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Should I Keep Bulking or Start Cutting?

Hi all

Bit unsure whether to keep on bulking or to start cutting. It doesn’t look like I’ve got much muscle on my frame, but I’m starting to get fat around my belly. Here are some photos.

A bit of backstory - I’ve been training for around 1 year 8 months. I started with Phraks Greyskull LP and ran that for 14 months, then switched to Grouchyjarhead’s Beginner Powerbuilding Routine for 5 months. Which is on bodybuilding com. My numbers were still pretty low so was advised to switch to 531. I picked boring but big and have been running it for about 4 weeks, but now I’m thinking I shouldn’t carry on if I’m too fat.

I eat around 3500 calories a day, and I have gone from 147lbs starting weight to 194lbs now.

What do you think I should do next? Carry on bulking or cut down a bit? I’ve read that you shouldn’t really go above 20% body fat and it looks like I am.

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Congrats on using the last 20 months to improve yourself.

Keep going with the 5/3/1 bbb.

How many steps are you getting per day?

Do you do any cardio or conditioning?

How active does your work keep you?

How old are you?

How tall are you?

Not making any suggestions on your calories until I know the answer to those questions.

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Around 5k a day. I have a desk job and I’m also lazy.

No, but I know I should be doing something because Wendler recommends it with 531. Just keep putting it off because I feel like I’ve got no free time.

Desk job so not active at all.


5 feet 11 inches

If I were you I would: 1) up my steps to 10k per day. 2) add in 30 minutes of conditioning or cardio three times per week. 3) keep calories where they are. I’d rather up my activity and get to eat more than be hungry. 4) weigh in every morning.

After two weeks of increased steps and added conditioning compare your weight to the 194 you are now. Make adjustments as needed.

What are your macros right now?

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good suggestion ! but one thing at the time. Weight training 3-4 times a week, a good diet and a 45 minutes walk everyday would be a good start.

Stop being lazy and move your ass


It’s 50% carbs, 25% fat and 25% protein normally, according to MyFitnessPal. How a lot of the time I end up getting over 200g protein.

Thanks for your other suggestions. I’m on a walk right now. Would you continue doing 531 BBB even if I’ll probably start losing a bit of weight?

I need these words framed above my tv.

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What’s your best squat, bench, and deadlift?

Squat is 137.5kg
Deadlift is 155kg with hook grip
Bench is 82.5kg

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I’d stick with 5/3/1 until Squat 184, Deadlift 227, Bench 103.

Ok thanks.

Thinking of doing 1 more cycle of BBB, then moving onto 531 with PR sets, jokers and First Set Last for 2 cycles, which is recommended in 531 Forever.

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IMO, I would cut while lifting. I also think you probably had too big of a surplus in your gaining phase. Next time bulk a bit slower, so more of your gains are muscle.

Yeah I think you’re right. If I stayed at the same calories but added 10k steps a day and conditioning, would this work to lose fat?

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There is no way for anyone to know that. Not enough data.

Weigh-in every morning after going to the bathroom for the next two weeks. If you are not trending down we will cut 200 calories from your daily intake.

I bet we won’t need to as long as you get 10k steps daily and 3, 30-minute conditioning sessions per week.

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Read up in constrained TEE, you can not keep adding cardio to lose fat. Lowering caloric intake is key.

Constrained TEE (Total Energy Expenditure)—Herman Pontzer hypothesizes that the body adapts to increases in daily physical activity expenditure by reducing energy expenditure on other tasks (e. g., immune response, reproduction, somatic repair/maintenance), maintaining TEE homeostatically within some narrow range.

In theory, the body COULD also reduce energy expenditure on immune response, reproduction, somatic repair/maintenance in response to decreases in calorie intake—thereby ALSO constraining TEE.

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What are you goals?

If they are aesthetic, I do not see the reason to stick to exercises until you hit as certain weight especially those that are not best for hypertrophy.

I do not do any of the “big 3”

good question.

have you ever?

Deadlifts never but, I do program RDL’s (BB and DB).

I would Bench very rarely. They never felt right on my shoulder and I did not feel the muscle work. I stick to machines and dumbbells. I do like incline bench on the smith machine.

Same with squats. I do not feel safe going to failure. Also, in my experience the heavier and closer to failure one gets especially in higher ranges it become less a leg/quad exercise and more of a “get the weight up” exercise. I do like smith machine squats as they allow you to stay more upright and get deeper in the hole with no lower back fatigue.

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I’d say I wanna increase my numbers (because they’re pretty low) while also building a bit of muscle. I know that’s a pretty generic answer. That’s why I thought it would be beneficial to run cycles of BBB for size and then the PR sets, jokers and first set last for strength.

In that case I agree with @ejones1. While I do not personally like 531 it will get you the results you are looking for. It is easy to program and pretty straightforward.

Run 531, get 10k steps a day, and if you want 1-2 days of conditioning. Your nutrition will be key.

If you want to lose some fat at 5’11, 194 lbs I would cut calories to around 2800 and see where you are at after 2 weeks.

Minimum of 1 gram of protein per pound and play around with that carbs and fat.


Ok will do. Thanks everyone for the help.

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