Been bulking for about a year now, currently sit at 217lb 6ft tall at around 14/15% body fat. Lifts are 250kg deadlift, 230kg squat and 150kg bench press. Should I do a mini cut now to get a little leaner or carry on bulking as in the long run I want to compete in drugs free powerlifting.
How tall are you?
I say keep growing.
I’m 6ft, 46inch chest, 17 inch biceps (flexed)
If I was you, I would alternate between phases of bulking and staying at caloric maintenance. The two things that will make you get too fat is bulking too fast and bulking for too long. After about 3-4 months of bulking you will be likely to gain mostly fat and not so much muscle, plus doing the same sort of hypertrophy work for too long becomes counterproductive. It’s better if you can avoid needing to cut at all and just stay around the same bf% as you get bigger, cutting will result in lost muscle and strength and once you bulk again you are lucky if you aren’t right back where you started.
Also, 1lb per week is pretty much the upper limit for weight gain (without a ton of fat, or with drugs) and you might be better of going for 1/2lb a week, around 2-3lbs a month is plenty.
So as for training, you can sort of synchronize that with diet. Bulking = hypertrophy focus (because you want muscle, not fat) so higher reps and a bit more volume, when you take a couple months off bulking you can focus on heavy low rep work then get back to bulking with bigger weights.
EDIT: I thought this was the powerlifting sub… If this isn’t a powerlifting question, please ignore everything below lol
Guys around the 6ft mark tend to have more success in the heavier classes. Looking at your pictures, your frame just looks like it needs more mass. Your realistic options IMO are:
Under 220: you don’t have much room to grow with 3lbs (plus water weight) and you look like you need more muscle. 3lbs of additional muscle will help your lifts but if you are unhappy with your lifts then it’s probably not going to change that. Which means dropping fat. Going by your numbers, you could probably drop 3%, which gives you an additional 9-ish lbs of muscle. Which will make a difference but it may not make you competitive with smaller, more muscled guys.
Under 242lbs: This is going to be a much easier journey, as your muscle mass increases you can add a little bit of fat and still maintain your body fat percentage. This is good news for your lifts.
If you don’t care about your lifts that much, just that you get better and you care lots about how you look. Stay under 220, probably cut first so you can maximise the time you spend in surplus/at maintainance.
Thanks for advice everyone