Should I Cut Or Bulk? What Is Bulking and Cutting?

Should I cut or bulk? That’s a question that isn’t so easy to answer, especially if you’re at a healthy weight, and don’t really have too much fat to lose. At the same time, you feel you could lean down some more. But how much more weight can you really lose? That’s the situation I’ve found myself in.

If you’re asking yourself this question, you may be laser-focused on achieving a specific kind of physique. I personally find that admirable though, because you’re at a point where you know you’ve gotten into shape enough to where you really need to decide on one direction or the other.

From an outside perspective, it can look neurotic I guess, cause we’re becoming extremely observant of how our physiques have changed over time. I’ve come to realize many guys who are incredible shape get to this point of cycling between cutting and bulking over the course of the year on a schedule. This is especially true with the people who become totally shredded.

I really don’t feel this is a decision that can be made by standing on a scale and looking at the numbers. That can be helpful to a degree, but you should really decide how happy you are with your body in the first place.

Having close friends or a community of like-minded people who will give you honest feedback is a great way to decide. That’s how I went about my decision. I’ve been lean bulking the past few months, and I’ve gained about 4 pounds of muscle, which I’m happy about.

Has a little bit of fat come on too? It’s really hard to say just looking in the mirror, but my guess is yes. If you go on a bulk, I wouldn’t stress it, as I’ll explain in detail below why a small bit of fat gain is likely to happen and how you can melt it off in just a few weeks.

What Is Bulking And Cutting?

Simply put, bulking is a matter of adding weight to your body, and cutting is a matter of losing weight. You decide which direction you want to go. The way you do this is by adding calories to your diet for the bulk and lowering calories from your diet for the cut.

The goal of bulking though isn’t to just gain weight. It’s to gain lean muscle. The goal of cutting isn’t just to lose weight either. The purpose of a cut is to ensure you’re losing fat, and not muscle or bone density.

So, when embarking on either one of these methods, it’s very important that you set up your daily calories and protein properly, and follow a solid resistance training program. Especially when bulking you need to up your game with resistance training, because, the goal is to pack on lean muscle.

Below, I’ll explain when you should decide to do one over the other.

When Should You Cut?

Making the decision to cut is far easier than making the decision to bulk. The reason for this is that most people know whether or not they want to lose weight. That’s why there are a million products and programs out there to help you with weight loss.

So, if you know you want to lose weight, even a few extra pounds, then you should be cutting for sure.

Right when I started my workout program, I knew my body was soft and had extra fat on it. What I didn’t know is that there was far more of it on my body than I knew.

In fact, there were at least 15 pounds of fat, because that’s how much weight I lost over the course of 3 months. I went from weighing 153 lbs to 138 lbs and went from a 32 to a 30-inch waist. On top of that, I dropped 3% body fat.

If you’re on a cut, these are the kinds of results you can expect to happen. Depending on how much you weigh and how much fat you have to lose, it could take more time or less.

So, when I lost that weight, it’s because I was cutting. The purpose of cutting is to eliminate any excess fat that you have on your body. The way I explain it to people is it’s like cleaning off a canvas so that it’s fresh and ready to be painted on. Once you’ve cleaned it off, or you’re at least within 5 pounds of your target weight, that’s when you’re ready to bulk.

This article explains in detail the calorie deficit calculation I follow when I’m cutting.

If you follow exactly what’s laid out in that article, you can expect to lose approximately 4 – 5 pounds of fat per month.

When Should You Bulk?

Making the decision to bulk comes when you’ve leaned down enough that you have minimal fat to lose. This would also be the case for guys who are skinny or scrawny.

It’s also the case for someone who lost a significant amount of weight, and now has very little visible fat left. As I mentioned earlier, you would be ready to bulk when you’re within 5 pounds of your target weight.

I should stress that I’ve spoken to some people who felt they were ready for a bulk when they clearly had at least 10 or more pounds of fat to lose. So, I strongly suggest getting honest feedback from someone else if you aren’t sure. Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “if it jiggles, it’s fat”. There’s a truth to this and it may be a good way to help gauge your decision.

When choosing to bulk, it’s a very strategic process, and I made my decision to do so from the workout program and community I’m a part of. The coaches in the private FB group give honest feedback based on pics we submit and guide us in which direction we should go.

I was told I should start lean bulking. I was still self-conscious and thought I had more fat to lose, but I followed their advice anyway. Since I began, I gained about 4 pounds in a few months, so the weight gain happened almost exactly according to the formula.

The bulking process requires that you really put your all into the resistance training that you’re doing, and you bump your daily calories up by 200 beyond maintenance. If you don’t make any weight gains, then you bump those calories up again. You do this until you’re gaining approximately 1 – 2 pounds of muscle monthly.

The reason the goal is to put on 1 – 2 pounds of weight monthly is that putting on more than this will likely come on as fat, and we definitely don’t want that to happen. A solid resistance training program ensures that you’re working your muscles with proper tension and volume for maximum gains. The food you’re putting into your body combined with the workouts are working hand in hand to build your physique.

This article explains in detail how to set up your diet for a lean bulk.

A Solid Program That Will Guide You

The reason I was able to determine when it was time for me to transition from a cut to a bulk is because I’m in a private FB community where the coaches guide us based on our progress and goals.

I don’t want to get preachy here, considering that the health and fitness industry throws all this crap in your face all the time anyway, about the best supplements and workout programs out there.

But the truth is, I’ve gone through so many eating plans and programs, from Beachbody workouts & Orange Theory classes to Kickboxing and weight training. I used to go to the gym and jog 6 days a week while eating super healthy, and still my body was soft and had little to no muscle definition.

So, sure enough, it was a shock that during the pandemic, I discovered a program that threw me for a complete loop, cause as I mentioned earlier, I burned off 15 pounds of fat in only 3 months. I couldn’t figure out how to do that for years with every other program combined.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s just a matter of getting hold of the truth because the fitness industry has a lot of crap it throws at you to make money. I don’t diet or do low carb like I used to. I also don’t do cardio. I just walk daily and it’s really done amazing work for fat loss. I eat what I want and only focus on calories and protein. The rest is up to me.


Take A Body Type Quiz

If you’re not sure what your body type is, this short quiz here will guide you to the best program based on the answers you put in. It takes less than 30 seconds to do, but you’ll get a good feel for what kind of workout and eating plan is best for your body type.

Best of all, it will help guide you to determine whether bulking or cutting is right for you. There are certain programs that are geared to those looking to gain weight and bulk, while other programs are best suited for those who should be cutting first.


Bulking & Cutting In Summary

So hopefully I’ve answered your question, “should I cut or bulk?” It’s really up to you to make that decision, and I hope this article gave you guidance and tools you can use to get started on your journey to transform your physique.

So what is bulking and cutting?

It’s just a matter of gaining weight in the form of lean muscle for bulking and dropping weight in the form of fat for cutting. It’s really important that when you do either one of these, fat stays far away.

I hope you found this article to be helpful. If you have any questions at all regarding any of the information listed here, let me know and I’ll be more than happy to get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks so much for reading!

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