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bulking and counting calories

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2013 3:42 pm
by ephs
i'm down to around 75kg with counting calories.

do you think i could reach way better muscle gains with a caloric surplus of around 100-200 or do you need a bigger surplus? i would like to try if the muscle gains are way better when being on a surplus than in my now some month lasting cutting phase. in the cutting phase i have a deficit of around 500 a day, but i gained some muscle anyway.

the problem is i just don't want to become fat while bulking cause it's season time at soccer atm.

Re: bulking and counting calories

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2013 4:02 pm
by stuward
As you noticed, it is possible to build muscle while cutting. It's also possible to bulk without adding fat. The trick is to keep your surplus and deficit relatively small. 100-200 is likely too small. 500 +/- is usually about right for averaged sized men. It's best to have some sort of cycle, so you alternate between a surplus and a deficit, averaging out to a break even over the longer term.

Re: bulking and counting calories

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2013 5:52 pm
by ephs
but a surplus of 500 a day would mean 500g additional fat per week. i would like to keep that a bit lower.

how long would you make the cycles?

are there any studies that a 500 surplus is better than 100-200 or is it just important to have a surplus?

Re: bulking and counting calories

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2013 6:05 pm
by stuward
ephs wrote:but a surplus of 500 a day would mean 500g additional fat per week. ...
500 calories is about 56g of fat, not 500.

The higher your surplus, the better your recovery will be and the faster you can build muscle. Typical rates of muscle growth are about 1/4 to 1/2 pound a week. 100-200 calories wouldn't be enough for that. 500 would create some fat growth but it would be trivial and easy to burn off with an occasional deficit. Taking in more than about 500 calorie surplus would mean you wuld have to spend more time in deficit and that could slow your gains.

Re: bulking and counting calories

Posted: Mon Sep 02, 2013 4:07 pm
by ephs
i thought 500kcal deficit per day means 3.500 kcal per week, which equals 500g of weight loss?

so it's only so less fat that you gain, but also water and stuff? or do you calculate with another unit than kcal?

Re: bulking and counting calories

Posted: Mon Sep 02, 2013 4:47 pm
by stuward
ephs wrote:i thought 500kcal deficit per day means 3.500 kcal per week, which equals 500g of weight loss?

so it's only so less fat that you gain, but also water and stuff? or do you calculate with another unit than kcal?
Sorry, I meant it takes 56g of dietary fat to produce 500 calories. Yes, 3500 calories a week theoretically leads to about 500g of body fat, although, hopefully, not all your gain would be fat. If you train appropriately you could gain up to 1/2 lb a week. You may get about 1/2 lb of fat. You can lose about 1-2 lbs of fat a week without losing muscle, so that's not hard to manage.

Re: bulking and counting calories

Posted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 2:29 am
by ephs
cutting is not a problem and works for me, i'm just a bit scared to become fat with a 500kcal surplus every day :grin:

Re: bulking and counting calories

Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:33 am
by pdellorto
I wouldn't worry about it too much. If you boost the amount of food you eat, your body will boost your metabolism. It's not purely 1 for 1, but it means that your "surplus" isn't all surplus. Your body responds to increased or decreased caloric intake, and increased and decreased activity, on kind of sliding scale. Think of it this way, if you added an extra 10 kcals a day, would you gain 1 pound a year? Or do you think you might just be slightly more active to burn it off? The body tries to maintain homeostasis, so you actually need a significant disruption (i.e. a significant amount of extra food) or stimulus (i.e. a significant amount of exercise) on a consistent basis to get some change. You have to do something and keep at it for the change to happen.

What I'd do is add some extra food, eat that way for a week, and then adjust up or down depending on how it works. Add a few hundred extra calories a day and have a plan about what you'll add or subtract. Just keep at it, and keep measuring girth and skinfolds (if you can).

Just as an example, I usually eat around 3000 kcals a day, give or take, at 185 pounds. Last time I wanted to put on muscle to go up a weight class (I wanted to be around 200 for a cut to 189.9 for grappling), I had to clock in at around 5000 kcals a day before the scale would budge. The extra lifting, extra training, and metabolic boost meant even 1000 kcals extra a day wouldn't cut it. Once I stopped eating like that, it didn't take long before my body started to slide back down towards my starting weight. I'm not saying eat as much as I did, but realize the extra you add isn't purely going into your body as extra. Start small by all means, but be prepared to adjust upward and downward.

Re: bulking and counting calories

Posted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 4:04 am
by ephs
thx for the info peter and of course also thx to stuward.

i decided to keep on cutting some weeks, you know i want to see all the abs :D and then i'm going to bulk a bit. the strategy from peter sounds good. i will start with a very low surplus and increase it if necessary. i only have a caliper to measure fat, but i don't know if this method is so accurate, but better than nothing.

i'm still unsure how long i should be making the phases. maybe at least one month or what about alternating week by week or every two weeks?

Re: bulking and counting calories

Posted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:02 am
by pdellorto
I wouldn't alternate very often - but I'm one of those people who puts muscle on slowly and painfully. Alternating monthly would get me no where. I'd recommend doing it with a goal of 2-3 months for bulking (especially if you're taking it slowly, ramping up the calories little by little), and fat loss for 1-2 months (since it's usually easier to cut out a lot and ramp back up if you need to).

More frequent shifting might work for you, but for me, I treat a diet-change cycle like a workout cycle - it's progressive over 6-12 weeks not week to week.