T Nation

Does Lean Body Mass Mean Much?

Cliff notes:

I’m fat
I want to build muscle
I eventually want to drop fat and have muskles

Instead of losing weight now and then building off of a relatively lean body of like to just continue to slowly build muscle from where I’m at and THEN shed the excess fat.

Would going by your LBM determined by a dexa scan be a somewhat good look into how you’d look less fat?

Example, continue to grow until LBM is 185lbs, then at that point say ok, I’ve got 185lbs of LBM, I get down to ~12% BF, I KNOW I’ll look good.

Does this even make sense?

Na dawg.

Just eat healthy
Lift weights 3-4x a week
Do some conditioning 2x a week

Do this until you look “in shape” and then figure it out. Don’t worry about LBM and all of that right now.


Kinda what I thought I would here. Probably the best way lol just like having a goal, like a number or something.

No, you crazy bastard. You’re just justifying not having to address the problem now, hoping it will go away if you ignore it.

You don’t want to be the guy who gets to 260lbs and thinks they have a huge physique under the chub only to find that you still have 20lbs to lose when you get to 190.

Dexa scans will not protect you against this as even if you are confident you have exactly the physique you want under the fat. You will have put yourself a long way from your physique with a lot of things to get right to get to your destination.

Stay close to your target bodyfat, establish good eating habits and be patient.

If you know what you are doing and have proven you can drop large amounts of fat while retaining muscle then feel free to go the big bang approach.

I don’t plan to do any Big Bang approach’s, although I’d love to!

I’m currently 210, I had a dexa scan done at 217 to get a baseline and I was 20% BF. I really don’t want to cut down now and get to an acceptable BF because there’s not much under there unfortunately.

What I had planned to do, and came here asking if I was crazy or if shooting for a LBM target THEN cutting BF was a bad idea.
My current plan, that is not set in stone and I’m looking for others input is to slowly grow from here. Obviously a LITTLE fat gain comes with the territory… plan is to gain slowly and try not to go any higher than my current 20%.

You don’t want to diet, do you? Been there too, I too was skinny fat and thought that I have a justification to bulk and then I’ll just drop fat with a solid basis already built. In fact I now know I was simply too scared of dropping my calories down drastically.

Bulking is not a proper solution for a skinny fat, regardles of your reasoning. The correct order is to cut -> bulk -> cut. The general rule is (if you care for aesthetics) is that you don’t start your bulk, unless you are already lean enough. If you will be bulking while fat, you just end up fatter and then your cut probably will fail.
Another thing is if you want to gain slowly, then loose slowly… And you are already a bit fat. How long will it take for you to be in shape? It’s even better from time perspective to lean down first, as, even if you won’t be muscular after your cut, at least you won’t be fat.

Now since you are a beginner, there is in fact a possibility for you to go for body recomposition. You can in fact burn some fat and build some muscle, since you are inexprienced lifter. But this also requires a caloric deficit, not surplus.

Don’t be afraid of dieting, jsut do it smartly that you won’t die be dying of hunger and eating cheat meals every other day and you will succeed.

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I just don’t want to be skinny fat again :joy:

I am currently hovering at maintenance or just slightly under. Trying to figure out what my next plan is before I make any changes.

Sure, the point remains. You should cut. Building muscle on a basis of already existing storage of fat is generally not a good idea, unless you don’t care for looks.

I was 20% BF then dropped to 12%, i looked biggest at 15% in a t-shirt and better topless at 12%.

I didn’t actually gain any muscle (although i did gain strength), but loosing the fat defined my muscles so your blocky arms end up looking bigger because the triceps are defined etc. (i hope that makes sense).

You need to find a diet that works for you and stick to it. Dieting can be fine if you get into the groove and make sure you have plenty of foods that are healthy that you enjoy.

What weight were you at at 20%? What height also?

I was 105kg at 6’ 2 I looked a typical rugby players build. I look way bigger now at 95kg (as i’ve been lean bulking after my second cut).

I never dieted previously but am a massive advocate of it now. I went from a 36" waist to fitting nicely into 34" jeans which also then made my lats appear bigger (as my waist was smaller).

I know that might seem mental but its true, you will feel bigger when you see all your muscles.

For my diet (as i do love drinking and eating still). I went on a very strict deficit during the week so that i had an allowance to smash the cider on the weekend (so keeping an overall calorie deficit in the week). It might not have been the best way to do it but i still love watching rugby and drinking and that will never change which why i’ll probably never get under 10% BF and stay there.

Instead of starting a new thread I figured I’d ask here.

I’m down 7 pounds and just eating at maintenance right now and my strength is WAAYY down on most lifts. Is this normal?

7lb in how long, a week? No. Never. Check out my past (Jan 2018) and see I did this whole crash diet thing. No good will come of it.
If you have weight to lose, a gentle deficit losing 1-2lb a week is generally accepted as good progress. But at 20% body fat a 3% drop in weight is bad news. I struggle to see how that’s happened. Did you chop of a limb maybe?

May 24th I was 217

Dieting is easy. Dont make it difficult.

Here’s my no-nonsense approach.

Do not eat carbs outside of trace carbs (veggies) unless it’s 2 hours before or 1 hour after your workout.

All other meals are protein and moderate fat. Heaps of low carb veggies.

Watch your portions. If you need to, count calories for a few days that way you know what a real portion size is.

Try to eat similar foods daily, that way you form a routine.

On some of your off days, hit a big calorie deficit. I often just skip carbs when I want to do this.

Have a cheat/refeed meal every 2 weeks or so. Once you get closer to your goal, ok to do one weekly. I usually would have my cheat as a post workout meal, then I’d have a very low calorie day the next day.

Incline treadmill walk is your muscle sparing thermogenic friend.

You dont have to starve yourself.

Commit to it if you’re going to do it. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time and will have no results to show for it.

Definitely not starving myself. And I meal prep and counted calories for a while but don’t care to anymore. Right now I’m just getting enough protein and eating like a normal human, as in not gorging myself. Last night I went to a Japanese habatchi restaurant and ate filet and a bunch of carbs lol.

I’m not trying to lose weight actually.

My question was more so the strength. I know you lose a little as the weight drops but I had no idea it was this serious. Extremely frustrating.

Edit to add I still do meal prep. 800grams (cooked) boneless skinless breast and 2 cups of jasmine rice a day, plus a normal meal, plus 1-2 shakes, plus 2-4 bags of oatmeal a day, and usually fruit. Shakes made with 2% milk.

Here’s my pretty much everyday meal plan. I’m basically finishing up my diet. Went from 208 to 179 full 6 pack with more muscle than youd think at 6’.

-2-3 whole eggs, 1 cup egg whites, handfull spinich, 4 grape tomatoes sliced, bell pepper (omelet)
-2 slices Canadian bacon
-15 blackberries

-Grilled chicken and/or salmon house salad
(Watch cal count, some salads can be high, only drizzle dressing, no cheese, no croutons)

-Lean steak, chicken breast or salmon/fish/shrimp
-white rice (50g max; skip if you want a carbless day, otherwise OK to have any day as your carb meal for the day even if a non training day)
-Carbless veggies

Bedtime snack

  • protein shake or chicken/lean beef/etc

If you’re really active, eat a bit more. I try to be very active, that way I have more leeway to eat. I like to eat. :slight_smile:

Once you get as lean as you want to be, start adding in some carbs. I’ve added Ezekiel bread to breakfast with PB fit spread. It’s like a treat :slight_smile:

I’ve also increased my portions slightly. Still losing some weight too!

You can do it!

Honestly, a lot of this is probably mental. People tend to associate dieting to getting weaker. That’s bullshit until you get pretty lean. Like 12% or less. If you’re dieting right, as in not crash dieting, you should not have a big drop in strength.

Dont be a mental midget. You’re just as strong as you were.

I’m gonna give it another week and see what happens. Right now it’s only been a few workouts where strength has taken a big hit. Just getting frustrated in the gym right now.