T Nation

Gain Mass or Continue Cutting?

Hi people, just some background info about myself, I am currently 18 yo, turning 19 in October, 5"7, 165lbs after coming off V-Diet a couple of weeks ago. I think my BF% lies around 15%(quite positive about it). I am currently following a ketogenic diet of 1.5g protein/lb BW and 0.5g fats/lb BW, with minimal carbs.

I know I’m light, and that’s one reason I am pondering over whether I should continue cutting until I see my full 6packs, which I’ll probably be like 145lbs or something, or I should try gaining mass(clean bulk definitely, cause I ain’t gonna be a fatty again. NEVER.).

I don’t know whether I’m self-rationalizing that I should eat more(ie giving in to temptations to eating more), or I really should try gaining mass since this is the time where we have the highest testosterone level as a young man. The problem in me is that, I know I might not be making the best gains at 15% BF(ie more fat gains), but at the same time I might be super light after I complete my cut. Please give me some sound advice guys. Thanks.

why not do both?

you can cut very slowly and gain slowly at same time, it’s about finding the amount of calories that just a lil under maintenace and keeping he intensity of your workouts as high as befor or higher if needed

Yes you won’t cut as good as if you were on a real cutting diet and yes you won’t gain as much as if you were really bulking, but you get both

Do you believe you have enough muscle as a foundation that if you lose 20 pounds you are going to see your abs?

If you are at 165 and 15% you shouldn’t look fat. I would consider eating at a maintanence level (maybe 250kcals above) and working out hard. You should be able to gain some muscle without putting on fat. That would probably benefit you more.

Just bulk. Dont waste your time cutting. At 165 pounds and 15%BF, you have very little to show off at this point.

[quote]traineee wrote:
I really should try gaining mass since this is the time where we have the highest testosterone level as a young man. [/quote]

You sum it up best right here! You wont get this time back… Ever.

Train hard (very hard), eat lots of wholesome food like eggs, fruit salad, whole milk, natural peanut butter, protein shakes, beef, veggies (I know you know what to eat already) and do some morning cardio to keep fat in check.

Keep a logbook to ensure you’re getting stronger, use a mirror to check your BF levels and a scale to ensure you’re gaining weight each week.

It’s very simple, and this is a great time to put in the time and effort, enjoy these years and don’t waste them only to regret not adding the MANY pounds of mass you’re capable of.

At your age, six packs are fairly common among those who care about how they look. Being able to turn heads (of both sexes) because your arms and legs can’t fit into normal clothes is FAR less common. Stand out.

While I fully agree with everything that’s been said, personnally I’d lean down some more, nothing stops you from gaining more muscle while still cutting and when you hit about 10-12% BF you could start bulking. I hate the concept of “clean bulking”, because bodybuilding IMPLIES that you eat clean, bulking just forces you to choke down more food and some more carbs. For me, you lean or you bulk, because from my own (mediocre) experience, trying to do both generally leads to frustration.

Anyways, good luck

That seems like a lot of information to absorb! Haha. What I’ve gathered thus far, is that most of you think gaining mass should be the way to go now. I agree I don’t look fat at the moment, but there’s definitely much more room for improvements around the waist area. I love being big too, hence the question of whether to gain mass or not. It’s a real dilemma, cause I’m really used to eating the keto way, and that didn’t come easy. I know I can keep losing right now, but I’m going to make a very important decision if I decide to just blow it and go into mass gaining right now.

Arioch - I know what you think, but I have 2years of training experience, so I guess that should not be an issue. Besides maybe you could check out Tom Venuto’s photo when he was younger. He looked big at 154lbs too. No offence here, but I just thought you can look good and lean and mean even at a light weight like 150lbs. Thanks for your reply BTW.

Agon and Kataklysm - I had bad experience trying to gain AND lose at the same time, cause the process is painfully slow to be honest. Besides it’s hard to keep track of such a goal. It’s just contradictory, but thanks for your ideas really.

I’m 5’7" probably getting down to 15% bodyfat close to now. I’m about 160 lbs currently. I’m going to go down to about 150, give or take a few lbs and when I am sufficiently lean I will slowly start to bulk back up.

I say finish your cutting if you have some amount of muscle mass. I’m not huge, and am really starting to look scrawny, but I’m going to finish it. If you do it once now, it will take 10 weeks or so, then you can do a slow bulk hopefully remaining somewhat lean indefinitely. I just want to get it the f- over with, then move on to above maintenance calorie intake and slowly build backup.

I agree with you that you can look good and lift relatively heavy stuff at a lower bodyweight. Even with my diet intake, I’ve managed to put on a little mass and I haven’t lost any strength, but I’m just not progressing as fast as I would if I ate more.

I say just stick with it and get it over with. The diet is temporary and a slow bulk can be maintained pretty much indefinitely.

[quote]theuofh wrote:
I’m 5’7" probably getting down to 15% bodyfat close to now. I’m about 160 lbs currently. I’m going to go down to about 150, give or take a few lbs and when I am sufficiently lean I will slowly start to bulk back up.

I say finish your cutting if you have some amount of muscle mass. I’m not huge, and am really starting to look scrawny, but I’m going to finish it. If you do it once now, it will take 10 weeks or so, then you can do a slow bulk hopefully remaining somewhat lean indefinitely. I just want to get it the f- over with, then move on to above maintenance calorie intake and slowly build backup.

I agree with you that you can look good and lift relatively heavy stuff at a lower bodyweight. Even with my diet intake, I’ve managed to put on a little mass and I haven’t lost any strength, but I’m just not progressing as fast as I would if I ate more.

I say just stick with it and get it over with. The diet is temporary and a slow bulk can be maintained pretty much indefinitely. [/quote]

Sentiments alike, theuofh. Cutting will take me at most 12 to 16 weeks and I’m just a few months away from a new lean me. I believe in doing lean mass gaining, rather than bulking and become a fatty again. Being fat just turns me off. Thanks for your input. Really appreciate it when the advice comes from somebody is doing the same thing as I am.(Not that the others are BS, but it just feels more relevant.)

[quote]traineee wrote:

Agon and Kataklysm - I had bad experience trying to gain AND lose at the same time, cause the process is painfully slow to be honest. Besides it’s hard to keep track of such a goal. It’s just contradictory, but thanks for your ideas really.[/quote]

Yeah that’s exactly what I’m saying lol. Lose some more, then start bulking for real. With my post I was actually saying you shouldn’t try to do both.

[quote]traineee wrote:
I believe in doing lean mass gaining, rather than bulking and become a fatty again. Being fat just turns me off.[/quote]

do you know what bulking is? it isn’t eating everything in sight, it’s eating enough calories to gain weight on. this statement makes me think you need to review.

[quote]jdrannin1 wrote:
Just bulk. Dont waste your time cutting. At 165 pounds and 15%BF, you have very little to show off at this point.[/quote]

read this 10X… seriously did you do it?

so, you want to be 155 lbs ripped?

if you do it right you can put on muscle with little to no fat gain at this point in your life.

You can check my bulk thread on the Alpha board.

I’m up 18 lbs and down 1% bf, which equates to gaining 17 lbs LM, 1 lb FM.

Everyone has given you good advice. TBH, as long as you don;t overdo the “cut” you’ll be all right. in any case, 165 pounds@15% at 5’7" is not too shabby at all as long as you don;t plan to step on stage.

My suggestion is to keep dropping for another 6-8 weeks and see where you get. If youve been fat once, youre not getting those abs to show on your first cut without dropping some serious LBM. Once you are as lean as you want to walk around, then maintain for a brief period and raise calories and start beating the logbook (to steal the catchphrase from the latest cult in T-Nation) on a session-wise basis and watch the muscle pile on. You’re 18 so you still have time. Just don;t do anything crazy with the cut…milk it for a while and see where it goes.
Finally a few words of advice, not just to you but to a lot of people at 5’7" you are SHORT, and I take it you have accepted that. While its obviously better to be short and lean than short and fat, from a social perspective there is really not as much of a difference as you may think.

One of the main advantages to being a tall man is that you automatically gain a social presence, whether you are in shape or not. It would be more productive for someone who is on the shorter side to be BIG enough to stand out in a crowd with OR without clothes on. short and puny is NOT a good combo.

Being short and shredded with/without good proportions will help you make a great set of pictures for the RMP forum with clever camera angles and lighting standing by yourself, but with clothes on and in public NO ONE will notice you and you certainly will NOT be a “chick magnet”. I;m mentioning this because it needed to be said - if youre short, build some more LBM than you would need to look good in a picture.

I;m not telling you to bulk to Lee PRiest propertions, but just reminding you that as a smaller man, you need a LITTLE more muscle mass to have enough social presence to compete with a taller dude. Since its impossible to overdo that, you’ll be ok. As long as you keep that in mind, you’ll be on the right track. Now finish your cut and then get on the mass-building wagon till youre in your mid-twenties…

[quote]jehovasfitness wrote:
jdrannin1 wrote:
Just bulk. Dont waste your time cutting. At 165 pounds and 15%BF, you have very little to show off at this point.

read this 10X… seriously did you do it?

so, you want to be 155 lbs ripped?

if you do it right you can put on muscle with little to no fat gain at this point in your life.

You can check my bulk thread on the Alpha board.

I’m up 18 lbs and down 1% bf, which equates to gaining 17 lbs LM, 1 lb FM.[/quote]

THIS IS WHAT YOU SHOULD DO!
Think about it you can get leaner while gaining muscle he gained 17 lbs of muscle and 1 pounds of fat! Thats going to make you look SO much more impresive than a 145 lb skeleton of a fraim!

I would gladly trade my six pack for 17 pounds of muscle and even 10 lbs of fat! You can cut anytime you cant how ever get these years of high T-levels back! Im 21 and 6’1" 173 pounds at aorund 8.5% bf and I plan on bulking in one form or another till im like 25! I know I dont have the genes of a bodybuilder so Even If I can only gain 7-10 lb’s of muscle a year I’ll be happy! GET BIG TURN HEADS dont get anorexic on us this is T-Nation what happened to BIGER IS BETTER!!!..LIFT HEAVY EAT BIG but SMART!!! Happy lifting

Honestly building 17 pounds of muscle and LOSING fat at the same time is extremely impressive. I’m not saying it’s impossible at all, props on achieving that. Did you use gear at all?

I’m sure it requires perfect dieting, supplementing and training… because if it was so easy to make such progress, professionnal body builders wouldn’t matter to bulk up and then lose fat… they’d just use your method all the time. For this reason, I still suggest the OP sticks to a more classic bulking approach.

Use this time to bulk up but do it cleanly. Sweet Potatoes, Vegetables, Brown Rice, Eggs, Fibrous Fruit, Lean Protein, Skim Milk, Yogurt,Natural Peanutbutter, Healthy Oils etc. You’ll still be able to have the occasional indulgence and eat pizza and other junk (once a week or so) but you really should take advantage of your naturally high T levels at this age.

With proper nutrition and a smart lifting program you’ll be able to pack on some mass and keep BF increases low so long as you keep your eating clean. Even if you add 15 lbs of lean mass and 5 lbs of BF over the next 6 months you’ll be 185, if you were 15% bf at 165, (~25 lbs of fat) you’ll be at 16% (30/185) after that bulk. Not bad, huh?

Plus your metabolism will have naturally increased to maintain your added muscle mass. It’s alot harder to gain mass as you get into your mid 20s. Use the T while you have it.

[quote]Kataklysm wrote:
I’m up 18 lbs and down 1% bf, which equates to gaining 17 lbs LM, 1 lb FM.

Honestly building 17 pounds of muscle and LOSING fat at the same time is extremely impressive. I’m not saying it’s impossible at all, props on achieving that. Did you use gear at all?

I’m sure it requires perfect dieting, supplementing and training… because if it was so easy to make such progress, professionnal body builders wouldn’t matter to bulk up and then lose fat… they’d just use your method all the time. For this reason, I still suggest the OP sticks to a more classic bulking approach.[/quote]

all natural, but a butt load of Biotest supplements, lol
and lots and lots of good food
and pushing it in the gym
8 hrs of sleep

I know what is on most of your minds. Take advantage of the naturally high T levels right now, gain lots and lots of mass, cut later. I respect your point of views, totally. Actually I would like to get down to around 8%, where you can really see deeply-carved abs. Only then I will be satisfied with my efforts, I guess. I’ve come to a conclusion after pondering over it for a while. My priority would be to get ripped, then start gaining the mass. I guess I’ll take probably another 10more weeks and see where I get to. I’m going all out for these 10 weeks. 10/52 weeks in a year, not too much to ask for, eh? Thanks for the input in any case guys. You provided great help.

[quote]traineee wrote:
theuofh wrote:
I’m 5’7" probably getting down to 15% bodyfat close to now. I’m about 160 lbs currently. I’m going to go down to about 150, give or take a few lbs and when I am sufficiently lean I will slowly start to bulk back up.

I say finish your cutting if you have some amount of muscle mass. I’m not huge, and am really starting to look scrawny, but I’m going to finish it. If you do it once now, it will take 10 weeks or so, then you can do a slow bulk hopefully remaining somewhat lean indefinitely. I just want to get it the f- over with, then move on to above maintenance calorie intake and slowly build backup.

I agree with you that you can look good and lift relatively heavy stuff at a lower bodyweight. Even with my diet intake, I’ve managed to put on a little mass and I haven’t lost any strength, but I’m just not progressing as fast as I would if I ate more.

I say just stick with it and get it over with. The diet is temporary and a slow bulk can be maintained pretty much indefinitely.

Sentiments alike, theuofh. Cutting will take me at most 12 to 16 weeks and I’m just a few months away from a new lean me. I believe in doing lean mass gaining, rather than bulking and become a fatty again. Being fat just turns me off. Thanks for your input. Really appreciate it when the advice comes from somebody is doing the same thing as I am.(Not that the others are BS, but it just feels more relevant.)[/quote]

I started lifting at the age of 24 after a four year experiment with vegetarianism. I was weak and emaciated and hence, I never thought about cutting. Keeping the weight off is easier when you’re 24 than when you’re 33 and I never really learned the discipline necessary to cut.

I say, cut now so that you get into the habit of a good diet. It’ll be very helpful once your metabolism slows and you need to watch what you eat more closely.

I’m not even talking about the high levels of T right now, I’m talking about how you don’t have enough muscle mass worth showing on a cut right now.
Unless you want to look like Bruce Lee, I don’t see the point.