What BF% would you suggest starting to bulk?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 27, 2011 10:23 PM GMT
    I've done some research and found anywhere between 10-12%, but I have trouble dropping pretty low. I pretty much plateaued and couldn't drop anymore lbs, so I just decided to go ahead and start putting on some muscle again. I COULD have tried harder by getting fruits out of my diet, and by possibly carb cycling, but I really wanted to get back into weight training since I've been forced into taking a break.

    I'm still trying to find that "magic number" where I put on minimal fat but optimal muscle gain. I've been going for about 3-3.3k calories a day, but I'm going to try dropping to 2.8-3k cals, since I seem to be putting on a bit of fat.

    I'm curious if any of you have any personal opinions on what body fat percentage to start at? An experienced trainer of mine says to just go for it and worry about the fat later when i'm cutting, but I'm honestly just curious what feedback I'd get.
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    May 27, 2011 10:30 PM GMT
    I started bulking last year at ~13% bf; however, I did it in a very smart way: A week of bulking, a week of cutting, rinse and repeat.

    I'm currently at 7% bf with a physique I'd always believed to be genetically impossible for me.
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    May 27, 2011 11:27 PM GMT
    You have to look at your genetics + diet + goals to come to a decision regarding how much you are willing to sacrifice and how do you want to look. One very muscular co-worker I have has a bf of 5% (his lowest was 4.6%), my bf is 5.1%, I've met a triathlete who has a bf of 4% and a friend of mine (who's 35) has a bf of 7%.

    I'm gaining around 11lbs per year in the past 3 years (mostly of lean mass, otherwise my bf wouldn't be so low) and I still haven't "platoed", even though my bf is this low. Your mileage may vary, I just wanted to say that low bf is not an impediment to lean mass gain if you eat what you should when you should.
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    May 28, 2011 12:32 AM GMT
    Oh yeah, I know having fat on your body doesn't impede muscle growth. It's just that when the time does come around that I want to shed body fat to have that muscle definition, I want to have as little body fat as possible. Mainly because it cuts down on the amount of time that I COULD be building muscle instead of shedding.

    But geez... 5% body fat. I'm probably around 11% at the moment and completely plateaued. Do you know what your friends did to get to such a low bf%?
  • musclepuppy

    Posts: 113

    May 28, 2011 12:42 AM GMT
    I'd say 15% max.
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    May 28, 2011 12:44 AM GMT
    Well from what I've learned in all my classes, muscle helps burn fat so if you put on some more lean muscle mass the right way and don't gain any fat, the new muscle, might just be that extra push your body needs to metabolize and burn the remaining fat you have. Just something to consider.
  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    May 28, 2011 12:46 AM GMT
    Bulking up is a myth. You can't put on muscle by first putting on fat.
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    May 28, 2011 1:39 AM GMT
    By bulking i'm referring to putting on muscle. I didn't know it meant putting on fat first icon_smile.gif
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    May 28, 2011 6:54 PM GMT
    OP, my friends' low bf (as well as my own).... I think it's mostly due to genetics. My whole family is skinny and junk food is too expensive here, so we end up eating healthy food for the sake of economy. No chocolates, no soda, no candies, no fries.

    My sex symbol is a co-worker whose bf is around 16%, and I find him very hot. So don't worry too much about it if you're fine with how you look. icon_smile.gif
  • Poolboy44

    Posts: 54

    May 28, 2011 6:58 PM GMT
    Can someone explain the whole bulking and cutting deal? I'm kinda new to this. Also, what is carb cycling? And how do I calculate bf%
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    May 28, 2011 7:21 PM GMT
    Without going into all of the physiological details involved, it is easier to have a clean bulk (one where primary gains in weight are due to lean mass rather than fat) when one is already quite lean. That is, a knowledgeable and careful bulker would do best to begin from a bodyfat% of say 7% rather than 15%. Keep in mind that the best bulking AND cutting cycles rely on slow modifications with careful macronutrient monitoring/timing. Afterall, anything we REALLY want should be worth a wait - invest some time and energy into both cycles. Finally it seems as though the OP indicated that he does NOT participate in resistance training during a cutting cycle? (forgive the misinterpretation if there was one). If you are having trouble cutting to a lower fat percentage, this could very well be a factor. It is okay to step down on intensity, perhaps even duration, but high volume circuits with good frequency will ONLY help as you cut down.
  • Hunkymonkey

    Posts: 215

    May 29, 2011 11:23 AM GMT
    If you've dropped your calories and are still putting on fat, then you need to examine your diet. Offhand, I'd say, cut the carbs and boost the protein. Also, stick with 4 to 6 smaller meals per day so you blood sugar stays level. Blood sugar spikes, followed by insulin spikes, causes fat to be stored if your carbs are too high and/or you aren't burning up all you consume.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 29, 2011 12:47 PM GMT
    This might be an article you might find interesting ....