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16Y/O Cutting and 5/3/1 BBB

Hi Jim, as the title suggests, I’m 16yrs old and in my junior year of high school. My goals for the next 3 to 4 months are to get down below 10% body fat. I’m around 23% or so as of now, weighing in at 178lbs (I’m 5’8").
My program right now, to take advantage of newbie gains as much as possible, is 5/3/1 BBB.
I’ve been on fuckarounditis for around two and a half years and I think that with some smart programming I can actually get something done.
My numbers right now:
Squat: 225lbs
Deadlift: 315lbs
Bench: 190lbs
OHP: 85lbs
Overall, I’m hoping to get around 7% bodyfat and do a lean bulk for a year from there and just do more conditioning to keep my fat in check.
Is this feasible?


Boring but big is not the program to be on a calorie deficit. You will burn out.


It’s called Boring But Big, not Tedious Though Tiny. Not really a program to run while cutting.


I think that 5x5 FSL would be a better choice.

I wouldn’t recommend it; I don’t have any experience with teen bodybuilders. I would recommend any competitive bodybuilder for help on diet/exercise where the only goal is to lose bodyfat. Good luck!


I did this for a few months. I’m also 16, also 5”8, but started off skinny so im trying to gain weight. I’m a pretty lean 160lbs (visible abs, definitely not shredded). I can:
Squat: 405
Bench: 225
Deadlift: 385
I’ve helped a few of my friends lose bodyfat, and the biggest helpful things I’ve noticed, is making training part of your schedule, don’t eat snacks, before eating, or going for seconds, ask yourself: am I actually hungry?

Thanks a lot, I really appreciate the tip. I know for a fact that I’m gonna eventually do 5/3/1, but I’m just sick of being unconditioned, so I’ll figure it out. Also hoping to join the military next year, around my 18th birthday. Do you have any programming tips as far as that goes, after the cut?

why? I have zero issue cutting weight and running it.

I think you tend to be a bit of an anomaly when it comes to these things, man.


I don’t think it’s a huge deal. I think the 5x10 work is pretty demanding conditioning wise, especially with shorter rest periods.

I don’t really know what the obsession is for young kids and trying to get shredded. 23% isn’t a terrible body fat percentage for somebody trying to get strong, and I don’t think being under 10% will help you much. If you don’t have experience building muscle, you won’t be able to maintain muscle on a cut.

Run the 5/3/1 BBB with a sustainable diet and do whatever cardio you need to prepare for the military physical. You won’t maximize newbie gains trying to diet down to 7% bodyfat, and you won’t look impressive at whatever weight that would get you that lean.

You should have joined the T-Transformation 2019 Challenge here on T-Nation forums. Being held accountable helps alot. Make a log, Im interested to see your progress. Im also 16 and 5’ 8" at 180 lbs though I am probably around 12-15% bodyfat. PS- I believe 5/3/1 BBB is supposed to be done with a caloric surplus. I dont follow any programs myself so cant help you much.

i just don’t think there’s really any training template that can’t be run during a cut. I know very few people who really adjust their training to be lower volume or intensity or anything unless they’re cutting to VERY low bodyfat percentages. And especially for someone as young as this guy, there shouldn’t be an issue. Almost everyone I train with has to cut bodyfat leading up to comps, and all of them actually ramp up their training while they do it.

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Ok, I’ll do a log. Any tips for how to do it? This is really my first time cutting this low, my goals are really reliant on a lower bf (gymnastic stuff and the ability to move my own body weight around, etc). I like the idea of keeping a log, part of the accountability thing. Thanks for the idea vvfoo!

Because boring but big is a program for gaining size and strength. Both of these demand above maintenance calories.

You’re below maintenance calories as you’re cutting.

no they don’t. Particularly if you’re starting from 20%+ bodyfat. You can absolutely build muscle while dropping fat, I have SOOOOO many friends/fellow competitors who do it.

Like I said, there is a point when this becomes unfeasible. But for most people, that will be well below 10% bodyfat. I can tell you that I was walking around at about 205 lbs prior to the lightweight strongman world championships last year in the months leading up to it. By the time I got to my water cut, I was down about 5-7 lbs, and absolutely stronger than I was prior. I hit major PR’s at the show.

I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m saying that you’re making a mistake by talking in absolutes.

One final note though… what program, exactly, is NOT a program for building either size, strength, or both? That’s the entire point of lifting weights in the first place. At the very least, if boring but big is good for these goals, couldn’t you also assume that it would be good for preserving muscle during a cut as well? Why would a different program be better at preserving muscle in a cut?

I’m not an expert and do not claim to be, but I do take advice from the experts like the guy who wrote the program (who also said he doesn’t recommend it).