The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

Itís no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
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    Views on bulking

    I read this article at T-nation: (skip the stuff at the top unless you don't understand about protein, amino acids etc)
    http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1268956

    To me it raises a few interesting points.

    Firstly the body fat thing. I agree with the author that you wouldn't see a change between 13 and 16% as you would between 10% and 13%. Therefore a lot of people underestimate their body fat or don't realise how much fat they put on. People do claim things like "I put on 15lbs in 2 months with no fat gain" but I agree with the author that they probably just don't notice. I'm not a training expert by any means but I find it hard to believe anyone (apart from a complete newbie) could get those kind of results without gear... even then 15lbs of muscle is impressive.

    I was skinny my whole life until I started bulking and gaining weight so I DO have skinny-guy mentality. But to me, I'm at around 12-13% right now and starting to feel a bit fat because I still get a stomach podge when I sit down and it isn't too flat when I relax my abs either.

    I know a lot of people who would say to bulk until 20% but in my opinion that is going too far. Those extra pounds of fat just mean more and more grief when cutting. My cut off point would be 15% and in fact I'm thinking of doing a little cut now to get back to about 10%.

    I know everyone has different standards but the article raises some interesting points when he says that as the body gets higher in BF%, it becomes more adept at storing fat too. I'm not sure if this is true or not - does anyone know?

    Also the higher BF% you are at, the longer you will have to cut - therefore the slower your metabolism will get as you reduce calories for a long time, making it harder to shift the fat.

    Any thoughts/opinions?

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  3. #2
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    So he's basically supporting a slow bulk. I like that option, but frankly I don't have the patience. I want to look bigger in clothes too (that's what I'm wearing most of the time!) and I don't mind gaining some fat to do so. There's one big assumption I don't like: "most people bulk by eating crap." He doesn't address the issue of eating well and gaining weight. Personally, I eat well and am bulking. Finally, he doesn't address natural bodybuilders that use the bulk/cut method. Seems to work for them!

    I get his point and think the take home message is very true - there's is no need to gain a reidiculous amount of fat when bulking and it can be counterproductive to do so.

  4. #3
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    I've been cutting for about 9 months after my first bulk. Like you said, I just didn't realize how much fat I was putting on. After the shin splints and breathing difficulty, I think I'm done bulking.

  5. #4
    DeaTH BeFoRe WeaKNeSs sCaRz*Of*PaiN's Avatar
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    Um...shin splints and breathing difficulty? I think you just need to gauge yourself a little better.
    Last edited by sCaRz*Of*PaiN; 09-29-2006 at 03:13 PM.
    "The only easy day was yesterday."

  6. #5
    Not Done Yet ShockBoxer's Avatar
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    I'm not ever attempting another full out bulk. I burned out on food quickly. As long as my lifts are progressing I'm happy. I don't even track calories any more... I just make sure to get enough protein by drinking four scoops of whey a day and eating meat at least one meal and then eat whatever I feel like and watch the scale. I haven't gained a pound yet but my lifts are progressing so I have hopes that if I do gain weight it will be muscle.
    The Reconstruction Project (Journal)

    Age: 34, Height: 5'4, Weight: 185, BF: somewhere between 15 and 45%

    Weightlifting Start Date: July 26, 2005 - Bench 95 x 6, Dead 110 x 8, Smith Squat 180 x 8
    Bests: Bench 185 x 8, Dead 400 x 1, Zercher Squat 295 x 3


    Stop thinking and go lift - Paul Stagg

  7. #6
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    Yeah. I think I'm going to do a mini cut back to about 10% and then eat at maintenance (or a tiny bit above it) and try a new routine. That should shake things up a bit and hopefully I can add a bit of muscle whilst staying lean.

    I dont get why people would bulk to beyond 20% - think of how many pounds of fat you're going to have to get rid of! ALso like I said before, the longer you cut, the more your metabolism slows down and the harder it becomes to lose the fat.

    Like some people said in the diet forum, from now on I'm doing short bulks and cuts rather than a long bulk followed by a long cut.
    Last edited by Davidelmo; 09-30-2006 at 03:15 AM.

  8. #7
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    I thought the body would use any excess calories it can for fat, then build muscle later? That's why it's virtually impossible to build muscle without gaining more fat than you get muscle, right?

  9. #8
    DeaTH BeFoRe WeaKNeSs sCaRz*Of*PaiN's Avatar
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    ^^

    No.
    "The only easy day was yesterday."

  10. #9
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    I like to bulk for 5-7 weeks and cut 4-5 weeks. Of course this is around the time when you dont mind getting a little fat.

  11. #10
    DeaTH BeFoRe WeaKNeSs sCaRz*Of*PaiN's Avatar
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    5-7 weeks? That's not much of a bulk.
    "The only easy day was yesterday."

  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marnie
    I thought the body would use any excess calories it can for fat, then build muscle later? That's why it's virtually impossible to build muscle without gaining more fat than you get muscle, right?
    If you dont weight train, then that'll cause you to get fat. If you do you'll gain a higher ration of muscle.

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by sCaRz*Of*PaiN
    5-7 weeks? That's not much of a bulk.
    I cant see my abs, so I dont want my fat to get out of line. I gain around 8 pounds or so. Perhaps this winter I might take it a bit longer depending on my body composition.

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marnie
    I thought the body would use any excess calories it can for fat, then build muscle later? That's why it's virtually impossible to build muscle without gaining more fat than you get muscle, right?
    Not quite. If you are training smart (and eating smart) you will gain muscle. If you eat too much you will get more fat. HOw easily you gain muscle or fat is genetics.. i.e. pro bodybuilders wil gain muscle quite easily. I remember built saying she was very happy if she gets 1lb of muscle for every 1lb fat. I wouldn't be very happy with that ratio.. it's all genetics.

  15. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murmur
    I like to bulk for 5-7 weeks and cut 4-5 weeks. Of course this is around the time when you dont mind getting a little fat.
    That's what I'm going to start doing. Shorter bulk and cuts.

    By keeping the bulk short you don't get too fat and you'll still gain muscle
    By keeping the cut short you won't slow your metabolism too much, meaning it is easier to lose the fat.

    Plus, i'm a bodybuilder with the goal of "look better naked"- I want to look good ALL the time. I'm not prepping for a show where I need to be very ripped for one week. I dont want to be at higher BF% for part of the year and ripped for another part. I want to maintain a reasonable level of BF all year round and still continue to build muscle.

  16. #15
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    my opinion with bulking is you should bulk till you feel uncomfortable, to me thats like 20 % which im close to, so when i hit 20 ill cut, the problem is most people are afraid to lose there abs, well if you plan on gaining 1 lb a month then go ahead if not PUT THE FOOD DOWN. to keep a good track on how much fat you put on get your bodyfat done before and after, when i started 20 rep squats at 197 i was 17%, i finished the program at around 213 and 18.5 %, 1.5 % fat gain and 15 lbs, tons of strength.

    The key is to eat clean , ALOT, and train even harder, you have to put fat on. its highly possible to eat clean and put down 5k cals, ive done it.

    It all comes down to your goals, alot of people like ripped 10% and wont go over 15%, this is a bodybuilder and this is why they are not as strong as powerlifters, no offence to anyone!! keeping yourself lean required emmese amount of effort in the diet and i respect all who get stronger while staying lean. however, someone like me who likes the thick 16%ish look, i dont care if my bulk goes to 22% becuase im not cutting to 10%.

    Drugs are also a factor, and im not going to get started on how much i hate them and how much they ruined bodybuilding. once again, no pun intended to any of you, you still gotta work hard.
    2000 or bust

  17. #16
    Never enough. MeHoW's Avatar
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    The article is good, the problem is in the fact that both sides take it the wrong way, and people who have been doing it right all along dont need to read it.

    I have said this in many threads before, I was 25% and cut down to 10% or so. Now continuing the cut down to about 7-8%. Sitting at 8-9% now.

    The first time I went to the gym and took my shirt off while lifting, I looked at striariations in my shoulders and back and said to myself "This was worth every single sacrifice that I needed to take to get here." Now I am cutting down even lower to see my abs carved out of stone. For me its worth everything.
    5'6
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    Bench:240-250, somewhere in that area.
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    Goal: Lift more, Be Bigger and look Better.

  18. #17
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    mehow, exactly, its what you love and want so you are going to achieve it, great job.
    2000 or bust

  19. #18
    Watchya talkn bout willis
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    I don't think I would ever want to go below 10%, but I want to cut to about there to go to about 15%.
    Weight:207
    375/300/365 Goal by summer:415/315/415

  20. #19
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    You guys are hillarious. Eat at maintenance and try a new routine? Not track calories just ensure that your making progress in the gym and eat lots of protein?

    If you have anything but awesome genetics these are great ways to maintain your current physique. But if you actually want to change the amount of muscle your body holds to any significant degree you must gain weight, must eat more calories than you burn and thus you must gain fat.
    Yes people overdo it, and yes people underestimate their body fat (almost 100% of the time, especially online, this site included). But there is no way around it.

    If you want to look "pretty" year round and have 15" arms then that great. But if you think your going to consistently put muscle on to any significant degree unless you are eating more calories then you burn then you just dont get it.
    Last edited by smalls; 09-30-2006 at 02:47 PM.
    Diet is key, the calorie is king

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    alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'press on' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."
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  21. #20
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    i agree with you smalls 150%
    2000 or bust

  22. #21
    DeaTH BeFoRe WeaKNeSs sCaRz*Of*PaiN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smalls
    You guys are hillarious. Eat at maintenance and try a new routine? Not track calories just ensure that your making progress in the gym and eat lots of protein?

    If you have anything but awesome genetics these are great ways to maintain your current physique. But if you actually want to change the amount of muscle your body holds to any significant degree you must gain weight, must eat more calories than you burn and thus you must gain fat.
    Yes people overdo it, and yes people underestimate their body fat (almost 100% of the time, especially online, this site included). But there is no way around it.

    If you want to look "pretty" year round and have 15" arms then that great. But if you think your going to consistently put muscle on to any significant degree unless you are eating more calories then you burn then you just dont get it.
    :withstupi

    What's wrong with 15" arms? I guess that's bad if you're tall or something.
    Last edited by sCaRz*Of*PaiN; 09-30-2006 at 04:06 PM.
    "The only easy day was yesterday."

  23. #22
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    I guess most of that was targetted at me since I made that comment. I did say I'd eat above maintenance but I'm going to take it much more slowly to minimise fat gains. I do track calories, I keep religious workout logs and I always monitor my progress.

    I guess it comes down to personal preference. I wouldn't be happy with anything over 15% - others like stumprrp don't have a problem with it. Like I said, it's probably skinny-guy mentality. If my memory is correct Stumprrp started fat and brought his weight down - therefore he's probably not as bothered about being 20% as I would be.

    I do want to look pretty all year round, lol.. everyone has difference goals.

    p.s. i'm a short-arse so 15 inch arms aren't that bad on me

    Quote Originally Posted by smalls
    You guys are hillarious. Eat at maintenance and try a new routine? Not track calories just ensure that your making progress in the gym and eat lots of protein?

    If you have anything but awesome genetics these are great ways to maintain your current physique. But if you actually want to change the amount of muscle your body holds to any significant degree you must gain weight, must eat more calories than you burn and thus you must gain fat.
    Yes people overdo it, and yes people underestimate their body fat (almost 100% of the time, especially online, this site included). But there is no way around it.

    If you want to look "pretty" year round and have 15" arms then that great. But if you think your going to consistently put muscle on to any significant degree unless you are eating more calories then you burn then you just dont get it.
    Last edited by Davidelmo; 10-01-2006 at 04:11 AM.

  24. #23
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    That article is so spot on. A couple years ago I started my first (and last, I guess) "big bulk" partly because of advice I gathered on this site. My bodyweight shot up quickly and I loved it, I was getting bigger/stronger and for a while I didn't notice the amount of fat I was actually putting on. 6 months later I wished I'd never done it. The whole thing was more of a setback: I became so disgusted with my bodyfat and my diminished athleticism that I started cutting too fast and ended up below my original starting point in terms of body mass (the only positive point is that I managed to maintain and even increase my strength when cutting).

    Thibaudeau makes a few basic points that really sum up the whole thing:

    - you can only add a specific amount of muscle to your body every week. Eating more won't take you past that point.

    - eating more will, however, pack on fat.

    - the higher your bodyfat % the more difficult it is to add muscle and the easier it is to add fat. OTOH, the leaner you are, the easier it is to add muscle and burn fat.

    Most people start "big bulks" because of the desire to see quick results, but in the long run they would've been better off doing a slow bulk. This kind of impatience is a plague in our modern societies where everything needs to be fast, instantaneous, delivered quickly. People don't realize that physical transformation is a slow process.

    The two only circumstances where I'd suggest a "big bulk" to someone would be if that person doesn't mind being fat and only wants to look massive with clothes; and maybe to a depressed hardgainer just for the mental effect, convince that person that physical transformation *is* possible (even if in this case the transformation isn't really positive).

  25. #24
    YaRgHHhH~ Stray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sCaRz*Of*PaiN
    :withstupi

    What's wrong with 15" arms? I guess that's bad if you're tall or something.

    15" arms...how do ya wash your face?























    -Stray-

    "When you are not practicing, remember, someone somewhere is practicing, and when you meet him he will win." - Ed Macauley

    I work out because I have two daughters.....and one day they'll be teenagers.

  26. #25
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    david yes your right so a 20% with alot of LBM is fine with me, until time to take my shirt off in the summer lol
    2000 or bust

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