T Nation

Confused As Hell (Which Direction?)

wats up guys ive been liftin for about 2 months now and ive been getting so much information im confusing myself now haha. I’m about 5’8 and weigh about 150 pounds. i have between 9-10% body fat, but it still looks like i have alot of fat on my body, especially my stomach and its hard for me to believe im at that body fat level because i hear you should be able to see abs somewhat at about 7-9% bodyfat, and i am not even close to seeing my abs.

i dont know what to do because i want to gain muscle but at the same time it looks like i have to lose fat. i dont know whether to eat more/less because you need to eat more to gain more but at the same time i feel like i need to lose…which is all very confusing.

should i do fat burning excercises which help me build muscle at the same time?
right now im trying to do circuit training with weights which i think would help me out but i havent been doing it enough to tell whats gonna happen.
any advice would be great…

At 5’8" and 150, you should be focussed more on gaining muscle mass then trimming down. To put things in perspective, I’m 5’9" and weight 200 lbs at 18% bf. At 8% bf, I would still weight 180 lbs, and I only have a inch on you. I would recommend heavy lifting, and save the circuit work for when you have a good muscle base to lean down too.

You’ll get better benefits from something like Rippetoe’s Starting Strength, and you should be able to gain size and strength without adding to much fat. You’ll look a lot better if you have a solid foundation of muscle, and if you eat clean, you may even lose some fat, since you’re just getting started. I wouldn’t worry about losing fat until you hit 15%bf. Just out of curiosity, how did you measure your body fat?

you said twice that you think you ‘have to’ lose fat? do you want to? or do you want muscle? do what you want most.

but personally i’d tell you to add muscle first.bulk up 50 pounds and then think of cutting. if you go for a 1000 calorie surplus thats 50 weeks of bulking, so around a year.

you can keep fat off by doing cardio before breakfast on days that you wont go to the gym. how much depends on your diet, your cardio, and a bit on your body type

And don’t forget that adding muscle will not only make you look less fat, but you will actually burn more fat faster. In other words, starting a weight lifting program and getting your diet in check will change your body composition.

You’re on the right website. Start reading!

i measured it with some thing in my weightroom at school. you put in all this info like age weight etc and hold a sensor thing. im sure its not too accurate but in the ballpark somewehre. if i want to gain more muscle mass, what should my caloric intake be approximately?

and if i do gain muscle without worrying about trimmming down, can i still get a lean body and not bulky? i want to gain muscle no doubt its just i feel like i have a lot of fat on my body still. i just dont weigh that much so it confuses me how i have fat but dont weigh that much. thanks for the replies so far

It’s very inaccurate. And even if you don’t have much body fat, you need more overall mass before all your muscles start popping out (your abs, for example). My brother’s in the same situation–170 lbs @ 6’, low body fat but no visible abs. I’ve got him on Starting Strength, eating a lot, and he’s making good progress.

[quote]ninjaboy wrote:
At 5’8" and 150, you should be focussed more on gaining muscle mass then trimming down. To put things in perspective, I’m 5’9" and weight 200 lbs at 18% bf. At 8% bf, I would still weight 180 lbs, and I only have a inch on you. I would recommend heavy lifting, and save the circuit work for when you have a good muscle base to lean down too.

You’ll get better benefits from something like Rippetoe’s Starting Strength, and you should be able to gain size and strength without adding to much fat. You’ll look a lot better if you have a solid foundation of muscle, and if you eat clean, you may even lose some fat, since you’re just getting started. I wouldn’t worry about losing fat until you hit 15%bf. Just out of curiosity, how did you measure your body fat?[/quote]

i used a calculator in my gym that uses like sensors after you put in info like height age weight etc…i dont think its the most accurate thing but im estimating?

[quote]wfifer wrote:
It’s very inaccurate. And even if you don’t have much body fat, you need more overall mass before all your muscles start popping out (your abs, for example). My brother’s in the same situation–170 lbs @ 6’, low body fat but no visible abs. I’ve got him on Starting Strength, eating a lot, and he’s making good progress.
[/quote]

yeah im thinking of starting strength. one, where can you find the complete workout info. i know it calls for alot of carb intake too. doesnt that equal alot of extra fat?

Everyone handles carbs differently…but most will tell you that you can’t put on muscle optimally without carbs. Your best bet is to keep carbs to breakfast, around your workout, and 60-90 minutes after your workout.

Starting Strength is a book by Mark Rippetoe. I highly recommend reading it. You’ll not only be given a routine to start you off, but you’ll learn about all the lifts you’ll be performing. 90% of the book is about the exercises themselves. Better to learn all of this now while you’re relatively untrained than a year or two down the road.

[quote]seaside wrote:
i used a calculator in my gym that uses like sensors after you put in info like height age weight etc…i dont think its the most accurate thing but im estimating? [/quote]

It’s about as accurate as the “shoe” method of bf measurement popularized by eliteballa, which is to say not at all accurate. Find someone with a pair of calipers if at all possible, and do a 7 site measurement if you want to know what your bf% is.