Some very good advice given here and most of the guys seem to be saying the same thing.
Originally Posted by tank
So, let me appeal to those who have come before me and have thus earned and learned experience in the sport in which I aspire to be great. I am young and I want to be great in this sport. I want to be remembered in this sport. If you could start over, what would you do differently in regards to training, body weight, and anything else that would help you climb to the level of which I speak?
I can only share my own experience. Prior to my first year of training I was into running and lost some 40lbs of puppy-fat taking me from 200lbs down to 160lbs. In my first year of training I started at that emaciated 160lbs, I read Super Squats, read Beyond Brawn and ate like a horse. I ate everything in sight including all the bad stuff. I gained 50lbs of which I couldn't say how much was muscle, but I was in considerably better shape than when I was at 200lbs previously. That bulk up caused a large increase in my strength, catapulting me into a 210kg Deadlift, 170kg Squat and Dips with decent weight (my Bench sucked for a long time regardless) by the end of the year. That was how 2001 ended, from that point to 2006 I was continually gaining strength albeit in shorter spurts. Nothing, but nothing allowed me the great increases in strength that was bought on by the combination of being young, enthusiastic and unafraid of any poundage.
But then training has it's ebbs and flows, you can't always make that progress. Between 2006 and 2010 my training was just barely getting to the gym, rehabbing, getting that enthusiasm back, that drive. I can't speak highly enough for having that drive. During 2006-2010 I lacked that drive and I knew I did, but it's not something you can just switch on, it feels amazing when you're there but believe me there will be times in life that you can't imagine now where training may not be your priority. So I can't tell you when to bulk or even whether to bulk, that's ultimately a decision you need to make for yourself. But what I will tell you is that you'll have good periods and bad periods, ride out the bad times and go to town with the good times because that's when you're really swinging.