SOURCE: http://www.thinkeatlift.com/when-to-stop-lean-bulking/




The complete answer is this: At all times in your muscle building journey you should stay below 15% body fat. So you would need to stop bulking when you are around 12-15% body fat.

There are several reasons you don’t want to bulk above 15% body fat:

  • You completely lose muscle definition and vascularity.
  • When you’re above 15% you barely have a blurred 4 pack while flexing in good lighting
  • Not only that but because your waist starts to get wider your proportions are negatively affected (your shoulders, chest and arms will actually appear smaller because of this)
  • Your face starts to get puffy too
  • It takes a long time to cut back down below 10% (considering you can lose around 0.5-1% body fat per week, to go from something like 18% body fat to 9%, you’re looking at 12-16 weeks of cutting)
  • It’s harder to make lean gains when you’re above 15%
  • As our body fat increases,insulin sensitivity goes down and that negatively affects nutrient partitioning making lean gains much more difficult
  • Testosterone also seems to go down when we get fat (Testosterone is the anabolic hormone most involved in muscle growth so we wouldn’t want it to go down)


  1. If you’re over 14% body fat, lose some fat before you start bulking
  2. Once you reach 9-10% bf increase your calories to maintenance for about 2 weeks
  3. You will start to gain weight slowly over several months
  4. Once you’re up to 14-15% body fat it’s time to cut back to the 9-11% range
  5. Repeat this process until you’ve built enough size to not look small at 9-11% body fat
  6. At that point you can get leaner and bring your cut-bulk range to 8-11%
  7. Bulk until you hit 11-12%
  8. Cut until you hit 8%
  9. Repeat this process until you’re happy with your size at 8-9%
  10. Maintain that condition

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