T Nation

Continue to Cut or Start Bulk?


Hey all,

I've been cutting for a while now...I was a fat 230 pounds about a year ago and I've shaved off 45 pounds (now 185 pounds, 18 years old, 6' 1"). My strength hasn't taken much of a hit and I'm now around 13-14% body fat, but being low-carb all the time obviously makes me look small not filled out.

At this point, I feel like everything I do to get down to sub-10% isn't working, and now that summer beaches and whatnot are a non-issue, bulking and gaining a few clean pounds is an option.

So what should I do? Change something up and finish the cut or focus on gaining a few clean pounds before next summer (and while I'm at this age)?

Thanks in advance. Let me know if you need more info.


How would know what you might need to change if we have no freaking clue what you're doing now?!


At 185 at 6'1" I would say you have some work to do. Just eat a clean diet and slowly increase the calories/carbs to gain in an intelligent, thought out manner.


Thanks for the reply, Vikings. I just have a few questions regarding how I should go about the diet. About the carbs: should I keep them around the workout period? How much should I work up to? Should I cycle them? I really want to do whatever I can to keep the fat gain to a minimum.


Did you ever try reading the hundreds of nutrition articles on this site?


Do you know what your maintenance cals are? what are your carb/protien/fat intake per day is? What is your workout routine? How many cals per day are you taking in? How many cals are you burning per day? There are hundreds of things that go into your question. Its not so simple!!!


Exercise: Right now I'm doing around 25 minutes of fasted cardio every morning (usually elliptical or stationary bike). I lift 3-on 1-off: chest/back thickness/quads, shoulders/back width/hams, arms/steady-state cardio, cardio/complexes, repeat.

Nutrition: According to the Romaniello chart (which is what I use), my maintenance level is around 2400 calories. I've been ~2100 calories during weekdays (low-carb) with a cheat starting every Saturday at 7:00 pm.

Let me know if you need more.


Eat more, there is a point of diminishing returns when you starve your body for so long. I know because I've been there..you under eat for so long you start looking worse and start stalling. I realized this then kept a food log and ate accordingly (more calories) then my physique improved while gaining weight.

Your body has been starving by what you just posted.


Eat more, there is a point of diminishing returns when you starve your body for so long. I know because I've been there..you under eat for so long you start looking worse and start stalling. I realized this then kept a food log and ate accordingly (more calories) then my physique improved while gaining weight.

Your body has been starving by what you just posted.


How many times a day do you feed? You are young and your body is going thru alot of changes everyday. Just like lifting eating is no different, you must shock it to make it do what you want. There is ALOT of info out there that you must tap into. Find you a good site to keep up with your food intake such as fitday. No matter what you do EAT CLEAN!!!!! What does your workout a week look like? If you want someone to guide your young ass give us more info.


K-Man32: I agree, I think my body has gotten used to the low-calorie state. I'll try increasing my calories up to my maintenance level on my off days. Should I add in carbs during the week?

jmacsr: I posted the basic layout of my lifting and I keep all my calories logged on dailyburn. Do you need more detail?


Yeah, especially around workout times. I usually have a big meal 2-3 hours before i lift then something sweet before or during i lift. Something like chocolate milk works well, plus it has a lot calories and protein.


If I were 18 again I'd bulk like mad.


At 6'1 and 185 lbs, what could you possibly cut down to? If you don't have a 6 pack and already don't already look ripped at that height and weight, your body can't be carrying very much muscle. Skip the hawt abs look this summer and spend a year putting some muscle on your frame.


Okay, in order for any of us to guide you with any sense of direction, we need to know far more details than what you've already provided. We still don't know what a typical day of eating looks like or what dietary approach to which you subscribe, and we only have a basic outline of your weekly training, although I suspect your nutrition is far more likely the source of your stalled fat loss.

I'm a firm believer in nutrition being the source of any failed goals, whether it's getting leaner, bigger or stronger. Simply put, you cannot and will not out-train a crappy diet. So my advice would echo K-Man's: there is a point of diminished returns where the body no longer responds efficiently to the same stimulus; however, I doubt you have reached such a point at the ripe young age of 18.

Follow Brick's advice and sift through the hundreds of nutrition-related articles on this site. Familiarize and educate yourself on the different nutritional approaches advocated by such authors as Thibbs, Cosgrove and Berardi among others. There are many different, even competing, nutritional approaches out there. Chances are, you'll simply have to give some of them a fair go and assess afterward.


I'm certain that the problem lies with my diet, but not with the quality of the foods/macro ratios--simply put, I'm just not eating enough. As I said, I'm low-carb during the week so I usually get around 200 grams of protein from chicken/beef, 120-130 grams of fat from cheese/nuts/fish oil, and trace carbs. Calories are typically around 2200.

Let me assure you, I've been lurking around in these forums long enough to have read about all sorts of diets/training programs--I really started this topic to see if anyone shared a similar experience/situation. What I've taken so far is that I need to abandon the low calories, add in some carbs around my workout, and keep a close eye on the mirror for any fat gain.


Dan333 lets start with your workout, how many sets/reps do you do? Have you any clue about how many calories you burn? Show us what you look like, appearance is mostly what we can go by anyway. You may see yourself differently than what we do.


Even a relatively experienced lifter/bodybuilder may share your experiences of not putting on weight or not putting it on quickly enough. I'd say you're correct in assuming to abandon the low calories and add carbs around your workout. Since you have been dieting so strictly and for so long, be sure to progressively add more and more carbs into your diet. In other words, start with an arbitrary amount, say 40 grams pre- and 60-75 grams post-workout in the form of brown rice, sweet potatoes or yams, then adjust accoringly when your body no longer gains weight. You may want to also give yourself an arbitrary timeline as to when to assess whether to add more carbs, say two weeks after the addition of carbs, then another two weeks following that. Of course, this is merely arbitrary and I would strongly suggest you take the third piece of advice above and keep an eye for fat gain. However, don't be afraid of a little fat gain. Nobody got to where they are now without the addition of a little fat gain. It's really not that big a deal.


Best advice an 18yr old could ever have


You say you ve been 230 once...I wish I could have gained like that at 18. You have the gift of gain you just need to read up on this site and you will reap the rewards soon enough