T Nation

Advice - Where to Go Now

Little Backstory: Back in January I was 6’1 and 210 pounds. From then 'til now I lost 40 pounds through diet/exercise and I’m now hovering around 170 pounds.

Problem: Despite having a consistent weight-lifting routine coupled with cardio throughout the months, I could never keep any decent amount of muscle mass while losing the fat. Also, I still have considerable fat on my stomach and chest while I’m skinny everywhere else.

Honestly, I just don’t know where to go from here. I’ve got a big gut (relative to my entire body) and a flabby chest. I’m one of those guys that looks really skinny with a shirt on, but without my shirt I look bloated. Essentially, I have a really bad case of skinny-fatness.

Right now, I’m doing a full body workout 3x a week using T-Nation’s template. I’m doing cardio on my off-days. All I’ve read everywhere is bulk-bulk-bulk. But man, is that really my best bet? I just feel like getting rid of the fat first then bulking up. I tried bulking for a month (went on a pretty strict diet), but all I saw from result of it was a bigger gut (granted, my workout plan at the time was pretty weak). I’m going insane at this point because it’s been almost a year now since I started getting into shape and I find I’m nowhere near where I wanted to be. Is cutting away the fat first then bulking a bad idea?

Are you progressing on the weights? You should be seeing at least weekly gains at this stage in the game.

What does your TBT consist of?

You gotta lay it all out here or no one will bother trying to help you.

If you’re worried about fat and you don’t have your diet posted then you might want to put 2 and 2 together.

Good luck.

edit: I just reread your post. If you cut 40lbs in less than a year then it’s possible that your BMR is very low right now. This could be inhibiting your work capacity and muscle gain. Just a hypothesis, there are others here who are much more knowledgeable than I am on this subject.

Depends on how low your calories are. If you can eat 2000 kcal/day and lose weight then keep losin’. If your calories are already ridiculously low then you should probably just start eating at maintenance, eat clean, and bust your ass in the gymn. Once your metabolism gets kicked up a bit (say 2, 3 months) you can lower around 500kcal and start losing again. When I lost 60 pds 2 years ago I was in the same exact place you were. I went from 215 to 155, but I was skinny fat still (I’m 6’2"). I kept trying to lose weight thinking that would make me look better but eventually my progress stopped because my kcals were at around 1500/day and I wasn’t losing anymore weight.

Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. I’m at 190 now and around 10% BF and its taken 2 years. I eat clean and bust my ass in the gymn; you do that, and I gaurantee in a couple years you will be solid and won’t have bitch tits or a pudgy belly. Good luck.

First, never mind trying to lose fat any more. Try to get stable. Start eating right. A balanced diet with lean meat, vegetables, whole grains and milk. Think quality and build up the quantity gradually. I expect you have not been eating enough.

You need to workout intensely and pay attention to recovery. Limit your cardio, but keep it intense.

Once you build some muscle, the fat will start to take care of itself.

Please give more details on your diet and training plan. Also, please give your age.

Stu

Here’s my workout plan:

Tuesday:
Barbell hack Squat (4 X 5-6)
Bench Press (4 X 5-6)
Barbell Rows (4 X 8-10)
Dumbell Curls (5 X 8-12)
Weighted Dips (5 x 8-12)
Abs

Friday:
Incline Bench Press (4 X 5-6)
Barbell Rows (4 X 8-10)
Romanian Deadlifts (4 X 5-6)
Seated Military Press (5 X 7-8)
Weighted Dips (5 x 8-12)
Abs

Sunday:
Barbell Deadlifts (4 X 5-6)
Dumbell Press (4 X 5-6)
Barbell Rows (4 X 8-10)
Dumbell Curls (5 X 8-12)
Weighted Dips (5 x 8-12)
Abs

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday: 30-45 Minute Cardio

I don’t have any strict regulations on my diet. Right now, I’ve been eating mainly eggs/chicken/steak (with sides, usually whole wheat pasta or a salad) and sandwiches on whole wheat. The main thing I’ve been keeping track of is my caloric intake. I try to keep it under 2400 calories a day. Also, I’m 18 years old.

Read this, really great, and simple information.

Also are you actually measuring your body fat? Are you certain you have lost muscle, or is it possible you have actually lost fat mass, and you thought it was muscle.

Anyway it is generally better to lose the fat first, then gain the muscle.

But be careful not to try to focus on both at the same time. Too many goals and you lose focus, not to mention that generally these two goals can interfere with each other.

I would say dump the arm workouts for now. You don’t need curls while loosing weight. In fact try to focus on compound movements, and avoid isolation right now.

In fact here is a good fat loss workout:

You’ll notice no cardio, and 4 days off a week.

What I would recommend is take a week off, (little recovery is nice,) then do this workout for 8 weeks. Re-evaluate your goals after that. Take another week off, and do something else.

Spend those 8 weeks reading articles here. (Current and archived.) Keep asking questions here, even if it does not pertain to what you are doing now.