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I Got Stronger and Fatter. What Next?

I was underweight for a while and just couldn’t build much strength. I managed to get over my mental blocks and ate more for 8 months, started lifting seriously again for 6 months. In those 6 months this happened:

Squat: 100kg (220lbs) -> 135kg (298lbs)
Deadlift: 110kg (242lbs) -> 160kg (353lbs)
Bench: 55kg (121kg) -> 75kg (165kg)

I’m stronger and happier. However, over the last 14 months I’ve put on 25kg (55lbs) in weight. I’ve gone from 67kg (148lbs) to 92kg (203lbs).

I’m a little bit fat and my breathing is just getting a touch heavy. If your goal is functional fitness rather than aesthetics, is the general idea to pause after a period of strength/muscle gaining to now have a period of kcal deficit and lower body fat?

Most amazing typo ever.

Get leaner and stronger now. Work on your conditioning.

Haha, I painstakingly calculated the lbs and then made a rookie error.

Is there a way of knowing how much learning and conditioning to do before hitting the low rep+surplus again?

I’m doing a lot of KB workouts at the moment, still hitting all the main movements but gone from around 3x3 to 4x8 and 5x10, except for squats and swings which are at 5x20!

I think I’m on about 100kcal deficit a day.

Thanks again for your responses!

Cleaning up your diet and making better food choices would be a better option rather than necessarily eating less. You still want to eat lots of good food in order to continue fueling muscle and strength growth. If you clean up your diet, you will lose the unnecessary bodyweight/fat as you progress.

Pay attention, OP: this will not work unless you also eat less calories.

Also, you might wanna opt for a bigger deficit than 100kcal a day.
With that deficit, you won’t lose fat at a reasonable rate (unless you’re okay with dieting for six months) and, most importantly, it’s too easy to undo it even with a simple measuring error (and it’s downright impossible to track a deficit of only 100 calories if you’re not measuring everything).

I’d shoot for a deficit of around 500kcal daily. I’ve had the most success in that range.

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It is a bit hard to know exactly what level of fatness this is. you have made some solid strength and weight gains, it just sounds to me like you have neglected your conditioning a little. Remember bodyfat level has little to do with fitness, there are plenty of well conditioned slightly fat people. Just add in a couple of hard, short conditioning sessions a week.

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This. And there are plenty of super-lean unconditioned people. I run a climbing gym. I see them all the time. My guess is you can keep lifting heavy and just add some conditioning, maybe one session of intervals per week and two longer zone 2 sessions. Here’s more on zone 2 work.

Or just add finishers to the end of your strength workouts. There’s a lot you can do to be better-conditioned. Of course, if you specifically want to lose fat (hard to tell from your post if you wanted to be less fat and/or just be in better shape) that’ll come down to diet, and I won’t comment on that because I don’t know anything about it.

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He says he got stronger and fatter. He gained 55 lbs, is now a fat 205 lbs and still has a novice level of strength. No one gains 55 pounds in such a time eating good healthy food (unless someone is extremely underweight to begin with, he started at 148.). You gain 55 lbs eating crap. Simply telling someone to just eat less is missing a larger, more important, component of the scenario.

He is asking if he should pause his eating to lose body fat. Going into a cut/bulk yo-yo habit of deficit and surplus dieting is silly and unnecessary. Unless you are a competitive bodybuilder, no one needs to alternate between cutting and building. You just maintain good sustainable habits. He simply needs to make better food choices. No one gets fat eating clean, especially if you are training correctly.

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This is simply false.

You can get fat eating “clean,” whatever that means, and you can get borderline shredded not eating perfectly in terms of food choices.

While choosing largely healthy foods is generally good, it does NOTHING for losing fat if that’s all you’re doing. Good luck losing weight while being in a surplus but eating clean.

On the other side, if you prioritize lowering your calories and choosing sensible macro ratios, you’ll see results. And if you are smart and have enough discipline, as a result of your reduced food intake, you’ll gravitate naturally towards better choices, which in turn will make you healthier too.

But lemme tell you something. If you’re overweight, then losing weight in and of itself will make you healthier. The other way around doesn’t work. You don’t get healthier by gaining more and more weight but “eating clean.”

And sticking to a diet and a deficit will do more for his discipline and eating habits than choosing “better” foods and stuffing himself with those, in the long run.

run through programs off this site that have both a decent amount of volume and conditioning work…

orrr…

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I think this response is a bit needlessly combatative.

First, I want to mention that we do not know whether or not @supermanplan is overweight, we just know that he weighs 92kg and says he’s fat. It’s hard to trust subjective judgements on that (body image issues abound). Maybe that’s spread across 165cm or 210cm. Doesn’t say.

@samul, I believe that the point @Evolv is making isn’t in actuality that it’s impossible to gain fat if one restricts their diet to clean food sources but rather that it’s unlikely that if you put in the work at the gym and lead an active lifestyle to go with that that you’ll not improve your body composition without having to go into the route of actively restricting your food intake.

Now, I can sympathise as much as anyone with wanting to lose fat. Hell, I’m skinny for my length but I filled up some of my fat stores and anyone lurking about stalking me can tell from my posts that I might start a fat-loss blitz or a period of body recomp at any minute.

Presuming that 92kg isn’t too heavy for whatever frame @supermanplan has I believe that the point being made by @Evolv is that if you eat a varied diet of whole foods without eating to the point of being holiday stuffed where (loose sketch) whole foods are “limited” to,

Carbs

  • Beans/Lentils (if you can digest them)
  • Oats
  • Rice (any kind)
  • Potato (any kind)
  • Pseudograins (amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa)
  • Whole/sprouted bread (if not a trigger food)
    • Also okay: whole/sprouted pasta, wraps, …
  • Fruits
  • Kefir

Fats:

  • Seeds (pumpkin, melon, sunflower, flax)

Protein:

  • Eggs & Eggwhites
  • Low-fat cottage cheese/quark
  • Salmon
  • Chicken
  • Lean beef
  • Other lean meats (bison, elk, …)
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Tempeh

Vegetables (all kinds, yes butternut squash included)

With 3 square meals per day made up of something like,

  • 2 servings protein,
  • 2 servings vegetables
  • 1 serving carbs
  • 1-2 servings fat

(I didn’t double check that the math will pan out on average but it’s close to that. Maybe more carbs is needed)

and two snacks (1-2 servings protein, 1 fat).

And they,

  • Lift weights 3-4 times per week (minimum, 5-6 time varieties are allowed but other exercise must be tailored back)
  • Have active rest days (conditioning, long brisk walk, sports) with maybe the exception of a single day per week

then presuming they rotate through the sources and not just eat rice every single time the calories will kind of even out over the week. Sometimes a person gets a bit of a surplus, sometimes a deficit.

Then one could continue improving in their pursuit of gains and strength, while arguably losing fat in the long term. At least an individual would have more muscle mass for when they do undertake a dedicated cut.

Obviously, this framework can be made more/less aggressive.

Level 1: as above
Level 2: Restrict high-GI carbs to after workout
Level 3: Only allow high-GI carbs after priority workouts’
Level 4: …

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I understand what you’re saying, but I still disagree.

My post was written under the assumption that he is indeed overweight, of course the answer might have been different under different circumstances, but he didn’t provide a picture or additional information, so that’s what he’s getting. If we want to take objectivity into the equation, we would need to see the op. Until that’s been done, we can only provide answers assuming what he’s claiming is actually the case.

That been said, I am the perfect counterexample to most of what has been said above. In my first year of training, I got very fat. All I was eating was: rice, steak, beens, eggs, oatmeal, whey, canned tuna, some greens. I ate tons of them (and, in accordance to what @Evolv said, that should have been fine) and I got really fat. At least, compared to how I was before I started training. I certainly looked more fat than muscular.

And I was eating virtually zero junk.

I didn’t mean to be confrontational with my previous post, nor am I trying to be now. However, and lemme clarify once again that I’m attacking the ideas, not people, but:

This is mostly garbage. It works if and only if you’re also in a deficit, and it’s a slightly more effective approach only if it also makes sticking to the deficit easier or more convenient. That’s all there is to it.

If I had to take a guy who’s overweight and have them learn one thing, that’d be how to get into a deficit and stay there. That’ll go him more good than anything else. While he’s at it, he’ll learn what foods are better for his goals, what make it easier to stick to a plan, etc. But it needs to start from the caloric deficit. Anything else holds zero weight at all, if the former isn’t in place.

Like I said, sticking to “good” foods without having an idea of how much I was eating proved disastrous for me.

The thing I disagreed with was the lack of good faith you had towards @Evolv because you presumed that he was suggesting a no holds barred approach to eating clean which isn’t necessarily what he was proposing.

This is why I included, in my reply, some constraints.

It’s certainly not mandatory, but I wouldn’t know about garbage. The point with my suggestions were that you’ll inevitably be in a deficit on certain days, so according to you

it’ll work on those days.

If a person has poor insulin sensitivity to begin with, it’s reasonable to allocate carbs there, even if at the end of the day you end up at maintenance level. Going in to the training session you’d have to use cortisol to mobilise fat to be used for energy during the session (making some assumption with regards to the nature of the session, i.e., that it’ll not “just” be a strength workout). And then, depending on when in the day you train, this might be convenient because the carbs will help you wind down and relax before bed (and suit one socially, i.e. family dinner).

And I disagree with this. With weight training we adopt a progressive overload approach, but with diet we seem happy to toss 200 kilos on the proverbial bar.

I get that, and I appreciate this influences your perspective on the matter greatly.

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It is not false. I have lifted long enough and have experimented with diet enough to know that there is a gigantic difference in 4000 calories of nothing but meat, vegetables, fruit, eggs, and beans compared to a diet mostly full of bread, rice, dairy, sugars, crappy cooking oils, processed food etcetera. The latter is what most people eat to gain weight. It is a lot tougher to prepare, consume and habitually eat the foods I mention first. Which is what I would consider “clean,” and the reason I call it “clean” since you seem upset about the word is because one group of foods makes you a fat turd, which I would consider being unclean. (It’s a joke.)

You can quite literally gorge yourself on one diet and see very little, if any fat gain, and blow up like a balloon on the other. I’ve done both and I’m not the only one who has had this experience.

Seriously, for the next three months, eat nothing but what I said, drink nothing but water. It would epically difficult to get “fat” while following a solid training program.

Also, you implied that I said to gain weight. I never said to gain more weight. I said to keep eating a lot of GOOD food which would elicit fat loss. Going in a deficit is not always the answer. There is more chemistry in the body, rather than just energy in equals energy out.

Everyone restricts their diets. Not eating is easy. Soccer moms do it all day long. People water fast like it’s going out of style. It does in fact take way more discipline to consistently eat 4000-5000 calories, every single day, of home cooked “clean” foods, not to mention the time it takes for preparation and cooking. THAT TAKES DISCIPLINE AND TIME. I do it every day man. Whenever I’ve got back on a normal 2,700 calorie a day diets, it is like a vacation.

Btw, not trying to make you upset, I’m just trying defend my stance.

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I’m over 50, I remember about one fat cunt from when I was young. I’ve tried eating “clean” i.e normal whole foods and found it impossibly hard to eat to gain muscle without protein shakes. You’d have to be one greedy fuck to put on weight eating ‘clean’ to put on weight.

The fat fuckers are eating shit, no doubt in my mind.

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For me personally, it’s much easier to stick to a deficit if there’s crap in the house because I know I won’t touch it. My downfall is fruit. If it’s in the house, its finding its way into my mouth one way or another… even if I don’t really like it. Banannas , oranges and mangos are the exception

Hi guys,

Firstly massive thank you for all the feedback, including the links. I’m busy reading.

The concept that fatness and conditioning being different hadn’t occurred to me. That’s super interesting.

My scales say I’m 20% fat. They’re supposed to be accurate for consumer scales, but I think that means little as they’re all inaccurate so I’m not trusting it. I find it very hard to Self assess because I’ve got a layer of loose skin everywhere (I was fat as a child).

My diet is fairly good. I only eat home cooked food; no takeaways, crisps, chocolates etc. 6-7 veg per day. I could improve further by reducing my carbs, but it’s certainly not shit.

I appreciate the debate about deficit Vs surplus but clean. I’ve read it but don’t feel I’m educated enough to go either way as both arguments seem logical. Super tricky because it’s a fairly fundamental point; there’s not really a middle ground I can follow between the two.

If I don’t care about how I look, I’m getting stronger, faster and am able to run for longer, do you think I need to care if I’m carrying this extra fat? Should I perhaps concentrate on eating slightly better food and not worry about some fatness as long as I’m doing some conditioning and said conditioning is improving?

As you can tell, the comment about carrying some fat and still being in good shape appeals. I dunno if, say, 20% fat leads to heart problems regardless of conditioning.

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this happens better body competition is inevitable, so keep on this path!

yes and yes

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Sure, my only observation would be that successful fat loss is achieved through consistently being in a deficit. What it means is that, even if you create a deficit by not eating high GI carbs (but both you and I know that avoiding high GI carb does nothing to create deficit on its own) on certain days, it’s too easy to undo that on the other days, even with a single meal, if you aren’t actually controlling the amount of calories you eat overall.

Another problem with the “low GI carbs to improve insulin sensitivity” is that it’s actually been shown to not entirely work like that. Low glycemic index carbohydrates don’t necessarily stimulate a lesser insulin release, and being in a caloric deficit (therefore losing fat) has a much, much bigger impact on insulin sensitivity.

May I suggest The muscle and strength pyramid: nutrition by Eric Helms. It’s a really good read that helps put things into perspective when it comes to priorities in your diet.

I’m not sure about this. Nobody says that, if you start off by eating 2000kcal a day, you’ll end your diet at 2000kcal a day. Your deficit may stay the same, but in order for it to keep being that way, you’ll decrease your calorie intake over the weeks. That same, say, 500kcal deficit might mean eating 1700kcal a day, the last couple of weeks, with added cardio. That is progressive overload applied to diet.

I want to clarify that I wasn’t sure about saying that initially, because I didn’t want all of what I wrote to be taken as something that stems from my n = 1experience. Of course, not being a coach means that only experience I have is what I did firsthand, but I also did some studying and reading on the matter, and many experts and trainers that have coached bodybuilding athletes seem to agree with my points. Someone I learned a lot from was Lyle McDonald’s, just to name one. I think his work is worth taking the time to read. There are many others of course.

Except there isn’t. Your body can’t tell beans apart from rice, when it comes to processing the nutrients.

And, let me ask that, in that world rice and diary are worse food sources than beans and fruit? How? White rice is possibly one of the best carb sources out there, and you’re putting it in the “crappy” category, on top of claiming that the same amount of calories from rice will make you fatter than those calories coming from fruit or something else deemed “clean” by you?

If that’s the case, we’ll have go agree to disagree because there is no way I’m changing your mind. But the evidence is clear on the matter.

This is your opinion.

Excessive food consumption makes you a fat turd. A 1000kcal surplus daily, coming from meat and beans, will make you a fat turd. A 500kcal daily deficit, with your remaining calories coming from bread and rice (and proteins too of course) will make you a much leaner turd.

You missed the part in which I said I did it too and I got opposite results to what you’re describing.

I don’t drink anything that’s not water or diet drinks, I have eaten only what you mentioned for periods that were longer than three months, and then I have eaten much more “unclean” for long periods, and then periods of both. I got fat every time I ate too much of either the good or bad stuff; I got lean every time I ate less.

Once again, “good” food has no magical property that will ignite fat loss on its own. If we’re going to speak strictly, food ALWAYS and ONLY makes you fatter. Every time you eat, you get fatter. Since you speak about chemistry in the body, you should know that. Eating triggers fat gains and inhibits fat loss. The sole gesture of putting food in your mouth triggers that process. Maybe if you think about it like this you’ll see why the overall deficit is the single most important factor…

@Allberg I’m not sure whether you still wanna defend his position after reading this?

I need to point out that you’re making a melting pot of arguments here.

Let’s sort things out:

  • not eating is indeed easy, up to a point
  • eating 5k calories of whole food is indeed hard
  • eating 5k calories of anything (good or bad food) is the single worst advice you can give to someone who wants to get lean
  • while possibly being easier, eating less is what you need to do if you’re trying to get leaner. It’s easier? Good. Do it until it isn’t. If you diet hard enough, it’ll become a nightmare just like eating 5000kcal a day eventually. While you’re at it, also make better food choices, right? (Rice is one of those.)

Sure. No offense taken, I’m not trying to come across as confrontational; we’re discussing ideas here, not people. For what is worth, I quickly checked your log earlier and you have good numbers, so I respect your achievements.

I suggest you read the “Energy balance equation” article on the website bodyrecomposition. com (I would link but it’s against the rules). That can give you some ideas about the importance of energy balance over any other factor (like food choices) and maybe you can reflect on that.

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How tall are you?

What are you eating and how are you training?

You wrote you are on a 100 calorie deficit but, have not written what you eat or how much.