Planning to end my bulk in about 2 months and bring my BF % down somewhat for the summer, as the bulk belly is starting to bother me a bit. I’ve actually been increasing in weight without increasing in waist size for about 6-8 weeks now, so I feel that if I drop a few kg of fat, I can later more or less maintain that BF% in the future, while gaining even more mass.
(Just an FYI… I’m not delusional and I don’t expect to have hawt abz while bulking. However, I don’t feel like I should become a fatty fat boy, either.)
I’ve seen a few people bring up the idea that you should sandwich a maintenance period between bulks and cuts, which doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. However, I’m somewhat torn between several options:
Carb/calorie cycle after the bulk. Go below maintenance and low-carb on off days, high/moderate-carb and over maintenance on training days. Do 4 weeks, see if I get leaner/bigger, and if I do, perhaps just pursue this instead of a full-blown cut. Otherwise, treat this phase as maintenance and then diet down.
Just meet maintenance calories every day for a month, then cut. Don’t like this option too much…
Don’t cut. Keep bulking, and make every off day a “control day,” i.e. for 2/3 days a week do some cardio or HIIT while going low-calorie and low-carb.
Additionally, I could increase activity levels as the summer gets better - e.g. walk a mile or two every day, play more sports - and let my body change its own composition.
To be fully honest, I like options 1 and 3 - they’re basically the same except that in option 3 I’m still looking to gain weight and going aggressively above maintenance on high-calorie days, while in option 1 I’m going to be less aggressive.
However, I also remember reading that you have to be in a caloric surplus at the end of the week to gain muscle… And that worries me. I’ve done the “control day” thing in the past, and might start doing it again from next week, but I’m worried that having 2 of these control days in a week will seriously compromise my muscle gains.