T Nation

When To Bulk Or Cut?

just two simple answers or numbers as to when you decide to cut or bulk.

i was thinking around 8% to bulk and 15% to cut.

i think this could be a value to us all with so many of these questions popping up. if i get least 25 samples ill put up the averages, all i need is your digits!!!

Cut above 17% BF. Bulk? Well i wish i needed to do that, but once in the single digits i would bulk, but clean bulk. I have recently actually noticed it’s possoble to gain on a high quality low calorie diet.

Gregus - how can you bulk on a low calorie diet? Sample eating?

Bulk to 50 lbs over goal lean mass, so BF% vary to lean body mass.

can’t really quantify this…how much fat one is willing to tolerate on his/her body is a very individual thing, and depends on a number of factors, such as the athlete’s sport (if any,) concern for social acceptance, perceived importance of cardiovascular health, etc…

i say use the mirror/photographs and don’t worry about the number…

for me personally, i would say cut when i get arond 15% and bulk when i can see a 6-pack, although i clean bulk, so i can do it for extended periods of time before i get to that 15% mark.

trade offs: i was thinking about his last nite before i fell asleep.

ive read a good amount of people here who seem to cut for three months before the good weather to sport abs or some competition factors. does that mean that they spend the other nine months bulking?

given that the fatter you are, a higher percentage of gains will be shifted towards fat storage, is it counter-intuitive to think that maybe two/three/four cycles of cutting and bulking per year would be better?

for example:
person A: bulks for nine months, cuts for three.
person B: bulks for three, cuts for one, repeat three times.

this may be a poor extension of logic and i might be missing something or not reading the right info so bare with me.

given the two people, would it be true that all else equal, person B would make the best gains because of a consistantly higher preferance to lean body tissue building v. fat storage?

given that this is true, what would likely be the best tradeoff? 2:1, 4:1, 9:3, bulking to cutting respectively?

i know that it is highly personalized given your eating habbits, but i just want some feedback on some schemes that have worked best in the past. then i can start with that and tailor accordingly.

[quote]SheekLouche wrote:
Gregus - how can you bulk on a low calorie diet? Sample eating?

Bulk to 50 lbs over goal lean mass, so BF% vary to lean body mass.[/quote]

What i meant is gaining lean body mass and improving your body composition. IMO the classic bulking is best left alone unless your using AS in your endeavors, sp?.

I’ve read that instead of bulking for a few months, you should at one point in your career, bulk up for about 2 years, maximize the amount of muscle you can get on your frame, and then play around with it (i.e. shorter cycles, or something). The key phrase here is “I read,” not “I’ve done.” I am currently doing a bulking cycle, and looking to get up to about 210 (starting at 170). What I really don’t get about this thread is the idea of clean bulking. It is a total fallacy - there is no such thing. There can be healthy or unhealthy ways of eating, but there is no such thing as a clean bulking cycle. Trust me, I know how expensive it can be. A true bulking cycle is full of crap (food, that is) - protien, carbs, and fat - heavy lifting, and lots of rest and sleep. Not that I have ever gone though it, but I respect those who have. Starting it right now (about 1 month so far), I can see that a “clean” bulking cycle is definitely healthier, but will not get the job done.
Yes, I would agree that doing a cycle like Preist might be overkill.

[quote]SheekLouche wrote:
I’ve read that instead of bulking for a few months, you should at one point in your career, bulk up for about 2 years, maximize the amount of muscle you can get on your frame, and then play around with it (i.e. shorter cycles, or something). The key phrase here is “I read,” not “I’ve done.” I am currently doing a bulking cycle, and looking to get up to about 210 (starting at 170). What I really don’t get about this thread is the idea of clean bulking. It is a total fallacy - there is no such thing. There can be healthy or unhealthy ways of eating, but there is no such thing as a clean bulking cycle. [/quote]

I agree to a point…

I wouldnt say a clean bulk is a falacy, but using the term “bulk” as it is commonly used and understood to mean a “clean bulk” is an oxy moron.

Obviously most people understand a bulking phase as eating a significant amount over maitanance to maximize muscle gain and living with the fact you will be adding some fat to your frame as well.

The “clean bulk” as it seems to be used above is refering to adding muscle mass with minimal fat gain or even fat loss at the same time. Obviously this is not a bulking phase.

All that being said I personally bulk up to the point where I think my gut is getting to big (basicly when I have to start thinking about buying a new belt because I’m at the last hole) and cut fat until I’m comfortable with the amount of fat I’m carrying, but I will also stop the effort to lose fat if I’m loosing weight to fast or my strength starts falling off.

I agree that going off body fat percentage isnt the best for everybody but do understand that some people have a bit of OCD (not a bad thing) and like to plan everything out to greatest extent and have this planning in a very specific manor. I will always go by just how comfortable I am with my fat level.

My opinion might be different then alot of people on here though as I could give a shit about having a six pack, at least until I add quite a bit more muscle mass and gain alot more strength. I think most anyone would be ahead of the game if they did like mentioned above and just spend the first couple of years training for solid mass/strength gains and stop worrying about having abs.

i really like the feedback, keep it coming people!!!

All good responses to this thread. Bulking is something i have done in the past and got as high as 275 lbs @ 6’3. But the accompanying fat was not fun nor did it look good.

One of the things to consider is this. If you have a tendency to put on fat easier, bulking is something i would recommend against. If you bulk with AS like Test you create a higher estrogen enviroment and there is the potential for that (estrogenic) fat to a bitch to get rid off. So thread lightly into the bulking phases if you’re not naturally “tight”.