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View Full Version : Transitioning from cut to bulk; and technical/theoretical bulking



_-_v_-_
05-09-2003, 07:43 PM
I've just finished a four week cut, with excellent results -- I'm now precisely at the weight and BF% I hoped -- and so I'm wondering how best to transition from cutting to bulking. Should I set my caloric intake to maintenance levels for a week? Or should I simply jump into the bulk proper? (If it's relevant: I just finished my last refeed today).

On a more theoretical level, I was wondering how the long-sought "perfect bulk" might look. Assuming, for the sake of argument, an ideal training/rest regimen, what would be the best way, in theory, to bulk cleanly? It seems to me that, with our (possibly rudimentary) knowledge of both the anabolic and catabolic processes -- e.g., how best to diet while minimizing muscle loss -- we should be able to construct a diet that would minimize fat gain while maximizing muscle gain. I'm hoping here that the discussion gets quite technical -- that some of the local gurus might chime in. I recall that ST once mentioned that it is possible, in theory, to gain muscle while losing fat; I'm interested to see how one might go about doing so. And while I realize that this goal is likely impossible to meet in practice, I'd love to hear what others here have to say.

And, yes, let's assume a natural trainer.

GhettoSmurf
05-09-2003, 07:54 PM
Originally posted by _-_v_-_
Should I set my caloric intake to maintenance levels for a week? Or should I simply jump into the bulk proper? (If it's relevant: I just finished my last refeed today).


i would just slowly up your cals back to your maintenace level, you dont want to all of a sudden shock your body by eating a bunch more cals. then normal. odds are if you'd do that, i'd tend to think some of it would be stored as fat.

_-_v_-_
05-09-2003, 07:57 PM
I would imagine that would occur only if my metabolism has slowed appreciably -- it was my understanding that the purpose of refeeding was to prevent / mitigate that eventuality.

Ironman8
05-09-2003, 08:12 PM
Yup, smaller meals more often.

RG570
05-10-2003, 12:31 AM
I would just like to re-hash the age old sage advice and say: eat as much food as you can physically handle for as long as you can stand to look at yourself. just set your macros as a general guideline and go to town. go to teh grocery store, say "im going to spend at least a hundred dollars, and im going to eat all the food i buy today within 5 days." common sence dictates what should and shjould not be part of a clean bulk. eggs, tuna, oats, lean beef, potatos, chicken breast, soy, and cats are essentially all i eat. stay away from mega sodium and cholesterol, and fat is not the enemy. I also try and get a few hundred extra grams of carbs ontraining days.

Ironman8
05-10-2003, 07:55 AM
Originally posted by RG570
stay away from mega sodium and cholesterol

I agress with the sodium statement, but I don't cholesterol has much affect on your LDL. I would just stay away from the trans and hydrogenated fats.

aka23
05-10-2003, 08:40 AM
Originally posted by _-_v_-_
On a more theoretical level, I was wondering how the long-sought "perfect bulk" might look. Assuming, for the sake of argument, an ideal training/rest regimen, what would be the best way, in theory, to bulk cleanly? It seems to me that, with our (possibly rudimentary) knowledge of both the anabolic and catabolic processes -- e.g., how best to diet while minimizing muscle loss -- we should be able to construct a diet that would minimize fat gain while maximizing muscle gain. I'm hoping here that the discussion gets quite technical -- that some of the local gurus might chime in. I recall that ST once mentioned that it is possible, in theory, to gain muscle while losing fat; I'm interested to see how one might go about doing so. And while I realize that this goal is likely impossible to meet in practice, I'd love to hear what others here have to say.

If you are a "natural trainer", you are unlikely to gain more than about 1lb of muscle per week. To maximize your potential muscle gains, you should set calories such that your body weight increases by about 1lb per week. If you are concerned about gaining fat, then you might want to increase weight slower. At 1/2 lb per week, you are likely to gain less fat. You may even lose fat while gaining muscle.

Losing fat while gaining muscle is very practical for some persons. This effect is very common in studies involving overweight, untrained persons. I expect that if the average american started weightlifting and made no changes in their diet, they would gain muscle and lose fat. It becomes less common for persons who are closer to their natural set point, and have to struggle to gain muscle or lose fat. Nevertheless, it does occur. I have done this and several journal entires indicate other persons gaining muscle while cutting or losing fat while bulking.

Some things that encourage a successful bulk with minimal fat gain or fat loss are:

1. Eat such that you gain less than 1lb per week.
2. Eat many small meals spread throughout the day
3. Consume adequate amouts of protein spread throughout the day (1g/lb is usually more than adequate)
4. Consume adequate amounts of carb to fuel your workouts and for recovery
5. Do cardio (both traditional and HIIT). Cardio reduces body fat more than calorie in/calorie out formulas would suggest. If cardio is done in the desired manner, it should not significantly interfere with your muscle gains.

I think that the key to gaining muscle while losing fat is doing a combination of cardio & lifting while eating near maintenance calories. Note that persons have different set points for fat loss, muscle gain, and overtraining. If a person has reached a point where it is difficult to gain muscle or lose fat, as many trained persons have, then it will probably be very difficult to do both activities at the same time.

Special diets with macronutrient or calorie cycling all may have an effect, but I think this effect is less significant than what is listed above.

_-_v_-_
05-10-2003, 09:15 AM
Thanks, all.

RG and Ironman:

I think you may have misinterpreted my post. I'm aware of the ins-and-outs of traditional bulking methods; I've already completed one effective slow-bulking cycle. My question was instead more hypothetical in nature -- more of a thought experiment, you might say.

AKA:

Thanks. That's basically the process I used on my last bulking cycle -- though it was relatively slow, it made cutting much easier.

I'm particularly interested in the hypothetical manipulation of the metabolic processes involved in muscle gain and fat loss. If my understanding is correct, the two are seperate processes; would it then be possible, if only in theory, to construct a diet which is the opposite of, say, how ST is currently cutting -- in other words, since ST has mentioned that he has cut on a relatively high-calorie diet with little muscle loss using just this sort of metabolic manipulation, would it be possible to do apply similar methods to bulking?

Manveet
05-10-2003, 11:12 AM
http://forum.avantlabs.com/index.php?act=ST&f=25&t=3497


might wanna give that a read, just for some insight on the topic.

restless
05-10-2003, 02:05 PM
Originally posted by Manveet
http://forum.avantlabs.com/index.php?act=ST&f=25&t=3497


might wanna give that a read, just for some insight on the topic.

Going backwards in time towards a low fat diet again?:rolleyes:

bradley
05-10-2003, 02:33 PM
Originally posted by _-_v_-_
I'm particularly interested in the hypothetical manipulation of the metabolic processes involved in muscle gain and fat loss. If my understanding is correct, the two are seperate processes; would it then be possible, if only in theory, to construct a diet which is the opposite of, say, how ST is currently cutting -- in other words, since ST has mentioned that he has cut on a relatively high-calorie diet with little muscle loss using just this sort of metabolic manipulation, would it be possible to do apply similar methods to bulking?

As far as adding to what aka23 said I really am unclear as to what you are trying to do. Gaining at a very slow rate and keeping a constant eye on calories and how your body is responding would probably be the best approach at performing an "ideal" bulk. Another contributing factor that comes to mindis how close are you are to your natural setpoint.


I've just finished a four week cut, with excellent results -- I'm now precisely at the weight and BF% I hoped -- and so I'm wondering how best to transition from cutting to bulking. Should I set my caloric intake to maintenance levels for a week? Or should I simply jump into the bulk proper? (If it's relevant: I just finished my last refeed today).

I would go back to maintenance cals for a week and then start slowly adding cals each week.

Scythian_Blade
05-10-2003, 03:49 PM
I can't really add very much to what aka and bradley have already mentioned. I don't have much experience bulking cleanly unfortunately.

A lot of what aka mentioned seems to relate pretty closely to finding ways to positively influence nutrient partitioning, specifically with respect to optimal resistance training and increased activity level/cardio.

Along with the idea of staying around maintenance kcals, it might be of benefit to run shorter bulking cycles with appropriately timed short cutting cycles to get rid of excess fat. I believe that as your bodyfat increases there is some evidence to suggest that it becomes easier to put on fat and harder to continue to build muscle. Staying at a lower bodyfat might be a way around this.

bradley
05-10-2003, 04:13 PM
Originally posted by Scythian_Blade
I believe that as your bodyfat increases there is some evidence to suggest that it becomes easier to put on fat and harder to continue to build muscle. Staying at a lower bodyfat might be a way around this.

One thing that I am unsure about is how your natural setpoint would play into this.

Manveet
05-10-2003, 05:01 PM
Originally posted by restless


Going backwards in time towards a low fat diet again?:rolleyes:

It's not the diet I personally would reccomend, nor do I do myself. Nonetheless I thought it was interesting










oh and....












:rolleyes:

Scythian_Blade
05-10-2003, 05:50 PM
Originally posted by bradley

One thing that I am unsure about is how your natural setpoint would play into this.

I am not sure either. I also wonder if it is possible to change your natural setpoint (by remaining at a bodyfat level significantly below the old setpoint for an extended period of time for instance). Maybe this would also alter hormonal status to some extent. Many think you can change setpoint. If so, maybe a week or two at maintenence might not be quite enough to transition into a bulk from cutting.

Also, I have been trying to think of a good way to introduce the concept that an 'ideal bulk' might be closely correlated with body type. Bodytype/genetics clearly play a role in determining setpoint/leptin expression.

The idea of running a ketogenic or near ketogenic bulk has been thrown around a lot over at bbing.com and a little at anabolic minds. One line of reasoning goes that, such a scheme might be better at avoiding fat gain for someone older/more endomorphic because of differences in hormone levels (Testosterone) normally associated with aging.

I have seen it noted several times that for max anabolic effects, you need to have high insulin and high levels of IGF-1. I am not sure how that is best incorporated into the discusssion either.

Manveet, thanks for the link. The two page discussion following the diet presented is quite interesting. I would like to see Rob field some questions about it like he said he might. I too am leary about the low fat approach.

There are a couple of other threads over at avant dealing with the ideal bulk. I'll see if I can dig 'em up.

Scythian_Blade
05-10-2003, 11:53 PM
Ok, I found a couple of threads. I recalled Par Deus having some basic recommendations on this issue.

Here is a direct quote by Par Deus answering a random thread:
"Assuming aesthetic issues are of no concern, it would be ideal to both bulk and cut at a bodyfat level near your setpoint (which would necessitate fairly short cycles of each (2-3 weeks), because leptin will be high, so anabolic hormones and fat oxidation will both be relatively high. Get too fat and you may run into leptin resistence as well as an increase in aromatase activity. Get too thin and you will move toward protein oxidation rather than fat oxidation and protein storage/retention. "

Makes a lot of sense to me.

And a thread on optimal mass diet
http://forum.avantlabs.com/index.php?act=ST&f=4&t=1165

And a study on the influence of initial fat mass
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=10865771&dopt=Abstract

One other thing I came across...in terms of fat it might be wise to moderate excess intake of omega 6 fatty acids and keep sat. fat moderate (to take advantage of potential testosterone boosting effects while minimizing its detrimental effects on insulin sensitivity). And finally, use plenty of n-3 PUFA's (fish oil for example) to enhance nutrient partitioning effects and hence increase insulin sensitivity.

bradley
05-11-2003, 06:00 AM
All in all it seems that this post by Par Deus (from the above posted thread) is on the money as far as the articles and previous posts that I have read:


Get adequate protein (around 1g/pound, unless you are using androgen, then increase by 50-100%, depending on dose).

Minimize saturated fats -- will get all you need from lean red meat.

Minimize omega-6 fats -- will get all you need from food.

1-3 tbsp flax oil/day + 6-12g of fish oil.

Keep fructose < 100 grams/day

The rest is carbohydrates, as this is what increases insulin and leptin, which is what makes mass phases work. Go at least high enough to get you to 20 calories per lb of bw. Probably will have no need to go higher than 30 cal/lb

Although I do not agree with the amount of cals he recommends. I recommend taking a more moderate approach, and by that I mean increase cals slowly over a longer period of time.