T Nation

Help Me Understand, I Think It's My Diet

I’ve been lifting for about 7 months now after a long hiatus and weight drop (from 200 to 173). I’ve added some strength for sure in the first couple of months, and shot up to 180 lbs. Then I leveled off around Dec. and have seen very small gains in strength, and hardly any in actual scale weight.

Now, one thing that is confusing, is my BF to muscle gain ratio. I can’t help but feel like a lot the weight I gained was fat. My waist size didn’t really increased, but I’ve noticed the BF (in the mirror atleast) accumulate greatly on my thighs/glutes/love handles.

My diet is all really healthy foods and relatively strict. Now, I think I may need more calories, but if I’m gaining more fat than I like, shouldn’t I back off? But, if I back of then I won’t gain! I hope the BF gain hasn’t been because of not enough calories (if that’s even possible).

I gained 14 pounds in 6 weeks my waste size went from a 30 to a 32. Yes I saw the gut get bigger and the love handles as well, more so than anything else, even though maybe 5 pounds was fat the rest muscle.

Fat accumulates first in the love handles / belly so you tend to notice it more as for getting bigger everywhere else, well most people will not see as much a difference and think the gains are small best thing to do is measure yourself (arms, chest, thighs) to visually see the progress, others might tell you as well.

Accept the fat gain to get bigger 2:1 ratio (muscle:fat) is very acceptable.

Also I hope that you are eating five to six meals a day. The last one no later then 1 to 2 hours before bed of @ 300 to 400 calories mostly from Protein. Your Protein intake should be about 180g’s per day (1 gram per pound of body weight) with that being around 40 % of the total caloric intake per day. Also be sure to get your green’s in they help to regulate the food sources to the Muscles. I hope this helps.

[quote]Droogan Leader wrote:
My diet is all really healthy foods and relatively strict.[/quote]

Post an accurate food log and let us be the judge.

[quote]Blashy wrote:
I gained 14 pounds in 6 weeks my waste size went from a 30 to a 32. Yes I saw the gut get bigger and the love handles as well, more so than anything else, even though maybe 5 pounds was fat the rest muscle.[/quote]

You gained 9lbs of muscle in 6 weeks? Ummm… no you didn’t.

Based on? Where did you hear that? There is no “acceptable” ratio as far as I know. The idea is to minimize it but not so much that you hinder your progress. For some that would mean 4:1, others 1:1, and for some 1:2.

Your body has adapted. You need to cycle your workout to maximize your gains. You should change your exercises and set parameters. For example, if you’re doing 4 sets of 8 you should drop the weight and do 2 sets of 12 for a couple weeks. Also be sure to change your hand position on the bar and maybe take a bit more time between sets. When you go back to your previous routine you’ll be gaining in no time. This is called periodization. Your body adapts so you need to vary you routines with exercise and food.