T Nation

Bodyfat Guesstimate? Struggling with Which Route to Take - Cut or Bulk?

Hi guys,

So I’ve been spinning my wheels for quite a long time. I’ve finally decided to actually do a progressive program and gain some strength (nSuns 5/3/1). I have just come back to the gym after 4 months off due to a covid lockdown and have lost a fair amount of strength.

I literally have no idea which route to head down first.

  • Start with a cut to 12% before heading into a Bulk.
  • Just suck it up and bulk to gain a good baseline of lifts and fill out a bitbefore a cut further down the road

Any ideas on BF% (guessing around 15-17 maybe)

Everyone always says bulking from a lower percentage is alway key to growing muscle effciently. Plus I don’t want to gain too much BF so I’m keen on a slow bulk.

Would appreciate any advice at all.
Thanks!

Right now, is your goal to be leaner or is it to be bigger?

1 Like

Would like to be a little leaner but worried my lack of LBM would mean I wouldn’t look that great.

End goal is to build my strength and stay relatively lean

Everyone’s end goal is to be bigger and leaner :slight_smile:

It’s why I ask for immediate goal.

If immediate goal is to be leaner, cutting will get you there better than bulking.

1 Like

My suggestion to everyone not in top shape is always to clean up your diet and get going on a progressive weight program. Get stronger in all major lifts. If you don’t like your perception of % Body Fat, start dropping off the processed foods one by one, all the time making certain your strength doesn’t drop.

If you have a clean diet and still want to drop some fat, add in some cardio segments (starting at 30 minutes 3 times a week and increasing up to 6 times a week if you don’t like the progression of fat loss.) You can add more time to the cardio segments, but reduction in some calories might be a better choice. Make sure you are not losing strength.

3 Likes

Tough to give great guesstimate without seeing the back half and not knowing how much fat you hold in your lower back, glutes, etc. That being said, if you even have to ask, I’m prone to think you’ll be happier cutting for 4-8 weeks first. Then you’ll be ready to dive in headfirst focusing on strength and size without subconsciously slowing progress cuz you’re so worried about gaining any fat. Not to mention being a bit leaner than you are now will put you in a more optimal state to build muscle.

IMO this mentality will inevitably lead to you spinning your wheels. I try to encourage as many lifters (especially natties) as possible to throw the words bulk out of their training and dieting vocabulary.

1 Like

Probably way closer to 17%

20%ish

Maingain.

2 Likes

Thanks guys,

I’ll probably do a cut over summer to get the BF% down to 12ish. Then head into a lean gaining phase.

Agreed. Cutting and looking like a twig usually is pretty demotivating for someone looking to get bigger and stronger.

1 Like

Curious what is your current body weight?

1 Like

Yeah. And how much protein are you getting every day?

@FlatsFarmer @bulldog9899

So, I’m currently sitting at 153lbs / 5’7"

Protein, I’m trying to keep high, a day can vary from 170g - 200g

I have been out of the gym for 4 months due to a Covid lockdown. Last 2 weeks I’ve been getting back into a routine and getting body used to lifting weights again.

1 Like

Alright, that’s pretty good.

How have the last 2 weeks gone for you? Are you recovering OK from the weights, or are you sore all week? Has your appetite increased since you’ve been lifting? Are you always hungry or have you been eating more.

It’s been difficult. Made the mistake of thinking I could lift the same weight but I’ve obviously lost a fair bit of LBM over this 4 month period. Good news is the soreness is starting to disappear and my numbers are increasing quickly (Guessing due to muscle memory)

When it comes to appetite I’m not too bad as I was cutting previously. Now I am back up to maintenance and enjoying the extra kcals!