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  1. #1
    Registered User oregonchick76's Avatar
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    cutting/bulking - how much, how long?

    I'm thinking ahead to my future cut, planning out the best attack... So many questions!

    I hate asking these questions because I'm assuming they are all covered somewhere on the forum, but I haven't been successful finding the answers.

    How many lbs per week is safe to lose (while sparing muscle)?
    How long should you cut before your body rebels and starts catabolizing muscle?
    Is it better to do a long slow cut (12 weeks-6 lbs) or a short intense one (6 weeks 6 lbs)?

    I would like to plan the rest of my year - I leave for Germany at the beginning of December for a month with family, and I will be eating more and not lifting while I am there.

    So basically I have six months to bulk and cut. I'm already somewhere around 25% bodyfat so obviously I'm going to have to fit some cutting in pretty soon, but I hate to cut right now because I'm making such good strength gains. I was thinking about bulking for another 6 weeks, then do a short cut, for like a month.

    Can you help me decid how long my cutting/bulking cycles should be? I figure I should end the year with a cut, right before Germany.
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  2. #2
    Wings of 45s birdiefu's Avatar
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    It is so individual, I don't think anyone can give you a concrete set of "rules". Even when going on a bulk/cut, things can change your original plans depending on how your body responds. But as a general guideline, I would bulk until I can't stand any more chub (and not just having a "fat day", but like a "fat month"). Cutting, I go until I feel like I'm getting too skinny in a certain area (usually up top) or just feel burnt out on it. BF% wise, I would say in general cut till 18% and bulk till 24% or so. Individual preference can change those numbers, but as long as you aren't getting too unhealthily into either extreme things should be fine.

    There isn't a set point in a cut where all of a sudden your body starts eating muscle a lot more at the same deficit. Hormonal changes that lead to that can be more gradual (and in general you are going to lose *some* muscle regardless), and your deficit level definitely comes into play.

    Personally, I found that it was easier/faster for me to cut to a look I liked after a bulk in a shorter amount of time than before my bulk. I bulked for 8 months and it only took me about a month of cutting till I felt I was at the same BF level as before the bulk. I feel even leaner, or at least more defined and better looking now at 2 months in (need to update my progress pics...) and could probably start a bulk just fine again. However, my vanity will probably have me cut a tad more and then do either small bulk/cuts or just maintenance during bikini season.

    I think once you get through your first bulk/cut cycle you will have learned a ton about your body and how it responds and have a lot more insight into how to tweak things. There is a lot of trial and error, but you are right that going into it as informed as possible can help you understand the changes you may or may not expect.
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  3. #3
    Registered User oregonchick76's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by birdiefu View Post
    It is so individual, I don't think anyone can give you a concrete set of "rules". Even when going on a bulk/cut, things can change your original plans depending on how your body responds. But as a general guideline, I would bulk until I can't stand any more chub (and not just having a "fat day", but like a "fat month"). Cutting, I go until I feel like I'm getting too skinny in a certain area (usually up top) or just feel burnt out on it. BF% wise, I would say in general cut till 18% and bulk till 24% or so. Individual preference can change those numbers, but as long as you aren't getting too unhealthily into either extreme things should be fine.

    There isn't a set point in a cut where all of a sudden your body starts eating muscle a lot more at the same deficit. Hormonal changes that lead to that can be more gradual (and in general you are going to lose *some* muscle regardless), and your deficit level definitely comes into play.

    Personally, I found that it was easier/faster for me to cut to a look I liked after a bulk in a shorter amount of time than before my bulk. I bulked for 8 months and it only took me about a month of cutting till I felt I was at the same BF level as before the bulk. I feel even leaner, or at least more defined and better looking now at 2 months in (need to update my progress pics...) and could probably start a bulk just fine again. However, my vanity will probably have me cut a tad more and then do either small bulk/cuts or just maintenance during bikini season.

    I think once you get through your first bulk/cut cycle you will have learned a ton about your body and how it responds and have a lot more insight into how to tweak things. There is a lot of trial and error, but you are right that going into it as informed as possible can help you understand the changes you may or may not expect.
    Thanks for the response. I'm certain after this year, cutting and bulking will not be so painful, as I'll be operating generally at a lower bodyfat percentage than I am right now. I do believe that it will not take such a big fat loss to see more noticeable improvements than before, because I definitely have more muscle.

    Thanks again!
    squat - 215
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    press - 105

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