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Level of Leanness Before Starting Hypertrophy Focused Program


#1

I have looked, but can’t find it. I believe it was either here in this forum or maybe an article, or maybe somewhere else.
It was a good read with references of why you need to be at a certain level of leanness before it pays off to start a hypertrophy focused program.

If not, what are your thoughts? Yes it is for me and my training accountability partner. That sounds bad but here my out. I train at times at the same time as someone but we do not train together as he is much younger, weaker, leaner, and nearly every category, BUT he or I will talk the other one into going when one of us lacks the get up and go.

So short story long, your thoughts? I seem to remember 18-20% BF as the upper end for it to make sense to focus on hypertrophy. Certainly edging into the 30% it doesn’t seem to make sense to focus on hypertrophy.


#2

Well I don’t remember that article but I will certainly attest that it’s always best to start lean when trying to gain muscle. Why?

  1. The body just responds better when leaner. Your overall insulin sensitivity is higher but more importantly muscle insulin sensitivity is higher and fat insulin sensitivity is lower. This means that you will more easily store nutrients in the muscles instead of fat. Testosterone also tends to be higher when leaner because aromatase (enzyme converting testo to estro) is widely found in fat cells… the leaner you are, the less testos you will aromatize to estrogen.

  2. When your goal is to gain muscle you will have to consume a caloric surplus. Doesn’t have to be a huge surplus but there has to be one. And with that comes the risk of gaining some fat. The leaner you are, the less you will add as fat but also the more room it gives you. If you are 8% you can likely gain 4-5% and still look decent. That might allow you to consume a surplus for 4-5 months. If you are 18% you can’t gain much more.

Of course what is your body fat limit when wanting to train for hypertrophy is highly dependant on goal. Some people only want to be big as a house; they don’t care if they are lean or not. These people don’t care if they are 20 or 25%.

Some others put leaness as their first priority and dislike when they get much above 10%.

PERSONALLY I prefer to avoid betting over 12% but that is becauze being lean is of primary importance to me.

And physiologically speaking whenyou bet above 15% (for a guy) things start to be less efficient. So my recommendation would be to stay at the most 12-15% althugh going up to 18% is likely fine IF YOU HACE PROVEN IN THE PAST THAT YOU CAN STICK TODIETING TOGET LEAN. But personally I would not go there.

If someone is 18% or over I would prefer that the person get a bit leaner first.