T Nation

Do I Have to Much Fat to Bulk? (Pics)


I have been lifting for about two years now, and the first year and a half it pretty much was crap. Now I am doing a 5x5 workout. My stats are as follows. I realize that my lifts are horribly low, working on getting them up.
Age : 21
Height : 5'11''
Weight : 205 pounds
Deadlift : 265 lb
Front Squat : 165 lb ( I do front squats because I have to many back problems with back squats)
Bench Press : 150 lb
Overhead Press : 125 lb
(Not my max weight, I am still in a linear progression of weight)
(Goal)I am looking to get stronger and look better with my shirt off.

My diet is pretty clean. I don't eat fast food. I don't think I eat enough though and I am looking to change that. My question is should I eat above maintenance to gain some weight making my strength gains easier or do I have to much fat and should I eat below maintenance.

I realize that I am skinny fat and am looking to change that.

Edit : Added Age.


How old are you?

I think you should just focus on bringing your lifts up. You're still too early in your lifting poundages to worry about mass gain/fat loss.

Stick with a solid program until you reach some decent numbers (S. Starnes listed some basic ones, IA used 300/400/500).

Oh and just continue eating clean. Plenty of beginner nutrition articles or Berardi's seven rules are pretty good to for basic eating.


IMO you don't look fat(I think looks are bigger factor that stats) but it is evident you are skinny fat. I suggest try bulking and run(this just means jogging or just some physical activity other then weightlifting) twice aweek to stave off some fat gain. However this depends on your ability to eat and gain strength & gain weight, cause if you don't eat enough and are running your probably will end up spinning your wills and making lackluster progress.

AND FYI I Im pretty sure most BBers do add in cardio when bulking, for the health benefits or just to stave off fat gain.


Sorry, I am 21. Also, should I shoot for a calorie maintenance or above calorie intake?


second this. Worry about your upping your lifts and not eating junk food and you will see results.


I just wouldn't worry about calories right now unless your lifts aren't going up. Your calorie needs will change greatly as your strength and muscle increase. So eat when you're hungry and make sure you are full.


You should aim for slightly above maintenance. Get MUCH stronger than you are and reassess in a few months. As in double your lifts AT LEAST.

You should also do cardio a few times a week.


You look the way I did when I 1st started:

I was 6' and 215ish. I benched about 200. I cut down to 190 in my 1st 3 months of lifting while getting stronger. I was taking in about 2,050 calories a day, 175 grams of protein. Although I did gain a good amount of strength ( +45 lbs on bench in 3 months), it would've been more if I didn't diet. If I could do it again, I wouldn't have done that. So I agree with others to keep it slightly above maintenance but try to keep it as clean as you can.


How much protein a day do you get in now?


I shoot for 350 everyday but usually come up short. I do make sure I get at least 300 on weekdays and lately I struggle to keep carbs under 300.

Once I got past the newbie gains, I really had to focus on keeping the protein high to make any progress.


Your body got weak and chubby all at once, what makes you think it can't get strong and lean at the same time as well? lol

What do you think would happen if you just ate steak, eggs, protein shakes, fruit and vegetables every day? Especially while lifting weights at least 5 days a week, and doing some cardiovascular exercise on a regular basis...

I don't think you should just start eating 4000 calories and trying to "bulk up" right now, no. But I think if you ate cleanly, with a ton of protein and enough carbs to fuel your training, you could reshape your body into something that can be built upon.

Something a lot of people don't acknowledge is that there's no such thing as a bodybuilder who is "out of shape". If you're out of shape, get in shape first (this does not mean "cut" or get super lean). Then pack on the muscle mass at full speed. That's just my opinion.


Thanks for all the advice guys, I will continue lifting and start doing cardio. I will keep ya posted.


You've made some pretty insane progress, Sam. It's funny to see the bigger/stronger guys and sometimes just assume they had always been a bit above average in the gym than others.

How long ago were those photos taken?


Thanks man. Those are July 2008 and from one of my 1st T-Nation threads. I was pretty clueless back then and re-reading some of my 1st posts make me cringe lol. At least I had the sense to post them in the beginner's forum:



Great post. I'd say that's closer to established fact than opinion, lol.