T Nation

Close to Ideal Weight...


I’ve been dieting down a lot (60 pounds since Nov 2010) from obese status to now about 5 pounds from ideal weight. Most of the weight was lost low carb (prob 60g a day), and I went even lower for 2-3 months but I felt like crap, and muscles felt weak and flat. So not really trying to go back to a keto diet everyday.

I’m 5’9 and weigh 155 now, and I want to be at about 150 and in shape i.e. not having a flabby midsection. Upper body is better now than it’s ever been (although nowhere near ‘great’), but the major issue is I still have TONS of belly fat/love handles, etc. See pics attached. Side view can pass as OK, but with front view the extra fat is clear. Do you guys have tips/recommendations on what to do??

Current Diet: 1 month ago, I started the Zig-Zag Carb Cycling For Fat loss, fixed for my weight, which leaves me at:

high days - 1725 cals - 147 prot, 153 c, 60f
low - 1384 cals - 147 prot, 68 c, 60f

I follow something like 3 high, 3 low, 2 high, 3 low. They recommend more high days to keep metabolism high, then low days to burn fat of course, and lots of intense cardio worked especially on high days.

I aim for 100% clean dieting, but usually hit around 85-90%. Case in point, oatmeal, egg whites, whey, chicken breast, brown rice, brown rice cakes (new favorite), olive oil and similar foods all week. But had chicken penne at Applebee’s last night…fail.

Workout: Currently on a 5 day split, with about 40 minutes lifting followed by 20 minutes intense cardio (jump rope, running, or rowing) and I occasionally work in tabatas to the cardio as well (especially for jump rope)

Lost 7 pounds this month on this plan, and strength/lifts are increasing slightly, but this damn belly fat looks exactly the same!! I plan to start Thibadeau’s Star Complexes tomorrow in hopes of burning fat quicker, and plan to add some cardio after if I’m not dead after his workout plan.

Would really appreciate feedback with this…beach season’s coming up, trying to make this my first fit summer ever!


More pics

side

another front pic

Let me start off by saying congratulations on the weight loss. I’m sure your quality of life is much, much highr now. A a few questions, and a couple comments.:

1- what have the last 3-4 months looked like, diet wise? Have they been pretty much full-on diet mode?

2- what do you mean when you say “ideal weight”? Is this the weight you want to be at?

3 - ultimately, what are your goals? short/medium/long term


If it were me in your current situation, this is what I’d do:

Assuming the answer to my first question is that yes, you have been dieting pretty intensely these last few months, my advice would be that you take some time to let your metabolism reset and give your body a break. A month or so would probably be good (others can chime in). DO NOT just eat what you want, obviously, but bump up calories a little bit to maintenance levels and drop the cardio to around 3x per week. Don’t panic if your weight goes up a few pounds; it’s water retention. Keep lifting hard.

The reality is, you are at a point where you are somewhat skinny fat. Althought you appear “small”, and I’m sure are leaps and bounds better than your old obese self, you are still probably a little north of 20% bf. Do not fear though, you are now within range of looking good in the near future. This is going to be the hardest phase of dieting that will take the most amount of persistence to crack into uncharted levels of leanness.

Now it’s time to get back into diet mode. There are a million and one ways to diet. Pick one that you believe in and stick with it. I’ve used different approaches in the past, but all of them involve slowly dropping calories over time, starting from some baseline level, and monitoring changes accordingly. Alongside food intake reductions tend to come bumps in my cardio. Some weeks both happen, some weeks neither. That is something you will have to determine.

Keep track of measurements (maybe thight, arm, neck, and most importantly waist, at the belly button level or so), weight, and take pictures at least every few weeks in a controlled manner. Don’t get attached to a certain number on the scale (i.e. “Oh no I’m 145 I’m so tiny!”). This doesn’t matter at all. You are small now at 155, so the leaner you look, the better. I presume you want to get to single digit bodyfat, or close. My guess is that if things go well and you are disciplined and keep working hard, you could get there in 3-4 months time. My guess is you will be looking at around 135lbs, give or take.

After that is all said and done, I’d enter a 2+ month period of maintenance so your body can get used to being that lean, and after that period, SLOWLY, and I mean SLOWLY, start bumping up calories if you want to gain some muscle. You may be dealing with some loose skin when you get there, but you can cross that bridge when you come to it.

Hope some of that is useful.

I agree with everything Bug said.

as a former chubby kid, I’d like to add that adding muscle to your frame makes a big difference in how you look. comparing myself now at 195 lb ~21% bf to me at 180 lb ~21% bf from a year ago, I have more size and more muscle definition (read: abz) now despite the same level of bf.

[quote]fr0IVIan wrote:
I agree with everything Bug said.

as a former chubby kid, I’d like to add that adding muscle to your frame makes a big difference in how you look. comparing myself now at 195 lb ~21% bf to me at 180 lb ~21% bf from a year ago, I have more size and more muscle definition (read: abz) now despite the same level of bf.[/quote]

You have abs at 21% bodyfat?!

Bug- this current avatar of you is ridiculous. You doing a contest soon?

Apologies to OP.
/offtopic

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
Bug- this current avatar of you is ridiculous. You doing a contest soon?

Apologies to OP.
/offtopic[/quote]

Hahahaha, I wish! Thanks for the kind words, but the fact of the matter is I am simply a master of waiting till I’m looking dry and depleted and snapping a pic in perfect lighting. I do enjoy staying leaner these days though.

@bug
Last few months have been transferring from primal/paleo of about 2k cals daily (December/January), carb cycling from venuto’s ebook for feb and march (calories were too high, didnt see much weight loss), and to my current lower calorie carb cycling which started April 2nd.

Ideal weight based half on the height/weight charts, and half feeling that my weight/frame is very close to a good size if I could transfer the fat into muscle.

Short term goals (6-8 weeks) - drop stomach fat quick and drop 5-8 pounds, while building some muscle if possible on a cut
Medium (3-5months) - get to 15% bf (around 23% now from accu-measure) and really drop fat for muscle
Long (8-12 months) - 6 pack showing but not ridiculously skinny. Want Muscle/strength as well

@fr01 did you just work on clean bulking for that?

[quote]The Rattler wrote:

[quote]fr0IVIan wrote:
I agree with everything Bug said.

as a former chubby kid, I’d like to add that adding muscle to your frame makes a big difference in how you look. comparing myself now at 195 lb ~21% bf to me at 180 lb ~21% bf from a year ago, I have more size and more muscle definition (read: abz) now despite the same level of bf.[/quote]

You have abs at 21% bodyfat?![/quote]

not… sure… if… serious…

but yes I do, the top 4 are visible

[quote]fitforlife88 wrote:
@fr01 did you just work on clean bulking for that?
[/quote]

I did as much as possible but I went all-out for 6 months or so when I shouldve tapered my intake. I made a lot of gains, but I wouldn’t recommend that approach, especially where you’re coming from.

[quote]fitforlife88 wrote:
@bug
Last few months have been transferring from primal/paleo of about 2k cals daily (December/January), carb cycling from venuto’s ebook for feb and march (calories were too high, didnt see much weight loss), and to my current lower calorie carb cycling which started April 2nd.[/quote]

That still doesn’t really tell me too much, but ok.

Those charts are dumb, IMO. “Transfer the fat into muscle” … That’s not how it works. Noobs can sometimes gain some muscle and lose some fat simultaneously, but you’re going to want to focus on one goal if you want to get anything done effectively.

[quote]Short term goals (6-8 weeks) - drop stomach fat quick and drop 5-8 pounds, while building some muscle if possible on a cut
Medium (3-5months) - get to 15% bf (around 23% now from accu-measure) and really drop fat for muscle
Long (8-12 months) - 6 pack showing but not ridiculously skinny. Want Muscle/strength as well[/quote]

Did you read what I wrote out for you?

Additionally, like I said above, you’re going to want to commit to losing the fat, not “eh I just wanna drop a few lbs because I’m only 155”. Get out of that mindset. Your SHORT TERM goal should be an all-out fat burning blitzkrieg. Dropping 5lbs is going to do very little in terms of your overall appearance. Heed my advice or forever be soft. You’re going to need to drop closer to 15-20lbs (to get to around 10-12% or so). That would give you your long term goal (6 pack showing) in the short to medium term time frame (3-5 months), then you can begin your quest gaining muscle.

[quote]bugeishaAD wrote:

[quote]fitforlife88 wrote:
@bug
Last few months have been transferring from primal/paleo of about 2k cals daily (December/January), carb cycling from venuto’s ebook for feb and march (calories were too high, didnt see much weight loss), and to my current lower calorie carb cycling which started April 2nd.[/quote]

That still doesn’t really tell me too much, but ok.

Those charts are dumb, IMO. “Transfer the fat into muscle” … That’s not how it works. Noobs can sometimes gain some muscle and lose some fat simultaneously, but you’re going to want to focus on one goal if you want to get anything done effectively.

[quote]Short term goals (6-8 weeks) - drop stomach fat quick and drop 5-8 pounds, while building some muscle if possible on a cut
Medium (3-5months) - get to 15% bf (around 23% now from accu-measure) and really drop fat for muscle
Long (8-12 months) - 6 pack showing but not ridiculously skinny. Want Muscle/strength as well[/quote]

Did you read what I wrote out for you?

Additionally, like I said above, you’re going to want to commit to losing the fat, not “eh I just wanna drop a few lbs because I’m only 155”. Get out of that mindset. Your SHORT TERM goal should be an all-out fat burning blitzkrieg. Dropping 5lbs is going to do very little in terms of your overall appearance. Heed my advice or forever be soft. You’re going to need to drop closer to 15-20lbs (to get to around 10-12% or so). That would give you your long term goal (6 pack showing) in the short to medium term time frame (3-5 months), then you can begin your quest gaining muscle.[/quote]

Listen to bugeisha, don’t be like the other people in this forum that ask for advice, get great advice from experienced members, and proceed to completely ignore it and do something stupid instead. It happens a lot.

Good job so far, by the way.

[quote]fr0IVIan wrote:

[quote]The Rattler wrote:

[quote]fr0IVIan wrote:
I agree with everything Bug said.

as a former chubby kid, I’d like to add that adding muscle to your frame makes a big difference in how you look. comparing myself now at 195 lb ~21% bf to me at 180 lb ~21% bf from a year ago, I have more size and more muscle definition (read: abz) now despite the same level of bf.[/quote]

You have abs at 21% bodyfat?![/quote]

not… sure… if… serious…

but yes I do, the top 4 are visible[/quote]

Yes I’m serious. I wouldn’t say I was over 21% bodyfat and I can’t see my abs.

[quote]The Rattler wrote:

[quote]fr0IVIan wrote:

[quote]The Rattler wrote:

[quote]fr0IVIan wrote:
I agree with everything Bug said.

as a former chubby kid, I’d like to add that adding muscle to your frame makes a big difference in how you look. comparing myself now at 195 lb ~21% bf to me at 180 lb ~21% bf from a year ago, I have more size and more muscle definition (read: abz) now despite the same level of bf.[/quote]

You have abs at 21% bodyfat?![/quote]

not… sure… if… serious…

but yes I do, the top 4 are visible[/quote]

Yes I’m serious. I wouldn’t say I was over 21% bodyfat and I can’t see my abs.
[/quote]

huh. here are my most recent measurements:

4/28
left arm flexed 16 7/8"
chest/lats flexed 42"
chest 11mm
ab 32
thigh 11
caliper % - 16.24% (true ~21%) via a calculator online (google gain weight muscle fast body fat calculator)
weight 198

the “true” number is based on a bod pod measurement I took in January, which gave me 26% bf, and when I got home and took caliper pinches I got 21%.

I’m jealous fr0. My top 4 abs are barely visible at 11-12% bf. Genetics are a funny thing.

Some people just store fat funny…faintly seeing top 4 abs at 21% wouldn’t be TOTALLY unheard of.

OP, like bug is saying, focus on one damn thing at a time! And for heaven’s sake, listen. You are NOT a super special exception to every rule on earth that applies to skinny-fat people. Good job on losing some fat so far, but it gets harder as you improve more and more, so be prepared for proportionately more and more work man.

[quote]bugeishaAD wrote:
I’m jealous fr0. My top 4 abs are barely visible at 11-12% bf. Genetics are a funny thing.[/quote]

lol now you’re making me doubt myself. but they’re definitely more visible now than they were last year at the same bf. in my old avi I was around 15% there and 169#, I think that’s the most visible I’ve gotten them.

would trade in a SECOND for dat chest and dem delts.