T Nation

When Does The Bulk End?


Anyone have any insight on the topic?


When you think you are too fat.


On this site, there seems to be a vocal majority of former fat boys who now are fat boys with muscle mass.

They find refuge on this site to stroke their tattered self-esteems, hiding under the guise of a perpetual "bulk" with absolutely no intention of putting in the dedication to actually look good. (these guys are NOT competing...simply bulking)

That's why they will make fun of a guy built like say Christian Bale, though in their wild dreams they would never pull the sorts of women someone like him does.

The eating and lifting is the fun part and eventually you will bench 600 just like Tank Abbott (and look a lot like him too).


The bulk ends when you surpass 12% bodyfat (You don't have a six pack). People are most anabolic at a 10-12% bodyfat. The only reason pro bodybuilders gain so much weight out of season is because adding 6% of their own mass in fat is a LOT more ponds than a normal person would add if they gained 6% of their weight in fat.

When you cut bodyfat you lose protective fat your brain needs once you get around 5% and you risk sever organ damage and the possibility of becoming dangerously catabolic once you get under 3% bodyfat. I'm pretty sure Jay Cutler won last years Olympia being clamped at a little over 4% bodyfat.

You get to build a gut once your squat gets near 1100 and you need something else to bounce out of the hole with.

Of course, if you keep your bodyfat around the idea 10-12 percent and can attribute most of your gains to new lean muscle mass, then your bulking period might not stop for a few years.


What a silly thought


Good post.

The 10% to 12% range is a useful concept but don't be too obsessed with some clear idea of percentages. Getting an accurate body fat percentage is prohibitively expensive and for general purposes the mirror and personal experience is the best gauge you will have.

Things like arm measurements compared to waist measurements work well for a lot of men as well. If you are gaining size on your lower thighs and arms and your waist is barely growing or staying about the same you are probably doing things right. Once the reverse starts occurring you might need to clean up your diet or even start a cutting diet.

Also don't neglect to stay at a maintenance phase for a few weeks or even months before you cut if you recently made rapid new size increases.


Your post confuseses the hell out of me.

Yes I agree more people could stand to TRY to stay leaner during their gaining phases but just because some caliper says 12.1% does that mean I'm not anabolic anymore? If someone is gaining size and is still at a leanness they can be happy with I don't see the need to shut it down and try to lose fat.

Then you talk about getting into really low bodyfat levels, why?

1100? How many people do you think can do that in the entire WORLD? And again, what does this have to do with what he's asking?

The last part I agree with, but without the 10-12% numbers.


I've made the mistake of bulking up to about 20% twice now, and I have to say I wont be doing that again. It takes forever to lose the fat once you get up that high, and you just look fat most of the time.

I'll still be actively trying to add lean mass, but I wont be going over 10-12 percent myself. That seems to be the general trend nowadays to stay lean while doing it and not have an all out "bulking" cycle where you put on weight at the expense of all else.


eh? What made you think all that?


If I had my way, they'd ban the word (bulk) from the bb'ing vocabulary....



im sittin at like 15-16 right now and im perfectly fine with it. i have never been low enough to see my abs, and personally, i think i would look weird. one day i would like to try to see them, but seeing as tho my strength is going up, weight is going up and bf is stayin the same, im happy.

i suppose in march or feb i will try to lean out some but im using the rest of the time to gain. shootin for 260 before a cut...


Go ahead, guys. Stay lean and try to gain muscle mass. Your gains will be negligible.

If you're not gaining weight, you're not making progress. To ensure you're in a caloric surplus, you have to eat above maintenance. That means you'll gain fat as well as muscle.

12% BF is arbitrary. It's not some rule.

The bulk ends when you've decided it to be over. Not when some 180 pound nancy boy says you're fat.


And If I had my way I'd ban the word cut. Because very few people who throw the words around have the patience to count calories and eat correctly. they simply use it to say whether they are trying to get bigger or smaller. Which is why I try to not use either word.


I'd love to know where that came from.


Im with croby on this one.....

The people out there that think they state they will gain lean mass and stay lean the entire time must be Mesomorphic or usin AAS.

The only way you can build anything is to be in a calorific surplus state. If your not - you wont build anything. It's that simple......no science....just that simple.

Anyone who has disagreed with this on this site in my experience here, usually is around a buck 60 or a buck 80 and thinks that Bruce Lee is god and AAS is close to herion.

Fuck tards......


This guys says that unless you're an elite athlete you still can put on some mass while loosing fat :


HOH LEE SHIT, we agree again. That word and what it has come to stand for is no longer useful for just about anybody who will come to this site. When asked, like in the anabolic diet thread a few times whether I'm cutting or bulking the reply is neither.

I'm growing at the maximal rate I've learned to manage without getting fat. While that continues to happen I don't see any reason to "fix" it. It might actually surprise some of the fat phobes. With a snug t-shirt on nobody would guess me over 12% and some probably lower.

lol. Ya gotta love some of these guys. I'm no FFB. I'm a former undisciplined self destructive f**kup who knew better and reopened his eyes. I'm gonna have to break down soon, get over my insecurities and post some before and afters. I only have one before though, damn and that after already losing several inches off my waist.


Once again we get to watch a bunch of people get all pissy over the fact that other people have different goals and ideas than them. I'm half expecting Professor X to reappear to refute BJ*s post, and complaing that people who dont have enough muscle are trying to lose weight. And then someone else can complain that people who have too much fat are trying to build muscle.

As to the OP:

Like someone else said, the bulk ends when you decide it should. If you decide to bulk for 3 months, then it ends in three months. If you decide to bulk to a certain weight, it ends when you hit that weight. If you decide to bulk till you can squat 600, deadlift 700, and bench 500, it ends when you can do all of those things.

Whats important is setting your own goal and sticking to it; if you look to the responses on here as anything other than random thoughts/opinions, you're likely to get nowhere because you'll be torn between agreeing with the Bruce Lee Fanclub and the GFH Boys.


WOW, I just about agree with CappedAndPlanIt too, except that I only get pissy when someone asks how to get bigger and step one is avoid gaining fat at all costs. That foundational attitude will not work for most average people looking to get bigger even though that's what most of them including me would like to be the case. If someone says "my priority is to stay lean and I'll gain what I can" fine, that's a different story


all too often thats not the case.