Dirty bulk experiment and update on my current physique

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Even though I don’t really recommended it I did it anyway – dirty bulking for 10 whole weeks. The results? Not great as you probably imagine, but it was a real treat I’m telling you.

But let’s rewind a little bit to the starting point – the end of my cutting phase.

So at the very beginning of 2016 I started cutting back on calories and being careful with my macros, with a goal of getting down to 10% body fat. Even though the cutting went relatively well (I lost 15 pounds of pure fat), after 14 weeks I reached 12% body fat and stopped cutting. So I didn’t hit the 10% target. I was tired of it and just wanted to eat more again.

Here are the before and after figures and pictures.

Starting point Week 14 stats
Planned cutting period: 17 weeks (January 4 to May 1) Measurements date: 8 April
Starting weight: 90.6 kg (@ 184cm) Current weight: 83.5 kg
Starting body fat: 18 % (caliper method) Current body fat: 12 % (caliper method)
Starting waist: 94 cm Current waist: 86 cm
Target body fat: 10% Target body fat: 10%

IMG_20160314_212727

On the left you can see me before starting cutting at 18% body fat or so and on the right, after 14 weeks and around 12% body fat (caliper method).

Then I started a no-rule bulking aka dirty bulking. Yes, the one that makes you fat without making your body build more muscle than it would if you would only eat slightly above maintenance.

I literally ate as much as 4,000 kcal a day, lots of fats and carbs, not tracking a single damn thing – not even my weight. I did this for about 10 weeks, until recently. Keep in mind that I was cutting with 2,000 kcal a day before, so I nearly doubled by caloric intake.

What I’ve noticed during the bulk

  • Obviously, more energy in the gym and throughout the day for that matter
  • All my major lifts went up and my workouts got better
  • Some libido changes (I told you that long deficits mess you up at hormonal level)
  • Increase in waist size and weight
  • Some fat gains of course
  • Less visible separation between the muscle

Actually until a certain point during this bulk I think my physique looked better that it did at 12% body fat. The muscles looked a bit bigger and fuller because of the slightly increased fat tissue. I think this was at 14%.

I am now at around 18% body fat again and 203 – 204 pounds, which means I’ve put on 20 pounds. Now, the question is how much of it is fat and how much muscle.

Fat to muscle gain ratio

My guesstimation is that only 4-5 pounds of my weight gain is muscle and the rest is just fat and possibly some extra water weight. So, 5 pound of muscle and 15 pounds of fat. That’s pretty bad, huh. So compared to the lean bulking scenario in which the fat to muscle gain ratio is ideally 1:1, this particular dirty bulk resulted in a 1:3 ratio.

Take into consideration that this ratio will depend on personal circumstances such as your training experience, amount of muscle mass, diet and age. It doesn’t mean that if you dirty bulk you will get the 1:3 ratio as well.

Me personally, even though I have been weight training for 1.5 years, my gains are still lagging begin a little bit because I have been cutting for a very long time (I’ve started at over 240 pounds). This allows me to still gain muscle mass faster than someone who was been lifting just as long as me but eat over maintenance.

It’s all down to personal circumstances.

And now, here are the before and after dirty bulking starts and pictures.

before and after bulk

Yup…I’m fat again.

I can’t say I’m upset with the outcome of this because I was expecting it, but I don’t think I would do it again. Like I said in other articles, you can’t gain muscle without putting on some fat, but a 1:3 ratio is definitely not optimal.

It’s not optimal because you will have to spend a lot of time losing that fat, time that you could’ve spent staying in a surplus and build even more muscle mass.

That being said I stated cutting again with a goal of getting down to at least 12% body fat like I was before the bulk. Can’t wait to see the old me at 12% versus the new me at the same body fat level. That’s when you can really tell if the bulk was worth it or not.

But until then….

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