T Nation

To Bulk or Not to Bulk


Hey, everyone, I'd like to ask your help for a relatively nooby question.

I'm a young lifter (17 years old) that plans to compete for my first meet in the USPA Eastern Regional Raw Championships in Maryland. I'm at roughly 182 pounds at 5'10".

My lifts (old maxes) are: 375 beltless squat, 285 paused bench, 425 beltless deadlift. I'm testing out the Cube after running the westside method for a very considerable (over a year) amount of time. I think I am good for 395, 300, 445 at the moment (my maxes are old as fuck, and this is what my lifting has been telling me) and will probably end up with 405, 300, 455 with a belt when I go test my maxes at the end of this training cycle.

Anyway, the question is: Should I bulk up to the 198 class, stay in 181, or just let my weight steadily increase? I don't exactly want to get chubby, and I'd guess that I am about 14% body fat (my abs are visible, and I am not fluffy). Also, I don't think I could reasonably add a ton of muscle since I am natural and intend on staying natural. I think the most amount of muscle I could reasonably gain before the meet is about 5 pounds of muscle and a couple pounds of fat.

Anyway, please tell me what you think. My plan is just to gain about five pounds or so pounds of body weight into the meet, and not worry too much about it or fitting into either weight class while I go get used to lifting with the belt I am going to order then just hit some reasonable lifts (go for 90% of my maxes for openers, then 10-15 pounds off of my best gym lifts, then go for pr's on my third attempts) and get used to competing.


It’s your first meet, just show up at whatever weight you end up being at.


Gain the weight if you want to be strong, you could be at a relatively young age. My biggest regret has been not constantly bulking. I could’ve been stronger by now, I’m a year older than you and at 430/320/560


Just continue to work hard and grow, and compete in whatever class you weigh in at on meet day. Don’t go crazy just to try and fill out the 198, but slow steady growth will be beneficial in the long run.


Don’t bulk excessively or extremely fast. Take your time to get to 198. At 5’10" you are about 4" taller than me which means you der have some feel out room. But, I fell into the dumb ass problem of watching the scale go up rather than the weights on the bar. Wound up getting nothing but a bigger waist and hating how I looked. Take it slow but eat, eat a lot, but eat good.