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Cut and Bulk at Same Time?

I started working out about a year ago. I weighed 251 and was a sloppy mess of a body. It was time for a change. I began working out. Lifting at home. . .just some simple things. I have a range of dumbells that I use to work out about 45 mins per day, 5 to 6 days/week.

Fast forward one year later. I currently weigh 209 and my body has changed significantly. I have nice biceps and my pecs are coming along (slowly but surely). I still have about 35 pounds of fat that I want to lose . .but at the same time I want to begin bulking up - especially on my pecs. PECS are the absolute most important to me (to fill in the old man boob space and look decent).

My main question is diet related at this point. I know that at face value, it’s simple math. You need to eat more calories that it takes to sustain - in order to bulk. And less calories to cut. But what about when your body has excess fat? Can you use that to an advantage and Bulk/Cut at the same time?

Here is an example of what I plan on doing:

Post Morning Work Out (2 scoop fast digesting whey, and 1 scoop fast digesting Carb (dextrose). 340 cal, .5 fat, 40g Protein, 35g carb

Throughout the day I will eat things like boiled egg whites, about 20 ounces of boneless skinless chicken breast of fish, and 2 RTD 51 protein shakes.

At the end of the day, here is the estimate of what I am getting:

My current maintenance caloric intake is 1,995

Calories 1,674
Fat 7.9g
Protein 244g
Carb 41g

Ultimately I am trying to go super low fat and carb (allowing myself the carb intake post workout where it is needed), and high protein. I am hoping that this will force my body to use the fat it has stored (becoming leaner), while providing ample protein to repair muscles after workout and bulk at the same time.

This, of course, would be only temporarily (about 4 months) until my body fat has gotten down to about 12 to 15%, where I would modify my diet to bulk. . then cut. Not at same time anymore. I only want to do this so that I can gain muscle growth while dropping body fat.

Am I going about this the wrong way? Anything I can do differently?

jesus christ this is not good. Definitely increase this. Drop your protein down to 200g and fill in the calories from fats. Your health will suffer if you don’t.

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Thanks Yogi1

I was assuming that, because I had plenty of stored body fat, that I could force my body to utilize that instead of consuming fats, no?

I can certainly drop the protein down to 200g and add some avocado or something in.

your body will utilise fat for energy every time you’re in a calories deficit, but you still need to consume dietary fat for about a billion other physiological processes. Cutting it as low as that (to practically zero) is a good way to feel like absolute shit.

Dieting sucks, so make it as easy on yourself as you can.

How tall are you?

Constipation is one of the things you would notice almost immediately, I’d think.

Understood. So, with 1,995 as my current caloric maintenance level . . if I do as you suggested and drop the protein down to 200 and add some good fats (fish, avocado, for instance) but keep at a caloric deficit . . . I can potentially bulk and cut at the same time?

I am 5’ 11", 209.2 lb

Constipation - been there, done that. I lost over 40 pounds in about 2 months by doing one of those super low carb diets with high protein. Constipation lasted a week or so but it’s been ok since then. :slight_smile: I just don’t feel the need to go as often as I used to - as I am eating much less then before.

sort of, but not really. Try not to think about it that way. “Bulk and cut” are very specific tools for very specific purposes. What you need to think about it getting in shape and being healthy. Those are much more achievable and beneficial goals at this stage.

Will you build a little muscle while you’re slimming down? Absolutely, given you’re a beginner. It’s not going to be like if you had all your muscle building ducks in a row and were eating/training specifically for that purpose, but you’ll definitely get a little contractile tissue out of the bargain while you’re getting in shape.

The situation is this: You are average height, over 200lbs and estimate you have 35lbs to lose. The world being what it is, it is much more likely you’ll have to lose closer to 50lbs to get where you want to be. You probably don’t believe that, and that’s fine, but you’ll see for yourself in the coming months.

Muscle-building will come. For now, just concentrate on undoing the damage recent years have done to your waistline. This shit is a way of life, and it won’t happen overnight (I always like to end with a motivational cliché).



I am attempting to upload some before/after pics. So that it may give you a better idea of where I am currently. You can see that I was able to make some pretty significant gains while ‘getting in shape’ on my biceps. If I was to drop down to 160 (50 more pounds). . do you think I will lose those gains? I really don’t want to . . . if I can help it.

I do not think you will “lose gains” dropping to healthy level of bodyfat by eating at a 300 calorie deficit unless you have some kind of wasting disease.

Muscle loss always occurs during a diet to some degree, but the effect of that is minuscule when you do things properly. Like, not in any way noticeable at all, kind of thing.

Really, the whole thing about “losing gains” is 99% of the time just guys who were more fat than they thought they were. Happened to me. Probably happened to most of the guys on this forum.

Muscle loss is only a concern during really long, brutal diets like prepping for a bodybuilding contest. Average dudes like me and you don’t need to worry about it.


X2 everything yogi said. You’d do well to follow his advice verbatim.

Carbs and fats are the “energy” macros. When you’re dieting down and in a deficit, you can’t cut both fats and carbs down to nothing because you’ll have practically no energy. Factor in the fact that fats are what are mostly responsible for keeping your hormones/endocrine system functioning right, and you’ll feel like a run down piece of dog shit.

Cut but try to keep your workouts as intense as you can. Keep protein good. You won’t notice a muscle loss and if you do get some it will come right back post-cut.

The hardest thing is cutting in the first place. Don’t complicate it or overthink it.

If you’re trying to force your body to use fat I would suggest looking into fasting occasionally. If you go that route I’d suggest eating after your workout to break the fast.

I think the fact that you went from 251lbs to 209lbs shows you are on the right track. Maybe stay the course and just make tweaks as you go. That’s what I’ve found works best for me. Sort of experiment with one variable at a time to isolate things that work best.

I don’t really like to give too much advice because I’m no expert - but just looking at your post, its hard to evaluate the change to your diet, because you don’t state what you’re doing now. Cutting down to 1,674 calories is really low - especially if you’re currently eating say, 2,500 calories. Moreover, 1,674 calories seems really, really low for a guy who weights 209lbs - this is like 8 cals per pound. Some people have better success by slowly tapering calories vs cutting really low, really fast.

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Thanks for the suggestions AliveAgain36

In short, I was 251 last year. Began working out at home. . . as best I could. In July of 2017, I had lost 10 pounds of WEIGHT . but my body had begun to change a lot. So obviously I had lost more than 10 pounds of fat, but was gaining muscle along the way.

In July of 2016, I went on one of those super low carb / high protein diets and kept up on my working out at home, 5 nights a week. I used an app on my iPhone called Lose IT. It helped me track my calories, fat, protein, exercise, etc - very easily. I set my goal to be 175 and it calculated that I eat about 1700 calories per day. Most days I kept it much lower than 1,700 calories. But I was never overly hungry. I used 2 to 3 protein shakes per day to fill up on and hit my protein goals, and had one major meal (dinner) which was usually a good 8 to 10 ounces of boneless chicken breast and side salad (no dressing and no fixings). Every night. I also would include boiled egg whites in the daytime and cashews for a little fat.

That being said, I went from 241 to 209.2 in about two months time. Which was amazing and I loved it.

Yes, I can keep chugging along like this and drop the extra 40/50 pounds to get down to 160-175 and then bulk up. I just feel that if I can increase muscle size along the way - that would be even better. The bathroom scale is no longer a good tool to measure my success accurately. Did I lose 2 pounds of fat or some muscle? Did I gain a pound of muscle, water of fat? So it’s hard for me to understand if increasing my caloric intake will be a plus or minus as I try to drop fat and increase muscle . . if even possible.

To an extent . .I agree that if I just keep doing what I am doing . . I will keep dropping the weight. But then I am still at a stating point of understanding my nutritional needs to bulk up without putting the fat back on. The fact that everybody’s body is so different makes it even more confusing to understand my own needs lol.