I read http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/the_truth_about_bulking]this article by Christian Thibaudeau and had a revelation of sorts. Since I'm on a 'bulking' phase right now, I'll finish that up, get down to around 10% (assuming I can find somewhere to get a reading), and stay there while trying to gain lean mass. I know that being a beginner I can gain more muscle due to my newbie gains so I'm taking that through to about February. From there I'll get down and stay down. I'll be cutting the crap in my diet and try to keep it out.
So what do you guys think?
I think that 99% of people would be best served by eating at or slightly above/below maintenance depending on their specific goals. Keep in mind that maintenance must take into account changing energy demands due to progression in the weight room. The more you lift and the heavier you lift the more you will need to eat in order to "maintain".
I've reread your OP about 3 times now, and I'm still not sure what you are saying. You're bulking? Then plan on getting down to 10%? Then a "clean" bulk with minimal fat gain after that? Where's the epiphony? You seem to just be mapping out your training goals over the next few months. I think you should add a strength phase in there. The stronger and more in shape you are, the easier time you'll have dropping the fat and keeping it down.
I've read Thib's article many times, and while I agree in principle, it just does not work well in practice. If you want to wait 10 years to gain 10 lbs of muscle maybe, but for most normal guys past the "newbie" stages, you really need to eat well above maintenance to see any appreciable mass gains. Yes, you will gain some fat, and yes, it can be lost without too much effort. Trying to stay at 10% BF while bulking is a recipe for frustration.
agreed, unless you are already BIG, i'd say you are wasting your time. epiphany fail.
Many, Many, Many coaches seem to get this idea (the "clean and lean" bulk) AFTER they spent some years getting big and strong while staying kind of soft. I'm not saying he is wrong or misguided, by even thibs spent some years looking doughy, and he dieted down to what we now know as The Beast (although he is much beastlier these days.)
Unless you have great genetics, a ton of room to grow, and amazing discipline it is tough to stick to 10% or under and actually hope to gain large amounts of muscle for most of the population.
CT himself has written that he didn't mean for beginners to take this as "get down to 10% body fat before gaining".
I told him newbs would see it that way from the start....and years later, they still do.
Good luck running in circles by doing what you shouldn't be.