T Nation

Waist Size and Bulking


Hey y'all,

I take great pride in my relatively small waist size and purty abs. Lately, though, I've noticed that during my attempts to bulk, my waist size goes up and my abs more or less go away.

Now, I realize that to a degree this is normal seeing as a bit o' fat is required to put on some size (at least temporarily). But I don't like not seeing my abs and I sure as hell don't want to lose the small waist if I can help it.

Beyond that, I have difficulty keeping the weight I put on while bulking so it seems a waste to endanger my stomach aesthetics for this. Yet, I would like to get bigger now that my Army stint is up.
Any suggestions on keeping the waist small while packing on the pounds?


I think some of this has to do with meals that are too large, stretching the abdomen. Smaller portions might help with this issue, if you are king of the buffet, like me.

Too bad I don't have the discipline to prepare more frequent feedings. I just live with the gut.


It sounds like you might be a bit paranoid about putting on fat. That's fine, but if you are going to starve off the muscles you just put on, what is the point?

Work on keeping the muscles and losing the fat...


What vroom said above and its sounds like you are yoyoing as well. couple weeks to a month bulking then cut down. doesnt work bro. go longer and slower the body needs time to adapt to what you gain. You'll have to accept some fat if the goal is getting bigger.


I hope you aren't thinking that your abs will go away forever. Just bulk up, and CAREFULLY follow the right plan to get the fat off and see those abs again. You gotta make a sacrifice or two. I bulked to over 230 lbs, still passed the Army bodyfat test, still earned the Army Fitness Excellence Badge, still kept my gains, and all the while, I've been shedding fat. I got that today by the way. It isn't tough if you pay attention to the important points and follow them.
Don't sweat the abs. Those come back easily enough


Ya know, you just have to ask yourself how bad you really want to grow. If gaining size isn't worth the trade off of TEMPORARILY losing your abs, then forget it. Just stay at your current size or do a real slow bulk.

I started bulking over the fall and winter, when my Marine stint in SoCal was over (no more pool/beach). I didn't have to worry about chicks seeing me half naked at the beach so I went for it. So try waiting until like Sept/Oct and bulk till March/April so like 6-7 months, then cut for the summer.

Personally, I've seen my strength increase along with my size and I like that so I'm WILLING to lose sight of the abs for now. But that's just me. I lift for me and not for others. So when a girl asked me yesturday "why don't you want a 6-pack anymore?" I told her I wasn't worried about it now. I just want to get stronger and look like I lift even with my shirt on. The other dude in the room had a 6-pack, but you wouldn't even know he lifted.

Good luck!



Thanks for the responses guys. I'll work on increasing my length of bulking time as that appears to be an issue.

However, it's not that I'm worried about losing sight of my 6pack temporarily, as it I'm worried my waist line not shrinking back down to what it is now following a bulking cycle.

The muscles I'm sure will show after the cutting phase, but does the waist measurement get back to the same size(or smaller) as well? That, and keeping the bulk, are what I'm worried about.

As a yoyo anecdote: During my last deployment I was able to put on, and keep, roughly 10 pounds of muscle and up my bench by 40 pounds or so, and my deadlift by a good 70-80. Since I've been back, I've lost about 15 pounds and my strength went down but only slightly. My waist size however, is up a bit from where it was before I put on the weight. Now, I want the muscle back and the waist to get slimmer (at least in the long haul). Is this possible?


Great choice IMO if you ultimate gola is to add quality mass.

Hmm double edged sword, yes you can be VERY lean again but the waist may be a bit larger more on that later.

Keeping the bulk has everything to do with diet as well as training and giving the body time and reason (training) to keep it (mass)

OK heres the deal on the waist sure you can get slim lean and cut again but the waist just may be larger in diameter. Think of this. Your doing heavy ab and lower back, work, as well as the whole core. Like above you said your DL went up 70-80lbs. well along with that SURELY came some lower back hypertrophy (growth) so that added Muscle will lead to a larger waist. Aint no getting around that.

This may help as well. me like two years and a week ago was sitting at 175-180lbs damn lean down from 300lbs FAT ASS. OK I dont and never will have a Small danty waist mine is wide due to both genetics and injury, but anyway I was lean to the point of having veins showing clearly everywhere including obliques, ass etc. Now two years + later im sittng today at 250lbs (lots of muscle memory initially from the MAJOR strenght loss from Bad missinformed diet choices during final cut. But my waist sure is larger BUT I am still wearing the same shorts as before (lol not just size but some of the EXACT same shorts) They were very loose then but still that aint to damn shabby for 70+ friggin lbs.

Cant see my abs at this point but Im at this point still very much lifting for performance and strength as thats my thing I dont see a BB contest in my future maybe a strongman or powerlifting ?? but still want to look decent Nekid. Right now IMO I aint perty nekid but in clothes Im ok and you can tell I lift. still have some veins and I know if /when I cut due to the time spent and not getting WAY the hell out of hand fat I can cut down no prob.

Right now Im actually in a pahse to lean out a BIT keep what I just gained not really CUT but up the energy system work keep the strength and muscle and lose a bit of fat. Keep an eye on the gym numbers and mirror and adjust intake to performance and sight.

Best of luck,


Ok, I'm getting the waist size issue now...Like Phill said, if you're deadlifting and squating you're gonna be putting on some muscle in your core. I know that my lower abs and obliques are getting bigger (and stronger) through the compound lifts and the way that I train them to help improve the squat and dead. If you've never seen that pic of "Caveman" on this site, check it out. EXTREMELY muscular midsection, but it looks really good. Oh, and some chicks really dig muscular obliques...

Good luck man.



Thanks guys. I figured it might be a result of the constant heavy deads...well, we'll see how it goes. Again, thanks for the knowledge!