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Apologies for the all too generic question, however I'm really unsure of what to do from here.

Backstory: For the past year ive been consistently training and tracking my food, and have made very good progress both cutting and bulking. I've been trying to prioritise bulking as in the past I've cut too long which only hindered my progress. I feel like i have had a pretty good idea of what to do when (bulk or cut), and only cut if i felt like i was gaining excessive body fat (which is subjective), i.e. when i reach around 16% i try to diet down to 12%.

For the first time in a year I had to take a month long break from both diet and exercise (was travelling), however now it feels like it completely destroyed my progress. Before i went away i was on a 4 month lean bulk which i gained around 0.2kg a week. Right now however it feels like i lost all my muscle and back to the dreaded skinny fat phase. So my question is should I cut when im back or continue my bulk? (i realise that i look very deflated atm since ive had no muscle stimulation in a while so it could skew how i look). Im scared if i bulk i'll gain even more body fat (that i gained over the holidays) and if I cut then ill be furthering my muscle loss.

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Muscle tissue doesn't go away that fast unless you've just been severely under-eating in the last month. It does stop holding as much water and glycogen after a week or two, so you look "deflated" and can't perform as well. That comes back very quickly once you start regularly exercising again.

You should probably spend a month doing neither bulking or cutting, and getting back in to a regular routine while on maintenance. After a couple weeks your body will "bounce back" and start holding a pump again. Your shape and performance will mostly go back to what it was prior to the break. Anything you did lose will come back fairly quickly compared to how long it took you to get it in the first place.

When you feel like you're back to where you were then just re-asses and go from there.

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  • Amazing, thanks for your answer - to be honest I never consider maintenance phases as I always feel like they were a waste of time but i think what you said makes sense i''ll give that a go! Jan 9 at 18:35

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