19 Yo College Student, Cut or Bulk?

Your nutrient accuracy doesn’t matter if it’s too little for you or if you bulk and cut in too short intervals diminishing your results.

As for the supplements, you don’t really need either of those. If you have good omega 3 capsules and a good multivitamin, you don’t really need any of the supplements listed save for whey protein. Even that’s not absolutely necessary but it’s handy to up your protein intake or as a on-the-go meal replacement. Even then, you are not limited to just one recommended brand, you can buy a wide variety of whey and you get both whey concentrate and isolate pretty cheap from myprotein.

On the info you gave:

  • Why 3 gallons of water? That’s a shitton for someone of your size. 2 gallons is plenty of water and even that is a bit upscale of what you actually need.

  • If you are absolutely terrified of getting fat again, look into the concept of reverse dieting. It allows you to find your exact TDEE, bulk with minimal fat gains and actually up the amount of calories your body uses is done correctly.

  • You can say your workout intensity is 100% but being able to do 6 heavy work sets of squats followed by 4 all-out burnout sets speak otherwise. The program itself is not a good one for someone of your background and you should look into programs that allow you to work your entire body more frequently. Now you are missing the majority of the week because you only work each muscle group once.

  • That kind of a cut most likely resulted in a lot of unwanted and unnecessary muscle loss. My recommendation would be to go on a long, slow and steady bulk followed by a long, slow and steady cut. That way you have the time to put on some good muscle mass and cut without hurrying it up too much.

Again, I do not understand how you could possibly be doing 3 burn out sets of squats at the start of a leg workout and still have the energy to still train a full leg day after the fact if your intensity of effort is on point. The very fact your burnout sets don’t last long would further indicate what I’m saying, rather than refute it.

Perhaps we’re using the same term to mean different things. I interpret a burnout set to mean a set wherein you try to accomplish maximal reps in a movement. Do you mean something else?

I feel you may be fixating on the wrong part of the article there. Don’t sweat the supplements, fixate more on the training and proper eating. Once you have that dialed in (as in, you did the full 3 month challenge, never skipped a single session, rep or set, and ate well 90% of the time), THEN move on to supplements.

Personally, I wouldn’t even have this terminology in my mind if I were in your position. I’d worry more about developing solid and sustainable training and eating habits FIRST, then go from there.

I think you missed part of my original response, because I asked a question. If you had answered that question, I would have proceeded to give you my advice, but I felt unable to give advice without that answer.

"This is what I said: I have no idea what aesthetic would be desirable for what you want to
do. Some models are really fucking skinny, others have an appreciable
amount of muscle on their frame. Maybe you could give us a name of a
model, or a picture of a physique you think would be along the lines of
your goal. Without something like that, I’m going to have trouble
giving advice as far as the bulk/cut thing is concerned. "

Aesthetics are subjective. What is beautiful to me may not be what is beautiful to you. And it may not be what a modeling agency is looking for. There’s a thread going on right now in another section of this site about ‘who would you want to look like’. The answers are all over the place. The more specific you can be with your goals, the more specifically I can help you.

I’m also curious how overweight you used to be? Are we talking about like 100 lbs overweight? What’s the most you’ve ever weighed? The cut you described going from 157 to 148 in 2 months is A) not an enormous drop. That’s about a pound per week. I don’t know how you can consider that to be a scary hard cut, unless I’m missing something. and B) there’s almost no chance you did lasting metabolic/hormonal damage to your body as a result of this cut.

We’re all here to help man, that’s why people like me respond to people like you. I’ve probably spent 30 minutes to an hour at this point typing out responses to you, lol. I’m investing time into this because I think progress can be made, but I need you to be receptive. Cool?


To address your bullet points in order:

  • I’ve always strived to drink as much water as I can. As a result from all these years, my body has been accustomed to drinking 3-4gal per day, and if I don’t then I feel dehydrated.

  • I will put more research into that, thank you.

  • Again, I’d like to stray away from the “intensity” aspect. I did not come here to discuss that, please just assume I am pushing myself as hard as I can.

  • Yes, others have told me that cut might have been a major causation for my smaller body and not being on track to where I should be.


I do not care for the opinions on my intensity and whether or not I am lying about that. I am 100% certain that I am pushing myself near my limits. Please refrain from asking further questions on that subject and focus on others. Thanks.


Thank you, I appreciate the time and investment you have put forward. I guess I need to invest in finding a physique that I really desire. I used to be 150lbs at the age of 14, maybe higher. Most I have ever weighed was 170 about 15months ago. Here’s a photo: This is the most accurate photo, about 3mo after I started lifting. Again, I even feel like my body fat % has not changed much since that photo, despite it being nearly 2 years. This leads me to believe that I should go back to bulking, and wait for the results to come. This also leads me back to my earlier question, you claimed it’s easier to stay leaner at higher weights. Do you mind me asking what your body fat % is, weight, height, caloric intake to stay at that body fat %, and how long you’ve been at that %? Thanks again.

In point of fact, the only question I asked you was if I was understanding what you meant by the term burnout set, which you have not answered.

Perhaps a video demonstration would be better. Is this what you mean by a burnout set?

(skip to the minute mark)

I am not questioning your intensity. I am questioning your usage of a term.

Otherwise, I did take time out of my day to provide answers to questions you asked me (a favor I would like returned) and additional guidance.


My use of the term “burnout set” is reducing the weight to a low amount and going until you mentally cannot continue. My weight isn’t super low on burnout sets, but it’s half of what I would normally rep 5times.

And this is why I asked, because it appears we ARE using the term to mean two different things and it explains why our expectations differ. I’ve only known burnout sets to be based on physical failure rather than mental. I find the mind will quit far earlier than the body unless trained to do otherwise, and this would most likely explain how you are able to train in the way that you say you do.

During your time with the 5/3/1 BBB challenge you’ll most likely start to experience this. You may even consider giving it a try your next workout just to understand the difference. A good technique is to unrack the squat, then have a lifting partner remove the j-hooks, so that your only option is to just keep squatting until your body fails. Removing the option to re-rack the weight can really work wonders.


Unfortunately I don’t have many friends, so I don’t think I’ll have a lifting partner haha. I actually meant to specifically say mental failure, so I’m glad I did. When you say physical failure, do you mean literally when your muscles rip? I don’t quit very easily, but I’m not going to push myself into an injury.

Not to the point of injury; to the point of failure. As an example for squatting; you descend into the squat, try to get out of the hole, but instead of completely the rep, you fail with it and fall down/back/forward/etc. The muscles have failed. Injuries are the result of a malfunction rather than a failure. I tore my ACL/lateral meniscus and fractured my patella on a 775lb yoke walk because I picked up the yoke like an idiot and put all the stress on my knee, whereas I’ve done squat drop sets starting at 460 and working all the way down to the bar and never got injured from it.

EDIT: As for the no training partners thing, another approach would be to set the j-hooks on the outside of the rack, then walk the bar way far away and start squatting from there. You’ll end up being a total jerk dumping the weights on the floor, but another excellent crash course (pun unintended) in intensity.


Oh, I mean for squats I’ve done that. I usually get back up and keep trying until I mentally can’t stand the pain and I feel satisfied. How do you measure it for other exercises though? Like curls, pullups, OHP, etc.? The same way?

I’ll answer your question to the best of my ability. I am 5’10, my morning fasted weight is about 201-204 lbs, and I don’t know my bodyfat %. I’ll share a picture at the end of this post, and you can guess at the number. I’m mostly staying around the bodyfat level I’m at now year-round. I’d say I’ve been very consistent with my bodyfat level for the last couple or 3 years. I’ve never been actually fat. Fattest I’ve been was having to flex to really see my abs at all. Just kind of softer than I am these days. Much less definition, couldn’t see veins and stuff, but never actually overweight. Maybe 15% at the highest if I had to put a number on it. I’m maybe 8-9 percent these days.

I don’t know my caloric intake. But I eat very, very consistently day in and day out, so when I want to be gaining weight/muscle, I basically just throw in some junk food throughout the day. Like a couple bags of chips or cookies or sodas. I don’t eat these things when I’m not trying to gain weight. This is why I say gaining muscle helps you stay lean. I can eat as much junk food as I want now and not get fat.

My diet consists of 180ish to 200ish grams of protein per day, and I don’t really limit carbs at all right now.

Anyway, I was a little over 200 lbs in this picture from a few days ago.

This picture is from about 2 years ago. You can see that I’ve maintained essentially the same bodyfat over that period. Here I was about 15 lbs lighter I believe.


Thanks for the response and photo. I see what you mean. I think I cut too hard, as I assumed I had a lot more muscle when I was at 170lbs than I truly did. Now that I think purely about the numbers, 158lbs at 5’9" is pretty pathetic and I shouldn’t expect much muscle at that weight. I will most likely try to slow bulk now and aim for 170lbs while retaining minimal fat and decide then what I would like to do. I appreciate the time you’ve taken out of your day to answer my questions. I will continue with the blood work being done just to confirm/deny my suspicions and ease my mind. As for my routine, I will consider the 3mo BBB the other guys recommended.


Thank you for the time, consideration, and guidance. I really do appreciate it.

I feel as though we’re still having 2 different conversations in this regard. In that video I posted of Jesse Marunde doing 20 rep squats, do you feel he was in a position to be able to get back up and keep trying?

As for those other movements, I’m talking about training to failure, so the principle applies universally. Failing to be able to complete the rep.

Glad you could get something out of this conversation. I think you’re moving in the right direction. If you stick with this for a long time, have some patience, and really push yourself as hard as you can, eventually you’ll get to where you want to be. You’ll figure out the things that need to be figured out, you’ll find the right advice, etc. I firmly believe in that process. You don’t have to have everything figured out at this point, your workouts don’t have to be perfect, nor does your diet. If you stick with it long enough, all this will come into place.

My expertise is actually in strength training for football so I might be biased. take this for what it’s worth. You don’t look powerful. Your squats and lack of a dead lift say you’re really not very strong. Arnold Schwarzenegger started off his bodybuilding career by doing four compound exercises. And I agree with him that is the best way to set your base. I would say to go away from the isolation exercises. Cut them all out. Concentrate on your squat deadlift bench either a clean and jerk or military. Or cleans and Military. For your upper back do pull-ups I mean can you do 50 of them. If they’re too easy for you then do a heavier upright row or even a lat pull if you can hold yourself down.

Master the major compound lifts. push hard on them and then add isolation exercises. Trying to do it all at once is called overtraining. And your results will be limited because of that. Your stamina will be great and you will be nice and thin. Of course you do not need to cut out the sprints. But do not overdo them.

Beware of trying to do the same bodybuilding exercises as guys who’ve been at it for 5 or 6 years. You have yet to have developed their core strength.

That is my opinion I think if you ask around you can find some basic core workouts 4,5 maybe 6 exercises only . Push them as hard as you can and the results will be shocking to you

February! I imagine he solved all these problems by now or not at all