T Nation

The FFB Commandments of Bulking


Hi all,

First off, I'm not sure whether I actually qualify as a FFB, but I'm pretty sure I do. I'm 5'10, and I used to weigh 250. That said, at that point I could bench 315, clean 305, and squat right at 300 (weak, I know). That was 6 years ago.

I lost a ton of weight running/not eating/etc over the course of a few years. Well, I've decided to really commit myself to bodybuilding. 2011 is the year of the bulk for me.

As a FFB, there are a ton of resources on T-Nation giving advice and such. I thought I would build the skeleton of a thread that would help all the FFBs like me to maintain focus when trying to bulk and get stronger--even if, gasp, we have to sacrifice our 'hawt sexy abs' at the alter of strength gains.

The FFB Commandments of Bulk:
1. Thou shalt not weigh thyself more than monthly.

  1. Thou shalt adhere to using your lifting totals as a sign of progress.

  2. After beginning the bulk, thou shalt not use the term "body fat percentage" for at least six months.

  3. Thou shalt not eat like crazy for two weeks and call that your 'bulk.' Bulking, as I've learned in beginning a conscious
    bulk for the first time, takes real, sustained commitment.

  4. Thou shalt take progress shots every two months and use those to see where you're at.

  5. If thou shouldst wander into the field of yo-yo dieting (i.e. 'bulking' one day, 'cutting' the next), then thou hast truly trodden into the land of sin. Repent.

  6. Thou shalt limit thy cardio to 40 minutes a day. I know that's a lot, but some of us are addicted to it.

  7. Thou shalt lift with absolute intensity, drive, and focus.

  8. Thou shalt eat clean protein sources every two hours as part of a (relatively) clean and disciplined bulking effort.

  9. Thou shalt man up, quit whining on forums about not making gains when you don't want to make them.

That seems to be the collective wisdom of T-Nation's treatment of the FFB phenomenon in a 10 Commandments form, which, as I said, is surprisingly well represented on these boards.

Some Links:
FFB Handbook:

And for abject berating of FFB's who are extremely depressed at the prospect of losing said 'hawt sexy abz,' feel free to use the search function at your pleasure.

Any links others might want to add, post them and I'll put them up. I was pretty surprised at how much FFB stuff there is on these forums.


Half of those commandments are applicable to only a proportion of people trying to gain weight/muscle and the other half plain sucks.


Ah, well, sorry if I ended up creating a massive waste of space. I was reading up on bulking for the FFB crowd on here last year, and now that I actually made a handle, I thought I would post what seemed to be some things that, looking back, were general themes. These "rules" are meant only to apply to that specific crowd (i.e. my crowd), so in case you took me to be giving what were promulgated as general guidelines, that wasn't my point.

Either way, sorry again if it's a waste.


It isn't a waste of space, but rather I am just saying that most of those guidelines are either unnecessary, don't apply to the majority of "former fat boys," or plain suck.

  1. This may be psychologically beneficial to some FFBs but completely detrimental to others. Although I do not believe that most people should be weighing themselves daily, there is no reason why FFBs can't weigh themselves weekly to monitor their progress so that adjustments can be made.

  2. Strength is an excellent indicator of progress in the gym BUT not the only one and not necessarily the exclusively most important one.

  3. Again, although looking at yourself in the mirror, training performance, and body weight are likely the only necessary indicators of progress, there is no reason why FFBs cannot measure their BF% regularly (every 2-3 months) if they so choose unless it will hamper them psychologically.

  4. TRUE.

  5. This is also helpful for most FFBs.

  6. TRUE.

  7. TRUE.

  8. Again, this one depends on the individual. Most of the times is correct.

  9. This one is broscience at it's finest. There is no need to eat a complete protein source every 2 hours with chronometer-like precision. Reaching your overall planned intake of protein within the 24 hour period is most important. Also, "clean" is a f*cking stupid term as it is very difficult to define and the effect of one food is determined by it's placement in an overall diet.

  10. TRUE

Ok. Now that I've gone through each commandments, I realize that most of them are fairly decent, some depend on the individual, and one is plain wrong.


Great post for guys like me.

Between the two of you, you've made some really great points.

Id weigh in but at this point my opinion means fuck all, maybe in 6 months or so after some serious lifting ill throw my hat in.

Seriously though, great thread.


Well, my opinion should certainly be taken with a grain of salt. Most of my opinions at this point regarding this topic are shaped by a) my attempt at a bulk last year and b) stuff I've read on these boards over the past year and a half or so.

As far as Mr. Rider's objections:

To 1: I really strongly support the idea of monthly, and here's why: first off, FFBs tend to be pretty numbers-obsessed. We have wired ourselves to associate scale weight going up with negativity or failure. Our minds need to observe the improvements in the mirror as concomitant with increases in scale weight to forge a more healthy connection.

When I was bulking last year, I only gained 40 pounds. I remember weighing myself a whole lot (at first biweekly, then weekly, then daily). Not only was I looking at the wrong thing (should have been checking my progress mirror-wise and lift-wise), but I think that's the reason I only gained 40 pounds (although I did gain an essentially entirely lean 40).

To 2: Point taken. I guess I was just thinking about lift totals as a way to push off thinking about either scale weight or aesthetics initially (i.e. for the first month or two, to give your body a legit chance to adapt before someone goes cutting of his nose to spite his face).

To 3: Two to three months might be reasonable. I was thinking about six months more as an initial barrier cost of actually committing to bulking for the FFB. After the first six, then perhaps the 2-3 model might be better, with according increases in frequency as you want to fine tune or not.

To 9: For most FFBs, losing huge amounts of weight very often leads to an OCD relationship with food and diet. Making oneself adhere to strict 'bulking' restrictions (which is by many accounts an oxymoron) has two benefits for this group: a) it gives us a "plan" to feel like we're focusing on.

I think that we psychologically need that; b) it prevents the risk of undereating. As an additional benefit, a lot of FFBs have bad relationships with "fatty" or unhealthy foods--eating "clean" can alleviate those feelings without standing in the way of progress if done right.