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Dropping Fat or Building Muscle First?

Here are my stats:

AGE: 26
HEIGHT: 5’9’’
SEX: M
Weight: 205
BF: 27%

I’d like to get myself down to 8-10% within a year. I’d also like to add 15-25 lbs of muscle. I am not sure what the best approach for me is. Should I initially start with cutting the fat or just start with adding muscle? I’ve been considering Carb Cycling, any thoughts on that? Any advice would be most welcomed! Thank you

*Thanks for the edit guys.

You are far too fat to begin a mass gaining diet. Now, I am not all for being some pretty boy all year long, but 27% bodyfat is pretty damn chubby! I, myself, have gotten up to 20% bodyfat before and I was not looking pretty. However, my strength was the best it ever was. I, like PX, also believe that the bodyweight I was at that fat percentage, 240#, allows me to carry more muscle mass at my current weight, about 225# at 5’10".

If you are just starting out or coming back from a long layoff, you will be able to add muscle and lose fat at the same time; maybe even do BOTH SIGNIFICANTLY.

You do not need any carb cycling at your bodyfat. If you are carrying that much fat, you can lose weight on a lifestyle diet, eating what you are supposed to 90% of the time. Just use a caloric reduction through less food and increased exercise. Leave the “tricks” for later. I do not find tricks to be useful until you are at an advanced or considerably lean body composition. They are meant to be used when you reach plateaus with more conventional methods, in this case, increased activity and less food and proper food choices.

There are 100s of articles on here to show you how to do this.

Hey, thanks for the advice here. The fat is just around my stomach. I took a job that required me to sit for most of the day. I was doing pretty good this time last year (18%). My body mass is at 149lbs. So I got some work cut out for me.

Do my goals seem realistic in your opinion? I agree fat loss should be my top priority while at the same time trying to build some lean muscle. I appreciate your response.

Well almost a third of your bodyweight is fat…

Some will tell you to add mass first, but seeing how the majority of people can’t do this without letting BF% rise even higher I recommend against it in your case.

Some will tell you to just start working out, eat relatively clean but don’t go on a diet and you should drop body fat and gain a little muscle simultaneously b/c you are a noob (presumably). You can try this approach to begin with to see if it works for you. Chances are at that BF% you won’t have to do anything extreme diet-wise to get results.

Some will tell you to eat and train specifically for fat loss. Personally, I don’t think you need to take it this far at your level.

Either way, if you do chose to diet down do yourself a favor and avoid going down to single digit BF to see your abs. Why? The last percentages probably take the longest to lose and IMHO cause the biggest loss in muscle tissue - something you cannot afford to do yet. Instead opt to go down to the lower teens and get right back into muscle building. Once, years down the road, you’ve built enough mass you can thing of getting shredded abs.

Just my opinion

As bricknyce already stated you don’t need to worry about cutting or bulking or carb cycling at your current stage…Just start eating more frequent smaller meals throughout the day, get your lean proteins in without starchy/sugary carbs. Lift hard and do some cardio.

You guys rock. Seriously, I appreciate this advice. I am committed. Just a little background on me – I’ve never been “muscular” but I don’t look fat to be honest. You wouldn’t look at me and say wow that kid needs to loose weight – maybe I just hold it well.

But enough is enough, I want a body I can be proud of. I’m not looking for a body builder body – I’d want to have a chest, flatten my stomach (perhaps see my abs – i’ll try) have shoulders and arms that are impressive.

I am a newbie – and I look up to guys/girls like you all. I am proud to be part of T-Nation. Thank you all thus so far on my journey – names Mario.

Thank you guys so much for your feedback. I’ve been been muscular in my life and I look up to you all who have dedicated yourselves to this. I have made a conscience decision this is something I want to work for – it’s not easy, but it’s something I look forward to overcome.

My issue is a need a little guidance when it comes to this kind of stuff. I think you all are right just jump into it with a decent routine/cardio and diet. I plan on taking:

  • Animal Pak
  • CLA
  • Fish Oil
  • BCAAs+
  • 100% whey

I’ve waited my whole life to get this motivation. I refuse for anything or anyone to get in my way to achieving my goal. Thank you all for your support/help along the way.

Thank you guys so much for your feedback. I’ve been been muscular in my life and I look up to you all who have dedicated yourselves to this. I have made a conscience decision this is something I want to work for – it’s not easy, but it’s something I look forward to overcome.

My issue is a need a little guidance when it comes to this kind of stuff. I think you all are right just jump into it with a decent routine/cardio and diet. I plan on taking:

  • Animal Pak
  • CLA
  • Fish Oil
  • BCAAs+
  • 100% whey

I’ve waited my whole life to get this motivation. I refuse for anything or anyone to get in my way to achieving my goal. Thank you all for your support/help along the way.

I would follow what the other say. Basically last semester I lost 35lbs and this is what the program looked like at the end:

  • speed walking EVERY morning for 20-30mins
  • lifting heavy (ripptoes) M,W,F
  • 45 min cardio T Th

and eating 2100 cals
1 gram of protein per pound of body weight
less than 100 grams of carbs, none after noon

Welcome!

I’ll give you my personal little story:

I was 285lbs 6’2", and probably pushing 35-40% body fat 9 months ago. Wimpy man covered in fat.

Today: 195lbs 10% body fat.
75-140% strength gains on lifts.
Humbly, very proud of my new body.

The secret?

Lift weights. Eat properly. All the time.

I did this with no real cardio. I am just now getting into cardio. You’ll see better results from incline walking on the treadmill than running any day. After you start absolving weight, look into HIIT/Sprint cardio if you want to further your weight loss that way.

Building lean mass + (permanent) diet = Healthy weight loss that stays gone.

Focus on what you want to look and feel like. Kill to make it happen. We’re in the foxhole with ya.

Welcome aboard.

Those are some awesome results. That is not easy to do. Congrats.

[quote]williseverything wrote:
Here are my stats:

AGE: 26
HEIGHT: 5’9’’
SEX: M
Weight: 205
BF: 27%

I’d like to get myself down to 8-10% within a year. I’d also like to add 15-25 lbs of muscle. I am not sure what the best approach for me is. Should I initially start with cutting the fat or just start with adding muscle?

I’ve been considering Carb Cycling, any thoughts on that? Any advice would be most welcomed! Thank you

*Thanks for the edit guys.[/quote]

If you are just starting, you will gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. Didn’t read anywhere that you were new though, so this may not apply.

Otherwise, IMO cut first. BF 27% is high.

I agree with everyone who said to focus on lifting heavy and eating right, as you will see both fat loss and muscle gain for a while at that. You will reach a point, months from now, when you should give one priority, and at that point it should be losing fat.

For someone losing a lot of weight, Shugart recommends that “To reduce the fat gain that comes with a mass diet, the FFB should make sure he’s truly shredded before beginning such a plan.”
http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sex_news_sports_funny/the_ffb_handbook (a very good article all around)

Waterbury says, “if you have to ask whether you should cut or bulk first, you should cut.” I have read, somewhere, an explanation for cutting first which is basically that when you eat above maintenance the more fat you have the more of your nutrients are likely to go to the fat. There is a certain proportionality in the growth relative to where you start bulking, probably something to do with hormones and other science I don’t understand, but a fat person will gain a higher ration of fat to muscle than a lean person.

In any case, from reading a lot here over time, I’d say do both while you can and when you find you can’t any more, focus on fat loss while still lifting heavy for which I would recommend:
http://www.T-Nation.com/article/bodybuilding/refined_physique_transformation&cr=

heres a good question as well im kinda in the same boat but ive managed to lose about 15 lbs while here in iraq just eating right lifting heavy and running about 12-15 miles a week.

however heres my dilema im currently 165 i dropped down from 181 butim tryin to cut down to about 150 so i can get my shredded look back before i bulk but ultimately i want 170 at 7% bod fat. right now i can lift heavy on basically anything except the inclined bench press the second i start stackin plates my right shuolder tends to pop out and back in maybe its a rolled tendon but it only happens on the inclined bench and its only a split second than its back in.

any suggestions.

[quote]Dissonance wrote:
You’ll see better results from incline walking on the treadmill than running any day. [/quote]

You’ll see even better results from walking outside up hills or in a park or whatever (preferably before breakfast too - see the 100 workouts to ripped city article). Plus it’s more fun.

But yeah, stay the course and good things will happen.

Edit: Cut first but if you’re newish you can do this on a pretty strengthy program by sorting out your diet and adding more NEPA (Non Exercise Physical Activity).