T Nation

Bulk or cut?

Here’s a quick rundown of the situation. I’m 21 yrs old, 5’5. Last oct I started lifting for the first time in my life and had decent progress, going from 121 lbs at 10.5% bf to 146 lbs at 12-13%. I stopped lifting mid Dec and had hernia surgery the first week of january. My doc gave me clearance to start lifting again in 2 weeks and I want to plan out what to do, but I can’t decide if I should keep trying to add mass or cut back down. My end goal is to finish around 165 or 170 at 9-10% bf. Thanks for your opinions.

Currently I’m at 140 lbs and I estimate 14-15% bf. I know many people say that bulking past 15% bf is counterproductive and you’ll add too much fat, so I wanted a few opinions on which route I should take. I was leaning towards cutting down to 10 or 11%bf again before bulking. I have hot rox to use if I want to do this.

Jason, I’m 50/50 on your situation. You’re right that the general recommendation is that you cut to about 10-12% and bulk from there. However, if you’re inclined, I’ll throw something out for your consideration, and maybe others will weigh in with their thoughts, too, giving you the opportunity to pick and choose.

Start by keeping a food log so that you can be very precise with your caloric intake. Eat clean, just like you’re dieting/cutting. Start at maintenance calories and the bulking program of your choice. Give said bulking program 110%; i.e., seriously bust your butt in the gym. Increase calories 250 calories per day and stay at that caloric intake until weight gain stalls.

The last bit of advice is that you optimize your PWO nutrition. Make sure you’re using Surge and taking in the majority of your carbs for the day in the P+C meal that follows your liquid Surge drink.

Good luck to you, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!


TT laid out some solid advice for you that has worked for many ppl. I suggest you give it a go. It should give you good gain and prevent the whole yoyo effect of massive bulk/fat gains cycled with cutting phases.


Why would you want to cut when you still want to bulk 30lbs more? Just bulk slowly, take in enough so your gaining 1-2lbs every two weeks and you’ll likely accomplish both goals!

Thanks for the reply TT, you’re always helpful. I do actually keep a food log and my diet was fairly clean until the holidays came around and I just wasn’t in the mood to do much of anything after surgery so I ate whatever junk food I could get delivered or was within a short driving distance, aka pizza/fast food etc. I’m certainly aware all this is why my bf went up particularly since I was not lifting at the time. I’ll give your recommendations a try and slowly increase the calories. Hopefully I’ll be able to maintain or even slightly decrease my bf along the way.

For bulking I was planning on doing one cycle of ABBH to get back into things, since I had good results with it before, and then 2 cycles of pendulum training. I do use Surge post workout and take in most of my carbs within 1-2 hours of my workout. I take a multi, r-ALA, flax and fish oil, along with zma b/c I found it helps me sleep.