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Keep Building or Try Getting Lean?

I’m 44 years old. 5’11" 235 pounds and unfortunately about 35 to 40 percent body fat. I have been lifting for about 3 months. My wife and I have noticed that my arms and shoulders are looking better. We have also noticed that my man boobs and gut have not. Should I spend the next few months cutting calories and doing some cardio to get rid of the fat and then start building? Right now I have cut carbs except on workout days and eat between 1900 and 2200 calories. I am considering the velocity diet.

One of the few advantages of being significantly overweight is, you can build muscle while eating at a deficit. The point being, you can continue to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time; you don’t have to choose between the two.

On another subject: I don’t know what your dieting history has been, but eating 1900 to 2200 cals/d constitutes a drastic (and probably unsustainable) calorie deficit for someone weighing 235#. It also is likely to be counterproductive, as you will rapidly drive your metabolism into slowdown mode. Assuming you’re counting calories accurately and lifting most days per week, you should be able to lose weight eating 12 cal/lb/d, which for you is ~2800 cals/d. Thus I would suggest you consider eating more, not less.


Eat more? If I eat more, clean of course, and continue to lift can I assume my weight will go up? It seems like nothing is taking fat off of my midsection while building my arms and shoulders. It’s quite frustrating.

If you eat fewer cals than you take in, you will lose fat. Further, you will lose fat at a much faster rate than you will build muscle, so your bodyweight will go down, not up.

In that regard, and to reiterate what I said above: The vast majority of men who work out will lose weight if they consume 12 cals/lb/d. At a BW of 235#, that works out to ~2800 cals/d. Thus, there’s no need to starve yourself and risk metabolic slowdown by eating only 1900-2200 cals/d. If you can’t lose weight on 2800 cals/d, it suggests either 1) you’re actually eating more than you think, or 2) you have a hormonal issue affecting your metabolism.

Many people lose fat in the reverse order of the way they gained it, so it may be that your midsection fat will be the last to go. Depending upon how lean you’d like to get, you’re looking at losing somewhere in the 50-60 pound range. If you lose 1 lb/week (which is a good/reasonable rate of loss), it’s going to take about a year to get there. So settle in–it’s going to be a long journey, but it will be worth it in the end.


What does your routine look like?

Ok. I can ramp up my calories and just keep doing what I’m doing as far as weight training. 50 to 60 pounds is a lot of weight. It’s probably where I should be though. I have gained about 80 pounds over the last few years. Maybe getting to 18p is a good idea. Thanks for the info.

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Bulldog I started with stronglifts 5x5 but I had knee surgery and can’t really do squats. Recently I have been doing body beast. I like it but I may have been eating too much. I gained 7 pounds in 6 weeks. I know some was muscle but also fat. I have enough fat already.

I absolutely hate HIIT but I did Insanity about 3 years ago for 3 months and got pretty lean. This was accompanied with a clean diet with no cheat meals at all (I was on a time crunch to lose it before our honeymoon to Jamaica!). Mostly grilled chicken, fish, eggs, white rice with every meal, and 2 vegetables with every meal. I don’t know the weight I lost because I just used the mirror as a guide, but it was a good bit. You’ll be surprised at how good you feel losing the weight man.
Calculate your macros, track your meals, & eat clean.

Agreed with @EyeDentist. Think of your metabolism kind of like a furnace. Adding proportionate amounts of wood at spread out intervals keeps the fire burning hot. Throw one great big log in the fire will be overtaken and will take a long time to burn hot enough to consume the fuel- not really optimal for your goals. And lastly, you can’t expect to a fire to burn if you only add one log a day- this represents metabolism slow down.

In short and to answer your question, in my opinion, lean up first.


How bad is the knee?

Bad enough that 3 years after surgery and after a year of physical therapy I still can’t walk up a flight of stairs without using the handrail. I just recently stopped using my cane to walk.

Your Doctor got you on limitations?

No the pain does. That’s probably not much of an excuse. I’ve thought about starting with body weight squats and see how it goes.

So is the Velocity diet 28 day get fat off quick as shit diet bad for what my goal is? 2800 calories is a far cry from the 1300 the velocity diet allows. Is it worth trying?

Can you do cardio or any lower body moves without pain? SOunds like you should stay away from lower moves and make fixing the knee a priority.

Loads of tips in these, hopefully some will help

For training to lose fat the fastest pick one compound movement and do heavy like 5x5 60-90 secs rest then everything else supersetted or giant sets for high reps which will create a big metabolic effect as well as add a bit of muscle. Rotate through rep schemes each workout .

Eg bench 5x5
Machine row x15
tricep pressdownx15
hammer curl x15
dumbell shoulder press x15

x5 sets, each excercise back to back/no rest then 30 secs rest between giants sets
Alternate between 12, 15 and 20-25reps

As said above keep your calories up just from very clean food sources, like make 90% of your diet from these foods…

Thanks for the link. I can walk on a treadmill. Stair are a bitch. I came off the cane a few months earlier than I was supposed to. It was very much annoying. I have a stability ball with a plastic base that I’m using to strengthen my knee. I tried leg extensions but that was a no go.

The velocity diet is for people that are already lean (less that 15% BF) looking to get really lean. For someone of your size a simple calorie reduction and clean diet is plenty.

Thanks for the link bro! I’ll try.