How to Bulk/Cut: A short but successful cycle

I want to tell you about Jackie. We started working together at  the end of August 2016. Jackie was a very underfueled, underweight runner averaging 1200-1400 calories/day & weighing 112 lbs at 5’4″ when we began (Pictures are in the group thread)

She was running about 40 miles per week, resistance training after running and eating low carb. Her programming ran from bro splits to a 6 day PPL with way too much volume and still, ALL THAT WHEEL SPINNING. Umm, I mean, running.

Fast forward to pic on left from end of March 2016, where she finished her 7 month bulk at 125 lbs eating 2901 calories and 454 grams of carbs (yup! you read that right).

While it was a shorter bulk than I like to implement, it was her first. Jackie simply followed her programs consistently and diligently. She hit her macros, trained hard, increased weight on the bar when she could and didn’t stress over minor details, leaving that to me.

We kept weight gain to .45 lb per week or 1.78 lbs average per month (she was super lean to start, noob status & made good progression on her lifts so 1.5% of her total bodyweight per month was a good rate of gain for her – less had she not been a noob or so lean) Most of her growth occurred in her back and glutes. Overall, she gained 16 inches with 10 of them going to her back and hips/glutes. Bye bye pancake ass; hello booty gains!

And even better she hardly gained 2 inches total on her stomach which shows what little fat she truly gained ( and arguably the most important area of measurement during a bulk where you do not want to see much gain).

Now as a novice to proper training <2 years and using Alan Aragon’s model, my guess is that of the 13 lbs gained she probably gained 1% total bodyweight in lean mass per month or 1.2 lbs muscle per month. So over 7 months maybe 8.5 lbs of muscle & 4.5 lbs of fat. Before anyone cries “You don’t have a DEXA to prove that!” Well, I don’t, but it’ll be pretty clear from the second half that she gained quite a bit MORE muscle & quite a bit LESS fat, relatively speaking. And I’m pretty good with numbers. And I keep fastidious notes on my clients.

Let’s continue with the bulk.

At first, Jackie wanted to continue running, so I said, sure, as I’m not the kind of coach to make you give up something you love even if it may equate to wheel spinning. If you can recover & still manage your training – go for it. (Secretly, I laughed) That didn’t last long & the 3 @ 20 minute LISS sessions I normally prescribe whether bulking or cutting quickly became a moderately paced walk/jog. Additionally, a proper resistance program will kick your ass even with a calorie surplus and you will/should look forward to your rest days. If not, you are simply not training hard enough.

Progressive overload is key when bulking. It provides the stimulus for growth. Nutrition simply permits it. But there’s no ‘set’ time frame. So it’s not *necessarily* every session, every week or even every month. It’s cumulative. Sure, if you’re a noob those increases can & should come faster, but it’s not an exact science. You just #liftheavyshit and increase when you can. Just make sure you are sleeping and recovering well, you are pushing yourself (you have the nutrition to support it) and you are increasing volume in some way.

JACKIE JUST DID THE WORK: Day in & day out. She worked around a shoulder injury, frigid temperatures in her garage in winter, sweltering heat in summer, never complaining – just doing. And the results speak for themselves. No magic. Just consistency.

Now let’s move on to yesterday’s pic on the right. This is 4 weeks of cutting. Down ‘only’ 4 lbs to 121. We dropped calories right away to 2402. A 500 calorie deficit. No dicking around. So she’s losing 1lb per week eating 348 grams of carbs! Crazy, huh? But that’s what happens when you start out lean, build more lean mass, don’t get fat AF, continue doing LISS to aid in nutrient partitioning and #liftheavyshit. She also keeps her NEAT up. Again, no magic. No secrets. If you start lean & keep fat gain to a minimum, then not only will you gain more muscle than fat DURING your bulk (gaining more faster does not equal more muscle – it equals more FAT) but when you eventually diet down it will not take you months & months to lose, but rather weeks.

Granted, I would have liked Jackie to bulk another 6-7 months at least, but the fact remains she built some nice muscle and she’s dieting on 19.85 calories x her bodyweight!!

And she has quad separation, striations, a big back, nice perky glutes AND she looks shredded already for summer in just 4 weeks of dieting. PLUS she can get back to building as soon as she’s ready. And if the client is happy, I am happy.

*Final thought*
I have always and will continue, to freely give you the formulas for success via my group discussion and PSAs. My wish is that more of you will actually listen, take note & apply the information instead of wheel spinning & doing things ass backward because you are too lazy or impatient to do it correctly. It takes time, patience, practice, learning how your body responds & lots of trial & error. Did I mention time & patience? But aside from those few outliers and people with superior genetics or who are enhanced, IT TAKES TIME. YEARS. You are not going to get the physique you want in a year or two, naturally. Or with one bulk. No way. It’s not happening. Walk away now if you think it is or go buy a boatload of drugs.

So please don’t try to bulk if your bodyfat is close to a newborns.

And FFS stop dieting when you have no lean mass under there.

I will answer questions but please make sure it was not already addressed or is a question that requires a crystal ball. (Amazon isn’t delivering today)

Join us in the group to discuss (Ladies only please)


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