T Nation

How Long to Stay at Weight After Bulk?

[quote]GrindOverMatter wrote:
stu ive been meaning to ask you…how much over competition weight do you go up by the end of your off season?
[/quote]

I usually keep it to about 25-30 lbs. My ‘stageweight’ is around 176-180 (I deplete a bit to make the <176 lb weigh in), but I usually weigh around 205. Yes, I had been around 215-220 for a bit before I ever thought about competing, BUT I can honestly admit that it didn’t really contribute to my size, and I achieved that due to following a lot of what I would now consider incorrect advice for a physique conscious trainer.

Once I stayed closer to 2 bills in my offseason (with abs mind you) I put on muscle at a very respectable rate, even though my weight fairly constant.

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:

[quote]GrindOverMatter wrote:
stu ive been meaning to ask you…how much over competition weight do you go up by the end of your off season?
[/quote]

I usually keep it to about 25-30 lbs. My ‘stageweight’ is around 176-180 (I deplete a bit to make the <176 lb weigh in), but I usually weigh around 205. [/quote]

I started training in 1986 and when the issue of ‘traditional’ bulks comes up I’m always confused. Early on I was taught guidelines to use…a bulk meant a 10-15% increase in bodyweight over a lifters known lean weight. In Stu’s example he’s right in the sweet spot of a traditional off-season bulk. For beginner and intermediate lifters weight is held for 18-24 months while trying to become as strong as possible in a ‘given’ rep range. From this point the period of gradual restriction/increase workload should last no longer than 8-12 weeks.
No serious coach or trainer I have ever known advocated adding scale weight for it’s own sake!

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:

[quote]GrindOverMatter wrote:
stu ive been meaning to ask you…how much over competition weight do you go up by the end of your off season?
[/quote]

I usually keep it to about 25-30 lbs. My ‘stageweight’ is around 176-180 (I deplete a bit to make the <176 lb weigh in), but I usually weigh around 205. Yes, I had been around 215-220 for a bit before I ever thought about competing, BUT I can honestly admit that it didn’t really contribute to my size, and I achieved that due to following a lot of what I would now consider incorrect advice for a physique conscious trainer.

Once I stayed closer to 2 bills in my offseason (with abs mind you) I put on muscle at a very respectable rate, even though my weight fairly constant.[/quote]

Stu. Do you not think that adding 25-30lbs i actually quite a lot seeing as you would probably only be gaining for 8 or so months between comps? Thats a lot of room to grow. More than you would ever build in muscle, which as a non competing bodybuilder who isn’t cutting down every year to contest standard is probably going to lead to excess fat gain.

Obviously you can afford to go a bit OTT with calories as you will be competing a year later. But now you will sort of be starting from scratch after your injury (in a way), how will it effect the quantity in which you eat to gain lean mass?

Sorry for the hijack!

I think most arguments for or against are really just ‘bro science’.

My opinion at least, i try to view it like a car.

I start off parked(maintanence cals) then shift in to first gear upping my my cals/carbs slightly.

After a week or so I shift in to 2nd gear, again upping my carbs and cals.

I go through this until I hit 5th/6th gear and then run it on the highway pulling my foot off the gass a bit if I start redlining(gaining fat too fast) until i hit my desitination(size or weight gain). When I am ready to start dieting, I down shift and break(start reducing my cals/carbs) in the reverse fashion I did to get to top speed gradually going down the gears(my last month of a bulk). If I just slam my transmission into reverse when I am 5th gear, aside from stalling out I might break something(throw my hormones out of whack, or have my body think its starving and start shedding LBM instead of fat). Once I slow down and coast in nuetral for a bit(maintanence cals for a week), i break to a stop, then go in reverse(calorie defecit) and gradually put my foot on the pedal more picking up speed in the opposite direction.

Anyone who has tried to drive in reverse to fast for a long time, probably crashed(messed up the diet).

Anyways, this is my unscientific opion and personal strategy.

[quote]ESX wrote:

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:

[quote]GrindOverMatter wrote:
stu ive been meaning to ask you…how much over competition weight do you go up by the end of your off season?
[/quote]

I usually keep it to about 25-30 lbs. My ‘stageweight’ is around 176-180 (I deplete a bit to make the <176 lb weigh in), but I usually weigh around 205. Yes, I had been around 215-220 for a bit before I ever thought about competing, BUT I can honestly admit that it didn’t really contribute to my size, and I achieved that due to following a lot of what I would now consider incorrect advice for a physique conscious trainer.

Once I stayed closer to 2 bills in my offseason (with abs mind you) I put on muscle at a very respectable rate, even though my weight fairly constant.[/quote]

Stu. Do you not think that adding 25-30lbs i actually quite a lot seeing as you would probably only be gaining for 8 or so months between comps? Thats a lot of room to grow. More than you would ever build in muscle, which as a non competing bodybuilder who isn’t cutting down every year to contest standard is probably going to lead to excess fat gain.

Obviously you can afford to go a bit OTT with calories as you will be competing a year later. But now you will sort of be starting from scratch after your injury (in a way), how will it effect the quantity in which you eat to gain lean mass?

Sorry for the hijack! [/quote]
Ok im not stu–but my take on this is that the 25-30 lb margin is defintely something COMPETITORS would want to adhear to–normal non competing folks who dont get sub 6 percent bodyfat every year the reccomendation should be different…why? well its just not practical/possible to stay stage lean all year without killing your self dieting–most people gain an easy 10 lbs after a show. so really the other 15-20 lbs was just them putting on some moderate weight in the off season. also consider its important for a competitor to ramp up calories during an off season so they have the metabolic capacity to diet down.

competing is a strange thing—after my hellish prep its fairly easy for me to put on weight–im gaining easily at around 3000cals/day- however it would be best if i can ramp up this number of calories so i can diet with more food next time around

[quote]paulieserafini wrote:
@ Dabeard:
SO I…
Noticed though a few of your posts I’ve seen recently that your big concern is losing mass through a cut.
I’m here to tell you any horror story you’ve heard about guy losing a shit ton of mass on a cut either are extremely exaggerated or they just simply ran their diet like a complete idiot.

When I first started dieting everyone was saying “Fuark, man you gotta take a break every 8 weeks don’t want to lose any mass.” or “you have to drop atleast 100 calories every time weightloss stalls so that you can continue weightloss because we all know a pound is 3,500 calories.”

Dude if you don’t cut like a chode and you start off eating a decent amount of food and take your time with reductions, muscle loss will be at a minimum and by minimum I mean not even noticeable when you compare before and after pictures.

I have been cutting for 7 days shy of 1 year. I started around 250 and weighed in this morning at 205.4. Sure I might have lost some muscle and some strength. But by my T-Nation pictures you would never guess and I look a trillion times better even though I can no longer fill out an XL shirt.

So if you want chill at your weight for a month or two. You’ve already spent this much time getting to this weight, what is an extra month or two? or start cutting now. But I wouldn’t be overly concerned about your mass running away on you. (Assuming you don’t cut like a jackass)[/quote]

Paulie, I really like this post. I think you hit the nail on the head. I’m gonna start a slow and gradual cut, nothing crazy. I actually lost 40lbs in 3 months after graduating undergrad because I was a fat lard and did a really stupid quick fat loss diet, Atkins style. This time it’s going to be just healthy eating slightly below maintenance at first.

[quote]anonym wrote:

[quote]thefreshmanverve wrote:
“Any time you put yourself in a caloric deficit, the muscle tissue you have will be at risk of being broken down REGARDLESS OF HOW LONG YOU’VE HAD IT FOR…”

Is the latter part of that statement fact or opinion (either way please elaborate so that I may be able to entertain that thought or possibly change the way I think about that) [/quote]

It’s a fact.

Muscle isn’t permanent, and while staying big for an extended period makes your body comfortable with that degree of mass, you’re kidding yourself if you are under the impression your body won’t want to ditch that tissue hella quick once it perceives itself to be in danger of starving.

That’s why people still lift hard and heavy when dieting regardless of how long they’ve been big for… to give their bodies a reason to want to keep all that muscle around.

Please note though that this is simply a response to the idea that letting muscle “settle in” obviates the risk of it being broken down when subjected to a caloric deficit. How significant that “risk” is is dependent on a whole buncha stuff.

I DO feel that there might be something to that concept when speaking of traditional “yo-yo” bulking and cutting cycles, particularly for those who are prone to panic when their abs start to blur a little… I just don’t think it’s a huge issue in the context of moderate damage control.[/quote]

My view wasn’t that muscle settling obviates the risk of catabolism but rather reduces it.
Obivously nothing will obviate the risk of losing muscle on a caloric deficit.

“That’s why people still lift hard and heavy when dieting regardless of how long they’ve been big for… to give their bodies a reason to want to keep all that muscle around.”

I tried this last year (because it made sense to me at the time) and it ended in disaster for me personally. (First time ever had pain that kept me out of the gym for an extended period of time) My body made sure I wasn’t going to make it lift all that if I wasn’t going to provide it with enough cals. Not trying to change the topic but wanted to bring that up.

“I DO feel that there might be something to that concept when speaking of traditional “yo-yo” bulking and cutting cycles, particularly for those who are prone to panic when their abs start to blur a little… I just don’t think it’s a huge issue in the context of moderate damage control.”

I agree and in the case of the OP who has gained 40 lbs. of muscle and fat over the course of THREE YEARS if he goes on a moderate cut (that lasts over a year or so) now or after a period of time I agree that it probably wouldn’t be a huge issue.

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:
I think you can make a good case for “maintaining” a particular bw at the tail end of a bulking phase for some time (a couple weeks) without the need to justify it with shady concepts such as “set points”.

“Maintaining” a particular bw doesn’t mean you are not trying to change your body composition. It basically just means you are intentionally slowing done the rate of weight gain. Think recomp.

At least that is I think why Shelby had me do it. But that phase was never very long.[/quote]

This way has worked quite well for me in terms of body composition. I’ve been floating around 205-210 for about 6 months, but have made huge strides as far as my aesthetics. Eating around maintenance can really let you dial in fat loss and muscle gain almost simultaneously. You will hit a point where you will have to do a serious cut eventually.

[quote]GrindOverMatter wrote:

[quote]ESX wrote:

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:

[quote]GrindOverMatter wrote:
stu ive been meaning to ask you…how much over competition weight do you go up by the end of your off season?
[/quote]

I usually keep it to about 25-30 lbs. My ‘stageweight’ is around 176-180 (I deplete a bit to make the <176 lb weigh in), but I usually weigh around 205. Yes, I had been around 215-220 for a bit before I ever thought about competing, BUT I can honestly admit that it didn’t really contribute to my size, and I achieved that due to following a lot of what I would now consider incorrect advice for a physique conscious trainer.

Once I stayed closer to 2 bills in my offseason (with abs mind you) I put on muscle at a very respectable rate, even though my weight fairly constant.[/quote]

Stu. Do you not think that adding 25-30lbs i actually quite a lot seeing as you would probably only be gaining for 8 or so months between comps? Thats a lot of room to grow. More than you would ever build in muscle, which as a non competing bodybuilder who isn’t cutting down every year to contest standard is probably going to lead to excess fat gain.

Obviously you can afford to go a bit OTT with calories as you will be competing a year later. But now you will sort of be starting from scratch after your injury (in a way), how will it effect the quantity in which you eat to gain lean mass?

Sorry for the hijack! [/quote]
Ok im not stu–but my take on this is that the 25-30 lb margin is defintely something COMPETITORS would want to adhear to–normal non competing folks who dont get sub 6 percent bodyfat every year the reccomendation should be different…why? well its just not practical/possible to stay stage lean all year without killing your self dieting–most people gain an easy 10 lbs after a show. so really the other 15-20 lbs was just them putting on some moderate weight in the off season. also consider its important for a competitor to ramp up calories during an off season so they have the metabolic capacity to diet down.

competing is a strange thing—after my hellish prep its fairly easy for me to put on weight–im gaining easily at around 3000cals/day- however it would be best if i can ramp up this number of calories so i can diet with more food next time around[/quote]

GrindOverMatter is right in that when you’re discussing competitors, weights, and the actual degree of leanness attained at the end of their cuts are usually quite severe compared to the average gym rat who wants to ‘cut up’. Yes, I make weight at 176 lbs, but to be honest, at 185, I’m pretty f-ing shredded. Fibers in my delts, horizontal lines detailing my lower back, even veins in my lats (creepy, I know -lol). So if you realize that the actual stage weight is a temporary weight, certainly not one that you can healthily hold, I’m not really packing on 25 lbs, much closer to 15.

Also, let’s be realistic here, no one wants to miss out on life because they love competing. I always competed only in the Spring, and knowing that I would be very disciplined during that time, I never really worried much if I strayed a bit during the rest of the year. Each person has to find their own degree of balance, but for me, 205 lbs was the point where I was still comfortable taking my shirt off at a pool, but not so heavy that I couldn’t shred back down when I needed to.

n added benefit to this approach, as I believe Grind mentioned as well, is that when your body becomes more accustomed to a higher caloric intake (whether this is a physical, or simply mental thing is open to discussion), you can diet on a much higher intake. People are always shocked that I can start cutting with 2800 cals on most days. With my BMR of ~3400 though, that’s a pretty decent deficit, albeit a good amount of food.

As to my starting from scratch,… at this point, I’m just trying to get quality nutrient in every day. Yes, I do have some basic structure as to my choices, but years of preps will do that to you. I certainly go off my plan every weekend, still choosing clean choices 90% of the time, but IHOP or Chipotle at others. Counting cals? Macros? Nope. Approximating cals in each meal (aside from ‘off plan’ selections), eating every few hours, and making sure I get enough protein at each sitting, with a conscious carb intake around my training.

There’s only so much I can do to support muscle (re)growth, so I’m not going to try and force feed it. Sure I’m slowly puffing up a bit, and yes, I am a bit soft in the midsection, but right now I’m just letting my body do its thing and knit myself back together as well as it can.

S

[quote]DaBeard wrote:
Let us say someone has just gained about 40 pounds of muscle and fat in about 3-4 years. Is there any merit in trying to maintain that weight for any given amount of time for the sake of preserving muscle and “setting a new biological baseline”, (if that even means anything in real life.)

I was wondering because in about that amount with unfortunately on and off training, I’ve gained about that much and want to shed the fat that came with it. I’ve heard a few guys here mentioning things like keeping the weight for a while (Prof X comes to mind (if you don’t mind I’d like to know why)). Thanks for the input guys, would be especially helpful if some of you vets chime in. [/quote]

I mention keeping a new HEAVIER weight you arrive at for a while before dieting…and also I think you should hold a dieted weight for a while if you are making a major overhaul to body composition.

Your body is adaptable. You have to teach it to reach a size that would normally be “inefficient” for it.

[quote]Professor X wrote:

[quote]DaBeard wrote:
Let us say someone has just gained about 40 pounds of muscle and fat in about 3-4 years. Is there any merit in trying to maintain that weight for any given amount of time for the sake of preserving muscle and “setting a new biological baseline”, (if that even means anything in real life.)

I was wondering because in about that amount with unfortunately on and off training, I’ve gained about that much and want to shed the fat that came with it. I’ve heard a few guys here mentioning things like keeping the weight for a while (Prof X comes to mind (if you don’t mind I’d like to know why)). Thanks for the input guys, would be especially helpful if some of you vets chime in. [/quote]

I know, that’s what I said in my original post. I just always wanted to know WHY you’ve advocated this approach? What’s your reasoning behind it. Is it because this is something you and other big guys have done and found beneficial through experience, or some other reason.

I mention keeping a new HEAVIER weight you arrive at for a while before dieting…and also I think you should hold a dieted weight for a while if you are making a major overhaul to body composition.

Your body is adaptable. You have to teach it to reach a size that would normally be “inefficient” for it.[/quote]

well that post turned out weird. Here it is without the messed up quotes.

I just always wanted to know WHY you’ve advocated this approach? What’s your reasoning behind it. Is it because this is something you and other big guys have done and found beneficial through experience, or some other reason.

[quote]DaBeard wrote:
well that post turned out weird. Here it is without the messed up quotes.

I just always wanted to know WHY you’ve advocated this approach? What’s your reasoning behind it. Is it because this is something you and other big guys have done and found beneficial through experience, or some other reason. [/quote]

Because your body looks for the most efficient route in most cases in a healthy individual. Putting on 100lbs of muscle is NOT efficient. To pull something like that off, you would have to force your body to accept that the added weight can be sustainable…or you will simply drop any new muscle gained if you diet too soon.

For the person looking to reach any “extreme” level, your body ain’t doing that unless it feels that plenty of food is going to be coming in for very long periods of time.

That is the only way someone is going to go from really small to freaking huge without literally relying on drugs the whole way.

Got ya.

[quote]MickyGee wrote:
Not saying you were… I just think anybody who has lurked here long enough knows that there has been a dramatic turn from the days of FattyFat, megan3wb, and unfortunately Artem (not to discredit the first two - for whom the approach seemed to work quite well)…

Thought I would bring up Dante because he specifically endorses X’s approach of getting strong and fat (edit: and before I get pounced on for advocating fat gain… his exact example, I think, is linebackers who then diet down and their frame is dramatically restructured… think synergy… not sure if he believes any of his heavier weight holding days has anything to do with how far he has come now…) and holding it…

[quote]DaBeard wrote:
I think the responses in this thread are what made T-Nation a great place when I first started lurking around here in 2008. That being said, I think I will never allow myself to get as fat as I did with this extended bulk. I’m not downright obese or anything but I just want to look muscular, not muscular with a winter coat of fat. Again, really appreciate the responses.

Also, Mickeygee, I wasn’t giving Prof X any flack at all. In fact I’ve been following his opinion for the last couple of years. I just wanted other guys who’ve been at this for a long time to spill some wisdom. We really need to utilize their experience and run with it. [/quote]
[/quote]

If Dante and X believe in a scientific “Set point” then I disagree but I believe their system works for bodybuilders, and serious lifters. Which Dante would be silly to explain, since 2 forums down the line people would say Dante doesn’t believe in bulking or holding weight. However if you have the time to gain muscle, and don’t want to get fatter it only makes sense to stay at your current weight. Over time with correct training and eating habits you would gain more muscle to hold for your next cut. If I was a coach who doesn’t feel like writing a dissertation every time I tell somebody not to bulk or cut I would tell them to just stay at a set point.

Funny thing about athletes are the best ones are the ones that just listen and often don’t know why they do what they do, but it often makes them the worst coaches.

[quote]Airtruth wrote:

If Dante and X believe in a scientific “Set point” then I disagree

[/quote]

I am not sure what this statement means. This would be different for everyone at any specific time. The point is, your body is more comfortable at a certain weight right now. For it to feel comfortable at a much higher weight that now uses more calories and stress to even maintain, it will have to hold that weight for a while.

It is very “scientific”.

I weigh just under 255lbs right now. I am at that stage that if |I miss one meal, I will drop back closer to 250lbs. Why? Because “250lbs” is my body’s “setpoint” right now and it will take more effort for me to hold “255” without dropping weight at the first sign of “famine”.

Things like this are the only reason I mention my education.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
For it to feel comfortable at a much higher weight that now uses more calories and stress to even maintain, it will have to hold that weight for a while.[/quote]

Force feeding a body to maintain a heavier weight for an extended period of time will:

-NOT speed up the rate at which the body can build muscle in a lesser, albeit sufficient level of nutrients combined with proper training.

-Possibly allow for stronger connective tissue as your walking around weight will put greater stress on your joints, not simply in the limited capacity of gym work, but 24/7 (a positive, or a negative?)

“Using” more calories, can mean supporting new muscle tissue (see my first point), or supporting fat gain (and probably a good amount of water and other assorted ‘stuff’). Gaining fat is never beneficial to building a physique. We can discuss the ‘better support for the joints’ issue, but this is beyond that level I would think.

The only reason it will feel more comfortable after prolonged periods, is that you will become more accustomed to the amount of food you have been ingesting.

[quote]
It is very “scientific”.[/quote]

uh-huh…

[quote]
I weigh just under 255lbs right now. I am at that stage that if |I miss one meal, I will drop back closer to 250lbs. Why? Because “250lbs” is my body’s “setpoint” right now and it will take more effort for me to hold “255” without dropping weight at the first sign of “famine”.[/quote]

Could it possibly be because it’s a “false weight?” I’ve had many clients come to me telling me there starting weights at the beginning of a prep, and then a week later, they’re down 5-10 lbs. Obviously no one under 25% bodyfat is dropping 5’10 lbs of fat in 7 days. I think I went into this in another thread recently, but the bottom line is that they’ve simply been fooling themselves believing that they really do weigh a much larger figure than they do.

[quote]
Things like this are the only reason I mention my education. [/quote]

uh-huh…

S

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:

Force feeding a body to maintain a heavier weight for an extended period of time will:

-NOT speed up the rate at which the body can build muscle in a lesser, albeit sufficient level of nutrients combined with proper training.[/quote]

It’s a good thing no one said that it would speed up the rate of anabolism.

What it will do is make sure there is enough food when needed when the body is ready to grow. That is all “bulking up” really is, nothing more nothing less.

Uhm, let’s also add:
-will likely also lubricate joints better to handle heavier weight and add to leverage. I am sure there are more benefits to bulking up if I wanted to add all possibilities.

[quote]

“Using” more calories, can mean supporting new muscle tissue (see my first point), or supporting fat gain (and probably a good amount of water and other assorted ‘stuff’). Gaining fat is never beneficial to building a physique. We can discuss the ‘better support for the joints’ issue, but this is beyond that level I would think.[/quote]

? I am not aware of anyone telling people to gain fat for no reason. It is simply a given that some fat will likely be added in the process. The goal is to keep that in check.

[quote]
The only reason it will feel more comfortable after prolonged periods, is that you will become more accustomed to the amount of food you have been ingesting.[/quote]

? This isn’t about “feel” as much as it is your own body becoming accustomed to handling normal function while also carrying more muscle mass. The way you walk will also change after gaining larghe amounts of muscle. Your body is in constant flux and getting it to accept that heavier body as normal is not always easily welcomed by the body.

[quote]

uh-huh…[/quote]

Not sure what you meant with this.

[quote]

Could it possibly be because it’s a “false weight?” I’ve had many clients come to me telling me there starting weights at the beginning of a prep, and then a week later, they’re down 5-10 lbs. Obviously no one under 25% bodyfat is dropping 5’10 lbs of fat in 7 days. I think I went into this in another thread recently, but the bottom line is that they’ve simply been fooling themselves believing that they really do weigh a much larger figure than they do.[/quote]

After gaining 100lbs, I would say no, it is not just “false weight” although food in the digestive tract is also a factor.

Also not sure what you meant by this. Care to clarify?

While we cannot disprove the whole “set point” thing, I think it is not difficult to find large holes in X’s argumentation.

Sadly, no proper discussion is possible with said individual, hence I will not even begin.

ps: Why do you still bother Stu?

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:
While we cannot disprove the whole “set point” thing, I think it is not difficult to find large holes in X’s argumentation.

Sadly, no proper discussion is possible with said individual, hence I will not even begin.

ps: Why do you still bother Stu?[/quote]

? This mentality makes no sense. ALL of this would be theory because none of this has been proven for all people in all situations.

Please describe the “holes” in my argument.

I got big apparently by falling right into them.

I have no intention of trying to make people believe something who don’t want to listen to what I write.

Put me on ignore and carry on.

the attitude is what doesn’t make sense though. There are too many really big people who do agree on this to act like it is “nonsense”.

But whatever makes you happy. I already got big.