T Nation

Starvation or Bulk?


Right now I am too fat to bulk properly, so I am thinking of starving down for a few months, until I am satisfied and have lost fat. Then bulk up.

I currently weigh 210lb, and am probably 20%bf, maybe more. I eat clean food, and have for years, so I don't really feel like posting my diet. I eat mostly beef, chicken, tuna, other fish, milk, eggs, oats, fruits and vegetables.

I want to starve down i am not sure to what point... although I am shooting for somewhere around Christian Bales look in the Machinist (I'll post up a pic later if poeple doent know what I am talking about). Then from there I can bulk for the rest of my life.

I understand this may be an unconventional way of doing this, but I am just sick of looking like a fat slob, and I have been training for about 2 years.

So any suggestions?

I am not trolling.


Sounds trollish to me. But if your serious, not eating is a pretty terrible way to lose weight and dangerous, do it the right way your only at 20%.


I have a job right now but I am currentyl too poor to eat any cleaner.

Christian bale starved down and then bulked up, so I am thinking I will do the same.

To be honest, I don't know why I made this thread. I am realizing the only replies that I will get are the ones that tell me to 'do it the rightway'.


I think at one time or another we have all felt the constraints of a tight budget. Here are some ways you can save some money and get the foods you need to do things right:

1.) Buy in bulk, if you do not have the money to make the large order on your own find a couple of gym buddies or friends in general who would eat the same item(s) as you and go in on the purchase together.

2.) Buy directly from local farmers, I am fortunate to live in Ohio where there is no shortage of farms:-) I don't know if this is a possibility for you but, if you can buy from the farmers directly (especially if you buy in bulk as suggested in point 1) you can save a lot.

3.) Watch for sales, I can tell you that Whole foods just ran a special this last weekend where they had their pre made burgers (delicious I might add) for only 1$ each (they are made fresh, no antibiotics or hormones, mostly grass fed and 1/3 lb each:-)

4.) Buy other items generic. Buying a "comparable brand" of shampoo, toilet paper, shower gel, razors etc. can save you close to 40.00/month

5.) don't be afraid to ask the managers for a deal. I deal directly with the head butcher at the stores I shop at (or someone who can accomidate) and I will go to them and say i.e. I know the turkey is 5.99/lb but if I buy 20lbs can you sell it to me for 3.99 (most of the time they will).

As far as how to set things up, depending on what your bodyfat is I would either go with a low carb approach (2.0g/lbbw protein / .65-.85 grams fat/lb lean bw and carbs around w/o with a re feed every 5th-8th day) or (50/25/25 lean bulk as I outlined in Questions about AD) or a carb cycling diet see CT's carb cycling codex or the following link by Shelby Starnes of troponin nutrition:



Don't starve yourself down, that would be a waste of your hard earned muscle though and you will NOT be happy with the results. I know that may have worked for Batman but, remember hollywood and cameras can do a lot of tricks:-) Good luck and keep us posted.


You should have explained that in the OP, so I'll apoligize for calling you a troll. If thats the case with your job the suggestion of buying in bulk is a great idea, if there is a BJ's near there go shop there with a friend who is a member (so you dont need to buy a membership).

Buy cheap, yet nutritious carb sources (long grain brown or wild rice). To meet your vitamin and mineral requirements buy veggies as they are cheaper than fruits. For some healthy fats buy a large and cheap container of extra virgin olive oil (I once got a half gallon of extra virgin olive oil for $14!).

As for the starving yourself like Bale did; this is really a very bad idea. He was down to 110 pounds at one point, and keep in mind he was under constant medical supervision while doing this.

If you read up on this too you will find that Bale struggled with putting weight back on after he did this because he found himself mentally unable to consumne a large amount of food, almost like he gave himself an eating disorder.


I shall believe you're really not a troll but just very simple minded.
The idea of starving yourself to bulk later is outrageously stupid.

Your remarks about the machinist show that you are a very immature person. There are lots of fat celebrities of the past who died because back then ocassional starving for a role was typical.

Starving is really bad stress. Bulking coupled with hard training is also bad stress.
Combined it's like a stress superset, even more stressful for the inner organs. Your heart, liver, kidneys and whole digestive tract will ache.

Heed laroyal's advice on how to shop with a small budget. Train smart, regularly and progressive for the next years and establish a solid base with ~12% bodyfat.

If you have decent numbers with a consistent decent body composition, go for the bulk.

p.s. I hope you know you etched yourself in TNation stupid history forever.


Agreed. The OP was quite possibly the dumbest thing I have ever read on T-Nation.


English isn't his first language. I am not sure where he is from, but common sense hasn't made it there yet. He isn't a troll, I just think there is a language barrier.


Like everyone else said, BAD IDEA. Health risks, your metabolism will be destroyed, you will lose all of your hard earned muscle ect... You say your at 20% BF but you've been eating clean for years? I don't think you actually were, you're body fat wouldn't be so high.

You need to learn good eating habits and reach your goals safely. I see you starving yourself, losing muscle and just being skinnier/fatter. GL.


It's good to see so many supportive people here.


Eating "clean" has ZERO to do with whether you gain body fat. I wish people would quit using that term all together. Calories are still the primary concern, not some arbitrary concept of what "clean" means.

I do agree, however, about the damage starvation can cause. If you lose too much lean body mass, your metabolism will be wrecked. It also won't quickly come back to the way it was which will make regaining muscle mass even harder and fat gain MUCH easier.

That means this approach is a great way to eventually end up even fatter than you are now with even less muscle mass and a metabolism that will make it much harder to correct that problem.


But do I 'cut' then? What to do? I tried just 'eating clean' but I look teh same for so long.

I really feel like I am stuck. I had less bf before starting weightlifting when I was just eating the candy.

Should I try and stay at specofic weight (like... 210lb) but just get the stronger at this weight?

If I bulk I just get obese... if I 'cut' down to christian bale then I can bulk properly.

What angers me is that I read 'just eat and lift' but what is that suppose to mean? I understand for peoples who started at 150lb and then "eat all and lift the weight", but I am not in that position.

I seem to be fat AND too little muscle. Does anyone have Any ideas on what to do? I also have the 40" inch waist-

Thanks for any help guys. I mean it.


A calorie deficit of 300-500 from maintenance is what you want. Figure out your maintenance by adding up the calories you eat for a few days.

All of these "special" diets that these various other experts come up with don't work any better, and all they do is attempt to mask the simple calorie restriction.


You are confusing this by placing your own personal issues into the picture without understanding the basic concept.

If you are carrying too much body fat then you diet down. You don't starve yourself for the reasons listed above. Holding onto muscle tissue isn't just done because of aesthetics. It is done to maintain your metabolism.

You hear different responses because not everyone at "20%" body fat needs to jump on a crash diet. If they are all of 150lbs, gaining some actual muscle tissue would help them far more than dieting down to a skeletal 120lbs before they ever gain any weight.


Yes, because "eating clean" doesn't mean you're eating a "calorie deficit." You need the deficit. If you're not losing weight at a certain calorie intake, subtract more calories. You shouldn't be eating less than 9 calories per lb of bodyweight, though, as a rule of thumb. If you are, you're probably just burning off muscle.




First, fill us in with all the info, we got already:
210 lbs, 20% bf
so tell us:
height, age, bb training & general athletic experience, any ailments or injuries or special hindrances.


Well, considering his post was of such outrageous quality, it was important to make that clear, if only for kids who browse and look for info to get "into shape" quickly.

You can see it as a slap in the face of a irrational person trying to hurt himslef.

Harsh? Yes.
Necessary? You bet.


Age: 20
Height: 6'1
Training: 2 years
No special athletic experience, no ailments or injuries or special hindrances.

Alright so I guess it's better to do a slowerr 'cut' then.


Is fatloss your only goal?

b/c if your sitting at a heavier weight and want to be "big and strong" you might want to think about your goals. your already big; why not try to stay at that weight and get a tighter diet in order to just be stronger. not smaller and strong.

i'm still not sure if that came out right; so i'm sorry if it didn't.

everyone else, feel free to flame this response if i failed.