T Nation

Cut to 10% or Bulk Over 180?

I’ve been reading a lot of information on this board and others (particularly a lot of the John Berardi articles like Mass Eating and the Don’t Diet Plan, etc. as well as Bill Phillips Body For Life (BFL) and more. I agree with a lot of Berardi’s advice and it’s not terribly different from the BFL recommendations. However, most of these guys are coming at it from one of two perspectives. The first is either someone overweight and needs to lose a lot of weight and bodyfat or someone who is very skinny with extremely low bodyfat that needs to bulk up.

My situation is in the middle. I’m 6’1", 180#, fairly skinny (fairly new to bodybuilding, but not total rookie). But, I have a gut and love handles that need to go. I’m around 13-14% bodyfat. Ideally, I’d like to bulk up to 190-200 pounds at 10% or less bodyfat.

Berardi suggests that mass gains are better when starting from a low bodyfat (sub 10%). I’ve heard that elsewhere as well.

So, should I be cutting (calorie deficit) until I reach 10% or less bodyfat? If so, I’d probably drop to something in the 160 pound range. Then, bulk up.

I guess I’m still struggling with the concept of cutting and dropping weight from 180 to 165ish, then bulking back up to 180, which will put LBM but also additional bodyfat back on.

Or should I just eat at my maintenance level or calorie surplus and just incorporate a lot of cardio in with my weight training.

So, I’d appreciate any help or suggestions with what my calorie intake should be. I’m good on what and how to eat, just not how much I should be eating. By the way, my maintenance is somewhere around 2500 calories.

Thanks in advance for any and all advice. I look forward to hearing from you. I gotta get rid of this bellyroll.

If i were you i would just do the bulk and then cut afterwards once you feel you reached your desired weight or muscle mass. It seems like it would be unneccessary to have to cut twice when you only have to do it once.

Some time ago, somewhere someone started to associate the concept of “bulking” with an increase in bodyfat%.

I don’t know why this happened, but it got way out of hand.

Bulking simply means eating enough calories for you body to build additional muscle tissue.

If you gain more bodyfat than desired, either your training sucks (not enough intensity, not enough volume, etc) or your caloric intake is way too high.

Everyone is familiar with the concept of eating slightly more protein than you actually need, because is does no harm whatsoever and it would be stupid to limit one’s progress by accidentally consuming not enough Protein, so everyone goes a little overboard “just to be on the safe side”.

It’s the same with adding bodyfat while bulking, losing bodyfat is very easy and very fast if you know a little about diet and are able to push yourself in the gym (so excess calories do no harm) plus, it would be stupid to limit one’s progress by consuming not enough calories, so some people go a little overboard to “be on the safe side” and gain a little fat in the process (which is dieted off later).

BUT, if you a scared so much of gaining fat, simply adjust your caloric intake.

It’s impossible for your body to synthesize tissue while on a caloric deficit, if you try to “cut” now you’ll lose some weight, won’t make any progress in the gym whatsoever, likely slow down your metabolism in the process, and when attempting to “bulk” again afterwards you’ll end up exactly where you started a year ago.

Lift. Eat. Sleep.

There is really nothing more to it.

6’1, 180 and you want to cut?

Eat. Then go lift heavy things off the floor and over your head, and then go eat some more. After you put on twenty pounds of muscle you won’t notice your gut or love handles.

And FYI, cutting to below 10% for non-athletes is not easy. I mean real 10%, not internet 10%.

Solid post from Petrichor too.


If you want to cut then cut. Only get as big as YOU want. The man in this picture (bruce lee) was as strong as anybody I know these days. and he’s not bulky.

[quote]yogaroots wrote:
If you want to cut then cut. Only get as big as YOU want. The man in this picture (bruce lee) was as strong as anybody I know these days. and he’s not bulky. [/quote]

You must not know a lot of people. Or did you mean pound for pound?

You know when i was a kid growing up it was pretty much normal for men to be at aroudn 10% bodyfat… Like the one guy at 20% bodyfat was considered a ‘fatso’. There was one of them total, at work, or school/whatever who was roudn and 200 lbs and obviously genetically fat. People would crack jokes about the one ‘fat guy’ (who buys todays standards would be thin/normal) and he couldnt do shit cuz he was like 1 out of 100 people. 10% bodyfat didnt used to be this tough to achieve “only on the internet” goal… it actually happened with no effort at all and was quite normal. People didnt think OMG HES CUT. Guys would just play shirts and skins basketball or w/e and pretty much noone had a gut or any real visible bodyfat - just normal, random people, not athletes or bodybuilders.

I remember when my old man, who smoked, drank, ate like crap, sat on his ass all day reached 6’2 200lbs he was considered overweight and his doctor was like oh god u gotta lose weight and everyone was concerned. He was so concerned he might skip his morning donut now and then.

I’d kill to be down to 200 lbs now. lol. And i try like hell. WTF happened?

[quote]beeph wrote:
You know when i was a kid growing up it was pretty much normal for men to be at aroudn 10% bodyfat… Like the one guy at 20% bodyfat was considered a ‘fatso’. There was one of them total, at work, or school/whatever who was roudn and 200 lbs and obviously genetically fat. People would crack jokes about the one ‘fat guy’ (who buys todays standards would be thin/normal) and he couldnt do shit cuz he was like 1 out of 100 people. 10% bodyfat didnt used to be this tough to achieve “only on the internet” goal… it actually happened with no effort at all and was quite normal. People didnt think OMG HES CUT. Guys would just play shirts and skins basketball or w/e and pretty much noone had a gut or any real visible bodyfat - just normal, random people, not athletes or bodybuilders.

I remember when my old man, who smoked, drank, ate like crap, sat on his ass all day reached 6’2 200lbs he was considered overweight and his doctor was like oh god u gotta lose weight and everyone was concerned. He was so concerned he might skip his morning donut now and then.

I’d kill to be down to 200 lbs now. lol. And i try like hell. WTF happened?
[/quote]

It’s called McDonalds.

Oh, and World of Warcraft.

[quote]Der Candy wrote:
beeph wrote:
You know when i was a kid growing up it was pretty much normal for men to be at aroudn 10% bodyfat… Like the one guy at 20% bodyfat was considered a ‘fatso’. There was one of them total, at work, or school/whatever who was roudn and 200 lbs and obviously genetically fat. People would crack jokes about the one ‘fat guy’ (who buys todays standards would be thin/normal) and he couldnt do shit cuz he was like 1 out of 100 people. 10% bodyfat didnt used to be this tough to achieve “only on the internet” goal… it actually happened with no effort at all and was quite normal. People didnt think OMG HES CUT. Guys would just play shirts and skins basketball or w/e and pretty much noone had a gut or any real visible bodyfat - just normal, random people, not athletes or bodybuilders.

I remember when my old man, who smoked, drank, ate like crap, sat on his ass all day reached 6’2 200lbs he was considered overweight and his doctor was like oh god u gotta lose weight and everyone was concerned. He was so concerned he might skip his morning donut now and then.

I’d kill to be down to 200 lbs now. lol. And i try like hell. WTF happened?

It’s called McDonalds.

Oh, and World of Warcraft.[/quote]

“Mom, toilet!”

[quote]Petrichor wrote:
Some time ago, somewhere someone started to associate the concept of “bulking” with an increase in bodyfat%.

I don’t know why this happened, but it got way out of hand.

Bulking simply means eating enough calories for you body to build additional muscle tissue.

If you gain more bodyfat than desired, either your training sucks (not enough intensity, not enough volume, etc) or your caloric intake is way too high.

Everyone is familiar with the concept of eating slightly more protein than you actually need, because is does no harm whatsoever and it would be stupid to limit one’s progress by accidentally consuming not enough Protein, so everyone goes a little overboard “just to be on the safe side”.

It’s the same with adding bodyfat while bulking, losing bodyfat is very easy and very fast if you know a little about diet and are able to push yourself in the gym (so excess calories do no harm) plus, it would be stupid to limit one’s progress by consuming not enough calories, so some people go a little overboard to “be on the safe side” and gain a little fat in the process (which is dieted off later).

BUT, if you a scared so much of gaining fat, simply adjust your caloric intake.

It’s impossible for your body to synthesize tissue while on a caloric deficit, if you try to “cut” now you’ll lose some weight, won’t make any progress in the gym whatsoever, likely slow down your metabolism in the process, and when attempting to “bulk” again afterwards you’ll end up exactly where you started a year ago.

Lift. Eat. Sleep.

There is really nothing more to it.[/quote]

This should be highlighted.

[quote]mr popular wrote:
Petrichor wrote:
Some time ago, somewhere someone started to associate the concept of “bulking” with an increase in bodyfat%.

I don’t know why this happened, but it got way out of hand.

Bulking simply means eating enough calories for you body to build additional muscle tissue.

If you gain more bodyfat than desired, either your training sucks (not enough intensity, not enough volume, etc) or your caloric intake is way too high.

Everyone is familiar with the concept of eating slightly more protein than you actually need, because is does no harm whatsoever and it would be stupid to limit one’s progress by accidentally consuming not enough Protein, so everyone goes a little overboard “just to be on the safe side”.

It’s the same with adding bodyfat while bulking, losing bodyfat is very easy and very fast if you know a little about diet and are able to push yourself in the gym (so excess calories do no harm) plus, it would be stupid to limit one’s progress by consuming not enough calories, so some people go a little overboard to “be on the safe side” and gain a little fat in the process (which is dieted off later).

BUT, if you a scared so much of gaining fat, simply adjust your caloric intake.

It’s impossible for your body to synthesize tissue while on a caloric deficit, if you try to “cut” now you’ll lose some weight, won’t make any progress in the gym whatsoever, likely slow down your metabolism in the process, and when attempting to “bulk” again afterwards you’ll end up exactly where you started a year ago.

Lift. Eat. Sleep.

There is really nothing more to it.

This should be stickied.
[/quote]

Fixed that for you.

[quote]TheDudeAbides wrote:
yogaroots wrote:
If you want to cut then cut. Only get as big as YOU want. The man in this picture (bruce lee) was as strong as anybody I know these days. and he’s not bulky.

You must not know a lot of people. Or did you mean pound for pound?[/quote]

No Comment. OMFG

[quote]yogaroots wrote:
TheDudeAbides wrote:
yogaroots wrote:
If you want to cut then cut. Only get as big as YOU want. The man in this picture (bruce lee) was as strong as anybody I know these days. and he’s not bulky.

You must not know a lot of people. Or did you mean pound for pound?

No Comment. OMFG[/quote]

He’s right. chances are most people on this forum could outlift bruce lee. He was just incredibly fast and had great tendon strength.

OP, i’d bulk. for quite a while. I’m 5’11, and i prolly won’t even consider cutting until i weigh about 200lbs. 1/3 of the way there…started 140 now up to 160 6.5 months later.

I really don’t see many people on this forum doing:

  • 50x 1 arm chin ups
  • Push-ups with only their thumbs
  • Hold a 125lb barbell straight out while standing
  • Spring a 235 lb (107 kg) opponent 15 feet (4.6 metres) away with a 1 inch punch

So yeah… Bruce Lee was pretty strong.

[quote]Petrichor wrote:
Some time ago, somewhere someone started to associate the concept of “bulking” with an increase in bodyfat%.

I don’t know why this happened, but it got way out of hand.

Bulking simply means eating enough calories for you body to build additional muscle tissue.

If you gain more bodyfat than desired, either your training sucks (not enough intensity, not enough volume, etc) or your caloric intake is way too high.

Everyone is familiar with the concept of eating slightly more protein than you actually need, because is does no harm whatsoever and it would be stupid to limit one’s progress by accidentally consuming not enough Protein, so everyone goes a little overboard “just to be on the safe side”.

It’s the same with adding bodyfat while bulking, losing bodyfat is very easy and very fast if you know a little about diet and are able to push yourself in the gym (so excess calories do no harm) plus, it would be stupid to limit one’s progress by consuming not enough calories, so some people go a little overboard to “be on the safe side” and gain a little fat in the process (which is dieted off later).

BUT, if you a scared so much of gaining fat, simply adjust your caloric intake.

It’s impossible for your body to synthesize tissue while on a caloric deficit, if you try to “cut” now you’ll lose some weight, won’t make any progress in the gym whatsoever, likely slow down your metabolism in the process, and when attempting to “bulk” again afterwards you’ll end up exactly where you started a year ago.

Lift. Eat. Sleep.

There is really nothing more to it.[/quote]

This is a good post…at this point you don’t know what “regular” training and clean eating might do for your body fat all on it’s own. 6 months from now you could be on your way without ever having to cross over into a “cutting” type of workout.

Lift the weights and follow Berardi (he’s my fav too) do some minor cardio a couple of times a week and see what happens.

[quote]Makavali wrote:
I really don’t see many people on this forum doing:

  • 50x 1 arm chin ups
  • Push-ups with only their thumbs
  • Hold a 125lb barbell straight out while standing
  • Spring a 235 lb (107 kg) opponent 15 feet (4.6 metres) away with a 1 inch punch

So yeah… Bruce Lee was pretty strong.[/quote]

That’s almost bodyweight straight out.

Holy shit.

[quote]Makavali wrote:
I really don’t see many people on this forum doing:

  • 50x 1 arm chin ups
  • Push-ups with only their thumbs
  • Hold a 125lb barbell straight out while standing
  • Spring a 235 lb (107 kg) opponent 15 feet (4.6 metres) away with a 1 inch punch

So yeah… Bruce Lee was pretty strong.[/quote]

Do you have any video of the 50 one armed chins, or the 100kg man flying 15 feet?

[quote]Makavali wrote:
I really don’t see many people on this forum doing:

  • 50x 1 arm chin ups
  • Push-ups with only their thumbs
  • Hold a 125lb barbell straight out while standing
  • Spring a 235 lb (107 kg) opponent 15 feet (4.6 metres) away with a 1 inch punch

So yeah… Bruce Lee was pretty strong.[/quote]

Or severely injuring his back by performing a 175pound good morning.
Come on, I’ve a lifted of a lot more than that accidentally while pushing my limits on squats.
The point is the guy was 145 at his top weight. For a 145lb man he was incredibly strong. Compared to a 220lb lean BB with average lifting numbers, he was weak as a kitten.

I’m getting sick of all the fuckin’ Bruce Lee thread hijacks. Yes he was an amazing individual, I know that already. I’ve actually studied a little JKD and worked on my clinch and “straight blast”.
So what!
He was a martial artist, not a body builder or a strength athlete.
All of his exercises were focused on improving his speed and stamina to constantly improve as a fighter.
This is not a MA forum.
Here we discuss weight training for the purpose of building strength and mass. If you want to prattle on about Bruce Lee, go do it over in the combat subforum.

OP, you are skinny fat. Put on some damn muscle before you worry about cutting. What are you going to cut back to, bone?

If you don’t cut first your stomach is going to grow along with everything else. Sooner or later it’s going to start bugging you. Even though you’ll have more muscle you’ll have an even bigger gut along with it.

If the idea of your stomach getting even bigger doesn’t bug you then go ahead and bulk. Otherwise, you might want to lose the stomach first and then bulk.

I’ve read also that you seem to gain more muscle the leaner you are when you start lifting. The plus side to lifting is once you make your chest bigger you’ll stop looking like a skinny fat person. Your upper body is out of proportion with everything else.