T Nation

How To Not Spin My Wheels


So as of yesterday I offically hit both 190Lbs and 20% BF, well 20.8% to be exact. This is from 3 months ago when I was 166Lbs with a 16% BF.

I have made some good strenght gains in the last 3 months on WS4SB,

my DL had gone from 70KG too 120KG
And my Squat has gone from 0KG too 80KG(No power rack, I have to clean the weight and squat it).

Anyway, at 20% BF im really thinking I should back off now and lose some of the blubber as Im starting to feel pretty shitty day in and day out.

What im worried about is if im falling into the bulk/cut trap when I still have no muscle. I dont want to end right back where I started but I cant really ignore the high bf any longer.

So I want to ask you guys,

Intelligently how would you handle this situation to not spin your wheels?

Would you keep on bulking up and focusing on strenght and nothing else(just like I have/ I aimed for 1-2Lbs a week on the scale while trying to break PR's as often as I could).

Or would you diet down to a reasonable number(10-12%) and then go on a strenght phase again?

I like being lean but I want to be big(think Jim W) much more so I just dont want to end up stuck in the same place for the next year.

Any help would be seriously appreciated guys.



IMO this^^ pretty much answers your question. If you're feeling like shit then you need to fix things. You've gained a good amount of weight but also a good amount of fat. I would have to call your diet into question at this point.

You need to tighten up your diet (start a frickin food log!) add in some cardio and continue to lift heavy. I dont know how tall you are but 190lbs with 20% BF doesnt leave you with all that much muscle.

what does your diet and workout routine look like?


I dont have much muscle at all tbh, and thats the issue. I really dont want to end up going in circles if you get that?

Im 5,10 btw.

I have a food log, im taking in around 3500- 4000 Kcals daily.

My diet on a average day usually looks like this:

Meal 1)
1.5 scoops whey
1/2 cup oatmeal
2 Apples

Meal 2) PWO
3 Apples
1-2 Can Salmon or 2-3 chciken thighs

Meal 3)
250 - 300 grams chciken breast
70G raw brazil nuts

Meal 4)
1 can Salmon
70G brazil nuts

Meal 5)
750G broccoli/ caluiflower/ carrots etc etc etc(Just some kind of vegtable that isnt a starch)
Pork/Chicken/Liver/Lamb/Salmon etc (Usually around 200 - 300 grams)

My routine is a 4 day split, upper, lower, upper, lower.

Also I usually do 45 mins to an hour of low intensity cardio(I cycle too collage) 5 days weekly.

Like, im happy im putting on size. My chest and traps have taken off big time which is amazing because I finally look like I lift but it has come at the price of a roll around my midsection.

Again im just unsure, I want to get bigger(good mass) but im having to fight the urdge to cut(fucking hate this word) lol.


This. Also, Op...why that many Lbs per week? I know when i was starting out (not that long ago) Some months ill gain like 1 lb, then the next ill gain 8.

I paid attention to the mirror more than the scale, i made sure i was getting bigger and stronger. If i didn't gain weight for 2 weeks (still taking in a lot of food) but i was getting stronger and looking better, you better believe i didn't sweat it.

Your body is definitely not a linear machine where things are supposed to be like clockwork.


While the fat you've put on is understandably uncomfortable, if you go on a serious cut now it is likely that you won't be left with much to show for your work. One option would be to tighten up your diet, shooting for "maintenance" in terms of scale weight, or just slightly above while continuing to lift heavy. Get the most that you can out of 190lbs before trying to shed fat. At 20% bf it is entirely possible to change your body composition without going on a hardcore cut.


I totally understand the not wanted to take one step forward, then two steps back. that would suck.

Glad to see that you have a food log... but you're eating 5 apples a day? What are you a horse? lol I would cut down on those apples man and add some veggies. Seems like only one meal a day you're having any veggies? Maybe turn one of your other meals into a big salad with chicken on top or something?

If I was you I would add in some dedicated cardio (not counting the bike riding to class) You could start with something as simple as incline walking on the treadmill after your workouts. you could start with 15 minutes after each workout. set it to a 12 incline and walk at 3.5 mph... it'll kick your ass for sure (surprisingly hard)

Whatever you do, dont go on an all out cut. That sounds like a really good way to piss away any gains you have made but I am definitely in favor of you dropping some BF.

3,500-4,000 cals is probably a little too much for you. If you've been eating that many cals and eating as clean as you described above then you are just taking in too many cals (or not training hard enough)

Try lowering your cals to 3,000 (which is more than likely still a caloric surplus for you) and adding in those cardio sessions. What does your actual lifting routine look like?


Thanks so much for the reply. I really am serious about building muscle and have no objections about losing my abz or not having "RITP ABZ" but I dont want to be a fat mess either:P

Literally im afraid ill fall into a cycle and never end up building any muscle if I keep thinking I need to cut.

lol, no im not a horse but I sure would put one to shame with the appetite I have:) Ill cut down on the fruit then, say one piece with breaky and 2 for my PWO. Also, on the weekends I take in much more veggies, its only being at collage all day green vegetables are few and far between. Thats why I load up when I come home.

funnily enough I was actually doing this up until last week, I would hop on the treadmill crank the incline and do a 20 min walk. Not sure why it was dropped(laziness most likely) but ill start back at it.

This is exactly what im afraid of, I dont want to end up going in circle for a year or two with nothing too show for it. I want to build some freaking muscle!

That seems to be my main issue, I can eat clean no problem but its just the quantity of food that gets me. Then ill rationalize it by saying "oh its clean and im trying to bulk up anyway. More chicken please(he says for the 5th time lol)".


Ok, ill keep my Kcals at a steady 3000 and see what happens.

My actual routine is
Monday: Upper body(Max)
T bar rows(Max effort)
DB Press
BB Rows
DB Cleans

Tuesday:Lower body: Deads
dead lifts(|Max effort)
front squats
Slit B squats
Reverse hypers
DB Holds

Thursday:Upper Body reps
BB Cleans
Pull ups
Chin Ups
Skull crushs
Side planks

Friday: Lower Body: Squats
Squats(Max effort)
BB Step ups
Stiff leg deads
DB holds

Also, I forgot to mention I I train 3 nights a week with Olympic lifts(Im on the collage team). Atm as im still learning its very low intensity i.e drop squats with 40Kg etc.


I was really hoping this would be a reasonably open option, maybe if I brought my Kcals down to matinace and bust my ass maybe I'll be able to drop some fat and recomp some of my body.


drop the apples and the oatmeal for 1 week. See how you feel, see how you look.


ok ill try it:P

Should i drop all fruit?


how much fruit are you eating? 5 apples and 1 cup of oatmeal (in your first two meals of the day) is a S load of carbs.


Really think so? Something like 2 apples and a cup of oatmeal seem pretty reasonable. I didn't think of his current setup as being a S load of carbs, necessarily.

I think that what jumped out at me was the sheer amount of nuts and salmon. Dietary fats are fantastic, but each can of salmon is like 700 calories, and those are a lot of Brazil nuts you're combining with them. Maybe this is just me personally, but I tend to do either a lot of nuts or a can of salmon in a day, not both. On days where I eat nuts, I usually stick with tuna as far as my fish are concerned, along with 10 fish oil caps.

So, diet-wise, I would just say that it seems like you could stand to drop 2-3 of the apples and perhaps some of the nuts (or save the apples for PWO), and you could stand to add in some protein--particularly either cheese-based or egg-based (unless lactose intolerant).

You might be one of the very few posters who truly does put on fat easily (instead of just thinking that you do). I'm trying to bulk right now, and I feel like I eat a whole lot more than you even though I'm 10lbs lighter at the moment. Then again, I do some morning cardio, which mitigates the weight difference.

How do you change things up depending on whether you're training or not diet-wise?

I don't comment upon routines because I'm not experienced enough to do so.

Also, do you have any pics? Perhaps a before and after shot?


To reiterate, I said drop it for 1 WEEK. See how you respond. If absolutely nothing happens, we know the answer is elsewhere. If you notice a big difference, then, yes, you were getting too many carbs from fruit. I tend to endorse a more aggressive approach to process of elimination, as I believe you tend to get to the answer much quicker. And by aggressive, I also mean within reason. Cutting carbs that low for a week is not that extreme.


I think that based on the description you've provided you should be able to address this with relatively small changes to your diet. I would stay in a bulking mindset (i.e focused on growth) until you've truly reached your desired size. Understand that the body doesn't always respond the way you want it to or think it should and that over a long period of time you will have to adjust your strategies based on what you see in the mirror. If fat gain is too much, dial back the total calories SLIGHTLY, change your macros SLIGHTLY, make small changes, observe your response and move on.


apples have close to 20 grams of carbs and a cup of oatmeal can be between 60-70g.

5 apples and a cup of oatmeal is up to 170 grams of carbs in his first two meals alone. If he's gaining a quite a bit more fat than he's comfortable with then I would definitely cut this down.


Something seems funky. How was your bodyfat measured?


You don't appear to be eating very unhealthily, if that is the diet you're actually following (didn't forget to post little snacks or binges here and there, did you?). In this case I would really question your training intensity...

Also because your routine looks like something straight out of Mens Health.

If I were you, I would (a) expand and improve upon my training routine and really crank up the intensity every day in the gym, (b) do 30 minutes of incline walking every day upon waking, and (c) make sure I'm eating 1.5-2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight without fail.



To start with im dropping nuts from my diet as I seem to have an intolerance to them(as is common). Also A can of salmon that im eating only has 250 Kcals/ 14 grams fat/ 38 grams P so its quite small compared to the 700 Kcal cans you eat.

On my non training days I will simply eat less carbs i.e. I nix the 3 apples but still eat the oats in the morning.

I will take a few pictures tonight and post them here so you can see exactly what im talking about.


Im not so sure its the carbs. I mean on a worjout day ill get 90 - 100 grams for breakfast and then 80 - 90 PWO, after that everything else is from veggies(mostly green). I think its more so the amount of food I eat in total.

Never the less I will try and cut all oats and fruits for a week and see what happens.

@ATG & Gregon

I think you guys have the right idea. If I go on a cut now ill piss away any results I have or might have got.

What ill do is scale back my Kcals too 3000, opt for much less carbs i.e. no more than 150G daily and increase my fats through eggs.


I used an online calculator that takes your weight and your waist line and gives you a bf%. I used thos over a skin fold C as I seem to have quite a bit of the fat thats stored under your abs. I.e. my solar plexus gets massive.

@Mr Pop

The intensity isnt the issue, after my lower body workouts im usually pretty close to passing out:P

The diet I gave was an average day, of course there have been differences here and there. Like last week I had a day where I got up too 6000 Kcals eating chicken. The average though is in and around 4500 kcals and its all pretty clean.

My routine looks that shit? Its WS4SB through and through, I didnt dare fuck with it. Any recommendations then for a better split to use? My main goals are to get better in the big 3, dead lift, squat, and cleans.

Ill will be doing a 20 min incline walk from now on right after my training, and ill make sure I get at least 1.5 grams of P per pound of BW


sounds like you've got a good starting point now. Lower your carbs and cals to what you mentioned and add in the cardio session. That alone will lead to a guaranteed drop in weight right there. if you feel like crap and are sluggish/no energy from the low carbs then just bump them up for a day or two and use a cycling approach (but at 150g's of carbs you should probably feel ok)


You've gained 8lbs of LBM in the past 3 months, and your lifts have gone up in proportion. Good job.

You've also found out that 4500 calories/day was a bit too much. No problem, just scale it back a little and keep chugging. If you want to take a month or two to re-comp, go for it. Shoot to lose about 20lbs and then get right back to it. G-Flux worked pretty damned well for me, and I didn't even reduce my calorie intake. Once I was down to where I wanted to be, I just cut out some of the extra work and went right back to gaining.

I'll agree with Mr. Popular on the routine. Not digging that one at all, I don't care if it IS straight up WS4SB. It's just not balanced at all. It's nice to see someone focusing on back work, but DAMN. Get on a balanced split or something. Almost all of your work is focused on back and legs. That's just as bad (in regards to physique quality AND joint health) as the 'bench, curl, bench, curl, repeat' guys.