T Nation

Effects of Cutting/Bulking on Newbie Gains?


I hover around 17-20% bodyfat right now and really want to cut down; however, I fear that doing so will sacrifice the gains I would receive from bulking first. I do not want to retard my development.


.... so, don't cut until you get to the size/strength levels you want.

was there a question here?


It just seems unhealthy to allow me body fat to climb higher than it is.


What are your goals?

Be specific:
Current LBM: __, Goal LBM: ___

Current strength level:____, Goal strength level____
(for strentgh level you can use squat, deads, bench, etc.)


What are your lifts (Squat, Bench, Press, Dead) at? I find its generally best to cut when you've developed a decent strength base. (1.5x BW, 1x BW Bench, .75 Press, 2x BW Dead). As long as your calories aren't positively excessive (5,000+) and you implement some form of conditioning (fasted morning cardio, hill sprints, sledgehammer work, etc), you shouldn't gain much more bodyfat to achieve that goal.


unhealthy? are you concerned about your cholesterol levels, liver/kidney function, conditioning levels...

be more specific.


I have not been in a proper gym setting since April. When I was last there, I weighed about 170 lbs. My lifts were as follows:

Squat: 275 lbs
Deadlift: 345 lbs
Bench press: 200 lbs
Overhead press: 135 lbs

My goal is to become athletic. I want to be a well-rounded individual capable of doing well in a lot of things. I want to be strong, fast, powerful, flexible, etc. I am not in any sports and nor do I intend to be, so my goal is fitness in general.

Right now, I am just doing 'gymnastic' exercises, sandbag training, and sprints.


I am concerned entirely with performance. I am not interested in bodybuilding, powerlifting, and so forth. I want to be a well-rounded individual capable of tackling any athletic pursuit reasonably well from a pure athleticism standpoint.


Goals are precise and measurable. Since these are neither they are more like dreams.

Possible fitness goals:(dealing with leanness)
Run a forty in 4.9
Do 25 pull ups in a row
Have a 6-pack
Run a half-marathon

Possible fitness goals: (dealing with strength/size)
Bench 315
Squat 405
Dead lift 495
LBM of 180#

Do you see how these goals are measurable? These two sets of goals will also lead you down different paths. On set can be achieved by cutting from where you are now the other set will be achieved by lifting heavy and disregarding your current body fat level. If you don't know where you want to go then why would you ask a forum of strangers how to get there?


Aside from having a six-pack, neither of those things are mutually exclusive.

Anyway, this is all getting diverted from what I originally wanted to know. Is it better to cut first or to bulk and then cut if you are not that overweight?


Who said they were?
The training style would be different is the point.



Wow. How about you fix that first? You are a fat sedentary guy who doesn't workout. Do you possibly think that being the "guy who works out 6 days a week with a solid purpose and goal" would change that all in itself?

Naaah. Of course not. It isn't like the ability to change yourself lies in you and your own hard work, huh?


OP, you obviously know all the answers to your questions and in no way has anybody tried to help in you in this thread or given you a well structured answer.

Good luck.


All I have received since I started posting here is guff even though I haven't been disrespectful to anyone. I don't know how the hell you people function in the real world if you fly off at the handle like this over silly Internet posts. You people are psychotic. Have fun wallowing in your messed up forum.


Where do you not get I work out? I just finished doing sprints just a few minutes ago.

I am just asking a simple question. And all you people are capable of is being derisive.


This is my final post and I am sure you people are looking forward to that, but I have never been to a place more hostile to people than this forum. You people either speak condescendingly, derisively, or sarcastically to people without any provocation. Try treating people with a little more respect even if they hold views or thoughts that run opposed to your own. It is not like it is a life-or-death issue in which the fate of the world is at stake. And I cannot imagine any of you act the way you do on here in person because you would be a social pariah.

Final words: chill out and be nice.


Generally, working out implies weight training. Doing sprints with no weight training will likely lead to more muscle loss than fat loss.

We can only go by what you write here...and you wrote you hadn't been in a gym since April.


I think maybe you're getting hung up in terminology and ideas.
If you're not interested in bodybuilding, then don't worry with bulking/cutting at all.
If you're not interested in powerlifting, then don't worry about holding back your strength gains.

Eat what you NEED.
Train for strength 3 days a week. Train everything, but primary focus should be arms, shoulders, and legs.
Do whatever else you want to do 3 days/week. Just be smart about it. Don't go trying to run a damn marathon the day after leg day.
Rest one day/week. And don't "just do _________" on your rest day. Fucking rest.

The vast majority of advanced ideas expressed on this site and in this forum are intended for people who are trying to be very specific and get the most out of one aspect of their physique. You are trying to be very general and adaptable. That's great, just understand that you'll never be as big as possible, or as strong as possible, or as whatever as possible, because you're not training that way.


Just to chip in with some personal view and current experience on this.

All respect to other posters like the prof who are very clear on where they are going and i can understand some of the frustrations coming out a bit.
Also--and once again (apologies) read this through 'beginner' filter as i don't pretend to be anything else.

I came into this just 18 months ago age 52, very overweight, very weak. I am not sure what my body fat % was back then although i would estimate somewhere up in the 35% range.
At that time i didn't even consider working out with weights (long term back injuries) but just aimed to shed a whole load of weight which i did with a solid outdoor walking programme and some sensible eating.
Now--just 8 months into working with weights for the first time i am just getting my head around a lot of this kind of discussion.

Most of the guys around here argue very strongly (and reasonably) that you can't do 2 things at once ie can't lose fat and get significantly bigger/stronger.
Except maybe you can as i am doing--but once again that is as a beginner and i am clearly doing both : still making beginner gains and still changing (slowly) my body composition.

Now : i am nowhere near where i want to be with either strength gains or body composition so i have just had to make a clear decision yself about which way to go ie simply get stronger and support that plan with the appropriate training and diet or aim to shift body fat quickly and support that plan with appropriate training and diet.

Although still relatively (even absolutely) weak by most T nation standards i figure that while i am still making beginner gains i can afford a quick hard cut of body fat , i can hang on to the strength gains i have made while gatting rid of more flab.
I have no pretensions to being a bb er ,whilst having huge respect for those that do, nor do i want to be a powelifter/strongman--what i do simply want to be is a maximally fit , lean,and strong old git !!.

I think that it is absolutely necasary to sort out in your own head what you want--i actually had to sit down, work it all out, tease apart all the elements we talk about in 'fitness' and start to work towards actual goals.
Some of them (i think) can be done together (for a beginner) and for a while, many require a clear direction--at least for a while.

Once you set goals--and can work to a plan that supports those goals..then you can get somewhere, might be lower bf ..nothing wrong with that...might be faster over 1.5 mile run, stronger on the big lifts, doesn't really matter but you must have YOUR goals.

Sorry if this didn't come across as clearly as i hoped.



Bulking and cutting are for people who are willing to follow the extreme diets to achieve noticeable physique goals. For what your looking for working out extremely hard would be enough. If while being athletic you want to have a six pack for a trip or something you should be no farther then a three or 4 week diet.