T Nation

What BF% To Start At?


I'm debating my first cycle but I want everything to be optimal before I do. I'm currently 6'4" 215, probably around 17-18%BF.

I'm thinking of a test/tren mix, but I don't know if I should get my BF down to around 10% before I start, or start now and hope it leans me out. A couple of more experienced friends say I should forget "cutting", start now, eat big and clean and I'll not only put on mass but lose some of that bodyfat in the process.

Anyone have any experience with this? If I'm going to start out at 18% and end at 15% that isn't really optimal for me. I would rather start at 10% and end at 12-13% for summer. I doubt I'll lose 5% BF while I'm on...but again, any feedback would be great.


Ok, there are a few things to consider. First, how long have you been training? If you are 6'4" at 215 and anywhere close to 17% bf--you have some work to do before you consider any cycle. I am 6'3" at 240lbs and about 13%bf (this is even too high for me--at the end of a bulker though).

Second, and I tell you this only after you continue to train naturally----Tren is not your friend for a first timer.

Lastly, yes you should bulk before you cut--but only after you get to around 11-13% bf. The reasoning behind this is, will be able to better control fat gain during a bulker.

Please do not take this as any flame or disrespect. We all need help and knowledge will be your best friend.
Let me know what you think.


I've been training since I was 17, I'm currently 22. I'm taking a week off as I feel like I've overtrained myself.

I have been as heavy as 235, but I'm currently around 215. BF is just a guess. My lifts are 225 bench, 285ish squat and 350ish dead lift.

My diet is good, I get plenty of protein, healthy fats and currently I'm on a lower carb diet similar to T-dog 2.0 due to cutting. I eat mostly whole foods, lean chicken, natural peanut butter, lean beef etc. I'm not a beginner, I just feel my results don't coincide with the time I've been lifting.

Granted I wasn't a serious lifting from 17-22, I took periods of time off.

For the past 2 years I have been lifting very seriously with almost no breaks (maybe a month off max in the past 2 years) I plan on taking this coming week off, continuing my fat loss until I approach 10%ish. At that point I will evaluate what to do next. I really feel like a cycle is not out of the question. I just haven't been seeing the results I want, and would love to get my strength and size up.


just judging by your numbers, no gear necessary....
I'm 22 years old 5'8 200 21%bf and I have 215bench 315x2 squat and 335DL
I am easily improving all those numbers almost bi-weekly it seems, I know it will slow down but I know I can make alot of improvment without any AAS at all.

Not saying don't taking anything but just saying you really don't need to right now.


Clean up your diet, count calories if necessary, create a training log, evaluate your program (too much work, too little work) and go from there. If after doing that you still don't make gains at least you will have a system that will work when you do use steroids.

Look at that MTV I'm on steroids program. The guy who ate right and trained smart got a lot out of it, the guy who didn't got barely anything out of it.

BTW, I have no experience with steroids, but I have struggled to gain muscle (used to weigh about 45lbs less at my current height) and the solution was as simple as what I outlined. I tried a lot of stupid stuff, heavy weights on the basic lifts, not overtraining and eating sufficiently were the keys.

Good luck


This is my response for these type of post.........

I have said it before and stand by it.

Bro you said you weight 215 and becnh 225???? You have to learn how to workout before you need to think about AAS.

If you cant get your workout/diet on point before AAS you are SPINNING YOUR WHEELS!!!!!!!

Everyone should have met realistic goals before using AAS. At least reach a bodyweight +100lbs on the bench, +200lbs squat, and bodyweight +250-300 lbs on the deadlift if NOT MORE. If you reach these goals you will have decent size. Rarely do you see a guy with much less than 16" arms benching over 300lbs.

How do you add weight to your lifts?

If there was a field behind your house with 100 rocks, and you knew that under one of those rocks was $1,000, you would turn them all over until you found the $1,000.

Weights are the same way. Keep trying rep schemes and ass. exercises until you find the ones that work for you. Write down the ones that worked for you and learn from them.

Pick the brains of the lifters that have already met those goals the WAY YOU WANT TO REACH THEM.

People are using AAS without knowing what their maintenance calories are for a given day. How can you expect to gain muscle without having any real idea what nutrition your body needs to maintain and gain weight?

Add calories to your maintenance level until you gain 3-5lbs a month. Once you get a little body fat, AFTER GAINING SOME GOOD SIZE, learn how to diet down 3-5% body fat without losing muscle.

These are just the basics. You have to know the basics.


A 5'8" guy should not compare his lifts to a 6'4" guy. A short guy has no idea what it is like for a tall person when it comes to benching or squating.

No offense here, but the tall guys have got a much harder row to hoe due to their long limbs.


These people who responded are really pointing you in the right direction. I am very similar to you in build, lifts, and BF%. I once got all my lifts up by over 200 lbs each in just several months using only food as my anabolic and keeping my protein levels up with the Grow! and Metabolic Drive.

I also have long rangy gorilla arms which can make the bench press a real bitch. However, I live and die by Westside and read EVERY SINGLE GODDAM ARTICLE that they and Dave Tate create. This really helps me lift heavy and build lots of muscle without the gear.

You really need to consider letting go of the idea of 'roids for now and be disciplined with your training and your eating for years and years to get the most out of your body before going down that road. By the time you do that, you'll be ready to take your anabolic experience farther than you ever could have before.