T Nation

In a bind....time to bulk??

right now im sort of in a bind, and im looking to the forum for some help. i was the big kid in highschool(6’1 250) very little muscle…extremly pudgy…right now im down to around 185…but im now the skinny fat kid, no ab deff., quite a bit of fat around the midsection…ect. and i think ive finally realized that i need to put on LBM very badly…my tanita says 19% bf…i know they aren’t very accurate but its the only thing ive got other than the mirror. so should i go on a bulking phase and try and put on 15-20 lbs of badly needed fat free mass…or do i continue to cut down to the magical 12% mark that everyone seems to like before they bulk…the only problem with that is ill need to get to like 170ish to hit that…and thats with no loss of lbm…which would obviously occur…so is it time for me to suck it up and gain some weight and some lbm…or continue on to cut, with minimual lbm which makes it tough?

Dizzle:

First off, congrats on the progress. That’s definately changing your life in more ways than one.

Now then, onto what you should do…

You may hear a lot of people tell you to gain size gain size GET FUCKING HYOOGE.

Well, to each their own.

Listen, I know that before you can get “cut” you need to have some muscle. But believe me, if you’ve been weight training at all, being a newbie, you’ve got some muscle under there. Its just gonna be shocking how skinny and low bodyfat you need to be before you are “defined.”

The thing is, and this may or may not be the case for you, having a fairly low, or just average bodyfat, after being a former fatty, feels pretty fucking good. When you’re just trying to get into shape, you don’t neccessarily have to worry about packing on a lot of muscle until you are at a comfortable bodyfat percentage.

WARNING: I am not referring to overly-concious skinny low bodyfat guys petrified of fat. (haha, just funnin with you Lobo =))

I’m talking about former obese guys getting down to a decent bodyfat that makes them more comfortable in all their aspects of life. You don’t have to sacrifice being fit in order to
have muscle.

This is a long journey, you’re young and you have time do what you need.

10-20 lbs is a lot of muscle and will take a while to put on. This isn’t just gonna be one short balls to the wall bulking session. So if you go that route, you can kiss getting any leaner goodbye for a while.

Now, personally, if I were you, I would try to get leaner. HOWEVER I DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE AND AM BASING MY ASSUMPTION THAT YOU ARE UNHAPPY WITH THE AMOUNT OF FAT YOURE CARRYING.

Also, if you’re fairly new to this, gaining some muscle and losing some fat is a little easier. Especially if you had your diet dialed in. You could defintely try out the T-Dawg 2.0 diet and experiment with the calories to see if you can gain some size and strength while dropping some fat. At the very least, maintain most all of your muscle while droppin enough fat to get ready to gain muscle.

Its your body man. Do what ya wanna do.

Also, if you got pics, throw em up, it’ll be easier to direct you if we can see what “skinny fat” means to you.

Best of luck

Dizzle, I’d like to give you a piece of advice coming from someone who grew up big too. Do you bulk or do you cut? I’ve got a suggestion that may sound way out there, but hear me out: Don’t bulk. Don’t cut. Just clean up your diet and eat at a maintenance level. I’m guessing here, but I’ll bet your body is completely confused as to what the hell you want it to do. I hope your not starving yourself or eating less than 2400 calories MINIMUM. You have to learn how to eat whole foods day in and day out and not binge out at ALL. A balance of healthy foods is what your body needs and you will see results if you just quit trying to change your bodies’ set point and let it normalize. I guarantee if you can follow those 7 habits john berardi laid out a few issues back, you’d be fine. I apologize if I’m off base at all, but i’ve been there. check out the photos thread under “before hot rox…” and see what i mean. I wish you all the best,
Pete
PS: PATIENCE

i’ve been there. was 230 about 15 months ago, mostly fat. i got down to 190 and was happy but then decided to bulk up and put on quite a bit of fat at 220. lost about 10 pounds now which for the most part was fat. so With me it was possible to put on muscle while maintaining the same body weight. so to bulk if you mean add lbm, then i think you should be able to do that while still loosing the fat especially if you are fairly new to weight training.

To be honest with you dizzle, i would also recommend getting that 19% bf down further if u r unhappy with the the amount of fat in the midsection.

As low as 10-12% before u start bulking. With a diet like t-dawg you could achieve this in around 12-15 weeks.

Like New damage i am also basing my recommendation to you on the fact that u want to get that midsection trimmed, photos would help and would get you would a shedload of feedback, a picture speaks a 1000 words my friend.

Good luck with whatever u decide

Being a former fatty myself I will have to fall on the side of Newdamage and say go ahead and cut another 10-20lbs befor you go for a bulk to add on that much needed LBM.

I just think it is smart to get to those low #'s for several reason. 1 being that after you have done it once, you know you can do it again. 2 being that your bulking stage will be of greater benefit if you start @ the lower %.

Losing fat si the easy part, packing on LBM is a long hard process. Go for the easy route first and then go for the long haul of adding on LBM with minimal BF gains.

Just my 2cc.
Phill

Well I was in the same situation as you Dizzie, Jan 5 last year I was about 155 lbs (at 6ft) and skinny fat, due to years of virtual inactivity. But today, without worrying abut getting leaner first I’m at about 185 lbs, seems, carrying slightly less bodyfat, but generally looking about 100% better because I’m not so damn skinny.

So my 2 cents, get bigger then if you still want to, get lean, cause if you’re skinny who cares how defined you are.

I think I read it in lyle mcdonald’s book (not sure though)… anyway, if one eats above maintenance and his bf% isn’t low, it’s really possible that much/most (it depends on starting bf%) of the WEIGTH gain will be made of fat. there was also a formula to calculate how much of the gain would have been fat and how much muscles… the more fat u were carrying as u started bulking, the more fat u’ll gain as a “side effect”. it had to do with insulin and insulin receptor on muscles cells and fat cells… but here I stop, sice there’s people much more educated than me on this matter:-)
Anyway, my advice is to trim down a little more (at least 12-15%) and then start bulking from there, maybe keeping an eye on the massive eating program of JB.
just my 2cents…

good luck

Perception is a very important factor. Having been obese, you could have a different perception of your own BF%. You might be lean, but you still see yourself as fat. Do yourself a favour. Get your BF% measured by a qualified professional. Spend the money and get it done. No excuses. If it means not going out for dinner Saturday night and not going to the movies on Sunday, then so be it. You must take action. As you mentioned, the bioimpedience scales are useless. On that note, do not head over to your local Bally’s and have them measure your levels. Most personal trainers are useless for this. You must get it measured by a trained professional such as a Kinesiologist using skinfold measurements. You can locate one in the yellow pages or at most sports medicine or rehab clinics. Once you have a true measurement, then you can move on to deciding what would be best. Also keep in mind that the % is not as important as the actual skinfold measurements themselves. These will help give you a look at what is going on inside your body without intrusive means, ie: hormonal and adrenal levels. Proper blood work and adrenal stress index tests would be ideal as well, but you are starting to talk about $300-500 range. I am adamant about these tests because I have seen the difference they can make, but understandably not everyone can make that kind of investment. These tests are important, as is the skinfold measurements, because sometimes the problem is not training or dietary but hormonal. Simply getting the hormones balanced will balance out weight issues without making any changes to diet or training. You see this all the time with people who exhaust all their options in the gym and at the table, have done all their homework and yet cannot lose those last few bf%. That is a hormonal issue and until they deal with that, they will be going in circles.