I was doing, as I am wont to, some light (read: heavily scientific) reading on the internet today, basking in the remaining pump from today’s back and shoulder day, fueled by last night’s incredible sushi date, when I came upon a novel idea.
Now, this is sort of a big deal. When I say I am likely to be doing some science reading, I am all too serious. On any given day, I read between one and five research studies, articles, peer-reviewed journals, and even the occasional blog post, on lifting, health, nutrition, and the like. As such, I’ve come across a lot of ideas. So when something strikes me as neoteric, well, that’s unusual. And I like that. Apparently the idea isn’t new, per se, I just haven’t been using the right keywords in my research.
So I delved headfirst into reading. And now my brain is swimming in statistics and numbers and names of hormones and I’ve decided that the only way to see if this works, is to carry out an experiment, with a sample size of n=1. Ohmigosh I’m so flipping excited! THIS is the thing I like the most. THE MOST. My entire contest prep was a big experiment, every macro tweak is an experiment, every new lifting plan is an experiment. I have notes on notes on notes for every single change I make. I love love LOVE to experiment with my body.
We are all familiar with the bodybuilder cycles of bulking and cutting. Typically, I tend to go very moderate on this, and maintain a very lean physique, eating only ever so slightly above maintenance for a short period, 8 weeks or so, before cutting back down. This is great for me mentally and physically. But recall I’ve set for myself a date: sole and sexy for EDC, and my calendar alerted me yesterday that I am T-7 weeks out. Well it’s far too early to cut, and my reverse has been going amazing, but I’m ready to GROOWWWWW now! I want to be juuuuust a bit bigger this summer. And it turns out, there’s been some research into micro bulking and cutting cycles- 2 weeks at a time. Some research supports that, while fat gain is inevitable, somewhere in the range of 54% give or take, lean body mass WILL increase in this amount of time, a 14-day-or-so-your-personal-results-may-be-a-day-or-two-different “anabolic window,” if you will, where growth hormones spike, and then reach a plateau. At this point, different studies have moved into a period of underfeeding (cutting) or back to maintenance calories, and both found that the excess fat was fairly easily shed within a two week period immediately following, for a net gain of almost strictly LBM.
So that means muscles.
Again, if there is one thing I absolutely LOVE about my body, it’s that I can experiment with it. And this, my friends, is going to be fun.
My macros are just below my previous maintenance level now, on my reverse, and if I do two weeks at just above previous maintenance (still a moderate bulk, let’s not get nuts, I’m not trying to gain ten pounds in two weeks, I’m only 5’2″, not a particularly large person), that leaves me with 5 weeks until EDC. If two weeks of cutting goes according to projections, I will be mega sexy for summer, and switch to maintenance at that point and ride it out for the remainder of summer, or at least until after EDC.
Worst case, I get a little fat. But you know what? It’s two weeks. I can do damage control on two weeks worth of overeating if that’s what it comes to. I can mentally manage gaining that amount of fat. Micro bulk. Yes. Yes. I haven’t been this excited since… ok, earlier this week I FINALLY picked up a pack of the lemon Oreos. That was pretty exciting. I haven’t opened them yet, though. But I have them.
So, let’s go! This is going to be FUN!
For those of you interested, I’ve linked a few blog writeup on the topic of this micro bulk, as well as a couple of the more commonly cited research studies. Of course, blogs are not reputable sources of scientific information, but let’s not discount them entirely as sources of easily digestible information, particularly when the do include sources. Ahem. I always include sources and links. Just sayin’.
In other news: I’m working on my master’s research project right now. I just submitted my proposal to IRB this week, and this is like being on contest prep, only academically. If Robledal in 2006 found that students were unable to keep up with the rigors of online coursework when not subject to in-class seat time, but Carpenter found that 18 of the 32 at-risk students in his study benefitted greatly, obviously the consensus is that students in China should be taking AP Physics via Skype while emailing their ever-isolated feeling teacher.
And yet I still find the time to bother reading research articles that have nothing to do with my thesis. Thanks a lot Google Scholar.
I fucking love science.
- Blog post: Bulldozer Bulking
- Blog Post: Bulking for Natural Bodybuilders
- Research: Hormonal Response to Overfeeding
- Research: Short-term Mixed-Diet Overfeeding in Man
- Research: Changes in Macronutrient Balance During Over and Underfeeding Assessed by a 12 Day Continuous Whole-Body Calorimetry