T Nation

Would You Diet or Bulk Up?

Hey guys, first post here at T-Nation :)!

I’m in a bit of a dilema here with regards as to what is the best thing for me to do.

Just a brief few facts about me; I am just over 18 years old, I weigh in at about 165lbs and i am 5’ 5’’ - not tall I know ;).

So, as i’ve seen across this forum you guys cant really tell how i look by just giving my height and weight - because it could either be muscle or fat.

Well I have no picture at the moment, my digital camera broke a while ago :frowning: but without trying to justify a reason for being like I am, i’ll just be right out and say it - i look terrible. There, that was better.

Anyhow, I have bypassed the attempt of depression and feeling sorry for myself - afterall i got myself like this in the first place, now i’m going to change rather than using it as something to put excuses on.

I have fairly large amounts of fat around the stomach, and legs - which were sufficiently toned however over the past months they’ve declined in toned’ness (if thats even a word?) and they look terrible now.

I know this isn’t the V-Diet forum, but would you guys suggest I do the V-Diet with the ‘loose under 35lbs formula’ or try to bulk up then vdiet?? I’ve read some of the stickies and have a fairly ok understanding, however i’m not as knowledgeable as you guys here, so i thought I would ask the pros for their opinions.

I would hugely appriciate any feedback given into this thread.

Thank you.

For now, quit worrying about cutting or bulking. Worry about getting stronger. Eat and lift accordingly.

And don’t over-complicate things. If you’re not getting stronger, eat more. If you start to gain too much more fat, eat a little less.

Pick a balanced lifting program (one that works every muscle) and stick with it for a while. Maybe change one or two exercises every now and then, but stick with that program. Lift heavy, and lift like you’re pissed.

While you’re doing that, read articles.

At 5’5" and 160 lbs I doubt you have that much fat on you. Remember that you are 18 and your body will probably react more rapidly to any changes. I suggest taking 10-12 weeks of hardwork and proper eating and you will see a a significant change. I believe that cutting and bulking are done after a solid foundation is created. Good luck and remember to train hard and eat harder…


Like some of the other advice that has been given to you, just get a good base going and get stronger. Once you have that down then you can decide where you want to go with your training.

Hard to say. I think you guys might be a little generous with how “tall” 5’5" is. It’s damn short. Which means the weight could look much worse on him than we think. In fact I would wager it probably does.

No, I would not recommend the V-Diet. I would recommend simply eating no junk food or pizza or ice cream or soda. Very little pasta.

Just eat good food, lots of meat, veggies, fruits, eggs, milk, good whole food. Sandwiches work if they’re on wheat and don’t have mayo or ketchup or crappy stuff on them. Work on getting stronger. Not gaining weight/muscle per se, just getting stronger every week. Get a lifting program, don’t make your own, and follow it to the letter for 8 weeks.

Do some sort of cardio after weights, or on a couple rest days when you’re not lifting. Doesn’t have to be extreme, just bike or run for 10-15 minutes. I prefer biking personally. Or hike up hills if you can find any for about 30 minutes.

combine that plan with good nutritious whole food, and you’ll be looking much better in a couple months. Do it for longer, look even better. AFter 3 months, see where your weight is at, and whether you look better in regards to gut/love handles, etc. Make sure to leave at least 2 complete rest days where you don’t do cardio OR lift weights. Just relax or play basketball with friends or whatever. Recharge your batteries.

Don’t make it complicated. Just work hard. At this stage the cardio combined with the weight training will probably help you out a lot, as long as you’re not being stupid with junk food, soda, dessert, or bad carbs/fried food in general. Try and eat something besides cereal for breakfast. If you don’t eat breakfast, start. Even if you’re not hungry.

IMHO, if you have significant fat around youre waist, bulking would be a mistake.

-It’s easier to put on muscle with lower BF percentages.
-Better to diet down for a few months, than spending the better part of a year trying to lose the fat you put on from the bulk, plus the fat you had originally.

I feel like I took the wrong road. I had some fat on my stomach. I was maybe 15% or more before I started bulking. 12 months later I was bigger, but a little fatter. When I step back, even though I gained muscle, I still looked like crap when I looked at pics from myself at the beach.

Plus it made dieting down a lot harder cuz you’re starting from a higher BF, so you’ll spend a lot longer dieting which has it’s physcological issues.

My opinion? Diet first…then work on putting on lean mass, don’t do those crappy dirty bulks that just end up putting back on a lot of fat.

Neither. You sound like a beginner so just get in the gym and lift, eat enough to feed your muscles and make a decision in about 3.

And don’t do the V-Diet.

I just realised Aragon said basically the same thing.

Hi guys

thanks for the replies, I’ve come up with a few questions based on your guys replies…

  1. Where can I find a balanced lifting program, i.e; that tells me what muscles to train on given days etc.

  2. Aragon; you’re completley correct. It does look terrible on me I’m not gonna lie. The problem is, and always lies with me is that I do not eat the junk people assume I do (if you were to look at me). I don’t touch any kind of deserts. I dont eat fast food. I dont drink sodas. I eat home-cooked meals; which are mainly pasta orientated and meat orientated.

I did used to eat the foods you mention, you know the ‘whole foods’ however I’ve been on the incline in weight for as long as I can remember - sometimes steeper at times. I’ve adapated to eating hardly anything which is why I feel the need to ask you guys - because its just not working.

If I eat stuff, I get a bad mental problem being that I’ve eaten too much - I think its from the fact that I’ve got so worked up over the years with weight my life lives around it rather than just being ‘normal’ if that makes any sense. Of course on a BB’ing website the food is something you guys live around, but you are getting good results where as i’m not - and I know thats no one elses fault but my own.

I’ve come to a problem where I need to basically reset myself, and figure out what the hell it is I should be feeding my body as its clearly all been wrong thus far. I’ve just got no idea how to create a food plan, and being 18 my parents still continue to buy the food so theres a limit - I can’t just be eating steaks every evening its just not affordable to put it simply.

Could anyone help? I’m trying my best to read the stickies but I would really appriciate it if someone could take the time to offer a little advice/tips or something.

  1. tw0scoops2; Thanks for that, I did have a feeling that bulking is a worse idea than dieting - I need to build some muscle, but Ideally I want to be someone who is ‘A skinny person looking to put on muscle mass’ and right now I’m at the opposite end of that spectrum.

Oh and also, I thought the V-DIET rips fat of your body, even though challenging. By reading the stickies, in my eyes, the best thing to do is rip the fat off, and then start with a new meal plan and training? I thought it as if I am like turning over a new leaf with a slimmer body, then working my way up to get ‘big’ so to say?

Thank you, and as always I appricaite replies made in this thread.


How long have you been training for?

[quote]hardgnr wrote:
How long have you been training for?[/quote]

A year, but i’ve not had a plan as such - meaning it probably wasn’t optimized but I have been going gym 3 days a week for the past year now doing bicep/tricep/abs/legs etc, essentially every muscle but i’m clearly not doing something right.

I?m 19 years old right now and when I was 16, 17 I had the same problem as you, a little on the cubby side and I certainly wasn?t happy about it either. You?re making the first big step which is confronting it and deciding to do something about it. I personally played hockey my whole life through high school so I had a great means of burning fat once I started getting into more intense levels but for some reason I still keep on the weight, so one day I put my foot down and said ?fuck it? I?m going all out.

Anyways all I’m saying is I’ve been there before, what I did over those 2 or 3 years that made the biggest difference was running and dieting. When I say dieting now I’m not talking following a meal plan like the V-diet you’ve been talking about (even though that would be a grreat idea) I just watched what I ate and toned down on high sugar and high fatty foods, aswell I cut back a little on the total daily amount I actually consumed.

Recently I was on the popeyes website and they had some great ideas for healthy foods ( http://www.popeyescanada.com/mealplanners.php ) It sounds like to me that dieting would be a good idea for you; however, don’t stop lifting big and heavy. You should consider your current weight dilemma as weight you gained from your first bulking stage, now you need to cut back on your consumption, work hard, maybe hit the bike for a 20minute warm-up and then stick to your routine!!

I defiantly think however cutting a little weight will be good for self-motivation. I transformed myself in the gym over one summer and I?ve been in a gym ever since. Strength will come, if you?re a shorter stockier guy like myself as long as you stay committed to the gym and push yourself, strength will come, weight lifting was invent for guys like us!!!
Good luck

I’m 5’5" as well dude and weigh 162lbs. A good amount of it is fat that’s situated around my belly and hips…but not to the point where it’s even remotely noticeable while I’m clothed.

I used to be worried about losing the belly, but I knew it wasn’t the right choice given the small amount of muscle I was carrying. I’ve definitely put the idea of abs out of my mind for at least another year or two.

Could someone explain this to me?

Unless there’s some hormonal reason why body fat would hinder muscle gain, I don’t see how that statement would make sense at all.

[quote]TNDude wrote:
hardgnr wrote:
How long have you been training for?

A year, but i’ve not had a plan as such - meaning it probably wasn’t optimized but I have been going gym 3 days a week for the past year now doing bicep/tricep/abs/legs etc, essentially every muscle but i’m clearly not doing something right.[/quote]

Saying you were doing bicep/tricep/abs/legs etc makes me think you were definitely NOT working essentially every muscle… Look up Starting Strength, a lot of beginners have gotten good gains off of it.

And Ronsauce, CT has talked about that a couple times I don’t think it’s actually that you gain muscle easier when starting at a lower BF, but its easier to gain muscle without putting on a lot more excess bodyfat if you start leaner. I don’t remember exactly why though…

Would that info be found in some of his articles on this site?

I’ll have a look because I’m still unsure why having some body fat would potentiate putting on more fat.

[quote]Ronsauce wrote:

Could someone explain this to me?
-It’s easier to put on muscle with lower BF percentages.

Unless there’s some hormonal reason why body fat would hinder muscle gain, I don’t see how that statement would make sense at all.

There’s a pretty good hormonal reason actually, and it’s called insulin resistance.

I could also add that more fat means more aromatase. More estrogen, less testosterone.

Ah k, gotchya.

Does insulin resistance and the presence of aromatase factor in greatly with only moderate amounts of body fat?

I can’t really picture it being all too detrimental for someone with some small love handles and maybe a handful or two of abdominal fat to attempt to bulk(cleanly, mind you) instead of cutting first.

No it does not, if by moderate you mean 12-16% or so. It’s really not something to worry about at moderate fat % unless you’re eating a diet like the stay puff marshmallow man’s.

No V-Diet. Just eat clean healthy foods lots of it and train like a beast. Everything Aragon said x 1billion.

Right guys thanks for the replies.

What sort of things should I be eating? I’m a complete newbie when it comes to eating the right stuff - I ovbiously know sweets/soda etc is bad but I dont touch that stuff anyway - I guess I am eating the good foods but too much of something and not another.

Could anyone say wht I should be having for Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner. The only time I can really have anything cooked is Dinner - breakfast and lunch I need to have fairly quick and haven’t got time. I.e dont have the time for eggs on toast in the morning.

Any help, again, is really appricaited.

Just out of curiosity, why don’t you have time for toast and eggs in the morning? It takes like 5 minutes to make. Can you not wake up 5 minutes earlier?