T Nation

Diet Questions - Realistic Options


So I've been reading the various forums on this site for a while, figured I'd finally directly ask a couple of questions rather than keep searching and hoping someone happens to ask from a similar situation.

Anyway, so it takes a calorie surplus to build muscle. Simple enough, right? So the goal is to eat clean - eat a clean deficit, or a clean surplus, and depending on which side of your maintenance number you are at, your body will change accordingly.

I'm 5'9, somewhere around 178 lbs. I'm in week 5 or so of a cutting phase, and have lost about 10 lbs so far. I was at 199, then plateau at 188, and now I'm plateau-ing again at 181-180. I've slowly managed to make it to 178, and am now starting to re-think what I've been doing and adjust according to my goals.

If it's physiologically impossible for me to lose fat, and I'm not happy with how much fat I have in certain areas, clean bulking and adding lean muscle mass wouldn't help me. So I need to cut until the fat I don't like is gone. There is no other way, correct? Everything I've read on this site over the past year or so tells me this is true. When I'm done burning fat, I can work on getting bigger.

So basically, I'm asking what I should do, realistically. I'm not sure how adding muscle would change how I look - I still have fat on my chest that I don't like, at all.

Long term goals - lean torso; begin lean muscle mass bulk after fat loss is sufficient.

What would you do? Continue cutting?


I’m certainly not an expert on here, but I’ll offer my opinion. Without knowing any of your details, I’d say your idea is sound. Keep in mind though that if you aren’t careful with your cutting phase, you could lose lean mass as well as fat.

Something I’ve learned from lurking on these forums for a while is that if you want help and advice, provide details. you’ll get alot more people sharing their knowledge if they know exactly where you’re at and where you are trying to go:

How many calories are you consuming in your cutting phase?
What is your maintenance calories?
What’s your current BF%? What are you realistically attempting to go down to in this cutting phase?
What’s the typical menu look like in a typical day of your cutting phase? How much protein, fat, carbs, fiber?
What’s your training program?

Providing the answers to questions like that can help people figure out how to help you. And if you don’t know the answers to those question? Well, you have to know where you are before you can figure out how to get where you’re going.


If you start eating more and building muscle, there’s absolutely no reason to expect that you’d have less fat at the end of the process. So you’re basically right, you need to prioritize which is more important.


Follow up question - my BF% is somewhere around 16-18%. Does 5’9, 178 lbs, 17%ish body fat sound too fat to bulk? I should try to lose some weight, right?


[quote]questions115 wrote:
Follow up question - my BF% is somewhere around 16-18%. Does 5’9, 178 lbs, 17%ish body fat sound too fat to bulk? I should try to lose some weight, right?[/quote]

There is no reason you cannot do both at this point. Eat healthy, but eat a lot, and lift heavy and often. Throw in a conditioning session of complexes or sprints/hill sprints 1-2 times a week and your golden.