Time to Gain! Anyone running a bulk?

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Replies

  • alexmose2
    alexmose2 Posts: 208 Member
    *Panics*
  • ContentlyMe
    ContentlyMe Posts: 4 Member
    Well, trying to bulk. I got Covid last September. I didn't have any symptoms except a bone in my left wrist suddenly hurt for no reason. I developed some pretty serious gastric issues afterwards though. I lost 40 pounds in just a few months. My lowest weight was 106, my husband said I looked like a Holocaust victim. My symptoms began to slowly subside in April and as soon as I could keep a whole meal down, I started lifting again. The upside to being so thin and de-conditioned is that I became super insulin-sensitive. I've been able to gain muscle faster than fat and have had steady returns in strength gains. I got up to 124.4 pounds two weeks ago, but I've lost 3 pounds since, even though I've been increasing my calories weekly. I just bumped my calories up by about 25g more carbs per day. I like supersets, but I'm going to reduce how many I incorporate because they use so much energy to perform. I was performing conditioning/HIIT twice a week, but I'm going to cut it back to 1 day HIIT and maybe 1-2 days of 20 minutes of steady state cardio instead. I have managed to add 125lbs to my deadlift, 105 to my squat, 55 pounds to my bench, and 40 pounds to my overhead press since I started back. Although I'm still gaining strength, I'm losing weight again. I just don't know how I can eat much more!!! Lol.
  • alexmose2
    alexmose2 Posts: 208 Member
    Weight dropped right back down to 108, as expected. I just finished a very stressful time + hormones so here we are still holding steady between 107-111. I have to say, I am very disappointed my bench is not progressing well at all, despite hitting at least 13 sets of chest per week.

    @ContentlyMe keep it up! definitely feel you on the eating front....I just eat a some chocolate each night if my calories allow, which they currently do, given I am about to move and just cannot ration purchasing more food.
  • watts6151
    watts6151 Posts: 898 Member
    Couldn’t resist myself

    Just back from the gym after a heavy leg session
    Before jumping in the shower I jumped on the scales.
    The filthy dirty lying piece of cheap plastic says I’m now obese with a 33.1 bmi 😂

    On the plus side I’m loving benching with the buffalo bar, so much easier on my shoulders, I can actually lift more weight with a greater range of motion for some strange reason
  • alexmose2
    alexmose2 Posts: 208 Member
    It has happened: I have COVID. Very tired and weak. No loss of appetite, although I am pretty pedantic about eating protein anyways. Wish me a good recovery.
  • GaryRuns
    GaryRuns Posts: 494 Member
    alexmose2 wrote: »
    It has happened: I have COVID. Very tired and weak. No loss of appetite, although I am pretty pedantic about eating protein anyways. Wish me a good recovery.

    That stinks @alexmose2. Are you vaccinated? I suppose it doesn't matter, either way you're young, fit and healthy and that makes it pretty unlikely you'll experience anything more than a flu-like level of symptoms. Best wishes for a speedy, full, recovery.
  • alexmose2
    alexmose2 Posts: 208 Member
    GaryRuns wrote: »
    alexmose2 wrote: »
    It has happened: I have COVID. Very tired and weak. No loss of appetite, although I am pretty pedantic about eating protein anyways. Wish me a good recovery.

    That stinks @alexmose2. Are you vaccinated? I suppose it doesn't matter, either way you're young, fit and healthy and that makes it pretty unlikely you'll experience anything more than a flu-like level of symptoms. Best wishes for a speedy, full, recovery.

    I am vaccinated since Feb with Pfzier, but I suppose it does not matter to this delta variant! I had flu symptoms, pretty much every symptom related to COVID, including loss of taste/smell. Right now I just had some congestion in my head and chest. Thank you.
  • steveko89
    steveko89 Posts: 2,183 Member
    Get well soon, @alexmose2
  • GaryRuns
    GaryRuns Posts: 494 Member
    edited September 2021
    steveko89 wrote: »
    steveko89 wrote: »
    psuLemon wrote: »
    Not yet :'(

    One day I will get lean enough and then run a bulk.

    Same.

    I am tempted to just give it a go since I feel like I’m spinning wheels trying to cut more.

    Yeah, I've only been under TDEE on 18 of the last 45 days so I think I'll just lean into this upward trend. If I consider 9/1 to be my start I was at 173.3 lbs and ~11% body fat.

    What type of surplus are people planning/have experience with being most effective? I'm thinking to keep things around +100/day or so for a little less than 1 lb/month and stick to at least 1 g/lb protein.

    So I was curious what conclusions you came to on this @steveko89 after this much time has passed.

    I've been happy with my average of about 2lbs/month. I find it maddening trying to control it at a level finer than that. My cardio is inconsistent so at a rate of gain less than about 2lbs/month I can easily find myself back in a deficit if I'm not careful. It would probably help if I used something to track my calorie expenditure when I do my cardio but I've avoided that to date. And, again, I'm okay with 2lbs/month.

    Of course stress has been making the fluctuations crazy the last couple of months and my hypertrophy/strength gains have likewise suffered. Life...
  • steveko89
    steveko89 Posts: 2,183 Member
    GaryRuns wrote: »
    steveko89 wrote: »
    steveko89 wrote: »
    psuLemon wrote: »
    Not yet :'(

    One day I will get lean enough and then run a bulk.

    Same.

    I am tempted to just give it a go since I feel like I’m spinning wheels trying to cut more.

    Yeah, I've only been under TDEE on 18 of the last 45 days so I think I'll just lean into this upward trend. If I consider 9/1 to be my start I was at 173.3 lbs and ~11% body fat.

    What type of surplus are people planning/have experience with being most effective? I'm thinking to keep things around +100/day or so for a little less than 1 lb/month and stick to at least 1 g/lb protein.

    So I was curious what conclusions you came to on this @steveko89 after this much time has passed.

    I've been happy with my average of about 2lbs/month. I find it maddening trying to control it at a level finer than that. My cardio is inconsistent so at a rate of gain less than about 2lbs/month I can easily find myself back in a deficit if I'm not careful. It would probably help if I used something to track my calorie expenditure when I do my cardio but I've avoided that to date. And, again, I'm okay with 2lbs/month.

    Of course stress has been making the fluctuations crazy the last couple of months and my hypertrophy/strength gains have likewise suffered. Life...

    I haven't been bulking this whole time; I've been cutting or maintaining since Jan-1so a total of 20 weeks bulking from the weight inflection point I had on 8/13/20. Overall it was 172.08 to 179.4 by trailing average, translating to closer to +1.5 lbs/month for the duration. However, the first six weeks of that span equated to the gain I'd originally targeted (~0.8 lbs per month), but I cranked up the surplus a little when my weight stalled in mid-October so I did about 2 lbs/month for the last 12-14 weeks or so. Overall I've been very happy with the strength and size I added, especially once I leaned back down (sitting around 173 or so now, at least I was before a pretty calorific weekend & hit a bench PR at 300lbs in the spring and matched a DL PR in May).

    Very interestingly (to me at least) is that the bulk seemed to reset or boost my TDEE by ~7% up to 2700/day from ~2515, which had been very sticky over 3+ years of good data. Eventually planning to bulk again this far but I'd like to get leaner first (perpetually so, it would seem).
  • Just hopping on this thread to say I’ve been gaining slowly since April 2021. Started at 137, currently 147. I’ve been stuck there for the last 4 weeks, partly due to gastroenteritis. I guess I need to increase calories a bit, but I’m just not very interested in food. Weird for me, I love food.
  • GaryRuns
    GaryRuns Posts: 494 Member
    Just hopping on this thread to say I’ve been gaining slowly since April 2021. Started at 137, currently 147. I’ve been stuck there for the last 4 weeks, partly due to gastroenteritis. I guess I need to increase calories a bit, but I’m just not very interested in food. Weird for me, I love food.

    Just a thought, but maybe try cupcakes and protein shakes? :p

    Seriously, I'm sorry to hear about the health issues. I've been doing the opposite with an unintentional "dirty" bulk the last three weeks or so because of emotional eating and WAY too much alcohol and not enough cardio. Ugh. Life sucks sometimes. I think I'm finally getting back on track this week though.
  • watts6151
    watts6151 Posts: 898 Member
    Currently stalling on my Mass
    Calories have remained the same but work has become busier, starting to find eating a chore but going to have to up the calories even more 😫
  • cupcakesandproteinshakes
    cupcakesandproteinshakes Posts: 971 Member
    edited September 2021
    GaryRuns wrote: »

    Just a thought, but maybe try cupcakes and protein shakes? :p

    Seriously, I'm sorry to hear about the health issues. I've been doing the opposite with an unintentional "dirty" bulk the last three weeks or so because of emotional eating and WAY too much alcohol and not enough cardio. Ugh. Life sucks sometimes. I think I'm finally getting back on track this week though.

    Yes well most of my twenties was a cycle of dirty bulking then losing. Sadly I wasn’t weight training though then. Just yo yo dieting. What a shame I lacked that knowledge.

    Cupcakes and protein shakes are a staple for me whether gaining losing or maintaining!
  • steveko89
    steveko89 Posts: 2,183 Member
    For the second year in a row it looks like my bulk started unintentionally (holy inflection point, Batman). Based on last year I think +3lbs/month is a good target, though from where I’m starting I’m unsure how far into December I’ll actually get before the fat gain has me uncomfortable.

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  • nay0meh
    nay0meh Posts: 85 Member
    Going to take a leap of faith and try bulking for my first time ever. I am excited and nervous both! I am lean and vascular in my upper body and mid section but my legs and glutes need to grow I think and then hit the fat loss more. What advice do people have? I have been in a deficit from my TDEE for almost a year and I am wondering if I will see results just from eating at maintenance for a few weeks and then increasing by 100-200 calories over that? Thoughts?
  • steveko89
    steveko89 Posts: 2,183 Member
    nay0meh wrote: »
    Going to take a leap of faith and try bulking for my first time ever. I am excited and nervous both! I am lean and vascular in my upper body and mid section but my legs and glutes need to grow I think and then hit the fat loss more. What advice do people have? I have been in a deficit from my TDEE for almost a year and I am wondering if I will see results just from eating at maintenance for a few weeks and then increasing by 100-200 calories over that? Thoughts?

    You don't really need any maintenance phase between cutting and bulking. I would suggest figuring out what your current TDEE is vs. whatever you used as a reference at the start of your cutting phase. Being in a deficit that long, even if just a mild one, will result in some metabolic adaptation (what most conflate with the dreaded "starvation mode"). Prior to my bulk last fall I didn't think I had ever dieted successfully enough or consistently enough for this to kick in but it turns out what I had observed as my historical TDEE was one that had been depressed by about 7% from years of being too fat-phobic and spinning my wheels in continuous attempts to properly get lean (<10%... still haven't made it).

    I would only advocate for a "lean" or controlled bulk. Depending on training experience you're looking at a surplus requisite to 1.5-3lbs per month total weight gain (+175 to +350 cal/day).

    Below is from a recent T-Nation article about gaining muscle:

    CONTROLLED BULKING
    Beginner: 4-5 pounds per month for men and 2-3 pounds per month for women
    Intermediate: 3-4 pounds per month for men and 1.5-2 pounds per month for women
    Advanced: 2-3 pounds per month for men and 1.5 pounds per month for women
    source: https://www.t-nation.com/lean-built-eating/how-much-to-eat-for-muscle-growth/
  • GaryRuns
    GaryRuns Posts: 494 Member
    nay0meh wrote: »
    Going to take a leap of faith and try bulking for my first time ever. I am excited and nervous both! I am lean and vascular in my upper body and mid section but my legs and glutes need to grow I think and then hit the fat loss more. What advice do people have? I have been in a deficit from my TDEE for almost a year and I am wondering if I will see results just from eating at maintenance for a few weeks and then increasing by 100-200 calories over that? Thoughts?

    I did exactly what you did, went on maintenance for a month or so just to get my body used to not being in a deficit. There is a phenomena that can happen where your energy expenditure, I assume NEAT, increases significantly after a prolonged period of being in a deficit. That means it may actually take you a while to find where your maintenance level is after cutting. Mine was about 300 calories higher than I calculated it should have been after my cut.

    That's a very long winded way of saying that I think it's a good idea to go to maintenance for a while. And you aren't going to lose any muscle by doing so as long as you're consistent in the gym with your lifting. Depending on how lean you are, and how experienced at lifting you are, you absolutely can make gains while at maintenance, again, depending on the quality of your lifting plan.
  • nay0meh
    nay0meh Posts: 85 Member
    @steveko89 Thank you!!!! I have been lifting for almost two years and think I’ve maxed out on my newbie gains. My bf was measured as 15% through in body but I don’t think it’s that low honestly. Looking to build my glutes and legs so going to try bulking. I’m scared because I don’t want to gain fat too much but feel confident that I can switch if I need. I believe in myself amd know I’ve got this! Hoping to find support here on the days I need to remember to stay the course!
  • GaryRuns
    GaryRuns Posts: 494 Member
    edited October 2021
    I can't say I'm thrilled with my results so far but I think they're good if I'm honest with myself. I'm 55 and probably not an ideal genetic specimen for muscle growth having been "scrawny" most of my life. That said I have been rock solid consistent in my gym time, I think I have a pretty good handle at this point on designing, implementing and performing decent progressive overload plans for myself and I've had plenty of positive feedback from people at the gym whose opinion I respect. I'm just finishing my third year of lifting consistently and progressively.

    For my brothers and sisters in the fellow geeks-who-lift club, below is the analysis of progress so far on my bulk. Some caveats, it's based on the BIA done by my scale. Those are notoriously inaccurate but most of this stuff is all relative and BIA isn't bad for relative quantities. Also, my analysis isn't as detailed as I see others here do, but I'm an engineer so I only have to be "sorta" right. ;) The dots are the measurements and the lines are linear trendlines based on those measurements, which are what the summary data is based on.

    I've gained approximately 3.2 lbs of lean mass and approximately 5.4 lbs of fat in six months. I'm not thrilled with that amount of fat but I started out at about 9% bf so I can live with it. I also figure I've only got about 2 or 3 more months of bulk before I want to cut again and at that rate of fat gain I doubt I'll be near my self imposed limit of 14% bf.

    Muscle (lean mass) gain is a little disappointing, but, again, I'm not 25. And even when I was 25 I'm just not genetically gifted in the muscularity department, so given those factors 3.2 lbs ain't bad.

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