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One Long Bulk vs. Shorter Bulk/Cut Cycles?

I am currently 5’7, 165. Not sure what my bodyfat is but I can still see 4 abs pretty clearly. About 6-7 months ago I was around 138 lbs w/ sub 10% bodyfat. I figure I need to get up to around 190-200 before I can cut again, since I want to avoid looking skinny and small which is what happened last time I tried cutting too soon (hence why I was 138 lbs).

My bodyfat is clearly rising but I think it’s rising at a reasonable level compared to the amount of muscle I am putting on. Do you think it is a better idea to go for 1-2 more years or however long it takes and just get up to 200 and then cut? Or would my bodyfat be much too high if I went straight to 200 w/o a cut, and a better idea would be to cut at 175 and then bulk again?

My goal is pretty simply to have low bodyfat w/o looking small/skinny. The bulking is really a means to an end since I’m much more concerned w/ low bodyfat, but I realize I won’t look right w/ low bodyfat until I add a decent amount of mass first.

Thanks

How about just eating better and lifting harder so your bodyfat doesn’t climb to an unreasonable level. And if your diet is impeccable and you are lifting as hard as possible and still gain a fair amount of fat with the muscle then just live with it until you can’t stand it anymore. Then back off a bit and reasses your goals.

I think you should throw up a pic. I have a feeling you are off about your current and past bodyfat %. Do you have a pic of 5’7 140 10%? You will get much better recommendations if people can see how your body composition changed from 140 to 165.

If you were already naturally skinny. It’s incredibly easy to shed off weight when needed. Getting yourself up to 190-200 relatively lean will take a long while (of course depending on genetics). How about bulking for the next couple years and actually never doing a “cut” per say. Only when BF gets a bit to high at certain times, just clean up the diet and maintain a certain weight.

Why take two steps backwards? When you can just maintain for a bit get your body adjusted to the new weight gain. Then move forward.

[quote]Carlitosway wrote:
If you were already naturally skinny. It’s incredibly easy to shed off weight when needed. Getting yourself up to 190-200 relatively lean will take a long while (of course depending on genetics). How about bulking for the next couple years and actually never doing a “cut” per say. Only when BF gets a bit to high at certain times, just clean up the diet and maintain a certain weight.

Why take two steps backwards? When you can just maintain for a bit get your body adjusted to the new weight gain. Then move forward. [/quote]

I’m not naturally skinny, i’m naturally fat. I only got to that low bodyfat at 140 because I was cutting for months and months and doings tons of HIIT. Unless I’m doing a crapload of HIIT and eating a calorie deficit I can’t get my bodyfat low enough to my liking from what I figured out, hence why I want to eventually do another cut.

Sounds like you need help with nutrition. What’s your diet like? You sit on your ass all day at work?

[quote]Carlitosway wrote:
Sounds like you need help with nutrition. What’s your diet like? You sit on your ass all day at work? [/quote]

I eat a lot of lean red meat, skinless boneless chicken, natural peanut butter, brown rice, wheat bread, reduced fat cheese, protein shakes (1 a day), that’s pretty much what I eat.

Yea I am a fulltime student and I have a part time desk job so at work/school I am just sitting around being sedentary, but I weight train 3x a week and do cardio 3x a week

[quote]Carlitosway wrote:
If you were already naturally skinny. It’s incredibly easy to shed off weight when needed. Getting yourself up to 190-200 relatively lean will take a long while (of course depending on genetics). How about bulking for the next couple years and actually never doing a “cut” per say. Only when BF gets a bit to high at certain times, just clean up the diet and maintain a certain weight.

Why take two steps backwards? When you can just maintain for a bit get your body adjusted to the new weight gain. Then move forward. [/quote]

I’ve never heard of this before? So, essentially, if I clean up my diet (and I assume cut some calories) but keep lifting as if I were bulking I will lose bodyfat without any gains. Then when I get down to a low enough bf, I up my diet and start making gains again?

listen to these guys i didnt keep my diet in check and im wasting time now shedding it sux majorly

Follow the advices posted, and maybe cycle carbs when your bf is a little too high.

Carb cycling is a good option. Also as previous posters have said eat clean, train hard and the gains should come without too much bodyfat. Keep protein high and eat good fats. If bodyfat is rising too quick adjust carbs and try and eat most carbs in morning and around training time.

Oh I forgot to mention that I would advise you bulk first, but if you put fat on easy then adjust carbs as I mentioned before. Then you can cut bodyfat down when you are at a decent size, but bodyfat should not rise too much when bulking.

[quote]shoobey wrote:
I am currently 5’7, 165. Not sure what my bodyfat is but I can still see 4 abs pretty clearly. About 6-7 months ago I was around 138 lbs w/ sub 10% bodyfat. I figure I need to get up to around 190-200 before I can cut again, since I want to avoid looking skinny and small which is what happened last time I tried cutting too soon (hence why I was 138 lbs).

My bodyfat is clearly rising but I think it’s rising at a reasonable level compared to the amount of muscle I am putting on. Do you think it is a better idea to go for 1-2 more years or however long it takes and just get up to 200 and then cut? Or would my bodyfat be much too high if I went straight to 200 w/o a cut, and a better idea would be to cut at 175 and then bulk again?

My goal is pretty simply to have low bodyfat w/o looking small/skinny. The bulking is really a means to an end since I’m much more concerned w/ low bodyfat, but I realize I won’t look right w/ low bodyfat until I add a decent amount of mass first.

Thanks[/quote]

I would clearly keep gaining muscle if you feel fat gain is acceptable. I believe that if you keep eating clean then fat gain will be minimal. If it gets borderline add 2 cardio sessions a week. If you feel that it’s gotten out of hand (which shouldn’t be the case for a while if you’re eating clean), then cut for about 1 month and go back to gaining.

I think in general the Shelby Starnes method is pretty good for those who don’t have a high $$ coach to gauge exact bf levels—the abdominal outline. If you can see it clearly, keep gaining, if not, do a mini-cut. Be sure not to confuse a few days of serious bloating or water retention with fat gain. Water levels tend to fluctuate and can make a marked difference in how your bodyfat level appears.

Shelby will implement a 2-4 week mini cut (a strict diet, but without drastic cardio increases) every 3-4 months to keep things in check. The goal isn’t to get ripped at all, just lose a bit of fat and gain some insulin sensitivity back. 2 weeks every 3 months isn’t bad. But since you can still see 4 of your abs pretty clearly, I don’t think you need this. Something to keep in mind later though.

You have the right plan. 200 at 5’7 isn’t too bad, and is a good goal. A lean 200 is better though :slight_smile:

[quote]Bunyip wrote:
Carlitosway wrote:
If you were already naturally skinny. It’s incredibly easy to shed off weight when needed. Getting yourself up to 190-200 relatively lean will take a long while (of course depending on genetics). How about bulking for the next couple years and actually never doing a “cut” per say. Only when BF gets a bit to high at certain times, just clean up the diet and maintain a certain weight.

Why take two steps backwards? When you can just maintain for a bit get your body adjusted to the new weight gain. Then move forward.

I’ve never heard of this before? So, essentially, if I clean up my diet (and I assume cut some calories) but keep lifting as if I were bulking I will lose bodyfat without any gains. Then when I get down to a low enough bf, I up my diet and start making gains again?[/quote]

You could do it that way, but the process is much slower than simply cutting a bit of fat off in my opinion, depending on how much fat you want to lose. It can work, I just feel like 4 weeks is a sufficiently short time to wage war on fat that the majority of your gains will stay put. IF you do it properly and don’t starve yourself.

Under a certain critical amount of fat, Carlitosway (haha!) of doing things is preferred. Over a certain amount of fat, just cut it off and be done with dieting for a while then. It’s hard to say exactly over the interwebz. Or maybe it’s just the time of day.