T Nation

Bulking Worthwhile at This Point?


Hey everyone, this is my first post on here.

some background info, i am 16 years old and i have been lifting seriously for about 8 months and cutting down from 195 pounds at 5'7". I am now at 153. I feel like i'll just end up looking scrawny if i keep cutting because i dont have a large base to cut down to. i still have bothersome fat on the bottom of my chest that hasn't improved much that's the only thing that really bothers me, i'm happy with everything else pretty much.

what i want to know is, if i bulk, will i look better and bigger and have the mass i build on my chest overshadow the fat, or do i have too much bodyfat and i'll just end up looking fat again?


You already look scrawny...

Don't "Bulk" as most people think of it. Eat at maintenance (or slightly above) and bust your a** in the gym.

And to answer your question directly, if you add lean mass to your body your overall body composition will become less fat.

Also, yes building a powerful upper body will overshadow whatever fat you have around your chest. It's not really visible in the pictures so it might just be in your head anyways.


Good job on losing the weight.

What does your training look like right now?


i am currently in the gym 3 days a week
most of my exercises are in 3 sets of 5-7 reps

monday chest/biceps
incline dumbbell flyes
flat bench
incline dumbbell press
cable crossovers
hammer curls
preacher curls
incline curls

wednesday back/triceps
bent over rows
one-arm dumbbell rows
dumbbell pullovers
EZ bar skullcrushers
dumbbell tricep extensions

friday legs/shoulders
hamstring curls
leg extensions
dumbbell lunges
squats (2 inches below parallel)
seated dumbbell military press
lateral raises
rear delt raises

i think i want to see if i can lose a bit more fat in the time until the school year rolls around (bout 3 weeks for me) then i want to get on an upper/lower split


x2. Especially based on the comparison pics in your avatar, you have lost a decent amount of fat in the man boob region, and everywhere else.

Congrats on the weight loss, but I wouldn't expect that level/speed of progress to continue much longer. Have you just been lifting, or have you been doing cardio and cutting back on food too?

If you build muscle, you'll look better and bigger. Like JLo said, don't think about "bulking". Think about lifting 3-5 days a week, every week for the next 6 months; while eating 3 meals a day, 7 days a week, with protein, carbs, and healthy fats in each meal.

As far as your current program...

I wouldn't expect to see huge results in the next three weeks. You current program could definitely use some tweaks (exercises shifted around, sets/reps tweaked, a 16 yr old who hits chest and biceps on Monday? Shocker! Ha.), but if you plan on changing things up anyway, I'd look into one of these:

Or give the bodyweight routine I wrote about here a try for the next few weeks, and then jump back into the weights:


If I was you I would just eat big and lift heavy. I am about 200 lbs at 6' 2". (I am 17) I am hardly considered fat and I weigh quite a bit more then you.
Scratch the exercise routine you are doing and get on a decent strength program. I dont care if you are trying to get strong as fuck or jacked, you need a good strength foundation. I am on 5/3/1 and LOVE IT. Very easy and simple, with great results.
Good job on the weight loss though, 195 at 5'7" is too much. Just get on a sensible program and eat a lot.


I have been lifting, i bike to the gym and each time i go it's 10 miles total, and i live in a hilly area. that's my cardio, and i have been counting calories and eating between 1600 and 1800 a day which is a deficit of about 500

also, im confused about something. not trolling, just confused. you guys are telling me not to think about "bulking" but how is my body going to be able to produce mass without a caloric surplus? I'm pretty sure any noob gains are done


These were my thoughts exactly.

Eat big and lift heavy is the correct answer 90% of the time.


The way it was said to you was improper. What should have been said was do not think about bulking in the sense most uneducated people would. You need a calorie surplus especially with 20ish miles to train. You going to need quite a big calorie surplus. What he was trying to say was don't go stupid and just eat what ever, when ever, or how ever.

Eat good clean food and lots of it. Lots of Steak, Eggs, Milk, Oats and Potatoes. You dont need any fancy weight gainers or protein powders really at this point...how ever with the amount of calories you expending in a day you may have no choice. Hope that made it little bit clearer for you.


That's a lot of cardio and pretty little calories. If you want to build muscle, one or both of those will need to change. I'm guessing you're stuck biking to the gym, so you've got to make sure you eat before training, have a shake when lifting, and eat not too long after.

Maybe I worded it vaguely, but I didn't think so. Instead of thinking "I'm bulking now, then I'll cut later, then bulk some more after that", you need to focus on basic building to get a foundation in place. I guess, technically, it could be called "a bulking phase", but like Reed said, bulking usually implies a see-food diet where you eat till you're beyond full at every meal and often end up adding way too much bodyfat.

Focusing on eating basic "good food" 3 times a day, 7 days a week (inconsistency is a progress-killer). Don't stress out over having fast food or "junk" once in a while, as long as you train hard. You shouldn't be eating like a pre-contest bodybuilder with egg whites and broccoli, but you shouldn't be eating like a powerlifter with three sausage McMuffins every morning.

I didn't say anything about avoiding a calorie surplus. Of course that's going to be necessary to add muscular bodyweight. If the scale isn't going up each week, you need more food. These have some good guidelines for what/how much to eat:

They're not. They're totally not. Eat well and lift hard, and you should soak up size and strength like a sponge. If I could time travel back to any age and start lifting smart and eating right, it'd probably be high school. Make the most of it.


thanks for the advice everyone, everything is perfectly clear now