Decided to start another thread rather than redirect the thread with a similar (opposite) title.
For someone getting lean for the first time, how lean should they get before trying to add muscle again? I've read a number of trainers/coaches say not to diet for hypertrophy until you are lean (10-12%), because too much of the weight gain will be fat.
My sitrep: I was a fat powerlifter, and have dropped 58lbs since I quit competing (232 to 174), including 35 lbs over the last 18 months, and 12 over the last 16 weeks. What sucks for me is that I am way down in weight, maintained most of my arm size and quad size (by tape), just hit a couple all-time PR's (Standing Press, Deadlift). Yet I still do not have visible abs (probably 20-30mm of fat on my lower abdomen). I also have very little definition in my upper arms (a solitary bicep vein.)
My suspicion is that I should keep cutting until my abs show (at 10-12%) before thinking about a calorie surplus, but I thought I would get some feedback. An 18 month run of calorie deficits is manageable, with slow, steady progress, but wondering where the bottom is.
Also, is the answer different for someone whose genetics would tend toward being strong and fat versus thin and lean? Does the "endomorph," for lack of a better term, have to be leaner before going to surplus calories?