What to do first? Cut or building phase?
This is probably the most frequent question I get ask.” I want to start with my body transformation now, but which phase must I do first?”
Cutting and Building phases play a very important role in allowing the body to cope with the strain of training. Every 3 months during the Cutting Phase the weights are lighter with higher reps per set, allowing the tendons and joints a rest and time to recover and strengthen for the next attack with the Building Phase. It also has many other positive effects on health and the body in general.
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Just to clarify the terms:
- The phase by which you drop body fat while attempting to hang on to the muscle size.
- Lighter training (more reps per set), generally not to the point of failure.
- Fewer calories consumed.
- Usually 3 months in length.
- Can go as low as 4-5% body fat where competing athletes push the limits to 2-3% body fat levels for very short durations.
- The phase by which you slightly increase body fat to enable you to build bigger muscles.
- Train to muscle failure at low reps on EACH set to ignite growth.
- Slightly higher calories consumed (approximately 10% more than cutting phase – ALWAYS stick to 40/30/30 split – protein/carbs/fat).
- Usually 3 months in length.
- Should not go lower than 8% body fat otherwise you will struggle to add decent muscle size.
The answer is not a simple one and some factors needs to be considered. I think it will be best explained by going through a couple of scenarios.
Training status: beginner to moderate / Body fat levels: Above 10% / Goal: Shredded, muscled body.
ANSWER: Considering your goal of a shredded physique and the fact that you are not an advanced athlete and body fat levels are above 10% it is a clear sign that you should start with the Cutting Phase. In fact I would say that if your body fat levels are over 15% or 20% you should strongly consider an extended Cutting Phase until such time that it drops below a 10% level before you start alternating between the Phases.
Training Status: beginner to moderate / Body fat levels: 8% – 10% / Goal: Shredded, muscled body
ANSWER: For this scenario the freedom of choice is yours. Depending on how much you want that shredded look, I would suggest you decide. If it is all important, then start off with a 3 month Cutting Phase and then alternate with a 3 month Building Phase and repeat. If it is not all out important then nothing stops you from starting with the Building Phase in this scenario. The fact that you are a beginner to moderate athlete however would suggest the Cutting Phase could be a better option to start with since you might still not have all the techniques of the exercises fully under control and heavy intense training might put you in risk of injury.
Training Status: advanced / Body fat levels: between 8% – 10% / Goal: Shredded, muscled body
ANSWER: The exact same as above scenario with the difference that this is an advanced athlete. Due to this fact he/she will have strengthened tendons and joints and exercise technique should already been well under control. These facts lend to the suggest that such an athlete might rather want to start with the Building Phase (although he/she have complete freedom to decide).
Training Status: advanced / Body fat levels: below 8% / Goal: Shredded, muscled body
ANSWER: In this scenario the athlete is already in shredded territory (below 8% body fat). Unless it is a hardcore athlete that want to go down to like 5% body fat levels, the better choice here would be to do a Building Phase.
Training Status: advanced / Body fat levels: above 10% / Goal: muscled body
ANSWER: In this scenario the aim is just to get a muscled body (call it a Rugby player look). Body fat levels are not such a great concern to this person plus he is a rather advanced athlete that knows his technique. There is no reason why such a person should start with the Cutting Phase. He can start off with the Building Phase and from there onwards alternate every 3 months between Cutting and Building Phases.
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I hope this clears up the confusion. (BODY Transformation SYSTEMS worked out just for you: https://gertlouw.com/contact-me/)
Keep training hard and GROW!
3 thoughts on “Which to do first? Cutting or Building Phase?”
Hi Gert , I want to start with the cutting phase. Thank you , Attila
Really like your comments and your wisdom. it also helps to listen to someone who is 51 and not 25..I am 56, 5’10, 176, 12.5 body fat or close to it. Would really like to put on some size again! I am going to try the building phase, any other things that you can share would be great!
Hey Neil, I thank you for your feedback! There are tons of important points but you will have to work through my blog unfortunately to read them.
A easy way though is if you sign up for SYSTEM I or SYSTEM II. It is a focussed transformation system specifically customized for your unique situation and goals. If interested, check this link out: https://gertlouw.com/contact-me/
Otherwise feel free to ask me a specific question.
Wish you success buddy!