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  1. #1
    Registered User randombeginner1's Avatar
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    Newbie here, looking for advice on whether to continue cutting or begin bulking.

    Hey everyone, I'm a beginner weight lifter, just started training around 1 year ago. I did a dumb bulk and a dumb cut cycle before figuring out how it's supposed to be done correctly. Just recovered from a knee surgery, so as you can tell from the photos, my left leg is significantly weaker than my right.

    Anyways, I'm 5'3" with an estimated TDEE of 2200kcals per day. I'm currently doing a 1800kcal per day cut. I've never seen a 6 pack despite being relatively thin my whole life. Currently my stomach is flat without much pinchable fat when standing straight. If I sit down/hunch there's quite a bit of pinchable stuff there. Do I keep cutting until I can easily see my abs? Looking for advice on whether to continue cutting or bulking from here. I've included my progress from July 2020 to July 2021. Any help would be much appreciated.
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    Last edited by randombeginner1; 07-21-2021 at 03:12 PM.
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  2. #2
    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    Begin using a proper workout program.

    And change that blue face towel.
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  3. #3
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    Originally Posted by randombeginner1 View Post
    Hey everyone, I'm a beginner weight lifter, just started training around 1 year ago. I did a dumb bulk and a dumb cut cycle before figuring out how it's supposed to be done correctly. Just recovered from a knee surgery, so as you can tell from the photos, my left leg is significantly weaker than me right.

    Anyways, I'm 5'3" with an estimated TDEE of 2200kcals per day. I'm currently doing a 1800kcal per day cut. I've never seen a 6 pack despite being relatively thin my whole life. Currently my stomach is flat without much pinchable fat when standing straight. If I sit down/hunch there's quite a bit of pinchable stuff there. Do I keep cutting until I can easily see my abs? Looking for advice on whether to continue cutting or bulking from here. I've included my progress from July 2020 to July 2021. Any help would be much appreciated.
    I'd start bulking.
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  4. #4
    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    Small caloric surplus and proven training program
    If you don't get what you want you didn't want it bad enough
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    Registered User sunsean's Avatar
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    You're not seeing your abs because they're not developed enough. Abs are like other muscles - to be visible/defined you need a combination of enlarged muscle and low body fat - that's what being "toned" is basically.

    Even at your height, 118lb is pretty lightweight. Add 15lb of muscle and I guarantee you'll be happier with your physique.

    Just be patient, building muscle is a slow process. Think years, not weeks or months.
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    Registered User randombeginner1's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sunsean View Post
    You're not seeing your abs because they're not developed enough. Abs are like other muscles - to be visible/defined you need a combination of enlarged muscle and low body fat - that's what being "toned" is basically.

    Even at your height, 118lb is pretty lightweight. Add 15lb of muscle and I guarantee you'll be happier with your physique.
    That...makes a lot of sense. I wasn't sure if I just needed to keep losing fat, but it makes sense that I wouldn't see a six pack if there's no muscle development. Also, I'm really glad to actually have some solid direction now. I felt like I was floating around in limbo. I'll definitely be patient and take it slower from here. Thank you so much for the feedback everyone! I'll do a slow bulk (250 calorie surplus a day) and aim to gain around two pounds a month. I'll also make sure to get on a proven training program (looking at the ones on this site for beginners).

    Just one more question...during this slow bulk would doing light cardio ~20 mins twice a week, spaced 12 hours after my lifting help keep some of the excess fat off? Or would it just end up adding extra fatigue and reducing gains?

    Thank you again for all the help! Also I'll make sure to change that blue towel! (although it's actually an asian loofah, still probably better to change it out)
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    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by randombeginner1 View Post

    Just one more question...during this slow bulk would doing light cardio ~20 mins twice a week, spaced 12 hours after my lifting help keep some of the excess fat off? Or would it just end up adding extra fatigue and reducing gains?

    )
    if you burn 400 or however many calories a week with cardio it doesn't directly burn fat off it just adds to your weekly calorie deficit. As far as fatigue that's something you'll just have to find out, also make sure it doesn't increase your appetite. Regardless, everyone should be doing cardio or some kind of conditioning. I have an elliptical rowing machine which is hands down the best cardio machine I've ever experienced. Teeter Power 10. Amazing. It will beat you up.
    If you don't get what you want you didn't want it bad enough
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  8. #8
    Registered User sunsean's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by randombeginner1 View Post
    That...makes a lot of sense. I wasn't sure if I just needed to keep losing fat, but it makes sense that I wouldn't see a six pack if there's no muscle development. Also, I'm really glad to actually have some solid direction now. I felt like I was floating around in limbo. I'll definitely be patient and take it slower from here. Thank you so much for the feedback everyone! I'll do a slow bulk (250 calorie surplus a day) and aim to gain around two pounds a month. I'll also make sure to get on a proven training program (looking at the ones on this site for beginners).

    Just one more question...during this slow bulk would doing light cardio ~20 mins twice a week, spaced 12 hours after my lifting help keep some of the excess fat off? Or would it just end up adding extra fatigue and reducing gains?

    Thank you again for all the help! Also I'll make sure to change that blue towel! (although it's actually an asian loofah, still probably better to change it out)
    EDIT ^^^ Tommy beat me to it

    Running in and of itself will have no impact on your fat levels beyond its affect on your TDEE. You're either eating a deficit, maintenance, or surplus - if after all considerations (NEAT, running, lifting, BMR etc) you are in a caloric surplus, you will gain weight. It's just math. For example, if you're running 20 minutes twice a week, you're probably burning total around 400 calories - so if you are eating a 250kcal surplus daily, your weekly surplus total goes from 1750 to 1350. This is just for explanation purposes, don't put much stock into the numbers.

    Also don't get that much into the weeds of the details - just lift with progressive overload and eat enough so the scale goes up slowly.

    Cardio is always a good idea IMO - lots of health benefits and it makes you a more well-rounded athlete, not just someone who lifts weights. Running has done more for my health and general well-being than anything else. But it's not necessary for lifting and fat management.
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  9. #9
    Registered User randombeginner1's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sunsean View Post
    EDIT ^^^ Tommy beat me to it

    Running in and of itself will have no impact on your fat levels beyond its affect on your TDEE. You're either eating a deficit, maintenance, or surplus - if after all considerations (NEAT, running, lifting, BMR etc) you are in a caloric surplus, you will gain weight. It's just math. For example, if you're running 20 minutes twice a week, you're probably burning total around 400 calories - so if you are eating a 250kcal surplus daily, your weekly surplus total goes from 1750 to 1350. This is just for explanation purposes, don't put much stock into the numbers.

    Also don't get that much into the weeds of the details - just lift with progressive overload and eat enough so the scale goes up slowly.

    Cardio is always a good idea IMO - lots of health benefits and it makes you a more well-rounded athlete, not just someone who lifts weights. Running has done more for my health and general well-being than anything else. But it's not necessary for lifting and fat management.
    All right, in that case I'll keep up the cardio for cardiovascular health. Thanks for taking the time to explain this stuff, it really helps me out a lot. So basically, when bulking, bulk. When cutting, cut. Don't try to do both at the same time. As you said, I'll keep it simple.

    Small surplus, progressive overload, slow and steady weight gain. And really, thank you guys for all the tips, you're awesome!
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