T Nation

Bulk, Strength or Cut First?


I am a beginner in the purest sense of the word. I started getting the idea of working out last year, and I did some basic stuff at home, but didn't get very serious. I joined a gym in November of 09, but still more or else just went to play with the toys at the gym. I didn't have a set plan. I had the basic idea of making sure I worked each major area body part with 2-3 exercises, 8 x 3, but didn't stick with a plan ever. I even went a little over a month without going to the gym in February.

During March I did some more lifting, and from the last week of march until present, I have done a cross fit type GPP program. Ive seen amazing results already in my cardiovascular and respiratory fitness, and I am pleased, but after watching the I,BODYBUILDER videos, and reading the Christmas article about why you all do what you do, I decided I wasn't going to be Bob any longer. Time to get my nasty ass to look good naked.

For reference here are my stats: (amuse your self in my nastiness)

74 in tall
215 lbs
20% bf

Bench: 185
Squat: 185
Dead Lift: 205

I do not know my 1RM, as I would never try that with out a spotter, and I do not have a gym partner. So I go as high as I can, without running the risk of injury. Slow and steady right now.

I think I know that there are generally three goals in lifting: bulking, cutting, and strength.
My first hunch says either cut first or do strength training to get my lifts up to a respectable level. Since I am new, I will gain size with the strength lifting anyway, so I would be better served killing two birds with one stone in my opinion, rather than going with a body building split right now. I can save that for when I really know what I am doing.

What did you start out doing? What would you recommend? Is one path better than another? I know beach season is coming, but I live in Buffalo, so that doesn't really come into play. Ill have a shirt on usually, and if I don't, I am probably playing football or basketball, and I do not especially care what my male friends think of me in the looks dept.


In my opinion, it looks like you have a relatively good starting point physique wise at 215 at your height, but your lifts can get a lot better for your size. I think you should check out something like a 5x5, I really like that type of program a lot for general progression. Once you get your lifts up a bit, which shouldn't take long, you can reevaluate your options, but I would get those lifts stronger!


x2. Definitely try a strength program..mess around until you find one that works best for you and get those lifts up.


x3 You have a good base you just need to steadily progress.

Also, by how you are talking about yourself and your stats, I would venture to say you could lose some fat. I know you are not trying to cut down right now, but do not forget to do some cardio. In my experience, a lot of beginners do either too much lifting and not enough cardio, or vice versa. I would hit it hard for about 3 months and then reevalute like ebom5522 said. Good luck and welcome to T-Nation.


Roger. I enjoy running and rowing, so it shouldn't be hard to get some cardio in. Although I don't foresee myself wanting to run much after squatting and dead lifting. But rowing and the bike work. Yes I def could lose some fat.


Rowing is fantastic cardiovascular work. You have my respect sir.


Did my first day of SS. I am not entirely new to lifting, I had done squats, bench presses, and dead lifts before. I just had never really followed a plan, or done them often.

First day of lifts went like this: I did five sets of five for today, and paid close attention to form. I could have done another 10 sets at least with these weights, so it was easy to watch form.

Squat: 135
Bench: 155
Dead Lift: 205

As of now, I am planning on moving to these weights for the next A day.

Squat: 145
Bench: 165
Dead Lift: 225

My target weights for the end of the 12th week.

Squat: 330
Dead Lift: 400