T Nation

Scared of bulking


Okay i'll admit it, i'm pretty scared to start a new bulking period, after I recently lost substantial weight/fat over the last few months, and got pretty lean and confident. does anyone else have this problem? As much as I want to get big gains in the gym again, i cringe over the inevitable fat gain, in fear of ruining what I just recently accomplished.

somebody please change my mind


A wise man once told me that those who try to stay lean year round are the ones who look the exact same year after year.

In something as short as life, it's really not worth it to waste your time worrying and looking the same. It's much more enjoyable to put on gains and build a more appreciable frame over time and experiment with cutting it down again.

Sure, it's a vicious cycle, but bulk until you're out of the comfort zone and tone it back a bit. Dieting has made you more sensitive to insulin so the initial bulk wont be too bad aesthetically.



you don't have to put on a lot of fat man... do you want lose your confidence again? think this over carefully...

I would look over some John Meadows spills/articles on what he eats, and if I were you I'd buy Shelby's e-book called "Lean Gains".


If you are worried about the fat, then do a bulk using leangains (intermittent fasting). Have a look at Martin Berkhans website for details. It's an awesome way to stay lean and to bulk with minimal fat gain.


Does that really work for every body type?

I have a very fast metabolism and an active lifestyle. I'm 165lb (5.9) and I have to eat 3500-3600 kcal a day in order to get 4-5lb a month. If I was to eat less and try to "bulk lean", it wouldn't work. It just didn't in the past.


You know, Martin actually said that the only people that intermittent fasting will not be suited for are those people who require really huge amounts of calories or who have low appetites.

As long as you eat 3500 calorie sin your 8 hour eating window, then yes, I'm sure it will work. There have been a lot of great success stories using his protocols. If you struggle to hit the macros, then think about adding in some calorie dense food (like cream in your protein shakes etc.

But calories still count. IF has many benefits promting fat loss (leptin impact), and increasing growth hormone. The main benefits are psychological, in that it provides a very simple method to eat the correct amount of food. Because the eating window is short, you fill up on good clean food, and dont have the space or feel the need for junk food..

It's definitely worth trying in my opinion. I wont turn back! Give it a try for a month, you've got nothing to lose. Just make sure you keep the calories high if you struggle to gain weight.


You could try a little carb cycling...just try 3 or 4 high days to every 1 low day. The low day might be enough to dry out a bit and mitigate any fat gains. The decreased bloat may help you out mentally.

Or you could try intermittent IF...bulk 3 or 4 days with standard meal timing, then fast as deep into the next day until you feel really hungry and then shift back to bulk.

As long as your intake through the week averages out to enough cals for gaining, it may only take an occasional low day for you to stay lean.


IF protocols have been used successfully for many years to diet. I believe the jury is still out as far as making significant size gains though. I am still waiting to meet someone that has gained more than a dozen lbs of LBM total from the protocol. If a lifter is willing to limit the 'gain' for the 'lean', it is one way to go.


Give your body/mind some time to be at your new level of leanness. In the future you may come to the point that you want to gain muscle more then you fear a couple pounds of fat.

Having a bunch of people you don't know try to talk you into gaining muscle wouldn't help me one way or the other.



I understand your thoughts well. I have put on 40 lbs in two years, and the last 6-7 have come just in
the last month. I got over 200, to 202, and now am taking a week off the gym. I got bigger pretty much everywhere, but love that fact that I can see all my ABs and my Obliques in the AM really well.

I have done this to kind of keep my ABs in place, even if they get covered with a couple pounds of weight and don't show so well when I am bulking. Every time I am in the gym, which is every other day to lift, I do 100 Hanging Wipers in sets of 20. It keeps my ABs very firm, and even if I am a Hardgainer, it manages to keep fat under control.

Seems like my ABs can be worked all the time, and need to be, to stay firm. With me, its a lot about water too. I can tell when I am holding, my wedding ring gets too tight, and I have to avoid Carbs alltogether for a couple days to burn up the ones already in my system.


x2. If your head isnt in the right place then you'll start gaining, a month later you'll think you're getting too fat and start to cut and be worse off than you were in the first place.

If you're "bulking" (dont like that term. Seems like people take that as meaning they can gain lots of fat) and you're gaining a lot of fat then you're doing it wrong. A "bulk" doesnt mean you eat whatever you want and have 3 helpings of ice cream after you eat a whole large pizza lol.

If you do finally decide that you feel comfortable enough to gain weight just watch things closely. Start off with a moderate caloric surplus (300 cals maybe) and then see how the gains go. If they're very slow then after a 2-4 weeks bump up the cals by another 1-200. Just keep a realistic eye on things.

Good luck OP.


x2. If your head isnt in the right place then you'll start gaining, a month later you'll think you're getting too fat and start to cut and be worse off than you were in the first place."

  • why is this? what would be a realistic time frame I should 'bulk' for? I know it needs to be based off of the results, but I just want to go through a period of eating big (but healthy and smart) to gain size in the gym, and then go back to cutting so that I can be lean for, say, the christmas holidays? would a month of this bulk be worth it or no? you say i'd be worse off than i started if I just do a month, i'm not sure I understand why that is


Get a goal and write it down.

Get a game plan going, write it down, follow it to the letter.

Take control of your life and stop making excuses.


^^ From Other Thread ^^

Hey, I just noticed you are the same guy that made the "Whats going on" thread.
You don't need to bulk you need to eat at a maintenance level to reestablish your metabolism.
Going from a 1900 to 3000 calories per day will bring you back up to par and since you have spent 3-4 months eating such small quantities it will take some work to get that far.

Slowly working back up to maintenance calories is not a bulk...

If in a month or two you are up to 3000 calories per day and feeling good you may want to consider gaining mass but for now you need to repair the damage you did during your cut.


would there be harm in me making that a quick transition? for example, jump to eating 2700 calories (maintenance) tomorrow and consistently staying there, after eating at such a deficit (1900ish) for so long?


18-24 months


It takes some time to re-establish your set point after a cut. Once you start eating more carbs, and at a maintenance level you will probably gain 5 pounds or so. Don't worry as that will be mostly glycogen refilling your muscles. Keep lifting heavy (you should see some strength gains during this time) and eating at maintenance for a few weeks to maintain this weight. The hardest thing to do after a cut is to start eating normally again for fear of gaining fat back, but if you don't you will only keep losing muscle.

Once you have established your maintenance calories once again, and have been at that weight for a few weeks, you can safely start bulking again starting at 300 or so calories above maintenance level. Bulking for a month or two and then cutting again will only put you back where you started. Your body needs time to put on enough muscle during the bulk and you need to have enough strength gains as to not lose them right away if you cut too soon.

Think in terms of a year of growth minimum before you even think of cutting again. You can't be afraid of putting on a little fat. Don't go overboard with the calories and end up looking like the Pillsbury doughboy, but keep faith in knowing that if you lost the fat once you can lose it again.

And next time you cut, do it more intellegently. Aim for no more than a pound or two of weight loss per week, and keep your strength up throughout. Your maximum lifts should not go down much at all during a cut.


1 month of a bulk isn't going to do anything if you go right into a cut afterwards. No offense but you need to re evaluate you're outlook. Seems like you don't have a very large knowledge base about this stuff.


Yeah I would wait and not bulk right away in your case and when you do dont eat much over your maintenance like 300-500 over and you shouldnt gain too much fat and will be able to bulk a lot longer


i think of bulking like i do cutting in the sense that dropping cals all at once will make you stall and adding 1000 cals off the bat will make you fat.

i would add 300 cals for 2 weeks. let your body adjust. repeat until you're at a decent caloric intake then try a more steady cut (like mentioned in other thread)