Suppose my maintenance calories is 2200. Now, if I up that by 300-500 calories to gain muscle how long do I typically stay at that surplus before I have to increase my calories again? Do I just stay at that surplus until I struggle with my lifts? Do I stay at the surplus until I gain x pounds? I'm just wondering how to know when to move on to more calories.
Look in the mirror. (am I gaining to much? am I gaining? Am I loosing still?)
Are your pants still fitting?
How do you feel? (run down, full of energy)
Are your lifts progressing? (I am talking overall, not a bad day.)
Your body will tell you. All you have to do is listen.
What if I notice I'm getting fat, but my progress on lifts is starting to slow down. If I cut back on the calories it probably wouldn't help the slow down issue.
Clean up your diet add/or add conditioning.
And follow a good program. That way, you will know what to do if your lifts stall.
having a journal is also a great way to see where you went wrong.