Posted: 9/5/2008 7:38:07 PM EDT
I am currently doing Rippetoe's Starting Strength, with the objective of getting big and strong. As such, I'm putting on about 10 pounds a month. Of course, some of this is fat. At some point, I'm thinking that I will need to go through a 1-2 month cutting phase to lose the fat, then starting bulking up again.
My question is how should I approach weightlifting while I'm losing weight. I'd like to keep making linear progress, but I know this will be very difficult while running a caloric deficit. The way I see it, I have two choices:
1) Keep lifting the same amount of weight during the entire cutting period
2) Reduce my weights by 15% or so and gradually work back up to the starting point, while I am losing weight.
What do you think would be more effective? Or do I need to try something more exotic, like light/heavy/medium days?
Also, what are some reasonable gain/loss numbers during the bulking/cutting phase? I mean, should I put on 50 pounds, then lose 40 pounds, and repeat? Or should I add 20 pounds, then lose 10, and repeat as necessary? Right now, I like the idea of gaining a lot of weight since I'll also gain a lot of muscle which will make losing weight easier.
No claims of being an expert here, but if you are in the "bew" side, I wouldn't necessarily plan around the cut - i.e., keep adding weight if you can, if you can't, well... it is probably the diet, but no reason to give up before you try. Much of the "newbie" gains has just as much to do with training your CNS as adding lean muscle. Of course, recovery time will also be affected by the deficit. On the more advanced level, I believe the general recommendation is to keep the intensity the same, but reduce volume. And of course, increased cardio helps.
Personally, I'm doing as lean a bulk as possible. I know Rippetoe claims gains of 40+ lbs on his program, but 1) he doesn't give a timeframe for this 2), I don't think he every specifically says lean gains (and admits he doesn't care about aesthetics), and 3) his program is primarily geared towards skinny teenagers who would be growing anyway, and are particular susceptible to stimulus.
It is generally accepted that it is very difficult to gain more than 2lbs/month of lean muscle naturally, unless you've got some really kick ass genetics, at least once you've used up your "newbie" gains. How much of your current 10lbs/month is fat vs muscle, only you can say. While some fat gain is necessary to maximize results, a 50/50 ratio is personally too much for me, in your "gain 20, lose 10" example and if you're saying gain 50 and lose 40, well, that is waaay too much. Realize that during a cut, you will lose some lean as well. So if you put on 20, but 10 is fat, and end up losing 2-3 lbs of lean during that 10 lbs fat loss, well, you may have arrived at the same end results quicker doing a slightly leaner bulk and doing an "eat everything in sight" + cut.
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