Too fat to bulk, but not enough muscle to cut???

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 07, 2013 12:10 PM GMT
    I feel devastated in a way, because I'm having a fitness crisis!

    Right now I fluctuate in the 152-157 lbs. range. 5'9" tall and I'm not aure on my body fat percentage. I've never had it measured. If I had to guess, ~20%. Consequently, you can imagne I'm seriously lacking in lean body mass. I'd like to get down to 10% body fat where my stomach would be much firmer and the. have muscle to be arond that same weight. Recomposing basically. Because I do have a belly and want it gone.

    I spent a long time doing cardio, in the hopes that training long distance would help me tone. I weight trained too but I was losing strength and while my scale numbers dropped to the low 140s, I didn't see any toning happening.

    One blog I read said I had to bulk and just accept inevitable weight (fat) gain. If I wanted to continue instead of just spinning my wheels. While I am stronger in keeping a cleaner bulking mentality, I read somewhere else that around my body fat percentage I shouldn't be bulking! I should be cutting first! Im flustered! I gained muscle and fat when I shouldve been cutting instead.

    I feel like I can't cut if I wanted to because my metabolism would be lackluster from the lack of lean body mass (exacerbated by the catabolic long distance running). I'm in a fitness pithole and I don't know what to do now. I spent only about four weeks "bulking". Not a long time.

    I spent so much mental effort in my running, in my weight loss. I came so far. And now I have this obstacle and I just feel helpless. I dont wanna fail but I really dont know what to do anymore... icon_sad.gif Help please!
  • Neferti

    Posts: 55

    Apr 07, 2013 3:05 PM GMT
    I would suggest using the articles at www.bodyrecompposition.com as your starting place to build a much more structured and thought out plan. If you are a true 20% then your plans to cut to 10% would be the best route. Bulking at that range and your body's P-ratio is primed to add more fat than muscle.
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    Apr 07, 2013 5:32 PM GMT
    try running 3 times a week, max 45 mins, high-intensity. Like one min as fast as you can, 2 mins light jogging, and so on.
    And make it uphills, as much as possible. Stairs are good as well.
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    Apr 07, 2013 5:34 PM GMT
    Just bulk cleanly.
  • jo2hotbod

    Posts: 3603

    Apr 07, 2013 5:45 PM GMT
    First you need to make up your mind as to what your goal is and stick to it. You cannot bulk and cut at the same time. Second it sounds like you do not have much of a diet plan, you need to research what foods to eat, how much to eat and when to eat them. Finally make sure you get the rest you need, your growth takes place outside the gym not in it
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    Apr 07, 2013 7:46 PM GMT
    jo2hotbod saidFirst you need to make up your mind as to what your goal is and stick to it. You cannot bulk and cut at the same time. Second it sounds like you do not have much of a diet plan, you need to research what foods to eat, how much to eat and when to eat them. Finally make sure you get the rest you need, your growth takes place outside the gym not in it



    ▲This.

    Except I'd say "to hell with the bulking/cutting" paradigm.

    And unless you are training for Ironman or Mudders or Marathon endurance type events: "Cardio is boring and blows goats!"

    Instead, train for strength, and eat well, and you'll shed fat, get stronger, and claim your ideal body over time.

    The most important thing to realize is that short of cosmetic surgery (which can have far more deleterious effects on your health in the longer run) and anabolic steroids (ditto on health effects depending on how they are cycled and/or abused)... one should accept that they will not arrive at the extremes of physical appearance (such as the Arnold Schwarzenegger or Lee Haney veined-out bulkasaurus look, or the ultra-lean marathoner conditioned look).

    TL;DR: Take a realistic perspective toward your goal.

    What you *can* do is strive to become the best you can be within the confines of your genetic allowance plus maybe a smidge more.

    I suggest (and has been working for me for about the past three years to drop 70lbs) :

    1. Above all else, cutting back most (not *all*) carbs and upping lean protein sources is key.

    2. Timing of when you eat is also important. Check out Intermittent Fasting, it works. http://www.leangains.com

    3. Adequate rest. This varies with your level of physical activity, but at a minimum 8-9 hours per night, and on as regular a schedule as career and life circumstances permit.

    4. Exercise - Lift heavy things explosively for few reps. I put this last because if the other three aren't in place, your results will be greatly diminished.

    Low rep/Heavy explosive lifting will drive up your metabolism, increase your basal levels of testosterone (and other bits of body chemistry which will increase your metabolism and burn fat).

    Big key here is not to over do #4. A lot of us are conditioned to be gym rats with the "more is better" approach that thinks that grinding out three-hour workouts six times a week... this may have better than marginal results if you are in your teens or early 20s, but as we mature and our superabundance of HGH and Testosterone declines, we do better to compensate for this and to exercise more efficiently.

    Currently I work out for about 45min to an hour twice a week, and I am still making steady progress with personal records and my working sets.

    For a more in depth view on a good strength programme, check out "Starting Strength" by Mark Rippetoe and "Power to the People" by Pavel Tatsoulinas.

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    Apr 08, 2013 12:14 AM GMT
    Unintended said1) What is your diet like? Seems to me, this may be the real issue. Do you drink much alcohol?

    2) Do you take any prescription medication, such as an anti-depressant, that has weight gain as a side effect.

    3) You are actually not exercising at a particularly hard level. Consider increasing your exercise time and structuring your workouts better.


    1. My diet doesnt vary much. I have protein shakes immediately after I work out. Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey. I mix it with unsweetened almond milk to cut out sugar. I'm super conscious about sugar in my diet, not simply for weight reasons but also I'm super scared of becoming diabetic. I eat super lean nautral turkey burgers I grill on a George Foreman. Low in fat but really high in protein (literally 34g per patty). Ill use only a little nautral ketchup to perk up the flavor. I use the "thinwich" whole wheat buns as one source for dietary fiber. Ill have apples or bananas sometimes but not often. Dannon Greek Yogurt light and fit, strawberry flavor since they have a lower amount of sugar compared to the other flavored ones on the market. I tried plain before and couldnt stand it. Ill grill chicken breast on the grill too, skinless and use lemon juice and garlic powder to perk up the flavor. If anything, I'll criticize myself for lack of produce. Getting myself to eat veggies is a huge lifelong challenge. I've forced myself to down them sometimes, even though I dont enjoy them much. I know I have to eat them though. Still, I dont eat them much. I do drink a fair amount of green tea.

    Alcohol Ive completely cut out. I feel like its the easiest to avoid of all the empty calories. My true guilt lies in my three current primary vices: Goldfish (i get whole grain at least? Probably should just cut them altogether.), Starbucks skinny mochas (Maybe once every few days I'll stop to get a grande), and a mixed berry scone as breakfast from a mom and dad café (more sugar than fruit probably, i should just cut them too.)

    2. I'm on no medications for anything. Period. I supplement with a daily multivitamin and fish oil. But that's it.

    3. I feel like I could be working harder in the gym. I try to lift generally until failure when I'm doing weights. I notice I dont sweat nearly as much as when i was doing longer running. Today I tried to get a few sprints in between exercises to try to "rev" myself up as it were. I jog on my way to the rec center (about 5 minutes away at jogging pace) as a daily warm up before I start. I dont know how else to be more "efficient" with my time. I could be in there for an hour waiting to use stuff because it gets busy literally all the time. Im hesitant to return to a lot of cardio because I'll go catabolic and ill lose strength and probably lean mass which i don't have much of already. Do i just accept that loss as reality? What about my resting metabolism? Wont that suffer if i lose lean mass?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 08, 2013 1:09 AM GMT
    @alphatrigger

    great website.. thanks for that. I have heard of intermittent fasting before but was always told that you are supposed to eat every 3- 4 hours or you will store fat. So much conflicting info. out there. I prefer this 3 meals a day fasting method over having to find something to eat all the time- and not having to eat breakfast in the morning can save a lot of time and let me sleep in more icon_cool.gif

    The approach to "fit as fuck" is a long process of learning and trial. I am definitely getting there thanks to help from people like you!

  • Apr 08, 2013 1:21 AM GMT
    Your protein intake may still be low. How many of those turkey burgers do you have a day? Also, how many grams of protein do you get from shakes? Generally, just to maintain muscle you need to match your grams of protein to each pound of body weight. To actually gain muscle you will probably need closer to 1.5 -2x grams to body weight.

    To painlessly increase your vegetable intake, I would recommend adding a bunch of raw broccoli w/ 2 scoops chocolate whey in a blender add ice and water and blend... tastes ok and gives the shake an interesting texture.

    What type of routine are you following? It sounds like you could use some more structure.

    You may also unintentionally be hindering your gains by exhausting yourself from cardio before you begin lifting. Maybe you could try doing a few minutes of HIIT after your workout, or on your off days.

    If you do bulk, I would not be surprised if you realized early fat loss accompanied with muscle gain (instead of just weight gain).
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    Apr 08, 2013 2:00 AM GMT
    I eat two burgers a day. With the shake, two cups totals 50g of protein, that guarantees me at least a daily amount of 114g of protein right there. Ive heard different things about protein, whether you take as much according to body weight or (what seems to make more sense) lean body mass weight. Lately I'm seeing some strength gains so i don't think I'm short on protein necessarily.

    I split my weight routines into a cycle of three, one per day: front torso %2
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    Apr 08, 2013 2:04 AM GMT
    That is, I split my weights over three days and cycle through them: front torso chest and arms, back torso shoulders and back, and legs and glutes. Crunches for abs I switch around to work only two to three times per week. Ill do cardio after some workouts if I feel the spirit to do it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 08, 2013 2:44 AM GMT
    You're considered skinny fat, I had a phase where I was like, "Screw weights and muscle and do pure cardio".. I was at 140 pounds and i still looked a little chunky.. You just have more fat than muscle.. Try a clean bulk
  • neosyllogy

    Posts: 1714

    Apr 08, 2013 2:58 AM GMT
    I didn't read the whole post.
    You're probably just freaking out over inconsequential details.
    "Cutting" and "bulking" are really only actions/phases that are relevant to people who've already accomplished a significant amount from a fitness perspective and who have very specific goals.

    If you don't feel that you can do either. Fine. (Probably better, tbh)
    Just eat clean and lift/exercise.
    /Thread


    (to be clear: the idea that "you have to accept fat gain as part of muscle gain" assumes that you are relatively lean. If you have a fair bit of fat on you to begin with (i.e. you're not close to optimal fitness - no shame there) then you can and *should* be dropping body fat while gaining muscle)
  • gwuinsf

    Posts: 525

    Apr 08, 2013 3:41 PM GMT
    neosyllogy saidI didn't read the whole post.
    You're probably just freaking out over inconsequential details.
    "Cutting" and "bulking" are really only actions/phases that are relevant to people who've already accomplished a significant amount from a fitness perspective and who have very specific goals.


    +1

    Forget about cutting and bulking and just get in shape.

    I thought this article was very informative: http://www.builtlean.com/2012/05/03/lose-fat-first/

    I'd keep up the HIIT and I'd put more fat in your diet. Yes, fat.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 08, 2013 11:47 PM GMT
    neosyllogy said(to be clear: the idea that "you have to accept fat gain as part of muscle gain" assumes that you are relatively lean. If you have a fair bit of fat on you to begin with (i.e. you're not close to optimal fitness - no shame there) then you can and *should* be dropping body fat while gaining muscle)


    I really just wasnt sure. Ill focus more on the low carbing. And maybe return to theintermittent fasting. And do more sprints HIIT. (Pretty sore today from having tried it yesterday). I deflated when I saw the "not close to optimal fitness" bit. I know it's the truth, but reality really slams me in the face. Id give anything to look something like the gods among men that are over half the population of this website. I dont look like one. I dont have the abs, the big pecs, the bulging biceps, the muscular thighs, the broad shoulders. Ill do it because if anyone's ever gonna talk about me, talk about my body, it will never be negative. I dont want anyone to ever call me fat again. And I wont accept that its impossible for me. Im not a quitter. Ill struggle violently but I wont give up.