T Nation

Am I Building Muscle or Just Getting Fat?

I decided a while ago, that despite having abs, that I didn’t want to be so small and scrawny. I was 140lbs then. Now I’m 160lbs and my abs aren’t so visible and I don’t exactly have the cut look like I did. I have been lifting 4x a week and eating more, but for some reason It doesn’t seem like I’m getting bigger muscle-wise. Obviously, those 20lbs couldn’t be all fat or, i’d actually be fat, but I am still unsure.

You’re building muscle when:
a) you’re increasing weight on exercises, increasing reps (with the same weight) etc
b) you’re gaining body weight
c) you’re noticing changes in the mirror

Well, how much stronger did you get? Post before/after poundages on your lifts.

Went from a 225 deadlift to a 315
215 squat to a 285
145 bench to 170

It’s only been about 2-3 months since I really started eating again and having been able to increase the weight I can move on a week to week basis

Keep records of your lean body mass, you will know for sure then.

[quote]Addiction wrote:
Keep records of your lean body mass, you will know for sure then. [/quote]

How do I know what it is at?

Lean body mass = weight - fat weight

Use bodyfat to determine the amount of pounds you have that are fat.

Your bodyfat will increase as weeks go by, but so should your lean body mass.

[quote]Artigo wrote:
Addiction wrote:
Keep records of your lean body mass, you will know for sure then.

How do I know what it is at?[/quote]

How do your pants fit? As long as your waist isn’t ballooning up you’re fine.

ripped does not necessarily equal strong, as long as your lifts keep going up don’t worry about it, since you started off at 140 i take it that getting that cut look won’t be hard to do if you want to.

It is very hard to bulk up while maintaining that cut look. Usually people will go in phases. So lets say you feel comfortable at 160, keep bulking until you are 170(eating alot, lifting heavy, minimal cardio), then go through a month of less heavy lifting and more cardio until you reach 160 by burning fat(not really getting stronger but maintaining during this month) This should give u more of a cut look.

Many people use this method, but then again many don’t. But it simply is hard to build muscle and loss fat at the same time

[quote]Artigo wrote:
Went from a 225 deadlift to a 315
215 squat to a 285
145 bench to 170[/quote]

Good on ya. Forget abs for now and keep going. You have to get BIGGER than you want to be, then carve it down. You’re going to gain some fat with your muscle, but don’t sweat it.

If you’re not using proper nutrient timing already, then look into it.

Just judging by your numbers, I think you need to take a closer look at your squat. I’d be willing to bet you’re not going low enough. No big deal, but it’s not an accurate number if you don’t hit parallel.

Back to the point, though. Fuck abs. Put on some mass, then worry about a six-pack.

[quote]Oconski wrote:
It is very hard to bulk up while maintaining that cut look. Usually people will go in phases. So lets say you feel comfortable at 160, keep bulking until you are 170(eating alot, lifting heavy, minimal cardio), then go through a month of less heavy lifting and more cardio until you reach 160 by burning fat(not really getting stronger but maintaining during this month) This should give u more of a cut look.

[/quote]

good advice other then:

  1. go heavy and eat big for more then a few months (6 or more)

  2. dont decrease weight when cutting, thats a great way to lose muscle… instead try to set prs, get lots of protein, and take some BCAAs… (nutriant timing is important here)

Honestly though, think long term… eat big and lift heavy for 2 to 3 years, then cut down and become a ripped beast that has some real tangibale size…

Thanks for the replies and advice.

That was my plan, to get up to like 170, keep hitting PRs and then cut. I wanted to get a 405 deadlift before I cut.

I go ass to grass when I squat…so it might not be as high as some other people who only go to parallel, but I think it’s better.

I don’t mind losing my abs as a little skinny looking kid, I’d rather be big so it’s going good so far. Actually, my pants all still fit except its getting harder to fit my legs through them haha

I don’t plan on seeing my abs til around June 2010, lol. Keep getting bigger, man! :o)

I’m not planning on getting a glimpse of mine until Dec 2010. Should be two fiddy by next fall, then I’ll cut.

Not to shit on your goals, Artigo, but is 170 going to be big enough for you?

i sometimes feel the same way (just getting bigger or gainin fat?), but i kept at it for a while. to myself i still look the same size as before, but ive added some weight (on the bar and the body) and measurements have gone up by half an inch here and there, so something must be going right.

as long as the bar is getting heavier, ill be pretty content :slight_smile: keep at it buddy!