Should I Lose Fat or Build Muscle First?

man looking at mirror while doing body building | Feature | Should I Lose Fat or Build Muscle First?
Share on pinterest
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on print

Are you looking to transform your body and gain more confidence in your appearance? Investing your time and effort into a lifestyle change is undoubtedly the way to go for a healthier you. But it can be overwhelming if you don’t know what your end goal is or where even to start. Let’s look into whether you should lose fat or build muscle first.


RELATED: 5 Keto-Friendly Thanksgiving Side Dishes For The Whole Family


In This Article:

  1. What Are Cut and Bulk? 
  2. Who Should Bulk First?
  3. Who Should Cut First?
  4. Diet


Lose Fat or Build Muscle – a Tough Choice for Beginners

What Are Cut and Bulk?

Before deciding to lose fat or build muscle and get any deeper into which route is better for you, let’s know about cut and bulk. To put it simply, “bulk” is the action for people who want to build muscle, while for those who just want to lose their weight, it’s “cut”. Additionally, people use another different term, skinny fat, which means you may be light in weight, but your actual body fat percentage is higher than usual.


The options for you to choose:

Cut. Cutting is a term used to define a process of fat reduction. This includes consuming a limited number of calories that induces caloric deficit to achieve a moderate and permanent weight loss rate. During this phase, the aim is to lose body fat while retaining as much muscle mass as possible.

Bulk. Bulking is a term used for defining a process of muscle building. This involves consuming several calories that allow a limited caloric surplus to occur in order to achieve a sluggish rate of weight gain. The purpose here is to add muscle mass while keeping body fat increases to a bare minimum.

Recomp. This term is short for recomposition, which is used to define the process of losing fat and building muscles simultaneously.

RELATED: How Does Menopause Affect Sleep


Who Should Bulk First?

man doing bodybulding with barbell | Should I Lose Fat or Build Muscle First?

The people who should be choosing bulk first are the ones who are fit or lean enough already. Because bulking will usually result in you gaining some body fat along with the muscle you’re trying to build. This is normal as it’s the nature of being in a caloric surplus.

There is an apparent difference between gaining huge amounts of excess body fat because you’re bulking wrong and gaining a small percent of body fat because you modify your diet and routine to keep the body fat gain to the minimum. No matter the case, you will certainly gain weight if you want to build up your muscle mass.

Therefore, you don’t want to start bulking yourself until your body is fit enough. Attempting to do the bulking process when your body is not ready, and you will likely end up gaining more weight than you want.

Lose fat or build muscle tips: The ideal body fat percentage for bulking first is 10% to 15% for men and 18% to 23% for women. This process will require you to do a lot of heavy lifting and hardcore exercise to gain muscle mass, so be prepared.


Who Should Cut First?

woman having a jog on treadmill | Should I Lose Fat or Build Muscle First?

On the other hand, people who aren’t fit enough to bulk should cut first. And this obviously includes people who are obese, overweight, or skinny fat.

Lose fat or build muscle tips: The ideal body fat percentage for cutting first is above 15% for men and above 23% for women. As cutting is mostly about losing weight and getting fit, casual exercises such as jogging, running, squatting, etc., are great to start with.



Besides doing cardio and heavy lifting exercises, the most crucial thing you need to remember is to have a suitable balanced diet to go along with your training.

Having a high protein diet is necessary for building muscle because it forms the basis of your muscles. Additionally, protein is required for repairing and building muscle after the stress and damage it sustained during the workout.

As for people who want to lose weight, a balanced diet is needed to prevent them from gaining any excess body weight due to bad eating habits and unhealthy diets.

Lose fat or build muscle tips: Keep in mind that your diet, routine, and exercise won’t count for anything if you don’t have the motivation and determination to stick to it.

Now that you know enough information about the different options for your exercise, you should be able to choose for yourself whether losing fat or building muscle is the way to go. We hope you can achieve your goal and succeed in your training.


Which kind of training would you like to do in the future? Lose fat or build muscle? And what other plans do you have to get a healthier body? Let us know in the comment section below!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *