyme and inflammation.

What are your goals weight wise?


I gained about 15 lbs. over the course of about five years using a regular split and staying quite lean, coupled with a very high activity level. Switching to full on strength (conjugate system) I gained about another five on the scale, but in total body fat percentage went up over that whole period of time from mid 6-7% to almost 12%, with the majority coming on in the strength cycle lasting about a year.

Main difference for me was neurological fatigue vs. metabolic. The day after heavy squats and deads was a dead zone of just eat and sleep. With the BB type split it was more metabolic- just eat well (moderate protein and higher carbs) rest a few hours and go for a nice bike ride or hike and everything was copacetic.

Cals were ridiculous regardless of what I was doing. Double yours and then some at 160 lbs., eating 6 or 7 times a day. I’m just not designed to be a mass monster.


I used to be a perma bulker once… Im much more leaner now but now i just dont aim at any weight, i just want to progress at my main lifts and get size, im at 2800kcals like i said, already some weight (little bloated and Thicker skin) but almost no strenght improvement :disappointed_relieved:… my current split is
Chest and triceps
Back and biceps
Shoulder and arms
I do deadlifts on backday and RDL on leg days
I do bench presses on chest day and close grip bench on arms day
So everything get hit twice a week more or less

my old routine was
Back and Biceps
Shoulders Triceps
Back and biceps
Start from the next bodypart
I pretty much liked this routine in my 6 month cut but did almost no improvement on “bulking” so i changed to a bb split and increased my calorie intake (200~300 more kcals)

I’ve noticed a trend with what you pointed out. Eating more means better recovery and gains. That should be a no brainer.
What i meant with this was if i was gaining weight probably im already on a caloric surplus intake, probably enough to warrant an anabolic environment so i dont what to do to make progress

Thank you for replying to this topic man, means a lot to me

@SkyzykS kyzyks
Do you think the fat gain worth it?
I used to be a perma bulker and i already got good gains from doing this but lately i realized that i was giving 2 steps foward and 3 backwards (doing bulks and cutting)


It was pretty inconsequential. I wasn’t getting ready for the stage or trying to stay in a weight class, so some incidental fat gain at that point isn’t particularly noteworthy.

I think that the type of fatigue resulting from a purely strength focused program was though. I’m going for general physique and aesthetic improvement now, and will be avoiding primarily strength focused training, staying in the higher rep ranges.

Your mileage may vary. Some of the BB’rs move some pretty serious weight. Take a glance through robsteins prep thread at the weights he’s working with.


So jealous that you can gain weight at your weight with anything over 2500 calories. I need double that and I’m only around 195lbs.


Don’t be. I gain half fat and half muscle. So I get stronger and look bigger. But I’m basically a chubby guy with traps and thighs. I’ve always had no problem gaining weight. Made being a wrestler in school a nightmare.


This is problem #1. These two things are not the same, and thus are not necessarily compatible as goals. BBers (nattys, anyway) generally cycle between two phases:

  1. Eating at a mild-to-moderate caloric surplus in hopes of gaining some mass (realizing that a certain amount of fat gain is an inevitable by-product of this process); and
  2. eating at a mild-to-deep caloric deficit as they prep for a show.

OTOH, the goal of ‘size’ implies living in phase #1 permanently. My point is, you need to figure out whether being a BBer or a permabulker is really what you want.

This is problem #2. That is, how important is this ‘secondary’ goal? Because training for strength is not the same as training for size. Oh sure, powerlifters tend to get bigger as they get stronger, and BBers get stronger as they get bigger. But the extent to which these secondary changes occur varies dramatically by training style.

Finally, let me add that I’m not suggesting you have to decide to be a BBer or a permabulker or a PLer. For many gym rats, the process–ie, working out–is the goal in and of itself. That is, they just like going to the gym and lifting, and have no aspirations other than doing something they enjoy. Nothing wrong with that.

tl;dr Decide what’s important to you, and that will determine how you should eat and train.


Man thanks a lot for your time!
Problem is i attribute my lack of size because my mainlifts are weak, for example, my bench is probably the same than 3 years ago, sometimes weaker and sometimes heavier but never got more than 2 plates each side.

But my primary goal is size, always been. In general i feel my physique very instable and tend to lose A LOT of strenght in cuts, imo i dont look like i lift for almost 8 years, i feel lack of density and size…
I figured that if maybe i focus on lifting more the basics and get better numbers i would break this plateau
What do you think?
*also im natty



Probably not the cause IMO. Could be you’re not executing the lift correctly to gain size, not feeling the muscle, etc. Example for me is that I don’t really feel squats much in my legs (especially quads) and they don’t tend to drive quad growth much if I just work on squatting better, but I get a stronger squat; if I squat to feel my legs by doing higher reps (10-25), not locking my knees out, etc, I feel it in my quads a lot and they grow; I also feel single leg and work in my quads a ton more, and I usually see quad growth when I do it.


@humblelifter how tall are you, out of interest?


I can’t say it wouldn’t work, but I can say it isn’t what I would recommend. Instead, read every training article on T Nation written by John Meadows. That’s how I would recommend you train.


Im 1,8m

I love how this guy trains, i follow him on instagram and i watch all his videos on youtube
I apply some of his principles on my routine