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  1. #1
    I love my power hour MrCarrot's Avatar
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    Mini cut, or bulk for another year?

    I started my journey just over 18 months ago. I spent 9 months cutting from 210 pounds to 160 pounds. I've then spent the last 9 months bulking and have reached 180 pounds today. My aim was to gain 1 pound per month, but in reality I either gained nothing each month, or just over 2 pounds. As well as gaining weight I have gained strength in nearly all excercises.

    The thing that is driving me mad is the lower belly fat. Even after cutting for 9 months I wasn't able to fully get rid of it, and after bulking for 9 months it has increased.

    I took measurements and my chest has increased by 3cm, my biceps by 2cm, my thighs by 4cm, and my waist by 3cm.

    I'm now seriously considering doing a 6 or 8 week cut to lose a bit of the podge. If a 9 month cut didn't get rid of the belly fat then I don't expect an 8 week cut will, but I'll at least lean up a little bit all over.

    Or am I just wasting time? Should I just lean bulk for another year?

    Below is a photo, on the left is when I started 18 months ago (210 pounds), the middle is after 9 months of cutting (160 pounds), and the right is now after 9 months of bulking (180 pounds).

    Appreciate your thoughts, thank you!

    PHOTO:

    cut-bulk.jpg
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  2. #2
    This too shall pass dazlittle's Avatar
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    Firstly congrats, you have done an awesome job. Both of your "after" shots look infinitely better than your before shot. I like to feel and look good all the time, often that is at the expense of a bit of strength but that doesn't bother me. if I don't like what I see in the mirror or I just don't feel good then I drop a few Lbs.

    Why don't you drop your calories a bit, lean out until you hit a point where you feel good, then reset from there.
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  3. #3
    I love my power hour MrCarrot's Avatar
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    Thanks Dazlittle, once we know what is going on with food supplies, gym closures, etc, I think I am going to reduce calories and cut for perhaps 6 or 8 weeks. I find having a target to aim for is better for me rather than going by how I look in the mirror, mainly because I am never happy with how I look in the mirror whether cutting or bulking! I think if I just continue to bulk withut any cut cycle inbetween I'll have a harder time later on. Thanks for your comments.

    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to dazlittle again.
    Last edited by MrCarrot; 03-19-2020 at 08:43 AM.
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  4. #4
    Registered User sunsean's Avatar
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    Depending on your gym access, now might be a good time to cut if you have to dial down your training volume. Maintaining muscle requires less volume than building muscle.

    Lower belly fat is the worst, and always the last to go for us guys. Only way to lose it is to keep going til it's gone. I can usually get down to around 12% without much effort, but for those last few lbs I need to get serious about my diet and keep the deficit big (low calories) to lose that last bit.

    It's a bish getting there, but there's nothing quite like looking in the mirror and seeing your shredded midsection looking back at you. I'm cutting right now for my 40th bday coming up in a couple months, and at this point in my life I'm hoping to essentially maintain around 10/11% and ditch the big weight changes of bulking/cutting and just eat maintenance while lifting hard.
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  5. #5
    I love my power hour MrCarrot's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sunsean View Post
    Depending on your gym access, now might be a good time to cut if you have to dial down your training volume. Maintaining muscle requires less volume than building muscle.

    Lower belly fat is the worst, and always the last to go for us guys. Only way to lose it is to keep going til it's gone. I can usually get down to around 12% without much effort, but for those last few lbs I need to get serious about my diet and keep the deficit big (low calories) to lose that last bit.

    It's a bish getting there, but there's nothing quite like looking in the mirror and seeing your shredded midsection looking back at you. I'm cutting right now for my 40th bday coming up in a couple months, and at this point in my life I'm hoping to essentially maintain around 10/11% and ditch the big weight changes of bulking/cutting and just eat maintenance while lifting hard.
    Yeah, although I believe that ideally on a cut you should lift as heavy as possible to preserve what you've got. But in any case, if the gym closes then it closes, it's outside of my control so no point worrying about it.

    Unfortunately even after a 9 month cut where I religiously tracked calories and ate in a deficit I still had some lower belly fat. Ironically I gained the fat on an extreme bulk 10 years ago (followed by 10 years of no exercise and poor eating). I had to abandon the cut in the end as my weight was becoming too low and my strength and energy levels really starting to be affected. My workouts have been much better since bulking and I look a lot better in a shirt - in fact even now people are telling me how good I look (with a shirt on) but the dreaded belly fat has grown a little. I still don't think I'll be able to get rid of it without a really extended cut (perhaps another 9 months) but if I can keep it under control with a few cut-bulk cycles perhaps I can tackle it properly in another year or so when hopefully I have a little more muscle.
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  6. #6
    Registered User sunsean's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MrCarrot View Post
    Yeah, although I believe that ideally on a cut you should lift as heavy as possible to preserve what you've got. But in any case, if the gym closes then it closes, it's outside of my control so no point worrying about it.

    Unfortunately even after a 9 month cut where I religiously tracked calories and ate in a deficit I still had some lower belly fat. Ironically I gained the fat on an extreme bulk 10 years ago (followed by 10 years of no exercise and poor eating). I had to abandon the cut in the end as my weight was becoming too low and my strength and energy levels really starting to be affected. My workouts have been much better since bulking and I look a lot better in a shirt - in fact even now people are telling me how good I look (with a shirt on) but the dreaded belly fat has grown a little. I still don't think I'll be able to get rid of it without a really extended cut (perhaps another 9 months) but if I can keep it under control with a few cut-bulk cycles perhaps I can tackle it properly in another year or so when hopefully I have a little more muscle.
    Every body is different, but I can't imagine it taking you 9 months to lose the belly fat based on your most recent photo. But it's possible it may be loose skin or a memento from when you were overweight in the past....who knows...

    And yes - the same intensity is needed while cutting to maintain muscle, but not the same volume. You want to keep the weight on the bar the same as much as possible, but can lower volume with less reps/sets or less frequency. To a degree. It's not like you can lift once/month and maintain but I think 1-2/week is okay.

    Last thing about cutting - over a prolonged cut lasting several months, it is normal to lose some strength, you just want to minimize it as much as possible. But that's the cost of eating a prolonged calorie deficit.
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  7. #7
    ScubaBro ReadyToLift2019's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Bro - yeah you’ve got a small belly fat/fat section that you will surely minimize or completely get rid of (and basically did not have at all in pic 2) with a 10lb (max) cut but you’re looking great!

    Do a small cut and enjoy looking like a million bucks the whole time; I swear you (and a few others here) have got to start enjoying these amazing results you already have instead of chasing “1% better”. I think it’s because you don’t see your own drastic results because you are assessing/comparing yourself every single day versus an outsider who can give you an objective one time view.

    You’re already at the top brah - just lean out that belly a bit and keep lifting #’s to as closely as you can/are lifting now and you’ll be 110%!
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  8. #8
    Registered User tblodg15's Avatar
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    First of all that is some great progress both to get to 160 and the gaining phase after!

    I think you are in a good position to do whatever you want. An 8 week mini-cut would definitely give plenty of room to continue a gaining phase if that’s what you decide. Or lose a few pounds and hang out there for the summer and then start another gaining phase.

    I myself am up 10 pounds and my waist has gained more than yours but I like being a little heavier especially over the winter because I don’t look so damn skinny in clothes.

    Again, great job with the cut and the bulk.
    Bodybuilding is much more than an hour in the gym a few days a week---it's a lifestyle that changes all your perceptions about how to live, eat, and rest. It feeds the mind as much (and sometimes more so) than the body.
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