T Nation

Start Cutting or Go Progressive


I know this is long! If you dont care about my whole bodybuilding experience from the past year, then just skip to the last 2 paragraphs..

No, this has nothing to do with car insurance... To give a little bit of background for the past year I set off on a journey to Beast-like qualities ( i failed miserablely btw, lol) and I started this quest at a disturbing 185 lbs. Being 6'3", its nothing to brag about.

So I bulked and bulked and bulked all winter, and I got up to 205 lbs! (still under 14% BF) Yay! I went on the velocity diet, which IMO was the worst idea ever. Maybe the diet isnt fundamentally wrong, maybe I just made stupid newb mistakes, but basically I got realllly lean, but my strength decreased.. alot.

So then there I was, almost at square one, perhaps... square 3. And what do I do? Bulk again of course! Which leads me to my actual question/concern.

I lost gym membership due to being poor, right in the middle of bulking, so I've doing a slower (more of a not-caring- what- I- eat) bulk for about 3 months now. Surprise surprise, I'm a weakling now that I started back in the gym. (2nd session yesterday) Worst part is, I'm also 192 lbs, which means alot of fat increase.

So after reading "The Truth About Bulking" by CT, he recommended that if anyone is over 10% BF (ME!) they should cut down to 10% before starting on an "increased caloric diet" (not really BULKING perse).

Is this a good idea for me? I mean.. I have the worst case of skinny-fat guy syndrome anyone has ever seen. No muscle, big beer gut (damn you college hotties) and a big loss of strength. I can barely bench 140 lbs for more than 4 reps... its sad, really.

So should I deal with being a fatty and worry about that later, or should I cut cut cut away and risk twig-tacular results?


Read some more articles from John Berardi, Lonny Lowery, Charles Poliquin, and...well the rest of the authors on here. Clean up your diet as per their recommendations, and lift heavy stuff. Give it a few months and see where you are, then get back to us.


Dude, if you can only bench 140 pounds you have no business "cutting". What, you want your bench to be 90 pounds? You need to build muscle and there is a virtual plethora of info here to guide you there. You have been doing something wrong up to this point if you were bulking and have those kind of numbers. Read, learn, apply, and re-evaluate as needed, but get the idea of cutting out of your head.



CT's article has proven to be about as misunderstood as one could possibly be. I also notice he hasn't answered even one of these posts by these extremely thin dudes who are following that crap and dieting down because they aren't 10% body fat.

The only thing that article did...was insure that I won't have anyone bigger or stronger than me in the gym for a very very long time.

Good job, CT.

And to the guys jumping on the Velocity diet when you bench less than 200lbs, get a freaking clue. Let's not be stupid, shall we?


A few months? This kid is extremely weak. He needs to give this a few YEARS of working for only strength and size.


I suggest that you buy, read and follow JB's book Scrawny to Brawny

You sound like the perfect candidate.


Read the articles at this link.


I didnt realize everyone would take what I was saying so literally. I can bench about 165-170 as my 1RM. I have read almost every single article on T-Nation, and esp the nutrition ones.

I'm not completely retarded, I just havent been to the gym in a while and have ate a lot of crap recently. Up until 3 months ago, my routine, (give or take some stuff to mix it up) was :


Squat 10 x 3
Wide grip bench 6 x 4
Dumbell presses 6 x 4
Bar Curl 6 x 4
Wide grip pullup 5 x 5


insert random legs 10 x 3
Incline bench 6 x 4
Hammer curls 6 x 4
Weighted dips 6 x 4
Seated Cable Rows 6 x 4
Military Press 6 x 4


insert random legs 10 x 3
Decline Bench or Cable flys 6 x 4
Weighted Chin ups 5 x 5
Tricep Pull down 6 x 4
Bent over Rows 6 x 4
Seated military presses 6 x 4

Abs and lower back every day

and my diet was almost entirely nuts, chicken, bison, lean red meat, vegs, sweet potatoes, and random fruit, and alot of all of it. And Grow!, Surge, and HOT-ROX.

Like I said, I'm not completely retarded, and Im not trying to be defensive or come off as an asshole, but I'm not worried about my routine or my nutrition at the moment.

I'm just wondering if I should cut back to 10% BF or continue lifting heavy, even tho I cant lift as much as I used to...


I believe your questions have already been answered.

I'll reiterate- it is pointless for you to cut to 10% when you have no muscle to speak of. Do you actually think you'll even get to 10% if you are already skinny-fat? All you'll do is lose weight (muscle and fat), but it's likely your BF% will either remain constant or actually increase as you continue to lose muscle. It's very unlikely you will maintain any of the lean mass you have left.

You should be solely concerned with your routine and nutrition right now and not at all concerned with cutting. A statement like:

Makes you sound like an arrogant ass. If your nutrition and routine were so great and not worthy of concern- you wouldn't be skinny-fat.

Get your ass back in the gym and worry about cutting when you actually have something under your flab.


haha thanks...

When I said that I wasnt concerned with my routine and nutrition, I just meant I didnt need advice for that ATM, considering I know they are both crap right now.

I guess I'll start up again with some heavy lifting and eating, and hope my flub fades away...

Another question... if you dont think I'm too much of an ass :stuck_out_tongue:

I actually forgot a major part of why I posted in the first place... Is it better for me to bulk and cut throughout the year, or should I stick to a diet and routine that might take a bit longer to see results, but is more easily managable...

Thanks again


Here's where were running into problems nowadays. The way I learned it "results" or progress were terms that were used primarily, VERY primarily, to refer to muscular gains. Getting cut was a finishing process employed after seeing large "results".

You and a whole new generation of guys are defining these terms to mean steps in the direction of a newspaper underwear model look. There's nothing wrong with that if that's what you want, but that isn't bodybuilding. Hence the head butting seen in these forums between bodybuilders/strength athletes and aspiring underwear models.

This gets worse when guys who have no idea of what I just said show up here with the second definition of "results" and start pouring through articles designed for guys with the first.

It gets yet worse still when even the authors, who are very smart guys, also fail to recognize the existence of these two differing definitions of "results" when writing some of their articles.

Anyway, having failed utterly to address your question there's my observation for the day.


Define your idea of bulking for us.

Something tells me you have the wrong idea.

Hint: It does not mean getting fat and weak.


Great post, but I doubt the people who need to understand it the most will even get it at all.

In terms of bodybuilding, most newbies shouldn't be worried about truly "cutting" until they have built enough size to justify it...which usually takes YEARS, not weeks. Some guy who can't even bench press 200lbs should not be dropping weight to "cut". What the fuck are you "cutting"? You haven't BUILT anything yet.

In terms of gaining much more size and strength, "bulking up" just refers to working on ONLY those goals and accepting that SOME amount of that will be body fat because the goal is to GAIN while giving your body everything it needs to make the most progress over time. That is all it means.

It does not relate to some guy who only wants to look like an extra on Dawson's Creek or who thinks that 15" arms equal "built".


? Bulking is using nutrition to feed your muscles to gain extra nutrients/protein and hopefully not too much fat. And before this little rut that I'm in now, I did an average job of it, not great tho, obviously.

I understand what most of you guys are saying, but like some said, there are different goals. No, I dont want to look like Ronnie Coleman. No, I dont want to Ashton Kutcher either.

As far as "cutting" goes... maybe I should be a bit more specific in my goals. I dont want to starve myself or be on such a calorie insuffient diet that I lose the little muscle i have now. Which is where the whole "proggressive" idea came into play.

Is it better for me to go on a high calorie diet, and then a lower calorie diet, or is it better to maintain about 3,000 calories throughout the year?


How about this.

You need a basic starting point, and a clearly defined goal.

Start lifting regularly, and eating a decent diet, somewhere in the ballpark of what you need now. Use a calorie calculation formula.

Get the basics down solid, track how you respond to them, and in a few months, make some changes based on your findings.

Once you have the basics in place, you can start manipulating caloric intake, p/c/f ratios, and all of that other stuff.

At this point bulking, cutting, and all other sorts of manipulations are just mental masturbation.


Thats strange you said 15" arms, cuz mine are 16! lol.

I have no need to be massive.
Perhaps an underwear model IS a good example... lol I've always strived to have a body like:

or god forbid!:

Although that picture has been done to death before... and everyone agrees hes too skinny.. I think you get my drift. It might seem like an easy goal to some of you meso's, but not for me :slight_smile:

But anyways, most of my questions have been answered, and then some, and I appreciate your figurative slap in the face and kick in the ass to help me get back into gear. Thanks, again.


Holy shit, it's been so long since I've seen that picture of Pitt...he's even tinier than I thought he'd look...wow. Why would anyone want to look like that..he's skinny.

Anyways, Bale looks pretty good in Batman Begins, not a bad physique to go for at your level.


Is this what represents what has taken over this site? This is a BODYBUILDING forum. I truly think some of you have gotten lost.


Professor X wrote:
Great Post...
...In terms of gaining much more size and strength, "bulking up" just refers to working on ONLY those goals and accepting that SOME amount of that will be body fat because the goal is to GAIN while giving your body everything it needs to make the most progress over time. That is all it means...

Thank you Professor, coming from you that means a lot.

When I hear "bulking" this is what I think of... exactly.

The "EVERYTHING IT NEEDS" part is all important. It's best, if you actually intend to gain anything even approaching serious muscle to overshoot the food at least for a little while until you see how you're responding.

I CANNOT understand guys who are willing to herniate themselves in the gym, but refuse to fuel all that work with "EVERYTHING IT NEEDS"

I'm 42 years old, train very hard 3 days a week, do moderate cardio 3 days a week and eat the better part of 4000 quality calories a day. This includes meat, 12-15 whole eggs, fish, etc every single day and I'M not getting fat. Where, pray tell, did all these young healthy test filled guys get the idea that they have to eat like hamsters to avoid getting fat?

If you want the underwear model look then eat that way. If you want to be rewarded with very significant size and strength gains then forget about chiseled abs until you get there. You can't mark on your calendar when that will be. You don't have to be fat in the meantime, but you won't look like Clarence Bass along the way either.


I understand that this is a body building site. But that doesnt change the almost same goals I have compared to bigger guys.. I still wanna get bigger, I still wanna get stronger, and when I get to my goals, I wanna lose the extra mess to look good.

My end result might not be Hulk status, but you dont have to act like I'm some kind of frail, dainty, pansy boy because I dont want to end up looking like arnold... There is no point in getting that big in my life...

If you think I shouldnt be on this site, then please feel free to direct me somewhere else.


This isn't about looking like the The Hulk. This is about how bodybuilding now stands for "look like some guy who doesn't even lift weights heavier than 20lbs dumbbells but does lots of crunches".

Neither of the pictures you threw up would represent "strength" to anyone but someone lacking any strength at all...like most 14 year olds. Those guys are defined...but they are carrying as little muscle mass as possible.

You can't make me believe in any way that you will work as hard as someone who is actually trying to see how far they can get physically. Your goal is already set LOW. You are almost guaranteed to drop out the moment any life situation makes it the least bit difficult.

The first thing to go will be your gym attendance...because your goal was about as minimal as it could possibly be without looking like someone who simply doesn't go to a gym.

There is a HUGE difference between having a different goal in bodybuilding...and trying to look like the guys your threw pictures of in here. One is bodybuilding. One isn't.

Your goals are based on Hollywood fantasy and lighting magic. You don't need a gym. You just need an Ab Lounge 2000 and a John Basedow DVD.