This is a tough one to answer, as I know nothing about your previous dieting background. Considering you are doing powerlifting comps, I’ll have to assume you have been lifting for a while, and know that feeding your body properly and with enough calories will help your lifts immensely. If you are coming from a restrictive eating background and have not spent time at TDEE, I would encourage you to do so. Sitting at maintenance,(TDEE) will allow you to build more muscle and lift stronger. doing a cut can make your lifts suffer. So its a balance. Since you are 7 months away from comp, you can cycle your phases.. do a cut for 4-6 weeks, then back at TDEE for 1-2 weeks, and again. This can help you to shed some fat away, helping you reach your class, and the TDEE breaks will remind your body that you aren’t starving it. I hope this helps you out!
The question is, assuming it is more effective, how much more effective is it? Let’s say that a lifter bulks for 12 weeks, putting on 30 lbs, and then cuts for 8 weeks, losing 20 lbs, and ends up with a net 10 lb gain, with 7 of it being muscle and 3 of it being fat. Could he have just gained 10 lbs over the 20 weeks without fluctuating much in bodyweight, with 7 of the lbs being muscle and 3 of the lbs being fat? I think so. But let’s say that bulking and cutting is better. Let’s say that it’s 10% more effective. This would mean that instead of a 7 lb gain in lean muscle mass, a bulking/cutting cycle would produce an lb gain in lean mass over the same time period. Would it be worth it to go through the ordeal of bulking and cutting, or would you prefer to look good round the clock?
I have lost 57 pounds from 340 to 287. I am 5'10" tall and 45 years old. I have recently joined a gym with the thoughts of gaining muscle but strength as well while loosing some fat. it seems to be working primarily because I have had a muscle base in the past so muscle memory seems to be there, I have not lifted in 15 years or more so the newbe benefits seem to be there. I can see the muscle growth and definition but I am loosing about a 1/2 pound a week. I suspect at some point, this progress will slow and I will have to choose cut or bulk. Any advice on my situation?