T Nation

Bulk Or Cut? [With Pictures]


Hi guys.

Height: 179cm OR 5 feet 10 inches
Weight: 81kg OR 178.5lbs

I would really appreciate if you can give me some advice based on the photos below.

  1. Estimate my body fat percentage
  2. Should I bulk or cut?


front view






P.S: Sorry, I kind of screw up the uploads..


somewhere between 13-18%, probably the lower half. You can never be entirely sure since people store fat differently... How long have you been training and in which manner?


I have been training for about 2 years now. I was on SL 5x5. I am following Jim Wendler 5/3/1 program now. I trained hard but never really took care of the diet though. Recently, I decided to clean up my diet since there was not much progress for so long.

My lifting stats (Theoretical 1RM)
Overhead Press: 65kg
Deadlift: 158kg
Bench Press: 87kg
Squats: 135kg

Do you think I should bulk or cut?




you can alreaDY kinda see his abs. I don't think dude needs to get any skinnier.




Yep. I don't see what benefit could come from dropping even more weight.

Did you do the V-Diet earlier this year?

Either way, it makes sense that you've slacked on the diet, as that's a big reason for not seeing decent results. Focus on getting about 180 grams of high quality protein (chicken, beef, whole eggs, etc.) per day. Protein is what builds muscle, so without enough of it, you're not going anywhere. And eat enough total calories everyday so the scale goes up each week. As long as the scale's moving up and you're gaining strength in the gym, you're almost-definitely on the right track.

How do you only have a "theoretical 1RM" if you're doing 5/3/1? It requires you to actually know your 1RM before starting, so you can figure out your training max and build the weekly percentages off of that.

Why? If we say you're 9% or 12% or 16%, how's that going to effect your diet and training? Bodyfat percentages have zero real-world meaning. Online guesstimates based on two poorly posed pictures are even less useful.


What are your goals?



If you're happy with being a pretty lean 160-something pound guy, then cut. Nothing wrong with that, a lot of girls seem to like that look. If you do choose this path, I'd recommend you do your cut in a very slow, controlled manner. I wouldn't even really think of it as a "cut", more like a very gradual adjustment of your diet/cardio until you reach the point where you are simply maintaining your optimal size. You will maintain strength much better (you will probably even make strength gains) if you diet in this manner.

If your goals are to be larger than that, do not cut. You're reasonably lean, so I don't see any great requirement to lose any fat first. As CC said, you won't go wrong by building strength and eating enough to move the scale up at a REASONABLE rate. That said, your numbers seem a tad low for someone who has been doing strength training programs for 2 years. It's likely not training-related, especially if you're following the 5/3/1 programmed deloads. Make sure you are focusing on optimizing recovery: make sure your diet, sleep, joint health, and other lifestyle factors are in a good place.


Maybe its just the powerlifter in me, maybe its something else but, I have zero respect for a person who basis there lifting and body goals off this.


That's because you're married :wink:


Bulk. A lot.


Yes, I did a V-Diet earlier this year. I dropped from 85kg to 81kg. Yes, After V-Diet, I actually ensure that I hit at least 150g-250g of protein everyday. I'm using the 5/3/1 excel program so I took the theoretical 1RM numbers from there (After 2 cycles of 5/3/1).

To be honest, I needed some feedback to comfort myself. I hate the fact that after V-Diet and 2 years of training, I still look like I don't lift.

What are my goals?

The picture ABOVE!

P.S:That's Derek Poundstone


Good luck


Well you're on completely the wrong track then. You realise Pounstone is 340 lbs??

You need to get really strong on the big lifts, eat every bit of clean food thats not tied down and get your weight up to 280 -300 and then cut down. Expect that to take 5 years minimum, probably 10.




The answer to the OP's original question seems really obvious given his goal.


I really appreciate all the critiques!

Well, I never thought I was considered reasonably lean. Now I will just bulk. For the training, I will just continue with the 5/3/1 program.

This was my diet for today. Any comments?