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Lifting and aesthetic balance

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  • Lifting and aesthetic balance

    I have a long training history of around 20 years. For the past few years I’ve been getting stuck in a loop where I gain weight for a while in a modest caloric surplus until I reach a point that I don’t like how I look. This tends to happen at around 190 pounds. I feel very strong at this weight and enjoy my training most at this weight. I then inevitably diet down to around 175lbs which is where I am currently, but my strength does suffer quite a bit it seems when I reach this lower body weight. I’m 5’10”. I understand that it’s a personal preference to be fluffier and stronger vs leaner and potentially weaker but I’m curious what your thoughts are on finding balance here to prevent this yo-yo effect. Should I stick to gaining slowly for a while and just not waffle or find a happy medium at like 180-185 that I can easily maintain and just not “bulk and cut?” I have sound programming and technique and iv had a BbM coach in the past. Strength training prioritizing sbd is my goal and what I enjoy. I’ve been much heavier and much stronger in the past being as hevmavy as 222lbs but had a waist of like 38 inches at that weight and decided to lower my bw for health reasons.

    Recent 1rms

    squat- 405
    bench- 350
    dl- 585

    these we’re done at around 185lbs bw

  • #2
    Hey JCalvin,

    Thanks for the post. I think that bulk and cut cycles should aim to leave you heavier than you started after the cut, but with more lean body mass. Similarly, I think cuts shouldn't really affect your strength significantly if the programming is appropriate. So, I think what I'm trying to say is that the processes and strategies you may be using may not be well-suited for you if these are the results. As far as how to specifically do each of these things, I think I can provide some general guidance:
    • During a bulk, I would aim for a small energy surplus (a few hundred Calories) from carbohydrates and fat. I would plan on gaining weight slowly, meeting or exceeding the guidelines for conditioning, and watching waist measurement to make sure it's not growing disproportionately to your BW.
    • During a cut, I would aim for a small energy deficit from carbohydrates and fat, again losing weight slowly. I would not change strength programming provided it has been working for you and is appropriate.
    I think maintenance is unlikely to make you much bigger over time, but I'm not sure if that's one of your goals. I suspect strength would likely increase over time on maintenance.

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    • #3
      Thank you!