Too much time spent in a calorie surplus?

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  • #22089
    Kenneth Watts
    Participant

    Joe,

    First of all thanks for doing that video on how to set up macros, it’s always good to have a refresher and I appreciate how easy to understand you make subjects that others over complicate.

    My current body weight is about 198lbs (I’m 5’11 btw just for reference), when I was in a consistent surplus for 4 months (actually tracking and weighing everything) I was gaining a steady 1-2 lbs a month. This was coming off of a 14 week deficit where I got down to 188lbs.

    Over the last few months I’ve gotten lazy and got off schedule with nutrition, while my weight hasn’t changed much my body fat has increased a bit. My crappy in home scale says I’m at about 14.5% BF. My overall goal is to get to 210lbs which I’ve been at in the past a few years ago. Do you think I should spend some time at a maintenance level of calories or even in a slight deficit for a bit to clean up my body fat first, or should I go straight away in to a calorie surplus? I’ve heard from other coaches that it’s “bad” to spend too much time in either a surplus or deficit. I know I’ve seen bodybuilders use mini cuts when taking a beak from being in a calorie surplus, and was wondering if that could be a good strategy for me. Thanks for your guidance as always!

    #22114
    Joe
    Keymaster
    #22173
    Kenneth Watts
    Participant

    Thanks Joe, sorry I’m just responding now I didn’t see the notification that you had replied. I think everything you said pretty much hit the nail on the head, I definitely am feeling all those tale tell signs you mentioned in terms of slight decrease in workout performance, composition slowly shifting the wrong way and not getting the same feeling of “recovery” I was getting before from my high carb meals. When I was younger I spent years in a surplus (I was 5’11 135 at one point) and never really had any issue but obviously your body changes.

    So far from 1 week at what should be my maintenance I’ve already dropped 1.4 lbs, but I think that was mostly water weight that stemmed from eating 95% of my meals prepped the past week (versus 80/20 prepped vs eating out before). I’ll look into doing a mini cut over the next two weeks. My maintenance on normal days is just under 3k calories 229 Protein 307 carbs 95 fat with 2 slightly higher days (usually on back and legs or 1 on a weekend day). What amount of calories do you typically reduce for a mini cut, and should I pull that mostly from carbs? I like to keep my protein high because it keep me satiated without bloating, but I definitely could reduce carbs or fats and be totally fine. I was thinking doing this every 10-12 weeks, is that too frequent? Also once I come off of that mini cut, should I shift immediately into a slight/moderate surplus, or should I use week of maintenance as a “bridge”? Hypothetically going from a deficit to a surplus could be a 500-600 daily calorie swing, wasn’t sure if that’s the desired result or if a week at maintenance is necessary first. I always appreciate your feedback, thanks again!!!

    #22186
    Joe
    Keymaster
    #22202
    Kenneth Watts
    Participant

    Awesome brotha, thanks for taking the time I know that was a lot of questions. Everything you’re recommending makes total sense, I’ll get on that right away. I think I may do a 20-25% reduction this time around (since this is my first time) to see how my body responds, unless you think the bigger reduction is essential (don’t wanna enter the “shit the bed zone” of mini cuts). My last question regarding this topic would be do you implement high/low days at all, or do you keep your calories pretty uniform? I’ve found when I’m in a deficit my body seems to enjoy the extra calories on my 1-2 hardest training days. Obviously I wouldn’t push it up to above or near maintenance on those days since I want to maintain a consistent deficit throughout.

    I hadn’t thought much of how to regulate my training, but it makes sense since the reduction in calories would impair recovery from higher volume training. I am the person that “likes to train” so it can be hard for me to take a lot of off days, I typically do 5 days so I’ll drop to 3-4 days per week with rest in between. This is a somewhat unrelated but: regarding volume, how many reps do you typically do on your warm up/ascending sets? I usually will stay somewhere in the 6-10 rep range, I’ve tried doing the very low rep warm up sets in the 2-4 rep range (more jordan Peters style I guess) but I just felt I I had a hard time getting a feel for the load and contracting properly with such few reps. In terms of volume management I just wanna make sure I’m not over/under utilizing those ascending sets. Thanks again Joe!!

    #22263
    Joe
    Keymaster

    Awesome brotha, thanks for taking the I know that was a lot of questions. Everything you’re recommending makes total sense, I’ll get on that right away. I think I may do a 20-25% reduction this around (since this is my first ) to see how my body responds, unless you think the bigger reduction is essential (don’t wanna enter the “shit the bed zone” of mini cuts). My last question regarding this topic would be do you implement high/low days at all, or do you keep your calories pretty uniform? I’ve found when I’m in a deficit my body seems to enjoy the extra calories on my 1-2 hardest training days. Obviously I wouldn’t push it up to above or near maintenance on those days since I want to maintain a consistent deficit throughout.

    I hadn’t thought much of how to regulate my training, but it makes sense since the reduction in calories would impair recovery from higher volume training. I am the person that “likes to train” so it can be hard for me to take a lot of off days, I typically do 5 days so I’ll drop to 3-4 days per week with rest in between. This is a somewhat unrelated but: regarding volume, how many reps do you typically do on your warm up/ascending sets? I usually will stay somewhere in the 6-10 rep range, I’ve tried doing the very low rep warm up sets in the 2-4 rep range (more jordan Peters style I guess) but I just felt I I had a hard getting a feel for the load and contracting properly with such few reps. In terms of volume management I just wanna make sure I’m not over/under utilizing those ascending sets. Thanks again Joe!!

    #22295
    Kenneth Watts
    Participant

    Joe, thanks for all your follow up regarding the mini cut topic. I feel very well educated now on how to guide myself through this process, thanks again!!

    Regarding warm up sets and volume, I tend to do something similar in terms of rep speed. My first 1-2 sets I’ll do intentionally slow reps (both eccentric and concentric) to ensure everything feels good from an ROM and activation standpoint. I’ll definitely try going lower reps on my ascending sets and see what kind of results that does for my working sets.

    If you’re going to do 2 top sets followed by 1 back off set, how would you approach those 2 top sets? In other words, do you go for the same load/rep range for both, or do you vary it? When I’m in a calorie surplus, recovery is feeling strong and doing multiple working sets I usually will do my first set at 6, then 8-10, then I like to go pretty high rep on my back off and hit 15-20, maybe even incorporate a drop set. If recovery/food is off then I’ll usually just hit 1 top set of 6-8 followed by the high rep back off set. I would rate my ability to train to failure at maybe an 8 or 8.5, so hopefully I’m doing the phrase “working sets” some justice. As I’m tapering back up in calories I should probably follow your advice and add volume back in slowly when the time is right. If you see anything in here that you think is an area of opportunity to improve on please let me know, thanks as always!

    #22331
    Joe
    Keymaster

    Joe, thanks for all your follow up regarding the mini cut topic. I feel very well educated now on how to guide myself through this process, thanks again!!

    Regarding warm up sets and volume, I tend to do something similar in terms of rep speed. My first 1-2 sets I’ll do intentionally slow reps (both eccentric and concentric) to ensure everything feels good from an ROM and activation standpoint. I’ll definitely try going lower reps on my ascending sets and see what kind of results that does for my working sets.

    If you’re going to do 2 top sets followed by 1 back off set, how would you approach those 2 top sets? In other words, do you go for the same load/rep range for both, or do you vary it? When I’m in a calorie surplus, recovery is feeling strong and doing multiple working sets I usually will do my first set at 6, then 8-10, then I like to go pretty high rep on my back off and hit 15-20, maybe even incorporate a drop set. If recovery/food is off then I’ll usually just hit 1 top set of 6-8 followed by the high rep back off set. I would rate my ability to train to failure at maybe an 8 or 8.5, so hopefully I’m doing the phrase “working sets” some justice. As I’m tapering back up in calories I should probably follow your advice and add volume back in slowly when the is right. If you see anything in here that you think is an area of opportunity to improve on please let me know, thanks as always!

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