I would just keep gaining, eat more meals or have more protein shakes throughout the day if progress has stalled. You can diet when you get older. If you constantly gain 15-20 lbs reevaluate yourself then diet a little then gain again you will run around in circles. Then when you end up being 30-35 you would have wasted all those years when you could have been gaining decent muscle mass.
It's easier to get big and strong younger then it is when you are older, plain and simple.
Well there have just been a lot of the "should i keep gaining or cut?" style threads and more often then not, the person asking this question just needs to keep lifting heavy and eating. I also didn't know the OP was over 30, so that makes a big difference too.
xb-C yes, I should have mentioned my age in my OP. Sorry about that.
I suppose my question should have been better phrased as how best to recomp without losing any strength. Given that all my fat is centrally located, reducing carbs (cleaning up diet) and increasing steady state while continuing to lift heavy appears to be the best solution.
Personally, I would continue lifting heavy but cut back your calories just enough to gradually lose fat for a few months, until you reach an acceptable level of leanness. Then gradually add the calories back in to gain more mass.
Keep lifting heavy, but drop the calories a bit and make them cleaner. You could do a "recomp" w/o full-on dieting and will be in a better place in 3 months than if you just kept gaining. The reality is, you could probably stand to lose 20 lbs of fat and aren't nearly as big/strong as you think you are.
People telling you to gain at 17% are either (a) justifying their own fatness, cuz fatness loves company or (b) really lean and want to remain in that elite crowd...and dont' want you there diluting things.
I'm actually gaining strength and some muscle on my current diet. Throwing in some HIIT and really challenging my body (you get accustomed to lifting weights) has REALLY helped the conditioning in my legs. If you are in a deficit but eating nutrient rich foods (good protein, complex carbs and healthy fats) your body will do wonderful things while dropping fat.
GD how long have you been lifting? I only ask because my newbie gains meant that by cleaning up my bulk I was able to increase lean body mass while losing bodyfat. I got the bulk wrong at first and climbed fairly quickly to 17% BF (Accumeasure calipers) at 189lbs. Two weeks later having adopted very strict Massive Eating principles I was at 193lbs and 14%. Needless to say this pattern did not continue, but I was happier to keep bulking from 14% BF. So if you have newbie gains to exploit then I say crack on. I am however 24 and have a pretty quick metabolism.
Seriously lifting the last year. A linear progression has been working well (gaining strength week on week, with only occasionally needing to take a step back in weight on bar to keep going forward). Recomp sounds like the way to go with goal of continuing to increase weight on bar (or reps) week on week.