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Thread: To Bulk or to Cut, That is the Question - or is it?

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  1. #1
    Soon to be lean... Joe Black's Avatar
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    To Bulk or to Cut, That is the Question - or is it?

    To Bulk or to Cut, That is the Question - or is it? by Daniel Roberts

    If you spend any time on the Wannabebig Forums, you’ll run into that perennial plea for help - ‘Should I bulk or cut?’ In fact, it is probably one of the most commonly debated questions.

    And, the answers you get, more than often will be contradicting. Bulk like crazy and eat anything and everything in sight... Keep a clean diet and be patient with a slower, leaner weight gain.

    Perhaps there is another way to go about things? Maybe even a much simpler way?

    -----------

    Be really interesting to hear peoples thoughts on this one as it's a much debated subject. Also, feel free to share with as many people as you can!

    Thanks,

    Daniel
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  2. #2
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    That was an interesting read...I'm still trying to wrap my head around it.

    If a guy is 220 lbs, and starts eating as a 250 lb guy, what are the stages he'll go through?

    1).I'm guessing he'll start off gaining a good ammount of fat (along with muscle)because of the increased calories.

    2). At some point (in the middle let's say) he'll kind of even out the gains between fat and muscle.

    3). Twards the end, he'll be maintaining his muscle and decreasing fat because he'll be using more calories to support the added muscle.

    Am I anywhere near understanding this?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    That was an interesting read...I'm still trying to wrap my head around it.

    If a guy is 220 lbs, and starts eating as a 250 lb guy, what are the stages he'll go through?

    1).I'm guessing he'll start off gaining a good ammount of fat (along with muscle)because of the increased calories.

    2). At some point (in the middle let's say) he'll kind of even out the gains between fat and muscle.

    3). Twards the end, he'll be maintaining his muscle and decreasing fat because he'll be using more calories to support the added muscle.

    Am I anywhere near understanding this?
    As you said, it depends where you start from, but yup, you pretty much nailed it.

  4. #4
    Super Ectomorph on Crack Justin Ryan's Avatar
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    Great article guys!!
    answers a lot of questions!

  5. #5
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Taking it a step further...

    Say that I weigh 240 lbs...I continue to eat as a 240 lber...I will continue to gain muscle and loose fat on a maintenance eating schedule (provided that I continue to get stronger)?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    Taking it a step further...

    Say that I weigh 240 lbs...I continue to eat as a 240 lber...I will continue to gain muscle and loose fat on a maintenance eating schedule (provided that I continue to get stronger)?
    Once you hit the target, you're at maintenance for that target.
    Given you're at maintenance there's only so much surplus (bodyfat) to fuel any increase in lean body mass.
    You will simply hit homeostasis (the balance point) and you might be able to eek a pound of lbm and lose a % bf but that's where you'll stay unless you change activity levels - drop an activity and you free up a surplus, increase and you create a deficit.

    But again your margins are quite small. If a change is required, set a new goal and eat/train accordingly.

  7. #7
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Roberts View Post
    If a change is required, set a new goal and eat/train accordingly.
    That makes sense. I forgot to factor in that there were diminishing returns the closer you are to goal.
    Last edited by Off Road; 08-12-2009 at 10:29 AM.
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  8. #8
    THE IRON NEVER LIES given'er's Avatar
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    Awsome article. I need to start eating a heck of a lot more lol.
    Last edited by given'er; 08-12-2009 at 10:16 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Eric Cartman's Avatar
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    I am currently at 165 lbs and 15% BF...about 140 lbs of Lean Muscle..

    So my realistic goal in 6 months should be to gain about 15 lbs of lean muscle...

    So my goal should be to eat the calories that an 180 lb person would eat?

    180x14= 2520 calories

    Did I do this math right?

    Question: Does this mean I will be very fat for 6 months, until I reach that goal?

    EC
    Last edited by Eric Cartman; 08-12-2009 at 11:45 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Cartman View Post
    I am currently at 165 lbs and 15% BF...about 140 lbs of Lean Muscle..

    So my realistic goal in 6 months should be to gain about 15 lbs of lean muscle...

    So my goal should be to eat the calories that an 180 lb person would eat?

    180x14= 2520 calories

    Did I do this math right?

    Question: Does this mean I will be very fat for 6 months, until I reach that goal?

    EC
    You got the maths right.

    Will you be fat for 6 months until you reach that goal, it depends entirely on whether all your muscle gains come at once on the final day!

    Thing is your current maintenance isn't actually too far from your target, which means you're not drastically increasing your intake such that it would result in huge fat deposition, especially as you're increasing muscle mass.
    Incidentally, it is highly unlikely that all your muscle gains will arrive at once - it is more likely to be small gradual increases with a few spikes of greater increases over the duration.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Virtron's Avatar
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    awesome article... so in the case of wanting to lose 10 lbs of fat and gaining 10lbs of muscle say at 200 lbs... you still end up at 200lbs just leaner? I mean thats pretty much perfection.
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  12. #12
    big on TONING dynamo's Avatar
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    yay ive totally thought this for a while. good read.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virtron View Post
    awesome article... so in the case of wanting to lose 10 lbs of fat and gaining 10lbs of muscle say at 200 lbs... you still end up at 200lbs just leaner? I mean thats pretty much perfection.

    That's pretty much it.

  14. #14
    Senior Member cphafner's Avatar
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    Really good read. I agree most of us make this more complicated than it needs to be (myself included).
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    Ok I'm like 210 right now, so if I wanna get to 220 I would take 220 and times it by 16? Bc I do about 7 hours worth of work

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    Quote Originally Posted by Al19067 View Post
    Ok I'm like 210 right now, so if I wanna get to 220 I would take 220 and times it by 16? Bc I do about 7 hours worth of work

    That's correct, and if you find you're not gaining weight do as suggested in the article and add 250kcal and monitor.

  17. #17
    Senior Member DMedley's Avatar
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    Daniel, thanks for the article.

    I think the results of following this have been pretty well covered.

    The timing could not have been better for me. A few weeks ago while out camping for 3 weeks, I was thinking about this very topic. I decided to come home and try it ... no better way to know if something works or not.

    Since getting your article yesterday, I am more convinced than ever that this is the way to go.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Roberts View Post
    That's correct, and if you find you're not gaining weight do as suggested in the article and add 250kcal and monitor.
    Thank you, great article

  19. #19
    Squat junkie Painzer's Avatar
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    Great article Daniel. Thank you.
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    Getting There... Irish Pilot's Avatar
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    Great article and interesting read. The one thing that has to be re-inforced is that to be what you want to be at your goal weight, you also have to TRAIN like that guy, not just eat like that guy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irish Pilot View Post
    Great article and interesting read. The one thing that has to be re-inforced is that to be what you want to be at your goal weight, you also have to TRAIN like that guy, not just eat like that guy.
    Absolutely right - it's a point I perhaps should have stressed more in the article, although at the time of writing I was wary that I needed to keep focus on the nutrition and not dilute/confuse the message. Good point though.

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    This method will work for the heavier guy looking to lose but I'm not sure the other way. In the example of the 250 lb guy targeting 235 makes sense.

    I'll use myself as an example. 130 lbs @ 10% BF. Goal is 150 lbs 8% BF. I could simple eat the maintenance calories of a 150 lb man and will gain weight till I hit 150 lbs, only thing is I highly doubt I will be at 8% body fat when I get there. At that point I will be at 150 lbs, lets say 15 %BF. See I'm still short of my goal. My only option would be to do a traditional cut, which would put me under 150 lbs in the end, than I would need to bulk, so it's right back to the traditional approach.

  23. #23
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yamar View Post
    At that point I will be at 150 lbs, lets say 15 %BF. See I'm still short of my goal.
    But at that time, you'll be eating for a 150 lb guy (maintenance), but you will continue to exercise. So, you will loose some fat. Then you'll be over maintenance, so you'll put on muscle (provided you continue to work out to get stronger). See how that can work?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yamar View Post
    This method will work for the heavier guy looking to lose but I'm not sure the other way. In the example of the 250 lb guy targeting 235 makes sense.

    I'll use myself as an example. 130 lbs @ 10% BF. Goal is 150 lbs 8% BF. I could simple eat the maintenance calories of a 150 lb man and will gain weight till I hit 150 lbs, only thing is I highly doubt I will be at 8% body fat when I get there. At that point I will be at 150 lbs, lets say 15 %BF. See I'm still short of my goal. My only option would be to do a traditional cut, which would put me under 150 lbs in the end, than I would need to bulk, so it's right back to the traditional approach.
    See post number 2 and 22 by Off Road.

    Food for thought though - if you're goal is 150lbs @ 8% bf and you've worked out the maintenance for a man @ 150lbs @ 8%bf and you're eating that every day and training appropriately, why when you hit 150 @ 15% bf (almost double the target figure - your example) do you think you'd stay that way if you're eating for a man at 8%?
    Last edited by Daniel Roberts; 08-14-2009 at 03:46 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Roberts View Post
    See post number 2 and 22 by Off Road.

    Food for thought though - if you're goal is 150lbs @ 8% bf and you've worked out the maintenance for a man @ 150lbs @ 8%bf and you're eating that every day and training appropriately, why when you hit 150 @ 15% bf (almost double the target figure - your example) do you think you'd stay that way if you're eating for a man at 8%?
    Makes sense now. I worked out the numbers and the calorie surplus wouldn't be that great to begin withm and the margine would change the heavier I get.

    I'm going to give it a go. My current 20% calorie surplus does feel like to much on most days.

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