T Nation

Afraid to Lose Mass


Alright, so title is a little misleading.

I should give a little background first. Haven't played any sports since high school, 6 years ago. Always been overweight. Been dicking around with different strength training programs for a few years, but not very consistently. Last one was Starting Strength about a year ago. And I loved it for putting on strength. My primary goal I guess you can say is to look good naked. To be able to take my shirt off at the beach or a water park and look good, and not be ashamed of how I look. My other goal is to powerlift, I have found myself more or less fascinated by it. Even am going to be doing my first meet at the end of July.

Most recently, I've done a few cycles of 5/3/1, but my lifts are still low and I'm still out of shape.

Current stats are (measurements taken on Sunday; lift maxes done about two months ago):
Age - 24
Height - 6'1"
Weight - 296
Body Fat (tape measure method) - 33.30%
Neck - 18.5"
Chest - 49"
Waist - 48.5"
Bicep - 18"
Forearm - 14"
Thigh - 27"
Calf - 19"
Back Squat - 285 (though, this was after starting at 135 and working my way up, I think my actual, rested max would be higher)
Bench Press - 210 (220 pinned me, so I don't think fatigue had much to do with this one lol)
Deadlift - 325 (see back squat)

I have 12 weeks til the meet; not including the res of this week and the week of the meet. After that meet, I have pretty much a month, exactly 30 days actually, til I start my first semester at a university, and wouldn't mind being in the best shape of my life going into the new environment (not hard since I've been anywhere between 290-330 pounds for the last three years).

The way I was kind of looking at it was maybe keep up heavy lifting (a la 5/3/1 + North of Vag or something similar [suggestions]), throw in some NEPA and MAYBE even some slow cardio. Couple this with cleaning up my diet, maybe the 100 gram carb cure, and hope that the the body comp changes equal me looking better while getting my total up to 1000. Then maybe spend the 30 days post meet shedding every pound of fat that I can as quickly as I can)

The other thought I had was to just say screw the total and focus my heavy lifting on just enough to maintain and then just an all out fat blitzkrieg, using one of the many programs here. My main problem, however, is that I'm afraid of what my upper body will look like without the mass. I know my lower body will still be big and muscular, no confidence on my upper body though...most of my fat is on my upper body, so while I know pretty accurately what my legs and ass will look like, don't know what is or isn't hiding under the fat up above.

On one hand, I would love to get my total for my first meet up to 1000+, but I also don't want to be grossly overweight anymore (and wouldn't mind dropping a weigh class or two). Just not sure.

*Sorry, I know pics aren't the best, but had to find ways to take them myself, best I could do.

Waist up, from behind:

Waist up, from in front:

Waist up, from side:

Thigh, from front:

Thigh, from side:



Youre obese.

Forget your powerlifting total. It sucks now. Its not going to get worse. Lose 50lbs of fat minimum. Start doing cardio NOW. Clean up your diet NOW. You are 24. You aren't THAT young.

And not to burst your bubble, but your legs arent muscular.

Realistically speaking you have about 100lbs of FAT to lose if you want to be 'in the best shape of your life'.

You say youre afraid what your upper body will look like without 'the mass'. Normally people use that to mean muscle. You dont have muscle mass in your upper body. You bench press 210lbs for christs sake. Get your head out of your ass and stop looking for excuses to be fat.


x 2 on what bonez said (maybe in a little bit of a nicer way though)

you have a TON of bodyfat to lose. You should look into something like the Velocity Diet. That might be a good way for you to drop some weight with you 30 day time frame.

You really need to fix your diet ASAP and stop "dicking around" with programs. "Dicking around" isnt going to get you results.


Please take the advice bonez217 gave you.

You're the first person I've seen mention a "rested max". Most people work their way up to maxes...1 plate, 2 plates, 3 plates etc. I wouldn't suggest ever jumping in to do your max weight without pyramiding up. You'd just be setting yourself up to get injured.


I wasn't trying to imply that I had huge, muscular legs; all I meant was that I don't carry nearly as much fat on my legs as I do my belly and chest, so I feel I have a better idea of how they'll look, vs my upper body.

Also, as far as 100 pounds of fat, I don't think it's that much. I've always been a big guy, fat aside. I know that the pictures aren't to telling, and I know you have no reason to believe me, seeing as how I'm just some guy on the internet that you don't know. But no one I've ever met and talked to, including an olympic lifting coach who I saw to learn proper form, say that they don't think I'd ever break 220. I don't know, they could all be wrong. I just know that that's what I've been told for years.

Bonez, I've seen some of the stuff you've posted while lurking here, I highly respect your opinion, even if your delivery isn't always the most tactful lol Do you have a specific program you'd recommend? Or just pick a basic program, Starting Strength, 5/3/1, etc and eat clean and throw in some cardio?


I looked at the V-Diet before. Besides the price; got laid off half a year ago, blessing in disguise because I've been able to stop putting off going back to school. Unfortunately, it has left me living off my savings with only a minimum wage part-time job. But besides the price, when I was on the page and put in my stats, it said it wasn't recommended for me.

As a side note, just liked I asked Bonez, would you recommend any specific program?


Haha, I should have worded that differently. I didn't mean a rested max like, walk into the gym, load up the plates, and try it. Obviously would want to warm up, and work up, etc. I just meant I wouldn't go 135, 145, 155, 165...275, 285 again. I was way to tired by the time I got up to 285.


Thats fine if you dont think you have 100lbs of fat to lose. For the sake of your psyche it would be far better to overestimate than to underestimate though. I based that number on your strength levels. I know people with smiliar numbers.

Anyway. Pick any program. Consistency and intensity are most important.


This is a friend.

On the right. 275

On the left. 223

He's 6' tall.

At 275 he had a 550+ deadlift, 425+ squat. And I believe a 360+ bench press.


I recommend focusing HARD on fat loss. Once you reach one of the following milestones:
1) Lose 100 lbs
2) Lose 12" around your waist
3) Get to an estimated 20% body fat

... then you could begin to even think to evaluate where you're really at, and what your goals are.

If you want a radical diet, you can also look up Rapid Fat loss by Lyle McDonald if you want something that uses whole food instead of liquid meals.


I will post my pictures to see if I can help give you a reality check man.

This picture is me from before, I weighed about 270, bench 305, squat 405, deadlift 465. I thought I only needed to lose about 30 lbs.


The first pic is from July, this one is from February, I weighed roughly 208 at this point.


It isn't showing up, let me try the second one again.

First one is in July, this is me in February at about 208. My lifts dropped a little in that time, but they have all returned now to about where they were before, now that I am gaining again and am at about 218.


It doesn't really matter where your at man, it's where your going. Always remember to check your ego at the door, when you go to the gym or come to this site. We are all here for the long haul of building muscle. Some may be further than others but none of us are where we want to be. Take the advice that bonez suggested, bust ass, and just remember to keep progressing. Grind now shine later. Good luck.


You said you were 296 lbs, with an estimated body fat of 33%.

33% of 296 is right about 98 lbs.

98 pounds of fat.


I was just going to post that... I guess logic is looked down on lol?


That's under the assumption that he intends to lose every pound he has. I mean, if he only intended to get to 15% body fat, that's not nearly 100 pounds. Not saying that is his intention, or that that's a good idea, just pointing out a fact :slightly_smiling:


Why the fuck are people recommending V-Diet and RFL here? The OP is obese. He doesn't need anything fancy. Just to change a few of his eating habits. I feel like the majority of people recommending either of those programs are people who have never tried either and know nothing about either other than their intended purpose.

I went and plugged in his stats into the V-Diet generator right now...this is what I got:
This program is not recommended for you. Your personal information falls outside our program guidelines for body weight. I don't know of the specifics for RFL, but I imagine it's just as restrictive.

100g carb cure should be sufficient for quite some time, OP. Read that article a few times over, and follow it consistently.


As others have mentioned, 100lbs isn't unreasonable.

I'll go with jskrabac, you don't need something fancy at the moment, you're carrying a lot of fat.

Increase activity, decrease food. When you get down to a more resonable body weight/body fat you can worry about needing more complex fat loss strategies.

You'd be amazed how much weight you can lose by doing brisk, fasted walks in the morning along with a fat burner a few times a week.


yes, but how much muscle did you lose in the process of losing all that weight. cause you appear to have lost a great deal of size from your chest. and not just fat.