T Nation

Getting In Shape to Compete

First off I want to apologize if I posted this in the wrong forum and for the long post. I am a newbe to this site and my questions are about both dieting and bodybuilding.

I am fairly new to lifting weights but it has become a part of my life now. I have been lifting weights for a bout a year and half and I have made some great gains but I feel like they came just because my body was not used to the weight training. I went from 165lbs to 200lbs with maybe 20-25% body fat and I would just eat anything that was in front of me. Now that I am hooked I want to go to the next level ( maybe competing)but I have never dieted and I need some help.

Here is my question I have researched as much information as I can but I just don’t know what I need to do to get in the shape to compete. I know I need to be lean but I am afraid if I diet then I will lose my mass and if I lose my mass than I am back to being skinny, I would also like to continue getting bigger. I just don’t want to be big with a high body fat percentage.

I heard about the anabolic diet, which has lead me to this site. Is the AD diet let you gain muscle while cutting or is there even such a diet? I also thought about trying the I bodybuilding program with the diet. Does anyone have any other diets or training programs that would help me out? If anyone could help me out I would greatly appreciate advice on this issue. Just an fyi I would like to get up to about 215lbs and around 10-15% body fat.

Post a pic, you will get better advice that way. Also dont just think you can take a diet that is low in carbs, but high in calories will let you gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. Accept the fact that if you are doing this drug free its going to take awhile to get the look you want. Also , 210 at 10 percent bodyfat? If you acheived those stats and youre under 6 feet( hell even an inch or two over) that would make your physique better than 90 percent of the posters on this board. If you are of average height those stats would put you up there with zraw

[quote]Ss0714 wrote:
Here is my question I have researched as much information as I can but I just don’t know what I need to do to get in the shape to compete. I know I need to be lean but I am afraid if I diet then I will lose my mass and if I lose my mass than I am back to being skinny, I would also like to continue getting bigger. I just don’t want to be big with a high body fat percentage.
[/quote]

Muscle lost while dieting is exaggerated. Muscle you thought you had that isn’t there when you return to a lean state was imaginary.

Thank you both for the replys. I will try and post pics when I get off of work today. Do either one of you think I should try and get bigger first or should I cut and just try and build lean muscle? And are there any diets and training programs that you would recommend? My goals are to be big but cut at the same time and I just don’t know if it would better to bulk first or to stay cut and build lean muscle. Again I am sorry for being a newbe I just need someone to point me in the right direction. Thanks again

[quote]Ss0714 wrote:
Thank you both for the replys. I will try and post pics when I get off of work today. Do either one of you think I should try and get bigger first or should I cut and just try and build lean muscle? And are there any diets and training programs that you would recommend? My goals are to be big but cut at the same time and I just don’t know if it would better to bulk first or to stay cut and build lean muscle. Again I am sorry for being a newbe I just need someone to point me in the right direction. Thanks again[/quote]

can’t answer questions until pic

[quote]Ss0714 wrote:
Do either one of you think I should try and get bigger first or should I cut and just try and build lean muscle?[/quote]

That question is the source of much debate…post your pics.


Ok here are my pics! Sorry guys I don’t know how to pose yet. I know I am not in the best shape but I did make gains and now I want to go even further.I want to be jacked and cut, I know it will take time and I have the commitment to make it happen I just need some advise on whether or not I need to cut and clean bulk or just bulk. If you guys could help me out with a diet and a program that would be freakin amazing. Here are my measurements.
height 6’1"
around the chest and shoulders- 53 1/4"
chest- 47 1/4"
right arm- 15 3/4"
left arm- 15 3/4"
right leg- 23 1/8"
left leg- 23 1/4"
right calf- 15 3/4"
left calf- 15 1/2"

first pic is back when I was 160lbs


front view relaxed

back view

front flexed

back flexed

legs

calf

you have a decent base

you are not especially lean, but you also arent overly bulked up…If you dieted down now, you’d look better. But that doesnt mean that needs to be your immediate course of action. What have you been doing the last 6 months…gaining weight? losing? maintaining? Id say at this point the choice doesnt even matter…you can choose to gain size now, or you could cut down. you need to invest time doing both to accomplish your goals.

Id say if you choose to gain mass just follow this one simple guideline-Don’t gain more than 2lbs a month. As soon as you feel too fat, then cut down.

PS-- i am by no means any sort of authority when it comes to competing, so i guess take my advice with a grain of salt. However, i kind of feel like i went through the same thing…i wanted to compete, i knew i had to be bigger- so i bulked up to a fat 215 lbs, then in 18 weeks i lost almost 40 lbs to come into a show at mediocre condition. Doing stuff like that is dumb, its better to build on what you have slowly rather than having two large extremes (extreme bulking and extreme cutting)

I would be surprised if caliper reading indicated you were at 20%. What are the primary movements you used during your surplus period…squat? row? flat press? o.h. press? pull? etc. How much did your strength increase?

The calipers that I used were cheap and from a local store and I was probably doing it wrong. My strength increased dramatically. When I first started I was pretty weak.

Bench 160lbs - 305lbs
Squa 200lbs - 400lbs
I have never maxed out on dead lift but I usually lift around
When you say pulls do you mean lat pull downs?

My workout was all compound movements (max ot program) and I lifted as heavy as I could with my rep range being 4-6 with 3 sets. I trained one muscle group a day.

[quote]Ss0714 wrote:
The calipers that I used were cheap and from a local store and I was probably doing it wrong. My strength increased dramatically. When I first started I was pretty weak.

Bench 160lbs - 305lbs
Squa 200lbs - 400lbs
I have never maxed out on dead lift but I usually lift around
When you say pulls do you mean lat pull downs?

My workout was all compound movements (max ot program) and I lifted as heavy as I could with my rep range being 4-6 with 3 sets. I trained one muscle group a day.

[/quote]

Thats great progress -stay on that program but throw in some isolation movements especially for arms.

Also here are some good max ot inspired routines…

Thanks to everyone who has commented on my post I really appreciate it.
I’m in need of some more opinions on whether I should cut and then lean bulk or just bulk. I like the idea of cutting and then lean bulking because you are in pretty good shape the whole time. If anybody has any idea what my diet should look like please let me know, I know I need to cut calories but I am not very good at knowing what the exact amount of protein, carbs, and fats should be.

Thanks for the link to the max ot work out and I will look into it. And is there any way you can cut while gaining muscle? Thanks again.

You really want to figure out how many calories you can handle to maintain. It is vital that you know this so you can make adjustments easily. In my opinion, you should focus on “lean bulking” or whatever the hell you want to call it. Basically, a more methodical method of bulking by eating a few hundred calories about your maintenance, bumping them up if progress is stalling for ~2-3 weeks.

You, being early in your training career, will probably lean out a little while adding quality muscle, or at least minimizing fat gain while you are gaining. Treat a bulk like a cut and you should have no problem keeping the fat off. When most “bulk”, it’s easy to justify some pizza slices or ice cream.