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Muscle-Building Workout and Diet

What’s going on, guys? Sean Nalewanyj, with a quick
Q&A video here. And the question today is how long should
you cut before bulking? This is a common question I get. What is the proper length of a cutting phase
and so I’m going to answer that question here, assuming that your goal is the traditional
aesthetic physique, meaning that you want to be both muscular and decently lean as well. So the answer here is pretty straight forward
and that is that your cutting phase should last however long it needs to last in order
for you to get down to around twelve percent body fat, give or take. If you want to be a bit leaner, maybe eleven
percent or ten percent, that’s fine. And if you want to bulk from a slightly higher
percentage, maybe thirteen or fourteen percent that’s usually okay as long as we’re talking
about a true thirteen to fourteen percent and not a YouTube thirteen to fourteen percent,
which apparently equates to being morbidly obese. But around twelve percent where your abs is
decently visible in good lighting that would be about the right point to start a lean bulk
from. And for women that usually would mean somewhere
around about eighteen to twenty percent mark. One of the big mistakes that a lot of beginners
make is trying to commit to a focus bulking phase from too high a body fat percentage. Keep in mind that anytime you put the primary
focus on gaining muscle, by eating in a calorie surplus, you will gain some body fat along
the way and you’re never going to lose body fat during that phase. It’s a one way street. So whatever fat you do gain is going to be
stuck with you throughout your entire bulking phase, and you aren’t going to able to lose
that fat until you consciously decide to switch gears and focus on fat loss. So what often happens is that a guy will start
bulking from, say seventeen percent body fat and then very quickly they start feeling unhappy
with how their body looks, and then they lose motivation and they fall off track. Even if you think that you don’t care about
gaining fat and that you just want to be big, you’ll probably pretty quickly change your
mind once you actually start seeing that body fat beginning to pile on. It’s never fun and I don’t think that
anybody truly enjoys it. So by committing to your cutting phase all
the way through until you get down to a good twelve percent body fat or so, you’re going
to be setting yourself up for a much healthier and better structured bulking phase because
as long as you go about it properly and you only stick to a small and controlled calorie
surplus, you’ll be able to maintain a decent level of leanness for a much longer period
of time. And, if you like the way you look, then you’re
going to be much more motivated and your chances of falling off track and then yoyo-ing back
and forth between bulking and cutting is going to much lower, that’s a very common thing. And also keep in mind that if you’re a beginner
and you structure your plan properly there’s actually a decent chance that you’ll be
able to gain a bit of muscle while you’re cutting down at the same time. It won’t be to the same degree that you’d
get by eating in a straight surplus, but it is possible to put on muscle during a cutting
phase, whereas during a bulking phase you’re never going to lose body fat. Now, some guys will say that they don’t
want to cut down first because they’re afraid that it’s going to make them look too skinny. But the reality is that if you have low levels
of muscular development in combination with high body fat, and your ultimate goal is a
lean and muscular body then your initial phase of training, whether you decide to bulk or
cut, is probably going to result in a physique that temporarily you’re not satisfied with. But if you truly want to build a great body
then you have to accept that it requires time and patience and hard work, and there’s
no magic bullet that’s going to take you straight from where you are now straight to
your ideal physique. So you have to think long term here, and understand
that even if cutting down to twelve percent body fat does temporarily give you a thinner
appearance, it’s ultimately just a stepping stone on the path to your final goal. And that it’s going to be an improvement
from where you are now regardless. I mean, being skinny lean is still going to
be better than being skinny fat. And again, keep in mind that you might actually
gain muscle during the process anyway. So the bottom line here, how long should you
cut before bulking? Assuming that your goal is to commit to a
focus bulking phase after your cut is over and to gain some additional size and strength,
your cutting phase should last however long it needs to last in order to get down to about
twelve percent body fat where your abs is visible. And the specific length of time that that’s
going to take really just depends on how high your body fat levels are to begin with and
how closely you stick to your program. And then once you get down to that twelve
percent level you can then shift the focus from cutting to bulking. And I’ll link a video that I did on that
a few weeks ago that outlines how to properly make that transition. I’ll link here on the screen and also in
the description box below. So, I hope this was helpful. If you do want to grab a complete step-by-step
plan that shows how to lay out a complete cutting or bulking phase from A to Z, the
workouts the meal plans, supplement guides and one-on-one coaching so that you can get
result as efficiently as possible then you can check out my Body Transformation Blueprint
by clicking here or by visiting the link for that is in the description. Make sure to follow me on social media here
if you aren’t already, the link for that are also in the description. The official website is and
if you did enjoy the video make sure to hit the like button, share, leave a comment and
subscribe to stay up to date. Thanks again for watching, guys. And I’ll talk to you again soon.

68 thoughts on “How Long To Cut Before Bulking? (Ideal Cutting Phase Length)

  1. When do you start cutting for summer? I am sure it will be different depending on each individual. Would you say give yourself 2 or 3 months if you are looking to be at your goal by May?

  2. Could you go into more depth about how it is possible to gain a small amount of muscle mass by cutting and also does the body burn fat before it burns muscle in a cutting phase?

  3. Hello Sean, I would like to know if its possible to cut down the fat and build the muscles at the same time. As per my knowledge, caloric deficit drops the body fat whereas caloric surplus adds the muscle mass. So, I am not having a clear vision about the bulking and cutting. From the last 7 months, I am trying to drop my body fat below 15 percent but I am not being able to do so. I train four hours a day. 2 hours in the morning (boxing training) and 2 hours in the evening (weight). I am eating extremely healthy. But I am not being able to achieve the goal. I am quite disappointed. Any suggestions for me?
    Thank you.

  4. Most people aren't honest with their body fat percentages that's the problem. They under estimate how low their body fat percentages are. Unless you're competing on stage, I think its unnecessary to worry about percentages. Just lean down until you look good

  5. Thank you Sean! I've been wondering what I've been doing wrong for a long time until I watched this video.
    Best fitness channel hands down.

  6. Hey man! I really respect and trust your opinion on fitness related topics, so i would love to hear your opinion on mini cutting!
    It would be awesome if you could make a video about it!

  7. I dirty bulked and my body fat percentage has gone really high and I have been cutting for a few months and have lost some weight but I still don't have any muscle definition at all and have still a lot of fat on my my stomach and love handles ???

  8. Sorry Sean but I don't agree with the notion that you can't burn fat at the same time as building muscle. It's a hard line to walk but it is definitely possible.

  9. If you're vegan, eating healthy whole foods, you never have to cut. I am vegan and I eat some junk foods as well but I am still lean year-round. Cheers !

  10. Great video! I was this skinny guy that was tired of being skinny and started working out but then, after gaining over 40 lbs over 2 years realised that I just look like a very disappointing bigger version of myself and decided to start my first cut ever 2 months ago.

  11. I've got visible abdominal muscles. I'm not sitting here fat. I've got quite a bit of love handle left, but I'm not fat by any medical definition of the word.

  12. +Sean Nalewanyi Sean, I have been cutting for a while and the BMI Machine says I am 8% Body fat. I can see my abs in good lighting and a bit of my v line too but not my bottom abs, as I do have a little bit of lower abdominal fat. Would you still recommend me to transition to a lean bulk?! Your advice would be much appreciated 🙂

  13. Solid, smart, sensible advice Sean. I'm reigning in on the 12% mark and am very close and am very happy with how I look already. Strength has taken a bit of a dip. I used to want to be 8% bodyfat – but now I realize just how lean that is now that I'm approaching it. Not sure if it's realistic. What really grinds my gears about cutting naturally though is the massive drop in testosterone. I have never experienced such a massive decline and dieting over a year has also made me borderline hypothyroid. Would be interested to hear your experience in this area, Sean. I've been to the doctor after losing 24kg and my testosterone level was abysmally low to the point where I'm now considering 250mg of test enanthate a week to combat the drop!

  14. Hey Sean, great video as usual.

    What bodyfat % would you say I am here?

    Do you think 11% is too low? 12%? I'm 5'5.2 tall at 130 lbs in boxers.

  15. sean i just want to say, you are one of the very few people i take seriously to seek fitness advice. i love how you are very straight foward and explain things very easily. it bothers me how you are underrated on youtube, because you trully are one of the best guys on youtube. thanks for all the info you share, i am one happy subscriber.

  16. sean i am 10-11 percent but i want to get leaner and its getting hard as hell, any tips? i do IF 3-4 days a week and track cals and do cardio and know how much i lose weight on but its hard to eat that low amount (2000 is what i maintain on) any less and i drop weight, still it's hard. i still have a little lower belly fat and it looks like shit and i only have a 4 pack , its so stubborn, my plans are to keep cutting and killing my abs and do HIIT and lots ot other cardio until the last 2 abs show

  17. This guy knows his stuff, his video on recommended way to transition from cut to bulk is spot on, Sean, not sure if you've done a video on carb cyclin or benefits of adding re feed days while cutting, but that would be great man

  18. if by bulking you are going to put on some body fat, then what is the best time of the year to bulk? i've heard that most bodybuilders bulk in the winter so they can start cutting again somewhere around spring in order to look lean and muscular during summer. What's your opinion sean?

  19. Good video brother, subscribed. Cut down from 20% to 16.5% since september. Plateau as my calories were too low. Upped them to 1730 (M, 16, 136lbs LIGHT af but gotta cut). Cutting takes forever :L

  20. I want to start bulking soon and I usually work out 3 days of the week very early about 4 If it's good because I usually eat all my calories after.none before is working out that early good for.bulking

  21. Hi Sean, I don"t have alot of subcutageous fat. In the morning when i wake up my belly is olmost flat, but when i start to bulk up, my belly gets big at the evening. Meaning i got alot of visceral fat im guessing? Should i cut or not? Btw my Waist is: 31 inches and height 6'1. This is considered as good so i don't understand why i got a belly 🙁

  22. How long to Cut and how long to (Lean) Bulk (or gain Mass)…?
    As an advanced trainee (42y.o. and over 25years of working out) I did a rather long Cut from 20+%BF tot 10%BF right now.
    This took me about a year and was of course rather hard to do.

    My diet is and stays on point: Calorie set (Katch-McArdle), Macros protein 1g/pound; Fat 25% ; Carbs the rest. 80%whole unprocessed food, rest "flexible diet", set Meal timing with a fixed Diet Structure (several protein bolus throughout the day, Whey after workout, Casein before bedtime), no magical supplements (only 5g creatin, 3g omega3 fish oils, a multivitamin and some Vit.D).

    (Very happy with my physique right now, but of course still aiming for some hypertrophy, realizing that I am probably near my genetic muscle building limitations at my level of training.) After some weeks at Maintenance calorie level I went into a (Lean) Bulk phase with a slight calorie surplus of 100-150cal/day.
    Of course I still want the scale to go up and experience workout gainz (more strength, more workout volume week after week, aka progressive overload) ; on the other hand I am afraid to gain fat, since I never want to Cut for such a long time again.

    So I still wonder how to alternate my (Lean) Bulk versus Cut Phases in the future.

    – Some "Youtube-experts" I follow and respect for their opinions say one should juggle between cutting and bulking based upon BodyFat% (start bulk at 10-12%BF and end bulk when 14-15%BF).

    – Others state that one should periodize the caloric balance in fixed phases for example 3months of bulking, 2weeks maintenance, 2months of cutting, 2weeks maintenance, and so on…
    The reason to chose for this last option is because after 3months of bulking one should become less and less sensitive to anabolic stimuli And after a few months of cutting is becomes harder and herder to lean down because of slowing down metabolism and diet fatigue.

    I guess both camps have something to say for them. Point is I believe both of these opinions…
    Which one to chose?
    What is your opinion on this matter?

  23. I've never bulked in my life. I've been focusing on a cut for awhile since my starting point was on the chubby side = and from what hearing, bulking does not sound fun at all. Sounds uncomfortable and messing lol.

  24. HI Sean, I am 41 years old, and just discovered/started strength training a month ago and am fast becoming a fan of your channel as you seem to always have the most comprehensive and direct videos regarding this subject matter. So to the point, I am in the midst of newbie gains. Should I bulk to maximize those gains first as I understand its a once in a lifetime thing? Some background, My long term and life fitness goal will always be building strength. I am 5 foot 5, and about 15/16 percent body fat. I am down from 18, when I first started cutting. Thank you and keep up the great work!

  25. perfect video and info. Just got a dxa scan and apparently I'm actually 12% but might try to get to 10 before bulking…not sure yet how fast to gain.

  26. im at 20% body fat should i cut down to 10%? Thats about 15+ kgs though and id lose a lot of muscle if i did that i think 🙁 I let my bulk get out of hand and im about 205 lbs

  27. very organized video. thx a lot
    im 18% BF with ffmi 21.2 but im not satisfied actually. seems that i should continue cutting fat down but afraid of looking like a twig 🙁

  28. 12% BF once you could see your abs basically. Ok.

    I'm at 22% as far as I know. I wonder how long that's gonna take.

  29. Lol, no wonder Why I yoyo all the time. Cutting sucks cuz you look skinnier, but like u said this will never end up until I go down to 12. Thanks for the video.

  30. Body fat pct doesn’t mean much since it’s so hard to determine accurately. But, abs showing is something that’s doable.

  31. I started bulking from 12% in november now at 14% going to go another month and then do a small cut also dont makenthe mistake of never doing abs thats not good hit abs 3 to 4 times a week and only aim for around 1 pound per month

  32. How do I find out my body fat percentage? I've tried using calculators on google but different types give me different answers and I really don't know what to consider reliable..

  33. cut until 11-13 percent body fat, okay, but how on earth do I know my body fat percentage when all the online calculators are so untrustworthy? Some tell me I'm as low as 6% body fat and others have told me I'm as high as like 22%, what do I trust?? I'm clearly neither of those extremes and don't know how to really tell. I know some people say to "cut until you see your abs" but I'm new to working out so I'm not sure if my abs are even developed enough to be very visible at 12% body fat.

  34. This is very helpful… I always say "i dont care, I'm gunna get big , dont care about the excess fat ! " and then when I actually see my body fat rising I flip the fuck out and then go super cut again. Glad I'm not the only one..

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