View Poll Results: Bulk, Cut, or Maintain/Recomp

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  • Bulk

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    2 50.00%
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  1. #1
    Registered User DNC90's Avatar
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    Question Quarantine Bulk Progress, Continue or Cut?

    Hey guys,
    Curious on whether I should continue this cut for a bit or maintain for a few weeks and then head into a cut.

    I'm 29, 5'6", currently 160lbs. Ended my last cut in December hitting 138lbs at 12%(?) BF. I then slow bulked aiming for 300 cal/day surplus.

    6 months of those have been at home with what equipment I have, adapting to weighted pullups, weighted push-ups, Etc. Before quarantine I was running Fierce 5, so that's sort of what I adapted for hom

    I don't know what bodyfat I'm at currently, my guess is I'm approaching 20%. I'm assuming a cut is just on the horizon? Someone told me I should maintain and try milk more noob gains, but I'm not sure there are any left. I could be wrong.

    I'd love to get some opinions, also some guesses on my bodyfat would be helpful.

    Before quarantine (6mo ago, at 144lbs) these were my stats (I realize they're wonky, I'm on my feet 12 hours a day, so my legs lag on gym days).
    Squat: 235 3x5
    Bench: 210 3x8
    Dead: 260 3x8

    December 138lbs: https://imgur.com/a/gtIR2yK
    Current 160lbs: https://imgur.com/a/tapE8Sn
    https://imgur.com/a/po59Jgd
    Last edited by DNC90; 09-10-2020 at 12:24 AM.
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  2. #2
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    I assume those lifts are an improvement on December?

    Yes, you could cut. Maybe set yourself a lower and upper bound for your weight. Cut to 150lbs, slow mass gain to 165 next time. Seems to be working for you - and no I don't think newbie gains are possible any more.
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  3. #3
    Registered User DNC90's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    I assume those lifts are an improvement on December?

    Yes, you could cut. Maybe set yourself a lower and upper bound for your weight. Cut to 150lbs, slow mass gain to 165 next time. Seems to be working for you - and no I don't think newbie gains are possible any more.
    I have no way of really judging my lifts compared to what I did in the gym. However, I have kept adding resistance to all my exercises at home. For example, adding plates, bands, or reps to weighted push-ups, pull-ups, etc. So I've increased my lifts since first switching to a home workout, but I'm not sure how that'd translate to the gym.

    Should I be paying attention to my bodyfat during this cut? Or should I just base it off the scale, and bulk back up after maintaining a couple weeks at 150? (Aiming for 1.5-2lbs/week cut, .5-1lb/week bulk)

    I bring that up simply because I've done similar cuts in the past, but the consensus from others was usually that my bodyfat was still too high at the end and I should keep cutting.
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  4. #4
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    It doesn't really matter. Over the long term, if you do phases of fat loss and muscle gain the net result is still more muscle and less fat regardless of how you juggled the length of each phase.

    The only thing I would say is to sustain one goal for a reasonable length of time without constant switching. If you are making steady progress with strength, it doesn't make sense to throw a spanner in the works by suddenly dropping calories and causing it to stall. Training has to factor into nutrition too.

    We see people get obsessed with one or the other - and they can't see that they look far too skinny or fluffy. I think what I've suggested will walk the line fairly reasonably and take a lot of emotion out of the decision making progress.
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  5. #5
    Registered User DNC90's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    It doesn't really matter. Over the long term, if you do phases of fat loss and muscle gain the net result is still more muscle and less fat regardless of how you juggled the length of each phase.

    The only thing I would say is to sustain one goal for a reasonable length of time without constant switching. If you are making steady progress with strength, it doesn't make sense to throw a spanner in the works by suddenly dropping calories and causing it to stall. Training has to factor into nutrition too.

    We see people get obsessed with one or the other - and they can't see that they look far too skinny or fluffy. I think what I've suggested will walk the line fairly reasonably and take a lot of emotion out of the decision making progress.
    I try to keep my bulking, assuming I'm hitting 2-4lbs a month gain, to around 4-6 months. Cutting, with a loss of 6-8lbs a month, to 2-3 months. Does that seem reasonable to you, so that I'm not overdoing each phase?

    My worry is always that if I don't cut far enough, my following bulk makes less progress since I started with higher bodyfat. This last bulk, for example, felt more successful since I had never cut that far before. Same issue with bulking, if I go too far, then I'm going to be gaining too much fat at the end and less muscle, and it also extends my cut.

    I guess that's what your saying though, keep it in moderation. I just want to make sure I'm in an optional muscle-building range bodyfat wise, and not overshoot.

    Hope I'm not babbling too much. I appreciate you taking the time!
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  6. #6
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    I wouldn't try to gain more than 2lbs a month. I also wouldn't try to cut at more than 1% of bodyweight per week.

    There is no reason why higher bodyfat should prevent you gaining muscle. There is an argument that fatter people might have insulin resistance - but unless you've been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, this probably doesn't apply to you since you aren't actually over weight and do lots of exercise.

    Remember that strongmen and rugby players have no problem gaining muscle despite carrying fat too - way more extreme than your case.

    Actually trying to bulk from a very low BF% doesn't work that well, not that this applies to most people just that it implies the opposite to what you are thinking. Some body fat is a beneficial environment to muscle gain.
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  7. #7
    Registered User DNC90's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    I wouldn't try to gain more than 2lbs a month. I also wouldn't try to cut at more than 1% of bodyweight per week.

    There is no reason why higher bodyfat should prevent you gaining muscle. There is an argument that fatter people might have insulin resistance - but unless you've been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, this probably doesn't apply to you since you aren't actually over weight and do lots of exercise.

    Remember that strongmen and rugby players have no problem gaining muscle despite carrying fat too - way more extreme than your case.

    Actually trying to bulk from a very low BF% doesn't work that well, not that this applies to most people just that it implies the opposite to what you are thinking. Some body fat is a beneficial environment to muscle gain.
    The lower your body fat when bulking, the higher the ratio of muscle gain vs fat gain, no? The higher your bodyfat, the more excess calories will be partitioned into fat vs muscle. That's been my understanding. I've seen people say it's optimal to bulk once you hit 10-12%, and cut once you hit around 15%.
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  8. #8
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DNC90 View Post
    The lower your body fat when bulking, the higher the ratio of muscle gain vs fat gain, no? The higher your bodyfat, the more excess calories will be partitioned into fat vs muscle. That's been my understanding. I've seen people say it's optimal to bulk once you hit 10-12%, and cut once you hit around 15%.
    No, the absolute amount of muscle should be the same or more.

    p-ratio is largely genetically determined and is not sensitive to BF% (at least not small changes as I discussed above). I've read Lyle McDonald's stuff too (amongst others)
    Last edited by SuffolkPunch; 09-12-2020 at 01:06 AM.
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  9. #9
    Registered User DNC90's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    No, the absolute amount of muscle should be the same or more.

    p-ratio is largely genetically determined and is not sensitive to BF% (at least not small changes as I discussed above). I've read Lyle McDonald's stuff too (amongst others)
    Is Lyle wrong about that then? Or am I misunderstanding something?

    Edit* I think I see what you're saying, that at a higher BF, even though fat gain may increase, it's not replacing muscle gain (which remains the same).

    I think my worry is with a shorter, less aggressive cut comes shorter bulk, and therefore less overall muscle gain in that bulk.
    Last edited by DNC90; 09-12-2020 at 04:30 AM.
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  10. #10
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DNC90 View Post
    Is Lyle wrong about that then? Or am I misunderstanding something?
    He's not wrong that fat people often have poorer P ratios - but his ideas about dieting between set points are only speculation - a rather brave extrapolation of what we actually know. They assume that P ratio will improve whenever you lose weight. This is often the case when people first change bad habity - but the cause could just as easily be a healthier lifestyle and more exercise. And as I've already said, going from 12-15% is not exactly getting fat and unhealthy by the standards of the vast majority of the population.

    And as I've already said, how do you explain the larger athletes like american football players, rugby players, strongmen, even olympic lifters and powerlifters are seldom lean - and yet their sport is absolutely dependent on how much muscle they can gain within their weight class.
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  11. #11
    Registered User DNC90's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    He's not wrong that fat people often have poorer P ratios - but his ideas about dieting between set points are only speculation - a rather brave extrapolation of what we actually know. They assume that P ratio will improve whenever you lose weight. This is often the case when people first change bad habity - but the cause could just as easily be a healthier lifestyle and more exercise. And as I've already said, going from 12-15% is not exactly getting fat and unhealthy by the standards of the vast majority of the population.

    And as I've already said, how do you explain the larger athletes like american football players, rugby players, strongmen, even olympic lifters and powerlifters are seldom lean - and yet their sport is absolutely dependent on how much muscle they can gain within their weight class.
    I think it's just hard for me to know when I've completed a cycle. I never know if I've bulked for too long or too short, or cut for too long or too short. There have been times when I end up having to cut for way longer than I'd like because I bulked for too long. Other times I've bulked and realized that my previous cut wasn't long enough and I hit my "fat" point much quicker than I expected.
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  12. #12
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    I feel like we're going back over the same ground again... post #4

    What matters is the net fat lost and the total muscle gained over time. The length of each doesn't matter, all that matters is that you are headed in the right direction.

    Perhaps you've been putting on too much fat during mass gain phases... post #6.

    Perhaps your training can be improved so that a greater proportion of weight gained is muscle...
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  13. #13
    Registered User evankyle's Avatar
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    evankyle is just really nice. (+1000) evankyle is just really nice. (+1000) evankyle is just really nice. (+1000) evankyle is just really nice. (+1000) evankyle is just really nice. (+1000) evankyle is just really nice. (+1000) evankyle is just really nice. (+1000) evankyle is just really nice. (+1000) evankyle is just really nice. (+1000) evankyle is just really nice. (+1000) evankyle is just really nice. (+1000)
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    Depends on your goals. Do you want to get size and not worry about being bodyfat or do you want to look leaner and not be so big. No one natural can put on 22 pounds in 6 months and expect most to be muscle.
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