T Nation

Seeking Advice on Bulking/Cutting Diets


hey guys, i'm a bit of a newb, 19 years old, 5'7 and 152lbs and just started lifting seriously this year. I was just looking for some advice on whether i should be eating to build mass or cut. i've been leaning towards cutting (just because it's the summer time). I train 4 times a week (3 full body heavy lifting and 1 metabolic training session).

i don't really have any precise methods of calculating BF%, but an online one gave me about 12%. i am looking to reduce some body fat around my midsection, because if i do the abs would probably show. some feedback on what kind of nutrition i should be getting would be greatly appreciated!

let me know what you guys think (and try not to be too harsh)


also, i’m not fat but not scrawny either. i have decent definition and basically am not sure whether i should try to gain more lean muscle or try to lose some body fat (not looking to get too huge)


Top right, look for “Google Site Search”.

Apart from that, you are 19. Eats lots, lift heavy.


most people on this site will advise you to take advantage of your young age and ability to recover from workouts quickly and train to gain as much muscle as possible. From how you describe yourself, it doesn’t sound like you need to cut at the moment. With regard to your nutrition, we’re going to need more details. What’s your diet plan like now? What’s your budget like? Then we can go from there.


I wouldn’t worry about bodyfat too much right now and just try to gain weight and most of all: build a solid strength base on the major lifts.

Look, at 152 / 5’7 there is just no need to cut, if you are a bodybuilder. I’ve you just want to show a good sixpack at the beach, go for it and diet down to 140. But being ripped with no muscles is not exactly what most guys here try to achieve.

19 is a great age at which most guy tolerate a pretty high amount of work and can bulk relatively clean due to the favorable hormonal environment.

I would never advise you to down as much junk as you can and to gain weight as fast as possible and at any price. But if you follow, e.g., John Berardis “massive eating” plan (you’ll find the articles on his homepage and here on T-Nation as well), and focus on the basic lifts, that investment will heavily pay of in the future.



— No not kidding!

set your goals:
find a program

starting strength

Stick with it for at least 6 months and revisit your goals.
Nutrition and sleep hygiene are as important as the lifting.


thanks for all the advice guys. to nikov, i don’t really have a solid nutritional plan right now, which is why i’m looking for some advice. right now i eat around what i calculated to be my maintenance (about 2400kcal), i do try to eat healthy (healthy carbs like grains, fruit and veggies, lean meats and fish) and i try to eat 5-6 times a day. i do enjoy eating so i “cheat” one day of the week.

the only supplement i take is whey isolate post workout and sometimes on off days when i want some extra protein in. i did read up on the massive eating articles, i’d definitely be willing to give that a shot during the school year, but for the summer time is there some sort of nutrition plan that can help me maximize growth while still losing some belly fat? (simply for aesthetic purposes)


i just read some articles about the anabolic diet. would any of you guys have experience with it? i was considering trying it out


Stick to eating good foods. And lots of it.

Once you have a few years and you get your diet down pat, THEN look at something else.

Stop stressing about “belly fat”. You only weight 152.

Seriously. You are starting. Stick to basics, don’t sweat the small stuff. Eat lots. Work out. Use proper form. Enjoy the ride.


For nutrition like you said you are eating good food. Basically stick to eggs, egg whites, lean meats, oatmeal, veggies, brown rice, and potatoes. Just get used to eating pretty much the same food all the time except on your cheat day.


ok thanks for all the input. i know this might be straying off topic, but to keep things all in one thread would anyone mind giving their 2 cents on my current training plan? looks something like this:

Monday: Workout A
Flat dumbbell press ? (3,4,5) x 5
1a. Bent over rows ? (3,4,5) x 6
1b. Incline DB press ? (3,4,5) x 8
2a. Push press ? (3,4,5) x 8
2b. Back squat ? (3,4,5)

Wednesday: Workout B
Barbell bench press ? (3,4,5) x 5
1a. Deadlifts ? (2,3,4) x 6
1b. Incline dumbbell press ? (2,3,4) x 8
Pull ups ? 5 x 5 (rest: 50,40,30)
Front squat ? (2,3,4) x 8

Friday: Workout A

I do pretty much the exact workout from http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/lose_fat_stay_strong

basically i do ABA one week then BAB the next, and i start with the lowest # sets and every workout i increase the number of sets. once i get to the highest # of sets in the bracket i up weight a little. please let me know what i should gain/change to help my gains.


Although I do like that program, you should really focus on gaining some size, as mentioned before if you put on some good lean mass that little extra flab will seem like much less.
Null was dead on with 5/3/1 or 5x5 Starting Strength, they are both great programs that I would suggest you pick up. If you are looking to decrease your midsection body fat check out the Waterbury livespill from a few days ago, then find some open turf and sprint. Being fairly new to lifting I would strongly advise 5-3-1, the consistent simple overload combined with conditioning a few days per week will do wonders as well as provide a program you can stick with for a long period of time and make gains.
Another good source for nutrition help besides T-Nation is Precision Nutrition, check out the blog and get some ideas. If you are looking to lose fat its 85% your diet.