T Nation

I'm So Confused!


i'm a 16yo guy
171cm tall
i asked many ppl about if i should cut or bulk on other forums , many of them - if not most - said i should go for a bulk , others said i shouldn't worry too much about either getting bulk or / cut ... just eat and lift ....

but i changed my mind , after i saw that " if your BF% over 14% then you should cut first " .... i'm way too worried about the BF% getting increased ... and my BF% is over 14-15% i guess ... but it's not very high either ....

so ... my opinion is to cut first for a while then go for a clean bulk ...

but i have many questions and i feel so confused! reading alot ... searching alot ... self-contradictory info. opinions everywhere ...

[1] first , for the workout routine :
many ppl recommend routines like Rippetoe's for beginners , Westside .... etc the prob. here is that routines like Rippetoe's are short yes ... but very hard to go for - especially for me -.

I want a routine that i will enjoy ... i don't want to do something that i'm not enjoying ....

wut do you guys think about the (HST) : Hypertrophy Specific-Training


and this :


is it goin to work for a beginner ?

[2] About progression ...
is increasing the reps each week .. then no. of sets ... then finally weights fine ? ... as long as i'm shocking my muscles with something new everyweek to force them to grow.

[3] Cardio
if i'm looking for fat loss ... is it okay to do 3 times per week of cardio (20-30minutes) at a steady pace or shorter with High intensity in addition to Lifting weights 3 times per week aslo ?

[4] Protein Powder ....
is it okay to have a protein shake right before bedtime ? (1 scoop in a cup of water or Milk).

[5] finally , since i go to skool and don't have much time to do cardio on my off days ... i will try to do cardio right after weights but that way the session is goin to pass 60minutes! (let's say it would take around 70minutes)...

should i take the protein shake for healing right after weights and then do the cardio ... or finish weight lifting + cardio then go for a protein shake

i'm really sorry for all that writing ... but as you guys see just 5 questions! lol ....

i feel that im relieved now since i brought out everything confusing me ....

thanks in advance ... plz don't ignore this post!


Bump. I would like to know answers to some of his Q's too :). I wont answer the others b/c I gotta get to bed :S.
I'l repost in the morning :D. LOLsoz


Why don't you enjoy Rippetoe or IronCow's version of Bill Starr's 5x5? They're both solid programs that make you work. They get you to your goals...

Follow what the program says in regard to progression. Whatever program you're following since you're a beginner. But you're always trying to scrounge out that extra rep/little bit of weight every single time. Though obviously if a program says start conservative, start conservative.

A little cardio never hurt anyone. It's not essential for a person who wants to get bigger perhaps but a little like 30mins 3x a week won't hurt I don't think.

Yeah sure, go for it: especially if it's casein or another protein which takes a while to digest.

Since I don't think cardio is THAT important, I'd just do my weights and go home.


thanks ... i just want to do cardio for fatloss since i guess im a skinny-fat.

and for rippetoe's i read that the majority had excellent quick strength gains but not muscle / mass gains.


1) I looked at the first routine. Looked fine so I skiped the second one. I dont know why you think that one is fun and the others arnt but do whatever makes you happy.

2)Yep this is fine. There was an article on T-Nation a few weeks/months back that had to do with just this. It said that instead of adding weight each time another good way to change it up is to add a rep or 2 or a new set. I don't know the name but you can probubly search for the article on here might take some looking.

3)Yea do cardio. I wouldnt want to get too skinny if I were you. I think alot of ppl go the wrong way about this in the beginning, they just want to loose that fat and they end up looking like skin and bones. Add a good diet and you should be fine. Personally I'd rather be kinda hefty then a skinny guy.

4)Yea its ok, like the other guy said Casein is good. I usually take that before bed because it is a slow absorbing protein and is good for while your sleeping. If you would rather you could try cottage cheese, again slow absorbing good for night time snack.

5)Ok. Don't worry about time limits. Some articles and people say you can't go to the gym for more then 60min and if you do its a crime or something. Its not that big of a deal, 70min - 90min what ever. If you want bring some Glutamine or buy one of those Vital BCAA things to drink after the cardio (Or Spike! haha).

I'm trying to remember when I did cardio...its been a while. I remember I did mine first then drank some of my Beverly International Glut + BCAAs and started to lift, then had my shake. I dont know if this is the right way to do it but I was told by some guy (some guy not being a reliable source) that it was good.

Hope it helps. Merry Xmas


thanks alot for the reply ... i really appreciate it ...

but u said " Add a good diet and you should be fine " ... i know diet is the main part of bodybuilding ... but u think it's okay to consume calories at maintenance level + cardio + lifting without any clorice deficit works ?

i mean if i consume about 2000 calories - which is nearly wut i want to maintain my weight - with lifting and cardio ... is there a chance to drop some pounds of fat ?

ah , and the last question ... - sorry -
can i take a protein drink right after weights to replenish my muscle tissues / cells and start cardio right away or i have to wait ?

i know i asked alot .. - but you all know how beginners are usually confused and baffled - lol

thanks again ... Merry X-mas!


Like ya said your a beginner so yes you will lose fat without a caloric deficit. Like I said in the first post I'm not much of a cardio guy and no expert but I saw another guy asking about when to take the shake and the awnser was after the weights and the cardio, not between the two. This won't allow you to grow as fast if you were just lifting but thats with all cardio really.


got it! ... thanks a ton ... i feel a bit relieved now lol.


Only problem with these goals is that you're trying to lose bodyfat and gain muscle at the same time. generally-muscle growth occurs with a calorie surplus, while fat loss occurs with a calorie deficit. Maintaining a careful balance will be tough. If you can do it, power to you, but i personally would pick one of the two to work on.


yes it's hard i know ... but i'm a beginner ... alot of ppl say it's nearly-impossible to achieve it - even scientficially - but beginners ususally experience both at the same time since their bodies are not accostumed to the stress being placed on their muscles ... and the changes that take place in the diet ... etc ...

anyways , i prefer to lose fat first ... thin but ripped or a little ripped will be good for me as a start ~_^!


One problem is that you are confusing advice that is given for grown men with advice that would be appropriate for a teenager.

You are 16 not 30, you are still in the midst of puberty and still growing at a rapid rate. If you are not clinically obese then there is no reason to cut. Just eat clean and lift big with good form.

How did you measure your body fat?
Please tell me that it was not from one of those stupid electronic scales.(they are neither accurate or precise)

A properly trained individual can get a relatively decent estimate from calipers (if they know what they are doing) but this is still just an estimate. If the 14% figure is accurate, this is nothing to be alarmed about for a 16 year old. It's actually common for young males to build up a bit of fat prior to a significant growth spurt.

The point of this rant is that you shouldn't screw up you health and future growth to try to satisfy a silly aesthetic.

Bottom line: if you are fat, clean up your diet and lift big. If you are not fat, clean up your diet, lift big and eat big.


I absolutely agree. I usually say this in the beginning before I give advice to teens but I guess I forgot this time. You will gain more muscle now then you ever will at any other point of your life so like this man said: Lift Big, Eat Big.


It would be much more beneficial for you do do a strength routine than "HST."

Something like Rippetoe's 5x5, Westside for skinny bastards, or 20-rep squats.

Your main concern is adding mass and building strength right now at 16 years old. If you tried to cut right now you would just end up scrawny and "skinny fat" since you have no real muscle to show.

Like the above poster said: Lift big, eat big.


hmmmm ... yes you are all rite lol.
i knew that cutting would be somekind of a risk ...

btw , MC sp3 ... i haven't measure my BF% yet ... it's just an estimation ... and here's a picture of my body :

i dont feel there's much fat on my tummy , it's just i feel it's more concentrated on the inner thighs ...

many ppl told me just eat clean and lift big and you will be fine.

i totally agree ... but i don't want to gain any FAT! that's the problem i want to see myself ripped even for once lol!

  • since many many ppl recommend doing that reppitoe's program , i will try to go for it ... or something similar

thanks everyone for the advice ... i really appreciate all the above replies ... merry X-mas everyone ...


You will appear 1000 times better in three years if you eat a shit ton and lift heavy ass weights than if you cut.

You appear smooth not because of a high bodyfat, but because of a lack of muscle mass.

If you focus right now on lifting weights 3x a week, with some cardio after each session like you said, along with a diet high in protein, vegetables and healthy carbs, you will put on muscle and lose some fat.

You also have to realize that there is no shortcut to a ripped and muscular physique. Give this process a few years.

Ideally, you would do Rippetoes. But any program that focusses on lifting heavy weights with compound movements 3-4 times a week will be great.

Please read and really try to absorb what I have written here. If you try and cut you will just be spinning your wheels and you may not look much different from now in 6 months.


thank you ... i'm totally convinced ..

"You also have to realize that there is no shortcut to a ripped and muscular physique. Give this process a few years"
what was kinda bothering me is that i saw many many ppl - on the internet - getting ripped in 3-4 months but these ppl were obese and fat - not even skinny fat - so they already have bigger bodies so cutting for them wasn't bad ... and i mean ppl like those who are following plans like BodyForLife ... Burn Fat, Feed the Muscle of Tom Venuto ... etc

that was the starting point for me to think about cutting ...

i will focus on lifting + eating healthy ... i believe i would see results in a month , 2 , or 3 even if not significant and more will come over the time ...

thanks again


from your pics, i would have to agree with Der Candy; you aren't fat, you just need muscle. "eat like an animal, lift like an animal, sleep like a baby." follow that basic premise, give yourself a year or two, and you'll see results. and make sure your diet's clean, not JUST big. cutting fat really isn't all that hard; it's gaining muscle that's the hard part.


Yea after looking at that picture the last thing you should do is cut, your already skin and bones.


okay ... is it enough to get 1g Protein / pound of body weight ?

it's gonna be hard to hit the 1.5g ... i will take a couple of scoops of Whey to make up for this ... but is 1g enough to build muscles ?

and for breakfast i usually have 2 egg whites + 2 egg wholes + Oatmeal + 1 cup skim milk ...

i'm kinda afraid of eating whole eggs sometimes but i can't buy eggs and throw yolks all the time - lol.

one last thing , eating parts of chicken other than the breast ... is it okay ? - but skinless of course -

becuz it's da same ... i didn't find any chicken breasts (canned) in the stores nearby so i have to buy a whole chicken and i can't have the breast only and throw the rest ...


eat the whole chicken and eat whole eggs. It is a myth that eggs are bad for you.