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18 y/o, 6'4", 186 lbs, 2 Years Lifting. Bulk or Cut?


#1

Hello everyone, I’m a 18 year old guy. I’m looking for some brutally honest feedback on my physique. I have been lifting for almost two years.

Stats:
6’4", 186lb., 15-16% BF (my estimation, not tested)

Last month, I had blood work done and my testosterone is really low at ~400ng/dl – the average of a 85-100 year old, according to studies. I’m assuming this has a negative effect on my gains.

Nutrition:

Calories:
I’m currently eating 3500kcal (500kcal above my calculated TDEE). Used to eat 4000kcal until recently, but felt that I gained too much fat around my waist, therefore reduced intake.
About 1/3 to 1/2 of my calories come from shakes I make (milk, natural PB, oats, protein powder, banana, olive oil).
I have a pretty clean and varied diet. Rarely have a cheat meal (once every 1-2 weeks).

Protein:
I don’t track them actively, but most of the time I hit around ~1g/lb.

Carbs, Fats:
Don’t track them.

Supplements:
Whey protein powder (30-60g/day), creatine (5g/day).

Training:
I am currently doing a 4-day lower/upper split – Mon/Tue + Thu/Fri. I train with intensity (I’m always sweating a good deal).

No cardio.

Lower Split:

Squat: 3 sets, 4-6 reps
RDL: 3 sets, 5-8 reps
Leg Press: 3 sets, 8-10 reps
Seated Calf Raises: 3 sets, 8-10 reps

Upper Split:

Flat Bench Press: 4 sets, 5-8 reps
Seated Cable Rows: 3 sets, 5-8 reps
Overhead Press: 3 sets, 5-8 reps
Weighted Chin-ups: 3 sets, 5-8 reps
Tricep Dips: 3 sets, 5-8 reps
EZ Bar Curls: 3 sets, 8-10 reps

Goals:
Mainly interested in aesthetics, not strength. Long-term goal is ~8-10% BF, 200-210lb.

According to the Grecian ideal / golden ratio measurements, my chest and arms are my weak points. I would agree with that.

Questions:

  1. Should I cut down to 10%, then clean bulk again slowly – or should I continue bulking at my current calorie intake?

  2. Where do you see my weak points? How should I address them, meaning how can I integrate this into my training?

Any other feedback you have is very appreciated.

Thank you all so much in advance!


#2

We have the same goal. I’m the same height and currently 216lbs at 15-17% bf.

If I were you, I’d hold your calories just above maintenance and keep grinding. You can make steady muscle gains with little to no fat gain.

I don’t see any particularly weak points, all seems relatively in line. Your shoulders may be a bit behind.

I’d probably swap in high rep front squats every other session for back squats.

I’d also sub out bis and tris for lateral raises and face pulls every other session.


#3

Cut.


#4

What’s your lift Max’s at?


#5

And why Mr. Morris, would you suggest cutting to someone who is fairly lean without much muscle mass?


#6

Fairly lean indeed.

No real good reason, just a good learning experience.


#7

This and there’s no need to bulk/cut. Just keep on doing what you’re doing. As for feedback on your physique, you look like what I would expect someone (with average genetics) to look like after a year or two of training. My personal rule of thumb is… Get to at least your ( height(in cm) - 100 )kgs, maybe even more if you’re tall.

So since you’re 6’4", you’re 193cm and 84kgs, there’s no way in hell you’ll ever look like you lift at the this bodyweight unless you are shredded(sub 10% bodyfat).

My advice would be to just keep training hard and eat in a reasonable amount of surplus, keeping your bodyfat under 20% and get to 100kgs.


#8

@dchris hit you with some great advice. He’s a lot more experienced than I am but the only thing I would add is to track your calories.

You might be surprised to find out you are not getting enough carbs or too much fat, it can get tricky trying to eyeball it. Stay in slight caloric surplus and put in some work. Just takes time but you’re on the right track.


#9

First, thank you to everyone who replied. Especially @dchris @Benanything @mackison, thank you for your detailed responses.

As far as my lifting stats are concerned (@Jaycuts, @Benanything):

Deadlift: 5 x 275 lb.
Squat: 5 x 235 lb.
Flat Bench: 5 x 175 lb.
Chin-ups (weighted): 7 reps with 35 lb.
Overhead Press: 6 x 105 lb.
Dips (weighted): 5 reps with 40 lb.

IMO, relatively speaking, my bench and OHP are my weakest points.

Do you have any advice on how I can get those up to par? Also, anything else to mention here (with my stats)?

I have no ideas besides doing them before all other exercises in my upper-body workout (because of having more energy at the beginning of the workout). I now do lateral raises and face pulls @dchris, as per your suggestion.

Agreed. I’ve recently had someone point this out to me as well – I still look pretty skinny with long-sleeved clothing, which is a bit annoying after two years of training, haha.

Yeah, my experience seems to match your suggestion. I guess I wanted to ‘bulk’ and then cut so I would be beach-ready by this summer - but bulking just mostly made me gain fat around my waist. Bodybuilding really is a slow, long-term project.

Also, I suspect if I were to cut now, I would just end up looking skinny and weak, since there is not that much muscle on my frame right now.

I will definitely track those for a while to see how I fare there. Do you have a macro ratio you recommend?

Tracking macros isn’t hard, but then actually having to constantly think of and find foods and meals which fit precisely within those guidelines seems crazily time-consuming to me.

Do people really do that accurately? To me it seems that hitting your calories and proteins, while roughly ‘winging it’ with carbs/fats (all within a healthy diet) should be good enough…? Feel free to correct me.

Sounds like a good plan. Once I hit 100kg, I want to get down to 8-10% BF.

Could you give me some advice on what the most important things are when doing this? Obviously want to stay in a caloric deficit, but by how much? Also, any other suggestions to keep in mind while leaning down? Thanks.

Here is a pic of me before I started lifting, just for giggles (I was at 6’2", 155 lb. back then):


#10

They’re not your weakest points, they’re pretty much in line with your squat/deadlift. 3:4:4.5/5 ratio for the bench/squat/deadlift if you’re wondering. This is a rough gauge so don’t obsess over it.

Honestly, don’t bother. Beach bodies and what not should be reserved when there’s actually a good amount of muscle underneath. As for what I’d consider a good amount… Probably a fat free mass index of 24 at roughly 15% bodyfat at the very least?

That being said, I must also add in the fact that it’s hypocritical cause I plan to cut for the T-ransformation challenge thing we’re having on here despite being nowhere near that.

That’s what I’m thinking too.

One thing at a time man, hit a 100kgs first and I don’t mean add a shit ton of fat. It’s going to take longer than you think. When you’re there, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start another thread. While you’re on here, starting a training log wouldn’t be a bad idea. Good way to get feedback whilst training.

Slender man, that you?

Just run a program created by a reputable coach geared towards beginners and eat proper. That’s about it. You have tons more progress in the years to come and I suspect you’re not even out of the “newbie gains” stage yet!


#11

Not at all. They are all relatively in line.

You just stated exercise order, sets and reps. The real question is, what is your progression for increasing weights? If you don’t have one, I’d highly recommend finding a program that does.

Worry about this when it’s time. Your goal now should be to steadily gain muscle. Eat 200 cals above maintenance and try to gain - on average - 2lbs a month.


#12

First off, I’m not an expert at dieting. A general macro ratio is 40/30/30, carbs/protein/fats. It’s important that you find you BMR then tailor your macros to fit your goals, which in your case should be slight caloric surplus.

(Mifflin- St Jeor Equation to figure your Basal Metabolic Rate)
MEN: [9.99xWeight(kg)] + [6.25xHeight(cm)] - [4.92xage(years)] + 5
Now multiply that by:
1.2= little to no exercise
1.4= lightly active, exercise 1-3 days a week
1.6= moderately active, exercise 3-5 days a week
1.8= very active, hard exercise or sports daily
2.0= extremely active, hard daily exercise, extreme sports training, physically demanding job

This number represents the amount of calories your body needs to maintain your current body weight (BMR).

If your goal is to lose weight subtract X calories.
If your goal is to gain weight add X calories. (In your case add about 200)
To figure your macros
1:1 protein to lean body mass (1g=4 calories)
40% of the remaining calories devote to carbs (1g=4 calories)
Fill in the rest with fat (1g=9 calories)

Tracking macros isn’t hard, it’s aggravating. I started entering in MyFitnessPal my planned food for the day while I eat breakfast. That way I already know what I have ahead of me. Takes about 5-10 minutes. Not all that time consuming.

You can wing it all you want brother, but if you want to be sure you’re giving your body the nutrients it needs then you should track (at least to begin with, once you gain more experience with proportion size it gets easier to guesstimate). You need to do what works for you. Some people needs fewer carbs than others and still make great progress, others need more carbs and less fats. Tailor the macros to fit your needs, but the best way to figure what works well for you is to track them. I hope you find this helpful.


#13

@the_german_g You should hop on Wendlers Beyond 5/3/1. I think you’d like it with the way you’re lifting now is basically how the program is. Expect youre more focused on your goals and actually know when you are getting stronger. You’re young (like me) just experiment. Milk, nuts, yogurt mixed with some blue berries and protein powder. Carry a note pad with you for a week and jot down how much you ACTUALLY eat. You’d be surprised and say “…That’s it?” It’s what I did lmao


#14

No way should you be considering cutting. Pulling strength is good and the pushing strength will come as your upper body gets bigger.

I like the above 2 lb’s a month recommendation. If you took the next 2-3 years building and holding a 210-220lb bodyweight, I reckon you’ll know at that point what to do.


#15

You need to bulk bro. Get up to like 205. You’re 6 foot 4 you need to be well in the 200s before thinking about cutting