(When I use the term "bulk successfully" below I mean gain the least amount of fat and the most amount of muscle. Also, my workout consisted of working my ass off on exercises such as bench press, squats, weighted pull ups, SLDL, barbell rows, military press, etc.)
My main purpose of this post is to get the best answer to this question and the question at the bottom: let's pretend someone is maintaining weight consuming 3000 calories per day. Starting tomorrow, they want to start "bulking successfully." How many calories should they start eating per day to get the best results possible? And then, how many calories should they add each time their weight gain stops?
Here's why I'm asking...
During my last bulk, I really don't feel as though I put on as much muscle as I should have, and that my fat gain to muscle gain ratio was far off from what it should have been. I know exactly what would cause these types of unsuccessful results, but that's where this gets more interesting...
This wasn't a dirty bulk. Not even a little. This was the cleanest possible bulk there is. No junk, no cheat meals. Protein came from good sources only (chicken breast, tuna, egg whites, whey, turkey, lean meat), fat came from good sources only (fish, nuts, olive oil) and carbs came from good sources only (brown rice, 100% whole wheat bread, vegetables, beans). It was as clean and strict as can be.
And I didn't eat 1000 calories above maintenance either. I wasn't gaining too much weight per week by any means.
Knowing all of this, I've been trying to come up with what would have caused the results I got so that I can correct it for my next bulk... and I think I may have come up with something.
I bulked too slow.
Let me explain. Because of the results I was looking to get (lowest fat gain, highest muscle gain) I figured the best thing to do was bulk as slow as possible. So, I VERY slowly added calories to my diet.
To show just how slow and gradual my bulk went, here is my weight for each week during the bulk:
START - February 8th, 2006
158.2 (33 inch waist around belly button, 14.4 inch arms)
176 (36.9 inch waist around belly button, 15.3 inch arms)
END - September 20th, 2006
Just about 4 inches added to my waist.
A little under 1 inch added to my arms.
Is it possible I bulked too slow? Is it possible I supplied my body with enough calories to gain weight, but not enough to gain muscle? Is it possible that spending 33 weeks to gain 18lbs was in some way counterproductive to the whole lowest fat gain/highest muscle gain results I wanted to get?
So... thoughts? Opinions? Answers? Thanks in advance.
A slow bulk is an attempt to add muscle over time at a slower pace in order to decrease fat gain. If you gained weight in your waist and not in other places then your diet was out of whack.
Maybe the protein wasnt high enough or you retained alot of water?
We need more information. You say you worked your ass off with those lifts, but what was your overall routine like. Did you make a lot of progress in terms of strength (ie. did your numbers go up a lot)? You said you gained a few inches in the waist... well, what about your thighs, chest, etc.? Also, 15.3 inch arms really aren't that bad. A lot of people would struggle to get arms bigger than that. After gaining only 18 lbs you're quite lucky to have put on that much size in your arms.
Without knowing anything else, I'm guessing you're just one of those people who tends to hold fat in their midsection. Tons of people are like that and there's not a whole lot you can do about it.
Last edited by Tofer; 01-04-2007 at 08:52 PM.
I agree. IMO, your weight gain appears to be at a very good rate in terms speed. I will also definately agree that its likely you hold more of your fat in your midsection, obviously making you feel as though you are fatter.
How did your cut go? Bulking is only half of the mission.
What were your workouts like?
Age: 25 Height:5/9" Weight: 180lbs/ 80kgs
Current PR's (updated 19th March.)
Bench: 325lbs/ 145kgs
Dead: 395lbs/ 180kgs
Squat: 370lbs/ 165kgs x 1 parallel.
How are your lifts? Did you gain a lot of strength?
like said before how did your strength go up,
you did good on your arms getting an 1" in less then a year is tough.
ive never really went bulking cause if i started to add weight with out my strength incearsing i would cut my calorie intake, as weight to power is more important to me. And one you put fat on the mid section it can be hard to get off. I have only put on 30lbs in ten years, but my fat % has stayed low, I look alot bigger then i weigh and power to weight is pretty high.
we all have different goals on what we want to accomplish, and you sound like me as not happy on gaining fat lbs just to increase a little muscle lbs.
I would say you increased your calorie consuption a little to much when bulking as you were not burning the appropriate amount.
If i was you id try consuimng your normal calorie consuption, but focus on high protein deit and really up your workouts so you lose the fat, and continue to maintain and grow your existing mucles. if you arnt losing fat that way decrease your calorie intake so you do.
Last edited by smokinHawk; 01-05-2007 at 07:24 AM.
flat bench - 4 sets
something incline (usually db press or hammer strength machine) - 4 sets
flyes - 2 sets
tricep exercise #1 - 3 sets
tricep exercise #2 - 3 sets
weighted pull ups - 4 sets
barbell rows (or t-bar rows) - 3 sets
cable rows (or hammer strength rows) - 3 sets
barbell curls - 3 sets
dumbbell curls - 1-2 sets
Thursday: shoulders/other stuff (traps, abs)
seated barbell press - 4-5 sets
lateral raises - 3 sets
shrugs - 4 sets
abs - weighted crunches, leg raises, etc.
squats - 4 sets
leg press (or leg extensions) - 4 sets
SLDL - 3 sets
leg curls - 2 sets
calves (standing or seated) - 5 sets
At the time strength gains didn't seem like they were as good as they should have been and came too slowly, but thinking back, some lifts increased pretty well, some not so well. I don't have my workout log with me, but off the top of my head I remember some random stuff like... I know my flat bench increased like this:Did you make a lot of progress in terms of strength (ie. did your numbers go up a lot)?
185lbs for 4-5 reps my last set (at a bodyweight of 158lbs)
215lbs for 4 reps my last set (at a bodyweight of 176lbs)
I think military press went from 115lbs for 4-5 reps to 135lbs for 3-4 reps or so.
Something like seated cable rows went from like 145lbs to 155-160ish.
The curl jockey in me remembers that barbell curls increased 10lbs.
Weighted pull ups stayed pretty much the same (bw +30 for 6 reps). I always thought that was maybe due the bodyweight gained almost acting like additional pull up weight.
I'll be the first to admit legs are my weak point by far, so there wasn't much increasing there... although it's not from lack of trying. I have quad issues. A while back I was squatting 225 for 6 good reps. Then I hurt my knee (something unrelated to lifting) and didn't/couldn't do any direct leg work for months. When I started back, squats (and even leg presses) have been a problem. It's not pain or anything, it's just like I've become unable to perform either of these exercises correctly no matter how light I go. My body just doesn't want to use my quads to do the work. I'm probably using hips and ass and nothing more. I have no idea how to correct it, but I spent my entire bulk (and still to this day) trying to fix it. I haven't squatted above 135lbs during this time, and it sucks balls.
Hamstrings on the other hand are okay. SLDL went from 185 for 8ish, to 225 for 6ish.
I didn't really take any other measurements consistently. Like I said before l have leg issues, plus I have absolutely no idea where to measure them from. I know right now (168lbs, I'm in the middle of cutting very slowly from this bulk) my thighs are 21 inches at one point on the leg (lower), 23 inches at another point (higher), and 23.6 at another point (highest). Not sure which one was done in the correct place.You said you gained a few inches in the waist... well, what about your thighs, chest, etc.?
Right now (168ish) they are already decreasing... down to about 15 today.Also, 15.3 inch arms really aren't that bad. A lot of people would struggle to get arms bigger than that. After gaining only 18 lbs you're quite lucky to have put on that much size in your arms.
Totally agree there. It makes bulking sooooo much worse than it should be. Back, shoulders, arms all look borderline the same as far as leanness goes, but my stomach looks like ****. I'm fine with not seeing abs for a while... big deal. But a 37 inch waist is crazy.Without knowing anything else, I'm guessing you're just one of those people who tends to hold fat in their midsection. Tons of people are like that and there's not a whole lot you can do about it.
Last edited by unstop; 07-21-2007 at 08:09 PM.
Heh dude, are you pushing yourself in the gym?
This may sound like a dumb question but have you been giving it 110%?
If you are getting stronger and are in caloric surplus you should grow >.<
eat more protien and less carbs for some people eatting carbs is like eatting sugar only does bad things for them and near 1.5 xbw of protien is kinda low if you are trying to gain weight try and get lots of muscle
Read this article. It was just posted yesterday...It should help you out!
Remember that doing weighted crunches increases the muscle mass in your midsection. Probably not 3" worth, but I would bet it's more than you think.
I would also like to point out that you look pretty good, especially considering you gained 18 lbs.