The more I read, the more I get confused.
I'm 37, 6'4", 195 lbs, probably about 20% body fat. I'm weak and I want to be strong. I joined a gym and started lifting weights on June 1, about 6 weeks ago. I've been using All Pros routine from Bodybuilding.com. My first month, I didn't lose any weight at all, but I got stronger.
I first joined a gym 10 years ago, when I weighed about 250 lbs. Once I got to 200 lbs, I lost interest and pretty much remained that weight. For the past 10 years, I would sometimes see a movie and decide I wanted to see my abs, go gungho for a month at the gym, get burned out (energy-wise) from going all out, and then quit again.
This time, I decided I wanted to be strong. I'm weak. I couldn't do a regular pushup when I started 6 weeks ago (now I'm up to 5) and I still can't do a chinup or pullup.
I don't want to spin my wheels with this. A friend of mine locally is pretty built and he started out with a gut as well. His advice was just to eat, lift, sleep, focus on getting stronger, don't worry about having a gut or getting a bigger gut. That it'd take care of itself later. That if I cut my gut now, I'd be nothing but a tall, weak stick, because there's nothing to cut down to.
Should I be eating at a surplus, getting my protein in, lifting heavy weights in order to build muscle (I realize that I'll gain some fat doing this as well)? Should I be eating at maintenance, trying to gain muscle and lose fat at the ame time? Or should I be cutting, focusing on getting rid of the gut, but sacrificing building muscle?
Again, my goal right now is to be strong. Of course, I want to be aesthetic at some point, but for now, I just want to be strong. I also don't want to get too fat in the process.
To me, I look exactly the same as I did 6 weeks ago. I'm definitely stronger and my wife has commented that I have some muscle definition. I've attached a current photo. Any advice?