Let’s say you have been putting on size for the past 6 months. All of your lifts have gone up, your chest, arms and legs are thicker and you are getting comments from others about your increased size. When you are making gains on a bulk it can be hard to stop for the inevitable cut – you just want to keep on getting bigger!
The hard truth is that, unless you have amazing genetics, you are going to put on some fat along with that muscle. Over time that fat will accumulate to the point where your gains are far less noticeable. As a result, you are better off burning the fat to increase your definition. Funny enough- most people actually look more muscular after a cut as their muscles become more defined. So how do you know when it’s time to stop bulking and start cutting? Check out our list of indicators below.
1 – You Look More Like a Powerlifter Than a Bodybuilder
Look, we aren’t trying to talk shit about powerlifters. These guys are amazing athletes and train very hard at what they do. Having said that, they aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing to look at. Most people get into bodybuilding to make themselves look better, so don’t lose sight of that goal. If you are staying on your bulk so you can keep increasing your lifts at the expense of additional body fat gain, you are compromising your vision.
Look at yourself in the mirror – do you look like a cut bodybuilder or a round powerlifter carrying some extra fat? While increasing your lifts is definitely important it shouldn’t be at the expense of your appearance.
2 – You Need to Order 2 Entrees
Portion sizes (particularly in the USA) are already way too high. For the average fit person it should be more than enough calories to keep you feeling full for hours. However, if you regularly finding yourself preparing an extra dish, or ordering an extra entree at the restaurant – you are getting too big.
At this point your calorie surplus is likely so high that you are putting on lots of fat along with that muscle. While it might result in some great performance in the gym in the short run, ultimately you will end up looking fat and unaesthetic.
3 – You Find Yourself Looking Up Fat Loss Tips
If you are even considering the possibility of a cut, chances are you need one. Most guys don’t start thinking about cutting unless they are concerned with the body fat they are carrying. However, they will look for excuses to continue their bulk. It can be tricky to make the transition, as you will likely feel hungry from not getting as many calories as you are used to. That’s where a fat burner can help you.
The reason most people struggle with diets is that they feel low energy and hungry. It makes sense given that your body is getting fewer nutrients yet is still expected to burn as many calories as it usually does. A fat burner, however, can help bridge the gap. A high quality supplement will be loaded with natural ingredients that help boost metabolism, increase energy levels and suppress hunger. As a result, you won’t have those nasty food cravings you usually get when on a diet. Obviously a high quality fat burner won’t be cheap, but when you are able to show off that great body you worked to build you won’t be thinking about the price.
The fat burner industry has changed a lot over the past few years. A lot of products out there used to be scams to be honest – low-quality crap that didn’t produce any results – so it’s normal to be skeptical. We’ve spent a lot of time researching the top products out there in order to help you guys out. Click here to check out our fat burner page to learn more. It’s loaded with tips like which ingredients to look for and even lists out our favorite products currently on the market. If you are on the fence about trying one of these products just give it a shot – it might be the jolt you need to finally get the gains you want.
4 – You Can’t Do Bodyweight Exercises
How many dips and pull-ups can you do? If you have been bulking for a while and your answer only a few or even 0 – you need to cut. Bodyweight exercises are one of the most effective ways to objectively measure your relative strength. Benching 85 pound dumbbells is great, but if you can’t do a single dip it means you are actually not very strong in relative terms.
If you struggle with these exercises, start cutting and watch as you are able to do more. Dips and pull ups are some of the best exercises out there so you definitely shouldn’t be skipping them just because you weigh too much to do a single rep.
5 – You Can’t See Your Toes
Look down – can you see your toes? If not, you are too fat. Unless You have the biggest pecs in the world this should be a clear indication that you need a cut. Remember, the point of bodybuilding is to improve your appearance. If you have a gut sticking out nobody is going to give a shit how strong or muscular you are – they will just classify you as out of shape.
Always keep your bodyfat levels within a reasonable threshold – such as 15%. That way you will always look muscular and cut, even when nearing the end of a bulk. There’s no point in putting in all that work if you are going to spend have the year looking like Amy Schumer.
6 – Do What Feels Right
Sometimes you will be on the fence. You are 13-14% bodyfat, still able to do dips and pull-ups, still making solid gains but something just doesn’t feel right. At the end of the day you want to be comfortable with the way you look. If you start avoiding the mirror because you don’t like how you are accumulating extra fat then switch to a cut.