# Thread: To Bulk or to Cut, That is the Question - or is it?

1. Originally Posted by Daniel Roberts
Thanks Sensei and thanks for pointing me in the direction of a great read - I think it may have been more entertaining than mine (!) but the message was similar, truth be told most successful approaches, diet and training have more in common than they do apart.
Your approach is much healthier! Again, nicely done.

2. Originally Posted by ShaneSauce
Summer is over and school is back, I'm ready to get on my regular workout schedule and diet again.

I'm currently 6'1 270lbs around 20% BF I would say..

Looking to get down to 230-240 or so.

Tell me if I'm looking at this right..

230 x 16 = 3700 this is what I need to take in everyday to get to this weight correct?
270 pounds x 4cal for each gram of protein, so 270g of protein a day and 1100 cals come from that.
How many carbs do I need?
Fat?
You got the first bit right, provided you're certain that your activity will be moderate.

The second question I'm not going to answer directly, a pain, but I'm going to ask you to read my previous article -

http://www.wannabebig.com/diet-and-n...eting-collide/

and this section of the last article -

Determining Macro-Nutrient Split

My preference is to set protein intake as constant (between 1-2 g/lb of lean target bodyweight), fat intake should cover your requirements for Essential Fatty Acids (approximately 20 g - Fish Oil is a great way to achieve this), and beyond that, it’s your choice as to how many carbohydrate calories you displace with fat, based on your individual tolerance for carbohydrates.

As we go through this process, keep in mind the calorific value of each macronutrient: 1 g of protein is the equivalent of 4 kcal, 1 g of carbohydrate is also 4 kcal, and 1 g of fat yields 9 kcal.

Our target is 3760 kcal. Protein is a constant and set at 1.5 g/lb which totals to 322 g (1.5 x 215) per day.

Fat is set at a minimum of 20 g, but I prefer to hit 0.5 g/lb of bodyweight, which is 118 g (0.5 x 235) per day.

After these two values are set, it’s simply a case of adding enough carbohydrate and additional fat and/or protein to hit the total.

Carbohydrate is matched to activity and tolerance, and in this example, we currently have 322 g of protein and 118 g of fat for a sum of 2350 kcal (322×4 kcal + 118×9 kcal), which is 1410 kcal short of the total.

To hit 1410 kcal, you’d need approximately 350 g (1410/4) of carbohydrate. However, there are no set rules for carbohydrate intake, and you could just as easily split the remaining 1400 kcal between fat and carbohydrate, which we will do for this example.

Our guy will be taking in 238 g carbohydrate and an extra 50 g of fat.

His daily total will be 322 g of protein, 238 g of carbohydrate, and 168 g of fat for a total of 3760 kcal per day.

I do this so that you can understand why it's not for me to tell you what those to macros should be, rather for you to determine for yourself, so that you don't get too hung up in the details. Thanks for reading the article and for taking the time and effort to comment.

3. I created a diet based on this and its worked pretty well since the article came out. I haven't seen a change yet, but I don't feel like I'm dying at the end of the day... Its not rigid but this is an example of a typical day... Diet

Edit: forgot to mention that I took out all milk... added the 2 servings of opticen as one meal... I have a meal now after my single serving of nitrean late in the day. (meat and veggies... no carbs) finally before bed I down two servings of nitrean with water. The macros are more or less the same anyway.

4. So I can see around 1000-1200 of my calories coming from protein, and the other 2500 calories should come from either carbs, fats, or more protein?

It makes sense but it seems like if I took in more carbs my progress would be a bit slower.

My activity level is moderate now that I'm not in football.
More time to lift weights!

5. Originally Posted by ShaneSauce
So I can see around 1000-1200 of my calories coming from protein, and the other 2500 calories should come from either carbs, fats, or more protein?

It makes sense but it seems like if I took in more carbs my progress would be a bit slower.

My activity level is moderate now that I'm not in football.
More time to lift weights!
Sorry, I missed something in your previous post, your protein intake is based on lean body mass NOT target bodyweight, in your case approximately (this is an assumption based on target weight and current bodyfat estimate) 210lbs lean body mass ie 230-240 less 10%bf.

This would put your protein intake at 315g (at 1.5g per pound LBM) which is 1260kcal.

So now you're looking at where to get 2500kcal.

Well the article states that as a minimum you should be at 0.5g x target bodyweight which in your case is 115g, 1035kcal.

This leaves you with about 1500kcal to find.

Read the extract I posted previously as the figures there pretty much match yours.

I don't understand your statement regarding carbohydrate intake slowing progress (which I'm assuming in this case is fat loss) when you're in a calorie deficit, which you will be.

6. 315g of protein a day?

Holy crap..

I get 70 from my shake at lunch.
60 from 2 chicken sandwiches I get at lunch.
Another shake when I get home.
I'm guessing I would have to eat tuna or chicken every night for dinner?

Ah its gonna be hard packing in 315g a day.

7. Originally Posted by ShaneSauce
315g of protein a day?

Holy crap..

I get 70 from my shake at lunch.
60 from 2 chicken sandwiches I get at lunch.
Another shake when I get home.
I'm guessing I would have to eat tuna or chicken every night for dinner?

Ah its gonna be hard packing in 315g a day.
Doesn't have to be 1.5g per lb lean body mass, drop it to 1g which is 210g of protein per day.

That leaves you now with 1900kcal to find. Swings and roundabouts!

8. Daniel, I've been trying this approach since you posted the article. I just wanted to say thanks and so far it's working very well. I weighed myself today and I'm down 10 lbs. My lean mass to fat ratio is improving and my strength is rising nicely. In fact, I would have bet that I'd gained weight because It apears that I'm gaining lean bodyweight, but that may just be an illusion. Thanks for this simple plan. I just picked a goal, did the calculations, layed out a diet on FitDay, and stuck to it. Simple.

9. Seeing as i have done both a bulk and cut cycle and neither really made me happy, im going to follow your advise Daniel. However, i still have some trouble with understanding the following issue. As it is stated in the article, you pick a target bodyweight and multiply it with your particular activity level, to get the total amount of calories per day. Where i get lost however, is that 200, 10% bf would need different calories than 200, 20%bf. How would i go about incorporating that? Due to the fact that muscle needs more calories than fat, the 10% bf guy would need more calories in my opinion than the 20% bf guy, or am i completely seeing this wrong?

Thanks for any help.

10. Originally Posted by Off Road
Daniel, I've been trying this approach since you posted the article. I just wanted to say thanks and so far it's working very well. I weighed myself today and I'm down 10 lbs. My lean mass to fat ratio is improving and my strength is rising nicely. In fact, I would have bet that I'd gained weight because It apears that I'm gaining lean bodyweight, but that may just be an illusion. Thanks for this simple plan. I just picked a goal, did the calculations, layed out a diet on FitDay, and stuck to it. Simple.
No worries and good effort. And I would bet also that you've gained lean bodyweight.

It'll become apparent in further articles but getting bigger and stronger and leaner are simple processes (distill the science and the processes down and it's still simple) and I like simple, they're just not easy, it's hard work but you sir seem to have got that nailed.

11. Originally Posted by LuNalicious
Seeing as i have done both a bulk and cut cycle and neither really made me happy, im going to follow your advise Daniel. However, i still have some trouble with understanding the following issue. As it is stated in the article, you pick a target bodyweight and multiply it with your particular activity level, to get the total amount of calories per day. Where i get lost however, is that 200, 10% bf would need different calories than 200, 20%bf. How would i go about incorporating that? Due to the fact that muscle needs more calories than fat, the 10% bf guy would need more calories in my opinion than the 20% bf guy, or am i completely seeing this wrong?

Thanks for any help.
No you're not seeing it wrong it was a slight omission on my part. The formula has been worked out for all bodyweights but at a target bodyfat of approx 10%.
The implication being that for the biggest sample of trainees 20% bf at any weight is not going to be a goal. That's not to say it isn't a goal for some.

12. Originally Posted by Daniel Roberts
No you're not seeing it wrong it was a slight omission on my part. The formula has been worked out for all bodyweights but at a target bodyfat of approx 10%.
The implication being that for the biggest sample of trainees 20% bf at any weight is not going to be a goal. That's not to say it isn't a goal for some.

Ah ok, that is understandable.

Im not quite sure what you mean with particular circumstances, but i am currently 220 pounds at around 18% bf. If any more is needed i can provide you with it. Thanks for the help.

13. Ah ok, no problem then. Good luck.

14. Great posts. I was wondering how genetics fit into the equation, or do they?

15. Good question. With a few exceptions, no-one is that different that the standard suck it and see, adjust as required recommendations in the article won't cover variances in caloric requirements.

Short answer, but that's it. Getting bigger, getting stronger, getting leaner all boil down to a few simple principles that if applied will work on everyone.

16. First off, let me say that I really like this approach to reaching one's goals.

I'm glad it got clarified regarding LBM protein calculations vs basing it on target weight. However, the overall caloric intake is still based on the target weight correct?

For instance, I'm 260lbs and I'm not sure of BF%, but I'm sure it's 20 or higher. I set an initial goal of 210lbs at 10%. Is this too lofty or should I set a more mid range goal? At 210x14, that's 2940 cals a day. Seems like a lot I guess. That puts 1g of protein at 189 or 756 cals or 1.5g protein at 283.5g or 1134 cals right? Fat would be 105g or 945 cals, which either leaves me with 1239 cals or 309g carbs or 861 cals or 215g carbs.

In my case, which protein intake might you recommend? I sometimes find it hard now, just getting 200g of protein in.

I was getting confused on how bf% played into your equations. You mentioned they're based on 10% goal regardless of body weight. What then, would starting BF% have to do with this line of thinking?

17. Just a quick update...

I've been following this plan since it was posted. My weight is now down under 230 lbs and my strength keeps rising. That's a drop of about 15 lbs and I know I haven't lost any muscle from it. If anything, it's improving. Just 10 more pounds to goal.

18. Originally Posted by Off Road
Just a quick update...

I've been following this plan since it was posted. My weight is now down under 230 lbs and my strength keeps rising. That's a drop of about 15 lbs and I know I haven't lost any muscle from it. If anything, it's improving. Just 10 more pounds to goal.
Are you still fallowing this plan off road and if so how is it going?

19. Originally Posted by View 1
Are you still fallowing this plan off road and if so how is it going?
I have been about 90% consistent with it the past few weeks. I am holding steady at 230 lbs and strength keeps going up a little at a time. I'll probably have to be 100% consistent or lower the target weight a little to make it to my goal of 220 lbs.

20. Originally Posted by Off Road
I have been about 90% consistent with it the past few weeks. I am holding steady at 230 lbs and strength keeps going up a little at a time. I'll probably have to be 100% consistent or lower the target weight a little to make it to my goal of 220 lbs.
Thanks for the reply off road. I have been reading alot of Lyle McDonald's stuff lately and this article is similar to what he recommends as well. Ive always used carb cycling in the past but I also realize that I am not a bodybuilder and I am not a powerlifter, I keep my workouts simple and I am getting bigger and stronger why not do the same with my diet ( plus I wont lie I like carbs ). I have some more reading to do but starting April 1st I think I am going to switch over to this, but go off Lyle's recommendations and shoot for a lower overall calorie intake as I want to lose fat a little faster than a little slower ( but not to fast ).

I will also keep it protein/carb for the first half of the day ( minus workout days ) and protein/fats the second half of the day, and every 2-3 weeks retake weight and make any small adjustments from there.

Lyle also recommends refeeds, but you can also just do 2 cheat meals instead ( dont go super overboard ) and this would work out perfect as that is what I do anyway.

21. View 1, you mentioned Lyle Mcdonald. I did a portion of the RFL plan a few weeks back after a 6 to 8 month mild bulk. After gaining 15 lbs with a lot of fat on my bulk, I did 2 weeks of the RFL, took a two week break but its too strict for me to continue. That is why this article caught my eye. Id rather not bulk and cut, and I think with carbs at 48 to 50% of my total calories on the bulk, I guess I dont tolorate the carbs well so they went to my waist.

Im currently at 148lb now 5'2 male with 18 to 20% body fat. I really wanted to see 145 at 10%bf by this summer, then up another 5 to 10 lbs of LBM by next summer. I had cut down to 135 at 13% last summer since I was cutting down from a fatty due to bad habits. Anyway, Im looking at around 2000 calories total (145x14) with around 200g protein and around 65g fat. I may choose more fat just so limit my carbs. Sound good? Should I also go for a lower calorie intake since im trying to drop this fat by summer?

22. ## A little help please

Ok, first post, Hi to everyone, and thanks Daniel for such a great article.

I understand the math, I don't know how to pick a goal weight, and I was hoping for some help.

I am 33, almost 34, 6'1 to 6'2, currently ~227 lbs, ~27% body fat. I really don't care what the scale says my weight is, I want to have a bigger upperbody and get leaner and more defined. My lower body is strong, and well defined, when I flex my legs, the quads and calves pop out and you can see the different muscles. My upper body is really weak (which may have helped with the back injury) and i have a lot of fat around my waist.

I was at 241 pounds about 3 months ago, and I had back surgery back in 2008, which I am still recovering from. I was too hasty in ramping up my exercise, and my hip went out of whack, and is just now recovering.

I have been lifting weights (upper body only so I don't mess my hip up again) and I started out light (again so I didn't reinjure myself) Started benching at 60 pounds, now I am up to 120, maxed out at 140 4 reps. This is my best performance ever, even back in highschool my best bench was 110. Upper body has always been weak.

since loosing the 14 pounds or so, I have gotten compliments on my smaller arms. she meant leaner. I have also noticed my stomach buldge is getting smaller.

I lift weights 3 times a week, cardio 5 times a week, and was trying to get around 2300 calories.

I guess I just don't know what my target weight should be. I definately think I could pack on some LBM in the upper body, I just don't know how to pick a number that makes sense. My wife goes gaga for the Rock, but says I wouldn't look good that big, "too rippily" she says.

I travel a lot for my job, and I can usually hit an eliptical machine (can't jog yet, stupid hip) and I bring push up bars with me trying to keep the muscle. Diet when I travel is obviously hard, but I try to go for more protein and good carbs (salad little dressing, veggies) over normal carbs if possible.

Any recommendations? I would appreciate it.

Sorry for the long post.

23. Don't worry about the length of the post and I'm glad you liked the article.

Without going into too much detail I'd pick a target bodyweight of 200lbs at a low activity level. That should take you from your current LBM of 166lbs and 61lbs bodyfat to 180lbs lbm and approx 20lbs bodyfat for a 200lbs total.

You have enough bodyfat currently that you can gain muscle whilst losing fat provided you consistently hit your daily target intake and consistently do the training.

Your calorie intake will be 200lbs x14 = 2800kcal.

If you don't lose weight over a two week period on this intake (provided you're consistent) then decrease by 250kcal and re-evaluate in another 2 weeks.

I suggest finding a good program, 5x5, HCT-12 whatever and getting your exercise performance, especially squat and deadlift type movements analysed by someone to allow you to perform them and prevent further injury.

You should be close to target in 6 months time, just be consistent and re-evaluate every two weeks.When you get close to 200lbs let me know and we'll make some tweaks to make sure you hit it.

24. ## Thank you Dan

I appreciate the quick feedback.

I was reading the HCT12 last night, I think you wrote that as well, and it looks like the plan for me, when I am not travelling.

I currently have no travel plans for the next 4 weeks, so I am going to hit it hard and see what happens. I was just given clearance to start lower body training, so the timing is perfect. I will probably still go light on the lower body just to be careful.

200 pounds, that sounds good. I could always increase my calories slowly after I hit that goal if I wanted to get bigger. Right?

I do have one question though. Why did you pick low intensity level? the 14 calorie level instead of the 16? Is it so that my body pulls the extra calories needed from my body fat to make up the difference?

I was looking at the HCT12 4 day workout, and I read that since I have 41 pounds of extra fat on my body, I should continue to do cardio, but smaller amounts? I currently do cardio for 75 minutes, low to medium intensity, trying to stay at the top of the fat burning heart rate or the bottom of the cardio heart rate. It looks like I should spend more time lifting and less time on cardio, maybe cut down to 30 mins a day on those 4 days?

When I am home, I lift for 45 minutes, doing 2 sets of 8 reps at about 70% of max, but I do lots of different exercises. 4 chests, 3 shoulders 3 biceps, etc. I really like the one exercise per movement type. It means I can hit the area harder since it is the only time I will work it that day. But I have a newbie question. Will I really get the overall buff look with just one exercise per movement? I have heard and read over and over that the bench press works one section, the incline works the top, the decline works the bottom, flies work the middle, then you have incline flies etc etc. I don't doubt you at all, I am just wondering if I was doing it wrong all this time.

Now I need to go read about nutrition and find some good supliments. I was looking for a nice whey protien powder that I can mix into water or my powerade zero to boost protein but not make it taste like a shake. Any suggestions?

Thanks again for all the help, I think this and the HCT12 is really going to push me over the edge and start me where I want to go.

25. I appreciate the quick feedback.

I was reading the HCT12 last night, I think you wrote that as well, and it looks like the plan for me, when I am not travelling.
Yup, that's me.

I currently have no travel plans for the next 4 weeks, so I am going to hit it hard and see what happens. I was just given clearance to start lower body training, so the timing is perfect. I will probably still go light on the lower body just to be careful.

200 pounds, that sounds good. I could always increase my calories slowly after I hit that goal if I wanted to get bigger. Right?
That's right.

I do have one question though. Why did you pick low intensity level? the 14 calorie level instead of the 16? Is it so that my body pulls the extra calories needed from my body fat to make up the difference?
Correct.

I was looking at the HCT12 4 day workout, and I read that since I have 41 pounds of extra fat on my body, I should continue to do cardio, but smaller amounts? I currently do cardio for 75 minutes, low to medium intensity, trying to stay at the top of the fat burning heart rate or the bottom of the cardio heart rate. It looks like I should spend more time lifting and less time on cardio, maybe cut down to 30 mins a day on those 4 days?
If you want to cut down, do so, but consider when writing something like that I have to apply it for the majority of the people reading it, not specific cases - so your call.

When I am home, I lift for 45 minutes, doing 2 sets of 8 reps at about 70% of max, but I do lots of different exercises. 4 chests, 3 shoulders 3 biceps, etc. I really like the one exercise per movement type. It means I can hit the area harder since it is the only time I will work it that day. But I have a newbie question. Will I really get the overall buff look with just one exercise per movement? I have heard and read over and over that the bench press works one section, the incline works the top, the decline works the bottom, flies work the middle, then you have incline flies etc etc. I don't doubt you at all, I am just wondering if I was doing it wrong all this time.
Yes you will get the overall 'buff look' following this program - re-read the 'Exercise Selection' and 'Isolation vs Compound' sections in the 'Principles' article.

You don't need to train the muscle from every angle, some variation is ok and is catered for in the program.

Now I need to go read about nutrition and find some good supliments.
Have you read the Nutrition aspect of the HCT-12? That'll set you straight and also the Supplements piece.

I was looking for a nice whey protien powder that I can mix into water or my powerade zero to boost protein but not make it taste like a shake. Any suggestions?
Afraid not, it's something I'd like too.
Thanks again for all the help, I think this and the HCT12 is really going to push me over the edge and start me where I want to go.
Stick with and be consistent and it will. Good luck!

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