T Nation

Fitness and Weight Goals

Hello Christian,
I’ve been reading some of your articles about bulking and fat loss. I would like to try to get your opinion on what goals I should be setting for myself. I’Â?Â?ve never been big into bodybuilding. Through college I worked out with a couple of buddies 3 -Â?Â? 4 times a week but I was always pretty heavy. About 220lbs well over 20% bodyfat, I’Â?Â?m sure. I’Â?Â?ve always felt like I have the ability to get stronger.

I never did get super strong though, the most I ever lifted on bench was 280 and I barely ever got over 300 lbs on squats. I’Â?Â?m 27 years old, 5’Â?Â? 10"Â?Â? and weigh about 185 lbs now. I haven’Â?Â?t been in the gym at all for about 4 years and lost the weight just by dieting. I’Â?Â?ve lost most of the muscle mass that I had before and can barely lift 185 on bench now.

I’Â?Â?ve been back in the gym for about 5 weeks now and I’Â?Â?m starting to get conditioned to weight training again. Before I started weight training last month I saw 175 on the scale which was my goal weight. I’Â?Â?m lifting with a friend in the morning 5 days a week trying to get stronger. If I had to guess where my body fat % is at now I would say probably around 18%-20%. I don’Â?Â?t look very lean still.

I’Â?Â?m confused about what my goals should be. From researching different diet and workout strategies I’Â?Â?m told that I should be eating upwards of 3000 calories per day. I find that if I eat that much I put on weight faster than what could possibly be only muscle. Yesterday (Thanksgiving), I didn’Â?Â?t really watch what I ate that well and went from 182 lbs yesterday morning to 186 this morning. I didn’Â?Â?t eat all junk, I know I stayed fairly balanced.

Stayed away from the sweets and pies and ate plenty of veggies and lots of turkey. I did a leg workout yesterday morning but 4 lbs in a day can’Â?Â?t be good weight. This trend seems normal for me. If I don’Â?Â?t watch what I eat over a weekend I will see the same thing happen. If I eat more than about 2500 calories in a day I gain weight, for sure.

I’Â?Â?ve been trying to limit my weight gain to about 1-2 lbs per week. My assumption is that I should be able to quickly put back on some of the muscle that I lost over the last few years. I’Â?Â?ve heard a lot from different people about "muscle memory"Â?Â? and that getting strength back after being out of the gym comes rather quickly. But I don’Â?Â?t know what I should expect. My body seems to respond fairly predictably to input.

If I eat the wrong kinds of calories, I get fatter. If I lift weights hard, I get stronger. I don’Â?Â?t have bad genetics, I don’Â?Â?t think. I don’Â?Â?t have the problems that a lot of my friends do that can’Â?Â?t gain muscle or any other kind of weight at all without a lot of work. I don’Â?Â?t want to get fatter, though. I want to get healthy, stronger and look better. I just don’Â?Â?t really know what I should be expecting. Can you help me? Can you tell me how to find a good nutritionist that will work with me to set the right kinds of goals and expectations? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thank you.

Leith