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10 Months Dieting

Hello guys,

I have been dieting way long time ago, around 10 months. I am 5’9" My progress has been:

  1. Start
    Weight: 225 lbs
    Waist: 45"
    BF%: 32% aprox

  2. Today
    Weight: 162 lbs
    Waist: 36"
    BF%: 18%

I have noticeable lost a lot of weight. I have been eating clean with some cheats days around and my training has been mainly compound movements (squat, deadlifts, bench press, rows) and some sort of cardio. I have been quite strict this 10 months. But now I think is time to bulk, all my lifts have been stuck for long time just little increments, mainly due to begginer effect.

I have been reading a lot of information, and lots of experts agree than the best point to start a bulk is 15% BF around. I get 18% from measurements, but I feel I am too light now, so the measurements is maybe overestimating due to my wide hips (genetics).

So guys, which body fat do you think I currently carry. Do you advice to start my bulking phase now. Thank you

PD: I am sorry for any writing mistakes, my english is not my native language :).

I would say 18% is too soon for a cut, keep doing until your more like 10-13% so you have more room to bulk. Because honestly to me starting a bulk at roughly 18% is kind of pointless.

Let the more educated people answer though. How much have your lifts increased?

You do not need to bulk but you do not need to continue really cutting either. You need to start a recomp. Meaning more or less you need eat just above maintenance level of calories and start pushing the weights slightly less emphasis on Cardio. You need muscle at this point. I think it would drastically increase your appearance to gain 10-15lbs of lean mass over the next year. Even if you don’t drop a pound of fat in that time you will look like a whole different lifter.

To add to what Reed said, you also want to stabilize your body at this new weight so your body “gets used to” this being your standard weight. Otherwise, it basically thinks it been starving the last 10 months and tries to store any increase in cals as fat in case it starves again in the future.

It gets harder to lose as you cut more and more. One thing that I’ve tried recently, and Jade Teta wrote about, is to give yourself a break and limit yourself to 3x/week lifting, no cardio, and reduced calories to help you metabolism get going again. This is my first time trying it, but it’s worked really well (granted, I also just began keto, so take it with a grain of salt).

Regarding when to gain, a lot of coaches say 12 percent is the highest you ever need to get as a natty. Meadows also wrote (I think) that after about a 10 percent reduction in bodyweight, the body loses more muscle in proportion to fat as you go along.

All that is to say that, yeah, bulking is the wrong direction. You still have more to cut, but staying at this weight and even “recomping” will reduce your bodyfat more, stabilize your bodyweight, give you a psychological break, and potentially making a future, smaller, cut more efficient.

Para mi deberias intentar perder un poco mas de grasa, llegar a los 12% si posible. Esto és lo que aconsejan los expertos, primero adelgazar para despues ganar peso de una forma lo mas limpia posible.
Asi que, de my punto de vista, tienes que perder un poco mas de grasa( no de peso, si lo consigues) y solo despues concentrar-te em aumentar el peso de una forma progresiva

[quote]dsrivade wrote:
I have noticeable lost a lot of weight.[/quote]
Definitely. Nice progress so far.

I’d stop the cheat days. They’re not helping at all, and they’re certainly not necessary. I understand it’s rough to be dieting for 10 months, but you need to “earn” cheat days.

What’s your specific long-term goal?

I agree with the guys that you’re not in a position where a “bulk” would be a good idea. You’re still carrying a good amount of fat and, generally, the fatter you start a bulk, the more likely you are to gain even more fat.

There’s a good chance that you could simply tweak your training and fine-tune your nutrition to get you moving towards building more muscle and less fat. Guys carrying more fat who want to keep building size often do some “damage control” cardio, to help burn some fat as they go along.

What’s your current strength like on the basic lifts?

What does your training look like - the days, exercises, sets, and reps?

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]dsrivade wrote:
I have noticeable lost a lot of weight.[/quote]
Definitely. Nice progress so far.

I’d stop the cheat days. They’re not helping at all, and they’re certainly not necessary. I understand it’s rough to be dieting for 10 months, but you need to “earn” cheat days.

What’s your specific long-term goal?

I agree with the guys that you’re not in a position where a “bulk” would be a good idea. You’re still carrying a good amount of fat and, generally, the fatter you start a bulk, the more likely you are to gain even more fat.

There’s a good chance that you could simply tweak your training and fine-tune your nutrition to get you moving towards building more muscle and less fat. Guys carrying more fat who want to keep building size often do some “damage control” cardio, to help burn some fat as they go along.

What’s your current strength like on the basic lifts?

What does your training look like - the days, exercises, sets, and reps?[/quote]

Hi guys,

Thank you for your valuable feedback and sorry for the late reply I have had a long trip from Asia to South America anyway still hitting the iron.
I will answer some of your questions in order to have an even better advice from you:
Chris Colucci ,
My long term goal is aesthetics, not interested in participating in bodybuilng contests, but to have a nice, healthy and especially functional body. That is why I feel not very good with the weight on the bar increasing only a little bit. My current numbers for the main lifts are:
Squat: 175 lbs x 5,
DL: 200 lbs x 5,
Bench Press: 155 lbs x 5
Overhead press: 95 lbs x 5,
I am using a Lower/Upper body rutine, 3 times a week, 5x5 for squat, bench and OH Press and 2x5 for deadlift, and I complete with some volume work in the range of 8-10 reps (lats, rowing, biceps, calves and abs)
And my diet has been in average is 1800 Cal (Maintenance 2400 cal), getting more calories on training days and less on no-training days. (Some sort of carb cycling)
I hope this extra information could help you to provide me an even better advice.
I see from my honest point of view that my severe problem is the love handles fat, now I can see my upper abs when flexed and the cerratus muscles, veins on the arms and shoulders. But still very puffy on the lower back and abs section. I read somewhere that it is needed to go below 10% BF on order to rid off it, as my muscle mass is still not very well developed, I think it is not worth to make such effort (Go below tens). That is why I wanted to start bulking in order to accrue 10-15 pound of muscle and later dieting below ten.
My strategy after hearing all your positive words is:

  1. Take a month in maintenance calories to give my body some break and maybe some recomposition and gaining some strength
  2. Dieting for an extra 8-10 weeks to get the body fat till 12-13%
  3. Making a clean bulking.
    What do you think?

Martimroll94
Gracias por tus palabras en español.

[quote]dsrivade wrote:
My long term goal is aesthetics, not interested in participating in bodybuilng contests, but to have a nice, healthy and especially functional body.[/quote]
Those aren’t goals, they’re just ideas, and very vague ideas at that. “Aesthetics” and “healthy and functional” mean different things to different people, which basically means they mean nothing at all. Even your own definition of those terms can change over time. Figure out specific short and long-term goals to help design a better plan.

I’d say it’s time to get on a new program. This was a start, but a bunch of plans in the Archives here will get you moving forward.

1800 calories is already kinda low for a guy your size. Even less than that on non-training days is very low. Read up on the concept of G-Flux:


It’s basically increasing calories and training to make good stuff happen. So a few days of hard lifting and tough conditioning/cardio, plus a (smart) increase in daily calories.

[quote]My strategy after hearing all your positive words is:

  1. Take a month in maintenance calories to give my body some break and maybe some recomposition and gaining some strength
  2. Dieting for an extra 8-10 weeks to get the body fat till 12-13%
  3. Making a clean bulking.[/quote]
    I agree that slightly increasing your average daily calories is a good idea. If you’ve figured out that 2,400 is your maintenance level, then even sticking with that for a few weeks will help get you “leveled off”, since you’ve been having days with fewer calories. From there, maybe consider something like G-flux (choose an appropriate training plan and gradually increase cals).

As for the rest, I think it ties back to determining a specific long-term goal and then breaking it down into short and mid-term targets.

I also think the g-flux concept works pretty well w/ cycling eating more and exercising more with eating less and exercising less, a la http://www.T-Nation.com/diet-fat-loss/truth-about-metabolic-damage

I cut out the cardio and gave myself a couple extra rest days, and I dropped 2 lbs from that alone.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

I’d stop the cheat days. They’re not helping at all, and they’re certainly not necessary. I understand it’s rough to be dieting for 10 months, but you need to “earn” cheat days.
[/quote]

Do you count “carb ups” as cheat days? I find these can help a lot in refreshing the metabolism, but I agree they can be done poorly. A skiploading protocol is anything but a mental break… sugar for 6 hours straight… yuck.

[quote]1 Man Island wrote:

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
I’d stop the cheat days. They’re not helping at all, and they’re certainly not necessary. I understand it’s rough to be dieting for 10 months, but you need to “earn” cheat days.[/quote]
Do you count “carb ups” as cheat days? I find these can help a lot in refreshing the metabolism, but I agree they can be done poorly. A skiploading protocol is anything but a mental break… sugar for 6 hours straight… yuck.[/quote]
I wouldn’t really consider a carb up the same as a cheat day. Carb ups, or high carb days during carb cycling or longer periods of low carbs, are an integral part of the plan from the get-go. And because they’re already factored in as part of the nutrition scheme from day one, they’re more important. (Important isn’t the best word, but close enough).

Cheat days, for most people, aren’t really planned far ahead of time. As in, not many people sit down and say “I’m going to cut for 12 weeks, taking a cheat day at week five and week 10.” If they do use that kind of planning, it’s a little different scenario since it gives the chance to make the cheatyness relatively-minor and your nutrition is often adjusted the days before and after to compensate.

But most often what I see is “cheat days” being a label applied to days where the dieter’s willpower and self-discipline temporarily crashed and they caved in to food choices that were contradictory to their goal. Is it the end of the world? No, not quite. But it’s also a telling sign when somebody spends time trying to drop fat, doesn’t end up with awesome results, and then the “Well I needed a few cheat days”-line comes up.

You mentioned skiploading. I haven’t read up on it a ton or really played around with it much, but it was pretty popular for a while, mostly because I think it did kinda lead the pack with the whole IIFYM concept. That’s another kind of example where “cheat meals” (for lack of a better term) are an intrinsic part of the nutrition plan from the get-go. Somebody doesn’t just cut for a few weeks and then decide “Time for a few hours of skiploading.”

So, I think it all relates to the concept of “earning” your cheats. Poliquin used to say you have to earn your carbs, so there might be something to it. You earn cheats either by laying out a clear and relatively-detailed nutrition plan before you start or by having a more-intense-than-usual training session right before or right after a single cheat meal. More intense, in this sense, would most often mean more volume (in the case of cardio, it could mean more speed instead). Not sure I’d justify tons of extra calories simply for lifting heavy or using slow negatives.

Shelby Starnes had this good article, The Cheat Meal Manifesto, explaining his own take on it: