I hope this is the right place to post this and apologize if it is not.
Stats: 25 years old, male, 5’ 7", 185 lbs, 3 years training experience, never used AAS/PH, total testosterone tested at 950 ng/dl 1 year ago (although the Dr. did not order a full hormone panel so this is the only relevant number I haveâ?¦ he did not take my concerns seriously.)
Problem: My physique has a very soft and puffy appearance, even at RELATIVELY low body fat percentages (top abs visible in most lighting). I have a very difficult time losing fat while maintaining muscle and performance. I’ve been advised to reduce carb intake (currently around 350 grams a day) but when I do my performance in the gym suffers drastically and immediately and my muscles shrivel up, making me look very skinny-fat. This makes sticking to a “cut” psychologically difficult. I store the vast majority of my body fat in my love handles, lower belly, upper thighs, and chest. I have pubertal gyno (puffy nips and small lumps). My appearance changes noticeably from day to day and hour to hour, sometimes with my muscles looking relatively full and “hard,” sometimes where I look very soft and bloated but still big, and other times utterly skinny-fat. I have a history of depression and disordered anxiety (diagnosed but untreated) and had eating disorders throughout high school and during puberty. Prior to lifting I weighed 120 lbs and still had noticeable love handles, no abs, and chest fat.
I recently was able to cut from 183 to 175 over the course of 7 weeks using carb cycling, although I looked and felt small and weak at the finish. A few days after reintroducing consistently higher carbs to my diet, my physique looked great (hard, relatively dry) and my performance in the gym took off. This continued for 2 weeks, after which point I began to look soft and sloppy again, albeit still muscular. After another week I stopped looking big, my muscles no longer seemed full, and I’m fat and soft again.
My goal is essentially to be big and strongâ?¦ Not just “bigger” and “stronger” but BIG and STRONG, but I don’t want to be a soft-looking fat ass. I don’t care about having abs, but right now I can’t stand the soft and feminine look that my body fat distribution and what I assume is water retention causes. It’s really getting in the way of me being able to eat my way towards my goals. If anyone has any insights into what the cause of my issues might be or how to solve them, it would be greatly appreciated.