T Nation

'Rebounding' Into Hypertrophy?

I have read a lot about this phenomenon. I would like to hear about personal experiences…

Not that I am looking to cut down - it won’t be for a while, anyway - but I am curious as to the following:

  1. Say you are at a certain weight and cut down. Just as it has been advised to stay at a higher weight so the body gets used to it, would it be possible to cut then push into a clean bulk and utilize the body’s rebound effect to put on muscle?

Essentially, what I am asking is if the body’s memory effect is more tied into a particular weight (or set point, as has been labeled in another thread) or if body composition is also “remembered.” If composition is remembered, then I guess it is harder to utilize the rebounding for muscle gain IF there was not much LBM before the initial cut.

However, if it is merely weight that is remembered, then surely muscle gain can be accelerated by rebounding, right?

  1. If my theory above is flawed, is it therefore better to maintain the lower - albeit more ‘cut’ - body weight for a period of time before attempting to pile on muscle?

Is it important for the body to remember body composition in this case (e.g. insulin sensitivity, etc) ?

Just curious.

I don’t have anything to contribute here, but I wanted to bump this thread because I am curious about this too and believe it could be an interesting discussion.

ive heard about it being used before.

i had a similar experience. basically i was an average weight, 170. then i was like damn, i want abs so bad and i put myself on a 2,000-3,000 stairstep calorie deficit. i was lifting, doing MMA/Muay thai, and had a “cardio” day. i got down to like 160 lbs at my lowest and i still didnt have the abs i wanted. i saw a picture of myself and was like holy shit how am i so thin?

it was impacting everything, i felt sluggish at work mentally. i was getting owned in then it leveled off. MMA and then i just said, fuck this. i decided to choose between lifting and MMA and chose lifting, and said fuck the diet and just ate like an animal. i was doing the AD so even though i ate a ton of food it was all protein based. i destryoed my refridgerator that day, i ate all the eggs, all the cheese, cold cuts, unsalted nuts, i went through 5 dozen raw eggs that day. i gained around 20 pounds in the span of a few months.

it may work. although id suggest doing the diet down portion correctly with heavy weights instead of what i did was basically the same exact hypertrophy workout but on a deficiet. unless you want to amplify the effects by losing muscle then gaining it back through muscle memory. but even in that case id say do some heavy work for a few weeks just ensure whatever muscle you have will come back through memory because if you just gained 5lbs over the last month and diet down it wont come back.

YEs, at the end of a cut, your improved insulin sensitivity, greater anabolic effect of re-introducing carbs (or raising carbs and calories) and your muscle memory should let you add back the muscle you lost (while cutting) a loooot faster than before. It also depends on how lean you are when beginning your “bulk”. When coming off a contest dry out, people often gain 15-20 pounds (fluids, glyc, water) rapidly (few hours) and often regain the size they lost in less than a month. I think the rebound continues from that point and you do gain lean mass quicker for a while.
All this assumes that you’ve held on to your size long enough for muscle memory to work.

I think Berardi said that there is a “leanness memory” for the body (if you’ve drained a fat cell once you will drain it more easily the next time) and thats why he uised the get shredded diet a few times himself…

IMO as long as you got lean ONCE (sub 10) and are able to add lean mass without increasing the fat cell count (i.e. inject “muscle memory” without increasing “fat cell memory” - there is no reason for you to not get leaner with each passing gaining/losing phase. Give yourself a couple of weight set points to oscillate between when gaining size and/or losing fat.

[quote]PonceDeLeon wrote:
I have read a lot about this phenomenon. I would like to hear about personal experiences…

Not that I am looking to cut down - it won’t be for a while, anyway - but I am curious as to the following:

  1. Say you are at a certain weight and cut down. Just as it has been advised to stay at a higher weight so the body gets used to it, would it be possible to cut then push into a clean bulk and utilize the body’s rebound effect to put on muscle?

Essentially, what I am asking is if the body’s memory effect is more tied into a particular weight (or set point, as has been labeled in another thread) or if body composition is also “remembered.” If composition is remembered, then I guess it is harder to utilize the rebounding for muscle gain IF there was not much LBM before the initial cut.

However, if it is merely weight that is remembered, then surely muscle gain can be accelerated by rebounding, right?

  1. If my theory above is flawed, is it therefore better to maintain the lower - albeit more ‘cut’ - body weight for a period of time before attempting to pile on muscle?

Is it important for the body to remember body composition in this case (e.g. insulin sensitivity, etc) ?

Just curious.[/quote]

This theory is true if you cut down to a very low (6-10%) bf %age,from a previous high(15+).At that time your body’s insulin sensitivity has increased tremendously,and the depleted muscle will absorb carbs much more efficiently.Protein utilization also increases since you are eating more carbs.Your test levels shoot to an all time high after being lowered tremendously from several months of eating below maintenance.

The way to transition is to slowly reintroduce high carbs back in your diet, while maintaining high protein. The weight you will add will be mostly(if not all) muscle and water from replenteshing lost glycogen.I think this is the fastest way to gain lean muscle mass, while minimizing fat gains.

I’m sure both are factored in, but you’d have to maintain a long time with mass in order to get a good rebound… and to keep lean, you would also have to maintain that for a long time. Would both cancel the each other out in regards to a quick rebound? Not sure.

Would you guys say this ‘rebound effect’ diminishes with training age, such that an individual who has done this successfully and added a significant amount of ‘newbie muscle’ has diminished his capacity to exploit this phenomenon with the same success as in the past?

I’d like to say that at first glance, one might think that my own ‘set point’ has been raised over the years. Proper training, attention to diet etc… has definitely had some effect.
Of course you could also argue that the ability to stay at a given bodyweight without much effort could be the result of a slowed metabolism, a better knowledge of what works for your individual body, or any number of things.

As to a rebound effect? Without a doubt. The science has already been answered by other posters, but anyone who has kept their cals or carbs down for a prolonger period will definitely cause their body to shift in some manner when they cease such behavior.

S

Stu,

So, are you saying that the rebound effect is more tied to overall weight or to body composition?

Say you were 200 lbs @ 20% and you cut some BF. Can you rebound back to a previous weight ‘set point,’ albeit with a better body composition?

Seems like that might be possible but the tendency for your body to recompose at the most recent body composition - say, prior to the initial cut - will be the uphill challenge. Resisting this tendency, I mean, and instead shooting for a rebound into a more desirable body composition.

Thanks for chiming in, man. I like hearing about first-hand experiences on stuff like this.

Ponce,

While reading the NSCA Strength and Conditioning Cert Book I came upon this subject. It stated that an individual has a set point of predetermined BF % not weight. I agree with it. You can change your set point that is predetermined by genetics but obviously it takes a lot of hard work, clean nutrition, or performance enhancing drugs. I hope this helped a little bit, feel like I’m rambling on!

[quote]BUSHMASTER wrote:
Ponce,

While reading the NSCA Strength and Conditioning Cert Book I came upon this subject. It stated that an individual has a set point of predetermined BF % not weight. I agree with it. You can change your set point that is predetermined by genetics but obviously it takes a lot of hard work, clean nutrition, or performance enhancing drugs. I hope this helped a little bit, feel like I’m rambling on![/quote]

Lending even further evidence to the idea of a ‘fat memory,’ and therefore ‘leannness memory’ that Berardi wrote about.

At least, that is what I think…

Dont have much to add on the subject, but G-flux, nutrient timing, and periodized nutrition seem to be all useful concepts for what your talking about.

Ponce,

Exactly! Contrary to what most people believe you have the same amount of fat cells throughout your life. They are all there by the age of 5(I think). Fat cells are never lost(unless you get lypo) they just shrink or become larger. The idea is that your fat cells have memory to a certain predisposed size, hence BF set point.

[quote]BUSHMASTER wrote:
Ponce,

Exactly! Contrary to what most people believe you have the same amount of fat cells throughout your life. They are all there by the age of 5(I think). Fat cells are never lost(unless you get lypo) they just shrink or become larger. The idea is that your fat cells have memory to a certain predisposed size, hence BF set point.[/quote]

True, but you do have influence over the insulin sensitivity and size of your both your fat and muscle cells.

[quote]dankid wrote:

True, but you do have influence over the insulin sensitivity and size of your both your fat and muscle cells.
[/quote]

I agree, the body is going to always want to stay at its comfortable spot or homeostasis. So I don’t think you can rebound into hypertrophy unless you recently just lost muscle and had that muscle for a good period of time.

[quote]PonceDeLeon wrote:
Stu,

So, are you saying that the rebound effect is more tied to overall weight or to body composition?

Say you were 200 lbs @ 20% and you cut some BF. Can you rebound back to a previous weight ‘set point,’ albeit with a better body composition?

Seems like that might be possible but the tendency for your body to recompose at the most recent body composition - say, prior to the initial cut - will be the uphill challenge. Resisting this tendency, I mean, and instead shooting for a rebound into a more desirable body composition.

Thanks for chiming in, man. I like hearing about first-hand experiences on stuff like this.[/quote]

I will take this road. I am no where by any means of the body type or condition that you are looking for but my story in a nutshell.

Dieted down from 250 to 165. When I started to put weight back on, 190 came to me quick fast and in a hurry. More fat than what I would have liked, but way more muscle is being carried than it was when I hit the same weight on the way down.

I look forward to trying this same concept at higher weights in stead of higher “blob like” weights.

FWIW

Yes, thats generally what bodybuilders do. And it works. As you progress with your training, keeping a focus on the weights lifted in each movement (or load for cables or whatever) you usually hit the same weight leaner than the previous time.

Eventually youve milked all you can from the “original bulkup to 200 pounds” and you may have to move to the next weight level to add more size.

When you do your final “cut-down” years later (hopefully), the duration you held your size for is (likely) a big factor in determining how much size you can hold on to while dieting down to, say, sub 8% bf or whatever.

[quote]PonceDeLeon wrote:
Say you were 200 lbs @ 20% and you cut some BF. Can you rebound back to a previous weight ‘set point,’ albeit with a better body composition?
[/quote]

Yeah, that’s what I was thinking was possible.

I am obviously a beginner and not looking for any super specific strategies, but I am still reading, learning and asking questions…

Thanks for all the explanations. It is a phenomenon I have noticed myself with rapid weight loss due to illness.

I’m kind of slow when it comes to this topic of cutting and bulking diets. Could someone explain brefly what a bulking and cutting routine would look like?

I’ve actually been in the process of dieting in the past when the scale would just stall. After a couple of weeks, I’d start looking fuller, but still, not budge of the scale. I take this to mean the body would grow if I were to let it, so I’ll usually up the cals for a few weeks and then resume my decent.

Do I have any scientific data to support this? Of course not (I’m not that smart -lol), but sometimes it just feels like the body ‘wants’ to grow, especially after being depleted for a prolonged period.

S