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  1. #1
    Registered User CaptnHenke's Avatar
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    When should i start bulking?

    Hey there, I have been cutting for almost 3 months now, and I am still not satisfied with my results. I am a total newbie to weightlifting and so as i was cutting i also gained a lot of muscle, which means i did not lose that much weight, but rather some body fat. I only lost like 4 kilos over this time and I am still not satisfied with the results, I feel like it is going too slow even though I can see that i gained some muscle and the weight started dropping a bit faster recently. First two months i was losing weight very slowly and sometimes even gained. I follow a split workout routine therefore i do my workouts 6 times per week, and eat around 500kcal under my maintenance. I kind of ****ed up first month and ate maybe 1000 below my maintenance sometimes, which was not great i assume. I counted calories strictly for around 2 or 3 weeks in total, and then stopped as I just didnt have the time or it was almost impossible to count them as I did not know the weight or all ingredients of the food i ate (I still live with my parents and they cook over the weekends). First month and a half i followed a strict diet that was very low in calories and mostly consisted of wholegrains, fiber and tuna/chicken meat. that is when I added a lot of muscle but didnt lose much weight. It was very hard to eat only 500 calories under my maintenance with this diet though which left me feeling bad every couple of days when my body just needed more food. Then i started having a bit more easy going diet during which i still tried to eat healthy, but i didnt overdo it with protein and just ate regular foods (not junk foods) that most people eat in my country. Not the healthiest but probably no big worry unless i was going above my maintenance. So now that you know most of the stuff I did, I bring a question whether i should do a months bulk in december and get back to cutting afterwards to not lead my body into a plateau, or keep cutting. Am I doing something wrong? Was i supposed to lose a lot more fat? Were I counting my calories wrong? I have no idea and I beg you for any help or advice. Feel free to ask further questions if needed in order to better understand my problem. Thanks in advance.
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  2. #2
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    You weren't 500 under maintenance otherwise you'd be losing about 3kg a month. So you are either over estimating your maintenance level or under counting your intake - this is very common, don't feel bad about it. But the point is that you should use results to determine your intake rather than expecting it to work the other way around.

    You could continue doing what you are doing if you are getting stronger and slowly getting leaner.

    You didn't tell us your stats though - and pictures would be even better.

    Unless you are really skinny you never need to "bulk", you can gain muscle at maintenance or even in a slight deficit like you already have done.
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  3. #3
    Registered User CaptnHenke's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    You weren't 500 under maintenance otherwise you'd be losing about 3kg a month. So you are either over estimating your maintenance level or under counting your intake - this is very common, don't feel bad about it. But the point is that you should use results to determine your intake rather than expecting it to work the other way around.

    You could continue doing what you are doing if you are getting stronger and slowly getting leaner.

    You didn't tell us your stats though - and pictures would be even better.

    Unless you are really skinny you never need to "bulk", you can gain muscle at maintenance or even in a slight deficit like you already have done.
    Well according to Calorie Calculator my maintenance is circa 2750 and i went with the normal weight loss where you lose 0.5kg a week. I should have been eating around 2250. First month I ate around 1900 or 1800 when i was precise but also did less activity, Less cals when i just couldnt eat more. I was using calculator.net, is there any better calculator? Also my "stats" if i understand what it all means.
    I am 19
    Used to have around 91 kg maybe a bit more, ****ed up at first and didnt weigh myself at the morning so estimated a lot more kg, then when i first started weighing in the morning around two weeks in i was 91 kg.
    Currently im around 86.5 kg.
    Wasnt precise on taking notes about my waist but the two times i measured over this period (last time was around two weeks ago) my waist changed from 100cm to 90, biceps from 32 to 35. Didnt measure triceps forearms the last time, and my neck increased to 50 i believe. Im 176.5cm tall. Not sure what else you mean by stats. Not really comfortable with public pictures yet, but i could claim that i have broad shoulders and always had pretty large hips (bones, not just fat) therefore my body shape resembles a triangle from shoulders down until it reaches my hips which are wider. - that is, if that means anything or is of any help

    EDIT: also, couldnt the kg difference in loss be muscle that i gained while burning fat?
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    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    That's what I expected. Calculators are only guesswork. The results are telling you something different. If you only lost 1kg a month (say) then you were only in a deficit of 250 calories.

    At that weight and height, you probably should continue to drop fat. You could continue to do it slowly at your current calorie level but you could also accelerate it slightly to get it done quicker. Bulking is out of the question.
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    Registered User CaptnHenke's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    That's what I expected. Calculators are only guesswork. The results are telling you something different. If you only lost 1kg a month (say) then you were only in a deficit of 250 calories.

    At that weight and height, you probably should continue to drop fat. You could continue to do it slowly at your current calorie level but you could also accelerate it slightly to get it done quicker. Bulking is out of the question.
    But i lost over 4 kg of weight over 2 and a half months, and gained muscle as well. Without gaining muscle i would have lost around 5 kg so far, but couldnt it have been the muscles that make the difference? So how should i count my maintenance now, and how should i count the weight of the fat that i lost, if im gaining muscles in the process as well? Do you have any tips?
    Edit: also isnt 1kg of fat worth 7500kcal? which means 3,5k kcals a week, 4 times per month make it 14000, which should mean that at a 500 kcal deficit you lose 2 kg fat a month? Not three?
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    Originally Posted by CaptnHenke View Post
    Well according to Calorie Calculator my maintenance is circa 2750 and i went with the normal weight loss where you lose 0.5kg a week. I should have been eating around 2250. First month I ate around 1900 or 1800 when i was precise but also did less activity
    You were able to wrap your head around the concept of adjusting your tdee based on real life factors. Why did you stop doing that?
    I can tell time. Time cannot tell me.

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    Registered User Luclin999's Avatar
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    You are a teenager and new to weight training. Which means that you should have an easier time building your body up to what would be a "baseline" of muscle on your frame overall even without eating at a calorie surplus.

    Eat at maintenance and workout with weights until your progress has completely stalled for 4-5 weeks, once that happens then reevaluate as to whether you still have fat to cut or if you are lean enough at that point to consider a (lean) bulking cycle.
    ~ Like Tae-Kwon-Leap, my goals are not a path to a door, but a road leading forever towards the horizon.
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  8. #8
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by CaptnHenke View Post
    But i lost over 4 kg of weight over 2 and a half months, and gained muscle as well. Without gaining muscle i would have lost around 5 kg so far, but couldnt it have been the muscles that make the difference? So how should i count my maintenance now, and how should i count the weight of the fat that i lost, if im gaining muscles in the process as well? Do you have any tips?
    Edit: also isnt 1kg of fat worth 7500kcal? which means 3,5k kcals a week, 4 times per month make it 14000, which should mean that at a 500 kcal deficit you lose 2 kg fat a month? Not three?
    I don't think you can accurately measure if and how much muscle you gained. If you are using a BIA device - don't - those things are notoriously bad and we have no end of problems with them misleading people.

    Yes 1kg of fat has 7700 calories. It sounds like you should just continue what you did in the first 2 months. Although part of the weigh lost initially may have been water weight - so after that adjustment is when you start gathering weigh-in data so that you can estimate how far below maintenance you are and make adjustments on that basis.
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    Registered User CaptnHenke's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    I don't think you can accurately measure if and how much muscle you gained. If you are using a BIA device - don't - those things are notoriously bad and we have no end of problems with them misleading people.

    Yes 1kg of fat has 7700 calories. It sounds like you should just continue what you did in the first 2 months. Although part of the weigh lost initially may have been water weight - so after that adjustment is when you start gathering weigh-in data so that you can estimate how far below maintenance you are and make adjustments on that basis.
    well i did just that. I also used a different maintenance calculator which is a bit more drastic so im eating and counting around 1700 kcal a day. Already lost around 1 or a bit more kg after the first week. Although as you guys said there is no real way to measure it, i dont think i lost muscles, as my performance is the same or at least better and i dont see any muscle decrease on me. Ill keep eating under 2k kcals and measure myself regularly and see when i start to plateau. Thanks to everyone in this post for their help! Much gratitude.
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  10. #10
    Fatter than last time ezra76's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Luclin999 View Post
    You are a teenager and new to weight training. Which means that you should have an easier time building your body up to what would be a "baseline" of muscle on your frame overall even without eating at a calorie surplus.

    Eat at maintenance and workout with weights until your progress has completely stalled for 4-5 weeks, once that happens then reevaluate as to whether you still have fat to cut or if you are lean enough at that point to consider a (lean) bulking cycle.
    Agree and would add in some sort of active cardio work daily. Pretty much anything for 20-30 minutes. Even walking will help a lot. Having a higher activity level will raise your maint. calories, allowing you to eat a little more but burn it off anyway. I had to convert your stats as I can't wrap my head around metric but about 5'9" 189 I guess. Seeing pictures would help but I'd figure you are most likely into the 20's bodyfat %. I would not go full on bulk. Either go slightly under or go maint. and add more activity. Of course also be lifting hard with some set goals.
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