T Nation

Should I Bulk or Cut? Feel Like I'm Skinny Fat


Hello. So I’ve been cutting for awhile now with some slip ups on and off, but I lost a quite a bit of weight, but I’m getting smaller, but my gut is still there and my weight on the scale is the same. Should I continue cutting or start a bulk? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Also my current weight is 164 lb and I’m 5’8


How long have you been training for? What training have you done thus far?


It hasn’t been consistent, but about a year. 2 or 3 lifting days and too much cardio. Alternating between hiit and a long steady state session almost every day.


Then, the good news is, you still have beginner gains to make. My advice is (and this worked for me) – don’t ‘bulk’ or ‘cut’.

  • Clean up your diet (if you don’t know what this means, read)
  • Maintain a slight deficit
  • Follow a good strength training programme, lifting 3-4 times per week
  • Keep on doing some occasional cardio if you wish (and can manage)

Because ‘bulking’ will make you fat. You clearly feel unattractive (you said that you feel ‘skinny fat’), and bulking will only exacerbate the issue. You train for yourself, so make yourself happy.
If you were to ‘cut’ you’d drop the fat, but you’d probably feel small in the process and end up feeling unhappy again. (this was the story of my life)

Why should you do the above? Merely cleaning up your diet and maintaining a slight deficit (and I mean 200-500 calories max) will set you up for steady fat loss – you’ll be a changed person 2 months from now. BUT, you should train with the intent of building muscle, as it is possible for your body to build muscle and drop fat at the same time when you’re just getting started (think of it as the initial adaptations to actual difficult exercise – take advantage of it because you can’t do both at the same time effectively once the honeymoon phase is over). If all goes well, you’ll be adding strength and muscle and uncovering it at the same time.

Don’t make the mistake of undereating and doing too much cardio (this is why I said no ‘cut’) – you’ll ruin your metabolism over time and feel skinny.

Lift, build strength/muscle, eat a clean diet with a slight deficit.

Congratulations on the weightloss thus far. The physique you want is within reach.
Good luck.


I always say get stronger in the VIP lifts - squat, deadlift, overhead press, bench, chinups, row, dip, curl. Pick 3 or 4 and see how strong you can get in 6 months.


To piggy back on the quality advice you have already received, follow an established strength training program like Starting Strength or Greyskull. These both give you the proper programming to make gains in the main lifts of squat, bench, overhead press, deadlifts, and power cleans. This will give you a solid base for the future. And because you are a novice, you will make “crazy gainz bro.”

Don’t try to figure it out yourself. Most people that do this end up wasting time, myself included. The books are readily available.


Thanks guys. This was very helpful