T Nation

How much do you gain or lose in one cycle?

I’ve done bulking and cutting cycles where I easily gain or lose 10# (over 3 weeks or so). Problem is that I seem to either lose too much mass cutting or gain too much fat bulking. Are smaller cycles like up/down 5# better?

There are alot of factors involved, but the major two are caloric consumption and food choices. If you are gaining too much fat, then you are likely intaking too many calories or making poor choices as to where those calories are coming from. Likewise, If you are losing too much, you are likely cutting calories too much.

Joel-(Lipo maybe this can help answer your question too.) Do you think some of the weight increase/loss could be attributed to how much water he is holding? Because 10 lbs either way seems like a pretty large number in such a short time.

Water gain is a definite; however, I wasn’t really taking this into consideration because I was assuming that Lipo was tracking his “fat” and “mass” gains/losses with more than just his scale weight (skinfolds, girth measurements. Granted, I probably shouldn’t have assumed that.

That’s a good question. Joel I’m curious how much up and down your wieght would vary when you were doing the ABCDE diet as part of the contest you won?

Just a word about using the scale for guaging progress:

Because of this very reason (swings in water and glycogen storage, both on the high and low side), the most I'll ever use it for is to evaluate "long term" progress. For example I'll take my scale weight and BF% at the beginning of a cutting cycle and then reevaluate it once I complete the cycle after about a week of maintainance calories. I never use the scale (as a measurement of progress) weekly or daily as some individuals do.

When bulking or cutting I guage my progress with skin folds and girth measurements. I find that this is a much more effective way to validate the effectiveness of the program you are using to achieve your goals.

Having said that, I weighed myself quite often when on ABCDE (just for the hell of it). It was not unusual for me to gain 10 lbs in 2 days once I started bulking again (going from 1800 calories to 5000 calories will do that to ya everytime) or to lose similar amounts just as fast when moving back to the cutting portion of the program. However, when bulking, my girth measurements gradually moved upward and when cutting my skinfolds gradually moved downward.

As you can see, I don't get ecstatic about scale weight numbers, nor do I let them ruin my day. Smart progress assessment is key to interpreting the validity of a particular diets (and supplements for that matter) and is also a fundamental in finding out what adjustments need to be made in order to individualize the diet to your specific needs. I'm convinced that monitoring BF% and girth measurements is the best way to do this; individuals should save the scale for "long term" progress assessment.

I’m aware of the water shift. If I go full keto I drop about 8# in (3) days (ie water). But this last cutting diet I dropped 12# in 20 days. I thought some of this was water but when I brought carbs back up I didn’t rebound (at all). I know I lost a lot of bodyfat but strength held up until ‘after’ I leveled off. Then I realized that I must have lost some muscle. When I bulk I always get puffy (high sub-Q water) which drives me crazy. I’m about 10-12% so I can’t afford to gain too much fat while bulking. Generally sucks.

I’ve actually dropped 19 lbs. in 21 days during a 3 week Fat Fast. I was using Androsol at the time at 140 sprays/daily. After slowly introducing carbs back in the diet I ended up with about a 14 lb. net loss. Measurements were taken. Arms, chest, legs all lost about 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Waist lost 3 and 1/2 inches. As far as gaining, it all depends on my starting point. Recently I gained 17 lbs. in a 2 week cycle of 1.5 doses/day of MAG-10. After off weeks, net gain was 13 lbs. This last 2 week cycle of MAG-10, since I weighed more when I first started I only gained 13 lbs. in 2 weeks. I hope to retain 10 or 11 of that. Again measurements are being taken and for the most part a 1/4 to 3/4 inch is being gained.