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.
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