T Nation

Want to Bulk

Hi everyone,
I am six months into serious weightlifting and am thinking about bulking. I’ve made some alright gains so far. Here are my stats so far:
In January

bench press= 95lbs (8 reps)
deadlift=95lbs (8 reps)
back squat= 135lbs (8 reps)

Now
bench press= 165lbs (8 reps)
note I have a little shoulder problem that has been keeping me from increasing my bench. It sucks and is really annoying
deadlift=305lbs (8 reps)
back squat= 245lbs (3 reps)

I have a few querstions. First, am I ready to bulk or should I just keep working on my base of strength? If I am ready, and want to use Dr. Berardi’s concept of nutrient timing to get the most out of my bulking cycle, should I include recovery drinks in my daily calorie amount or keep that aside?

Several guys talk about carb cycling, where you don’t replace carbs on non-workout days. The thing I’m confused about is if you still get the same amount of calories, do you replace carbs with fat? I really appreciate any help I can get in figuring this out. If you want pics I can provide those too. Thanks.
Il Don

what bodyfat % are you right now, if you’re around 12 or so, you should check out CT’s article “Carb Cycling Codex” It’s a good article, esp if you want to gain without adding too much fat. It should cover all your questions about carb cycling.

Bulking has nothing to do with strength, you will never be strong enough or too weak to bulk, the most important thing, I think, is to have broken down the resistance present in your central nervous system which prevents you from working your muscles to the fullest. Like all of us you probably had huge ?increases? in strength when you started lifting, that?s the resistance I am talking about. If you have been training hard for six months you should have eliminated that by now, so you should be ready to bulk.

The Second consideration is your current BF%, this is where I am likely to get flamed, but in general the more fat you have the harder it is to get a good muscle to fat growth ratio. Personally if I am at 10% BF I gain 10 pounds of muscle and 1-2 pounds of fat, at 15% I gain 5-7 pounds of muscle per pound of fat. Keep that in mind, and find how your body responds compared to mind.

Finally cycling carbs is a good idea, I have had great success with it. the program I followed, the carb cycle codex, by Christian Thibaudeau, posted here on this site, cycles carbs and calories. If you were to keep calories constant I would try to replace carbs with protein, or a protein/fat mix in favor of protein on low carb days.

As for your recovery drinks, they are included in your plan, everything that you eat you need to keep track of, or you risk throwing off your ratios.

–Waddle

I’d say about 8%bf right now and 162lbs. Sorry I didn’t mention that. I’ll check that article out, it sounds like it’s just what I’m looking for. Thanks.

Concerning your shoulder problem, you might want to read the 2 recent shoulder articles by Eric Cressey. Good information.

http://www.T-Nation.com/findArticle.do?article=06-074-training

http://www.T-Nation.com/findArticle.do?article=06-075-training

[quote]Waddle wrote:

The Second consideration is your current BF%, this is where I am likely to get flamed, but in general the more fat you have the harder it is to get a good muscle to fat growth ratio. Personally if I am at 10% BF I gain 10 pounds of muscle and 1-2 pounds of fat, at 15% I gain 5-7 pounds of fat per pound of fat. Keep that in mind, and find how your body responds compared to mind.

[/quote]

I personally think this is complete bullshit and would love for soemone to prove to me that you somehow gain more body fat if your starting is 15% than if it is 10% if all other factors are the same. That body fat percentage number is possibly the most abused piece of info in the gym next the home phone numbers of the girls working the front desk.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Waddle wrote:

The Second consideration is your current BF%, this is where I am likely to get flamed, but in general the more fat you have the harder it is to get a good muscle to fat growth ratio. Personally if I am at 10% BF I gain 10 pounds of muscle and 1-2 pounds of fat, at 15% I gain 5-7 pounds of fat per pound of fat. Keep that in mind, and find how your body responds compared to mind.

I personally think this is complete bullshit and would love for soemone to prove to me that you somehow gain more body fat if your starting is 15% than if it is 10% if all other factors are the same. That body fat percentage number is possibly the most abused piece of info in the gym next the home phone numbers of the girls working the front desk.
[/quote]

HAHA.

Hi Prof,

I was wondering how long it would be before you called my stuff BS; it is my first day posting, not bad. It is kind of a right of passage here right?

Anyway,
You will note I included my personal experience, if that is not enough I can also get the figures from 12 guys who I have trained with in the past? we all started training at the same time but I started a few months before them, so they all came to me for advice.

I have had everyone do the same thing, and have noted the results? I know 9 of the 12 respond in the same way I do, four of us started out fat, six started out skinny, and two we somewhere in-between.

Of the four fat people three had to cut in order to get a better growth ratio, of the seven thin guys four noticed their ratios would shift as they got higher BF% and both medium guys said the same thing, the higher their BF% the more fat they gain along with the muscle.

Obviously this is not a scientific study, nor would it stand in court or anything like that; 12 people is probably to small a sample to draw any real figures from, and I know there are probably more than two possible reactions, but when I see 9 out of 12 people respond in the same way, knowing that training is virtually identical, and nutrition is at least similar, I take notice, and I pass it on.

Look at it this way, assume I am wrong: (you already did, but bear with me)

Had he been fat, lets say he takes my advice. He spends what? A month and a half to loose some extra fat then and starts bulking. Not a big waste of time if you ask me. In exchange he is not much smaller muscularly speaking, he probably looks better to those around him, feels better about himself, learns a ton about nutrition, and has a big ego boost to start with? I know that is what happened to me and I enjoyed it. That was not the reason I did it, but those are some nice perks.

In the end it is what I believe, and it is what works for me, if that is not how it is with you power to you, but he should at least know that there are people who respond that way so he can see what category he falls into.

A pleasure to make your acquaintance.
–Waddle

[quote]Waddle wrote:
Hi Prof,

I was wondering how long it would be before you called my stuff BS; it is my first day posting, not bad. It is kind of a right of passage here right?

[/quote]

Oh, you’re welcome. Your account of you and some friends dieting also means nothing. The only way to test something like that would be for someone to gain weight, DIET, and then gain weight again with the only difference being their body fat percentage.

Even this would be less than optimal because anyone who has lifted weights longer than a superbowl halftime show knows that your body doesn’t just gain muscle at the same rate forever. There are leaps and lulls in growth meaning that just because someone was gaining at a decent rate and their rate slowed down later, it does not mean it was as a result of their body percentage.

But hey, you knew this, right?

[quote]Waddle wrote:
Bulking has nothing to do with strength, you will never be strong enough or too weak to bulk, the most important thing, I think, is to have broken down the resistance present in your central nervous system which prevents you from working your muscles to the fullest. Like all of us you probably had huge ?increases? in strength when you started lifting, that?s the resistance I am talking about. If you have been training hard for six months you should have eliminated that by now, so you should be ready to bulk.

The Second consideration is your current BF%, this is where I am likely to get flamed, but in general the more fat you have the harder it is to get a good muscle to fat growth ratio. Personally if I am at 10% BF I gain 10 pounds of muscle and 1-2 pounds of fat, at 15% I gain 4-5 pounds of fat per pound of fat. Keep that in mind, and find how your body responds compared to mind.

Finally cycling carbs is a good idea, I have had great success with it. the program I followed, the carb cycle codex, by Christian Thibaudeau, posted here on this site, cycles carbs and calories. If you were to keep calories constant I would try to replace carbs with protein, or a protein/fat mix in favor of protein on low carb days.

As for your recovery drinks, they are included in your plan, everything that you eat you need to keep track of, or you risk throwing off your ratios.

–Waddle
[/quote]

Not only did I know it, I lived through it.

You state:

?The only way to test something like that would be for someone to gain weight, DIET, and then gain weight again with the only difference being their body fat percentage.?

This is exactly what happens when I bulk and then cut, I gain weight, then diet, and start over, only after the bulk/cut cycle I weight the same but have a lower BF. So I have tested it, and I know it works? on me.

Keep in mind I am 22, and in the last ten years I have only weighed less than 180 for about a month during a massive cut cycle after a year of lifting, after which I got up to 200lbs in a couple of months (without changing BF% by more than a 3%, from 9% to 12%). So I am not saying you need to be ripped to bulk, but knowing how my body works I never want to bulk with +15% BF again, I see no reason to ever get back up to +15% BF.

Which raises another question, assuming a person can gain weight without changing BF% much, why wouldn?t you lean down when you weigh less? There is less fat to loose. If I weigh 200% every % of my bodyweight is 2 pounds if I weigh 150 every percent is 1.5 pounds. So a person at 150 going from 15%BF to 10%bf is loosing less fat than a person at 200lbs, 7.5 pounds instead of 10 pounds. Then they can bulk up to, say, 200 and hopefully end up with 12-13% BF instead of 17-18% BF if they are like you or 19-20%BF if they are like me.

Having said that; if I find someone cutting at 150lbs I will have to call you up, so we can kill him together, deal?

I have no doubt some people will always gain the same muscle/fat ratio regardless of their BF% at the beginning of a bulk, you apparently fall into that category, that is what makes the weight game something we each have to figure out for ourselves, what works for one person might not work for others. Add to that things like food quality, nutrition quality, environmental stresses, training stress, and steroid use and it is no wonder people never agree on anything.

–Waddle

PS. If you care to continue you should start a new thread, so this good man can get his thread back, and get some more answers.

[quote]Waddle wrote:
Not only did I know it, I lived through it.

You state:

?The only way to test something like that would be for someone to gain weight, DIET, and then gain weight again with the only difference being their body fat percentage.?

This is exactly what happens when I bulk and then cut, I gain weight, then diet, and start over, only after the bulk/cut cycle I weight the same but have a lower BF. So I have tested it, and I know it works? on me. [/quote]

Who doesn’t bulk, cut and then end up back at their previous weight with more muscle? The only way this wouldn’t be the case is if you screwed up your diet or training. That is the reason why people bulk up. That has NOTHING to do with the belief that someone gains more muscle mass at 10% than they would at 13%.

I think the lower BF% you are at, the higher chance of storing fat. Empty fat cells produce much LPL(lipoproteinlipase), which accounts for the difficulty in losing fat after a period of consistent dieting.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Waddle wrote:

I personally think this is complete bullshit and would love for soemone to prove to me that you somehow gain more body fat if your starting is 15% than if it is 10% if all other factors are the same. That body fat percentage number is possibly the most abused piece of info in the gym next the home phone numbers of the girls working the front desk.
[/quote]

John Berardi writes :

“Cheat meal frequency and/or size should be minimized when over 15-20% body fat. I’ve discussed this before in a previous Appetite For Construction column. Basically, the fatter you are, the more likely that any excess food will be shuttled toward body-fat storage rather than muscle mass. So, if you’re fat, minimize your over eating.”

Here is the artcile he referes to:

http://www.johnberardi.com/articles/qa/afc/afc_jul272001.htm

Its about half way down I believe.

Conclusion (From Berardi) :

[quote]"
From these overfeeding studies, it’s clear that lean individuals gain less fat and more muscle when overfeeding when compared to their fatter counterparts. Since these subjects were not exercise trained, adding exercise would have probably lead to a shift toward more muscle gain with less fat gain. Exercise has a nutrient partitioning effect, shuttling nutrients preferentially toward the lean tissues. As such, you’d expect more lean gain during exercise training and overfeeding. However, either way, the trends would probably remain and fatter subjects would gain more fat during overfeeding than lean individuals.

One of the coolest things about this article is that a predicative equation was generated that allows us to calculate the amount of muscle and the amount of fat that we can expect to gain, based on our initial fat weight. Check it out.

Lean Mass Gain / Weight Gain = 10.4 / (10.4 + initial fat weight (kg) )

In addition, this very same equation is valid when dieting for the prediction of muscle loss and fat loss.

Lean Mass Loss / Weight Loss = 10.4 / (10.4 + initial fat weight (kg) ) " [/quote]

However… :

[quote]
I must offer a word of caution, though. Remember that these equations were mostly generated using diet alone. The addition of weight training and cardio would have changed things up a bit. In addition, these numbers may be different if supplements are used. Some supplements change nutrient partitioning parameters (alpha-lipoic acid, fish oils, presumably Methoxy-7, etc); others preserve lean body mass when dieting (ephedrine, caffeine, etc); and others increase protein synthesis (anabolic steroids and androgens). Any of these factors can change the exact ratios.

However, as I said before, the basic principles remain. When dieting, the leaner you get, the less your calorie deficit should be or else you’ll lose more LBM than necessary. And, when bulking up, your best bet is to start lean, as most of the weight you gain will be LBM. If you start fat, much of your weight gain will be fat gain. [/quote]

Hows that?

[quote]Lonnie123 wrote:

Hows that?[/quote]

How is what? Who would recommend that someone already at 20% body fat would need to “bulk up” in the first place? The reason isn’t because they somehow gain more fat at that particular percentage than they would at a lower one, but that they would gain more fat period.

Some of you follow people on this site apparently very blindly. The idea that someone at 15% gains more body fat than if they were 12% is not something known. It is a freaking opinion that some of you seem all too ready to believe simply because “who” might state it.

First, in that question and answer session, Berardi is quoting an ARTICLE that has supposedly combined several studies. The first thing that jumps out in the data he presented is simply that the obese people who tried to gain weight gained more fat…IN PEOPLE WHO DID NOT LIFT WEIGHTS OR EXERCISE REGULARLY!!

Well, gee, that is NOT a minor point to miss as we start drawing direct conclusions to bodybuilding. Not to mention that he provides no source for these studies other than to quote an ARTICLE written by someone who supposely read some studies. That wouldn’t even hold up in a first year college Biology class. How the hell is anyone else falling for it…unless they simply believe whatever the man writes and take it to heart as law?

That is possibly the biggest reason to IGNORE this information in terms of weight training. Hell, we coud take it further and talk about the simple fact that someone who is obese probably MOVES A LOT LESS to begin with leading to more fat gain SINCE THEY DIDN’T FREAKING WORKOUT.

How is that?

Well,

When Berardi attaches his name to something, he wouldnt do it lightly. So, from that regard, I wouldnt completely discount anything Dr.B said. Hell, I usually add it to the book Im writing I call it…ready for this…

“The Gospel of John”

Alright Im going to hell…

Ok, the thing with Johns statement is that he was not talking about bulking persay. John was commenting on large people who are dieting down taking on the ever popular “overfeed”. I didnt read the linked article, but where you quote Dr. B he is talking about overfeeds, which are different than your normal, clean, tame and moderate bulk.

[quote]EnTransit wrote:
Well,

When Berardi attaches his name to something, he wouldnt do it lightly. So, from that regard, I wouldnt completely discount anything Dr.B said. Hell, I usually add it to the book Im writing I call it…ready for this…

“The Gospel of John”

Alright Im going to hell…

Ok, the thing with Johns statement is that he was not talking about bulking persay. John was commenting on large people who are dieting down taking on the ever popular “overfeed”. I didnt read the linked article, but where you quote Dr. B he is talking about overfeeds, which are different than your normal, clean, tame and moderate bulk.

[/quote]

But he related the two directly and the simple fact that he said the word “study” in his answer caused the above poster to take his word on the issue as law and not even do his own thinking on the issue. That seems to be a rather huge problem on this site. I don’t take anythin ANY man says as relative to The Bible of anything. I have enough of an education to have my own base of knowledge and can thus think for myself. Perhaps more here should do the same instead of blindly following whoever because of WHO they are.

The response I posted above,and the article it linked to, might not have been the most solid thing on the planet (Berardi admits that himself) but it does show the information you were asking for.

I don’t follow blindly, but given John’s track record here he is not a man to be just blown off as writting bullshit. The study that he saw showed that people who overfeed when already fat tend to gain more fat than muscle.

The weakest part of the article is that it was on untrained individuals, which John points out. He also says that while the effect might be lessened by weight training due to its “Nutrient Partitioning” effect, the take home message would still be similar, although not as dramatic.

When we don’t know the information we seek, we can’t call bullshit on everything we read or hear. Credible writers do get my respect and John has proven himself time and time again, which is why I thought the article had merit. I am willing to believe some thnings writen by people with much,much more knowledge and experience than I am.

[quote]Lonnie123 wrote:

I don’t follow blindly, but given John’s track record here he is not a man to be just blown off as writting bullshit.[/quote]

No one said everything he writes is bullshit. But to my knowledge, the man is human, meaning to simply follow everything he writes without question is stupidity…or the beginnings of a cult.

[quote]

The weakest part of the article is that it was on untrained individuals, which John points out. He also says that while the effect might be lessened by weight training due to its “Nutrient Partitioning” effect, the take home message would still be similar, although not as dramatic.[/quote]

And to this I call bullshit. The results would not be similar at all. Bodybuilding isn’t some insignificant part of why people look the way they do. It is MOST of the reason people look the way they do. To simply agree with him because his name is Berardi makes no sense at all.

“Cheat meal frequency and/or size should be minimized when over 15-20% body fat. I’ve discussed this before in a previous Appetite For Construction column. Basically, the fatter you are, the more likely that any excess food will be shuttled toward body-fat storage rather than muscle mass. So, if you’re fat, minimize your over eating.”

Cheat meal would imply dieting, and not bulking. So basically JB is telling fat people to quit overeating.

(Enter Guinness Scientists)

"Tell fat people to stop overeating…

…Brilliant"