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I've Come a Long Way, But I'm Stuck!


I have always been big… ever since I can remember. I am 26 now and was fat for over 7 years. I am 6’4 and currently at one of my lowest weights (since birth lol) at 210lbs. 10 months ago I was a sloppy 265lbs.

At 265lbs I finally decided that I had enough! I starting going to the gym 5-6 times a week and working out hard. I had worked out on and off throughout college so I was not a beginner to the lifting game. I was actually pausing 340 on bench at one point, albeit I weighed 265… but still was never in “shape”.

So I hit the gym workout intensely, heavy, routinely and it paid off. I starting loosing fat and gaining muscle like no one’s business. Naturally once this happens, I was in… addicted. Fast forward 9 months and we are at present time. I am 210 as I write this… I was 205 a few weeks ago. If you recall I am 6’4 so to me, 205 is too light, although I am far from “skinny looking”. Ultimately I would like to settle at around 215-220 sub 10% BF.

The problem I am now experiencing is that I cannot get out of the shape that I am in now. It seems like no matter what I can’t loose anymore fat or put on anymore muscle. The ultimate plateau if you will.

I lost most of my weight on a 1800 cal diet (insanity for a guy who is 250lb, I was naive… but at least it worked). I also go heavy in the gym, no matter what. I am not one for lifting “light” weight for reps to "loose weight�?? heavy all day all the time - less days off and resting periods.

Stats to compare -
-Before - 265lbs weight, 20% BF, 200lb bench (wow), 185lb squat, 185 DL
-Now - 210lbs, around 12% BF, 320 bench, 365 squat, 315 DL.

-I pretty much rotate between 5x5, 10x3, 5x5x3x2x1 etc, all heavy.
-Current diet is ~ 2600 cals, > = 100g carbs, 250g protein, 60g fat.
-I do 20 mins of HIIT cardio one day and 20 mins of SS cardio the next day on my lunch breaks Mon-Fri. The workout is about 1.5 hours Mon-Fri after work.
-I do one muscle a day (slight exceptions) and each muscle once a week, sometimes hitting a part twice a week if I feel its lagging.

I suspect that while my diet is clean I am eating incorrectly. I am afraid to increase my cals too much since I have that fat guy mentality and still want to loose a solid 10lbs of fat; however, I am finding it difficult to gain any weight (looking for 5-10lbs of lean muscle). I have successfully lost fat and gained muscle before but its like my body has finally become accustom to this and “shut off”. I am staying in shape and improving slightly… but its a unreasonable amount of effort for such little gains.

Any advice, comments, suggestions?
I can provide more info if needed.

Also, here is a picture from myself at 210… I know its garbage, but its all I have and I just wanted to put something up to show my current state 6’4 210lbs
I am no bodybuilder and still have a way to go. I just want to make it clear I not posting that picture as anything but a reference lol.

It sounds like you are attempting to gain muscle and lose fat simultaneously.

You may have been able to do both when you were an untrained fatty, but not any more.

I think that you have to pick a goal first (either lose fat or gain muscle) and then ask for advice.

100 carbs=400 calories
250 protein=1000 calories
60 fat=540 calories

thats only 1940 calories, not ~2600. If you’re lifting weights and trying to gain muscle thats not even close to enough.

I think you already know why you are stuck, but are too afraid to do something about it for fear of weight gain.

Essentially you have 2 options

  1. Reduce Calories and increase expenditure to reduce bodyfat

  2. Increase Calories to increase muscle mass.

Considering your current intake, and previous history of dieting, in my opinion you would be best served to increase your Calories, at least for a while. Then once you have significantly increased your energy intake - at 6’4" and 210lbs you ‘should’ be eating more (and ideally weigh quite a bit more too!) - reduce to lean out or continue to increase muscle mass.

The best way to achieve this is to simply increase your calories in small incremental amounts consistently and monitor your reponses OBJECTIVELY. In this instance I would recommend weekly or bi weekly photos, bodyweight, girths, and maybe some bodycomposition measurements too - to provide you with a holistic picture of where you are at and where you are going.

This takes dedication, perseverence and hard work - plus planning - but I think that by achieving what you have already, you have the skills necessary to do it.

Building your ideal physique is a marathon not a sprint. And sometimes it may seem like you have to take one step backwards in order to take two steps forward!

Read this article on plateau busting nutrtition that was posted yesterday. There was some good information in it.

Thanks guys, I mean it. A lot of good advice already.

So from what I can gather, I was able to axe so much fat while simultaneously building pounds of muscle basically only because I was shaped like pear. At this point it is really one or the other, which I have understood the concept of for some time now.

I think my error was in thinking, heck I’ve been able to do both so far, why cant I continue.

I suppose my food estimates were off based on that post showing I was a 1900 or so. I keep a daily food log; however, I left the thing at home today so I don’t have much reference. I do know that I am around 2500 cals, under 150 carbs and above 250 protein.

At this point I don’t know which route to take. It is summer and there are many opportunities to display my “hard work” so I don’t know if bulking is good right now. On the other hand, there is nothing I hate more than feeling “skinny” I have never been and don’t want to be.

6’4 205 seems skinny to me… which is what I was at in the picture above, so judge for yourself.

So do I hit a nice cut and get down to the desired 8% bf (but weight a measly 200lbs) or so I enter “scary” waters for me and bulk back up. I am sure with the frequencies and intensity of my workouts I could shoot up to 220 relatively quickly.

You see the picture, what do I do?

Again, these responses are golden and much appreciated.

At that height and weight, you don’t have anything to show off. Sorry, but you don’t. Bulk and keep bulking. If you do it right, you might be able to cut down for next summer and have something to “show for your hard work.” All you will be showing people right now is how skinny you are.

[quote]GuerillaZen wrote:
At that height and weight, you don’t have anything to show off. Sorry, but you don’t. Bulk and keep bulking. If you do it right, you might be able to cut down for next summer and have something to “show for your hard work.” All you will be showing people right now is how skinny you are.[/quote]

Right, thanks. I stated many times that I know I am not in some phenomenal shape. How about showing off 60lbs of weight loss in less than a year? Negative reinforcement at its best I suppose…

I don’t think I came across the least bit cocky; however, I feel like your post assumed I was. You have to admit its nice to go to the beach after having done a complete 180 in terms of physical fitness.

“show off” was a poor choice of words; however, I will stick with it and point out that I was referring to my hard work. Regardless of how skinny I am to you… there still has been much “hard work”

I’ve done the same thing, dude. I’m not crushing your progress. I’m just trying to give you a realistic view of where you are at (I’m basically the same place 6’3, 221 lbs. Went from 285 down to 203. Now back to 221 and still climbing).

I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings, but you’re going to need to toughen up around here. I’m a softy compared to the vast majority of posters. I wasted a few months trying to make the same decision you are making. It took a good swift kick in the groin to make me see the light and I’m trying to do the same for you.

You could go to the beach this year with your progress and everyone will say “hey, great job dude” or you can keep the bigger picture in mind, work toward next year and everyone will say “Holy shit, dude!” Your call.

I hear you man, and I appreciate the answers and honesty. No hurt feelings over here, I was just responding to your post.

loosing 60lbs is a desirable thing for many many people and I think there is something to be said for just getting up and f-ing doing so.

Trust me bro, I am the biggest critic that I have body-wise. I know where I want to be and I know that I’m not there yet.

Actually, I disagree. You look pretty solid from what I can see in that pic (though, admittedly, it doesn’t show that much).

But your back looks fairly thick, there’s a decent V-taper and rear delts look good (or, I should say delt, since I can only see one).

Thing is - if you leaned out some more, you’d actually look bigger as your muscularity would be more prominent at a lower BF percentage.

But - summer’s almost over (shit - school starts next week!) so if it was me, I’d go with increasing calories and bulking, just make sure to do some cardio to keep the fat gain in check. Like GZ said, a whole year to gain, and then spend a few months cutting in the spring would make for an impressive physique this time next year.

Make sure you have your supps covered too - I’m not one to go nuts using everything under the sun, but BCAAs, fish oil and some creatine, along with the increased calories, would likely help push you past your plateau…

You seem to have a solid work ethic and have most of your training bases covered. Good luck with whatever you decide to do…

Thanks SkyNett, one of the first positive comments I have gotten… definitely nice.

When I am saying I feel skinny its all relative (except for GuerillaZen, hehe). I am one of the strongest guys in my gym (doesn’t say much for my gym lol). I’m super far from being a beast but I am also far from a “skinny kid” in the gym. This may be a repeat but the numbers are roughly

315 x 2/3 bench
275 x 1 incline bench
365 x 3 DL
225 x 5 barbell military press
365 x 3 squats
405 x 10 front barbell shrugs
315 x 5 behind back smith shrugs
220 x 8 pull downs medium grip
275 x a few close grip bench

Etc. Nothing phenomenal and it doesn’t hurt that I am 6’4 and have been big for my whole life, but I think those numbers take me out of the skinny gym noob class.

BTW - On this “bulk” I realize I need to add cals, but what should my carbs be at?

I’m going to agree with those telling you to start bulking. You definitely have lost enough fat that now, if you don’t go crazy eating fast food/grease laden crap all the time you can build a good body without TOO much fat gain.

I’m sure it’s hard to gain weight when you’ve been focused on losing it for so long, but as long as you’re smart about it, you won’t get “pear shaped” again. Just keep analyzing your progress as you go, adjust food intake as necessary, and you’ll be fine.

[quote]SkyNett wrote:
Actually, I disagree. You look pretty solid from what I can see in that pic (though, admittedly, it doesn’t show that much).

But your back looks fairly thick, there’s a decent V-taper and rear delts look good (or, I should say delt, since I can only see one).

Thing is - if you leaned out some more, you’d actually look bigger as your muscularity would be more prominent at a lower BF percentage.

But - summer’s almost over (shit - school starts next week!) so if it was me, I’d go with increasing calories and bulking, just make sure to do some cardio to keep the fat gain in check. Like GZ said, a whole year to gain, and then spend a few months cutting in the spring would make for an impressive physique this time next year.

Make sure you have your supps covered too - I’m not one to go nuts using everything under the sun, but BCAAs, fish oil and some creatine, along with the increased calories, would likely help push you past your plateau…

You seem to have a solid work ethic and have most of your training bases covered. Good luck with whatever you decide to do… [/quote]

So… you disagree, but actually you agree?

No - I disagree with your assessment that he has “nothing to show” - he looks more solid than that.

However, based on the fact that summer is over, he may as well hit the bulk and come into next summer more impressive.

So, in that way I agree with you.

Well, good job so far.

I think you should slowly bring up the cals and incorporate more variety into your training with the goal of gaining muscle.

My reasoning is that 10 months is a long time to be dieting, and there are diminishing returns. If you cut your cals further at this point, you’re probably going to lose a lot of muscle.

If you’ve been lifting heavy the whole 10 months, incorporating some volume (along with more calories) should help stimulate some muscle growth.

wtf? how is your incline basically the same as your bench my incline is way below my flat bench…but if your bulking i would say 2 x per pound of bodyweight should be your carb intake or depending on your caloric intake you could go with an 1,2,3 diet. 1 part of your calories fat, 2 parts protein, 3 parts carbs. but def bump the protein and pick carbs that are def low on the glycemic index except for post-workout meals

if you didnt know
1 gram of fat = 9 calories
1 gram of protein = 4 calories
1 gram carb = 4 calories