Should I cut or should I bulk… the age-old question that has been around since the first person picked up a weight in the gym. This NutriWiki article will give you some clarity and guidelines to know if you should cut or bulk.
You need to be comfortable gaining weight before you even consider a bulk.
There are also some guidelines based on body fat percentages you can use to help you make your decisions
Ultimately, deciding to bulk or cut comes down to whether you are comfortable with gaining a bit of body fat as bulking inevitably comes with a small amount of body fat gain (unless there are anabolic steroids involved, you are brand new to training, or you are a complete genetic outlier.
Here are some basic guidelines you can use that are based on body fat percentages for men and women to determine if you should cut or bulk:
Typically, with women, diet to 17-22% BF and bulk back up to 24-27% BF and repeat. Typically, with men, diet to 10-12% BF and bulk back up to 15-18% BF and repeat . If you are prepping for a competition, you will need to diet down to lower than these levels.
Remember that the goal is to lose steadily but avoid rapid fat loss, as this will cause an unwanted loss of lean body mass with fat. When gaining, the goal is to gain slowly to minimize fat gain and maximize muscle gain.
Diet as long as you need to reach your goals. However, approximately every 8-12 weeks, take a two-week diet break. During a diet break, you will either not track or you can increase your calories back to your maintenance calories. Stay there for two weeks and then start dieting again at your previous macros.
- General Philosophies of Muscle Mass Gain. Lyle McDonald, BodyRecomposition.com