T Nation

IS it bad not to CUT?

hey I have a question… I’ve been working out for awhile, but I’ve never cut, I’m too afraid to loose muscle… is there any benefit of cutting other then the look?.. should I do on an off seasons, or just stick with one long off season till i get what muscle I want, then cut…?

Actually I have a friend that’s been lifting for ten years or so that has never cut either…he’s solely focused on mass and strength. The results: a 500+ bench and squats/deads in the 700+ range @ bw of 250-260 (he’s maybe 5’10" or 5’11" at best. He’s not overly fat either for never cutting…I’d say maybe 12-14 percent or so. The funny thing is his diet isn’t all that great either. It bears an uncanny resemblance to the Pound o’Week plan…eat lots of whatever in sight.

Garrett: Getting “cut”, “sliced” or “ripped” simply means to decrease total bodyfat. Therefore, the answer to your question depends on two things:


1)How Over-Fat you are, and


2)Your goals.


To clearly illustrate the extremes, the answer would be much different if you were a Sumo Wrestler as opposed to a Professional Model. Everything else (in terms of degrees of fat percentages) would fall in between.


By the way…decreasing bodyfat has tremendous health benefits above and beyond the esthetic. So…decreasing our bodyfat is helpful for more than just looks. Hope this helps.


(As a side note: The NFL is beginning to seriously look at its “300 pound plus” “goal” as a measure of a good offensive lineman. It’s become apparrent that these guys are often VERY over-fat, and are risking their lives by coming into training camp over-fat, out of shape, and ill-prepared for the rigors of training. Just an aside).

Sounds to me like you really do want to have a lower body fat percentage (for whatever reason). There are many advantages to going through a cutting cycle. First, there’s the hormonal disadvantages of fairly high body fat percentages. Then there’s the setpoint theory which gets harder to overcome the longer you stay at a high percentage. Also, the more fat you have to lose, the more muscle you will lose while trying to lean out. Small cutting cycles sprinkled through the training year are the way to go – keeps the body fat in a small range while losing little muscle.

I got shredded for the first time in my life in the late summer of '00, down to 6% hydrostatic. At 6’1, I weighed 174. Yeah, I dug the veins and the hardness and the abs big time – but let me tell you, it’s an adjustment to weigh 174 when you’re used to hanging around 200 pounds. So Garratt, another benefit of getting truly cut is, it re-calibrates your reality meter. Guys I used to consider huge only look doughy and unrefined to me now. Or, as Ron Harris said recently, “There are plenty of 250 pound guys who look horrible, and an equal amount of 190 pounders that look like Greek gods.” Lastly, getting cut is an intensely educational experience. I probably learned more about my responses to food and training in that cutting season than in any previous time.