T Nation

Looking Soft...


I have been training for 3 years solid now and my stats are 5'10, 180. My body fat is 11%, was just measured last week. I am trying to get it down some more, but I maintain a soft look like I am always holding some water. What is the best method for a dryer look? I know that I need to lower my bf just a little bit more, but is that all I need to do or is there anything else?


The guys here are going to tell you to put on muscle. Your best bet to look "hard" is to eat clean and lift heavy. Some guys just dont look ripped at 5'10 180, your probably one of them. Genetics man. If you got up to a strong 200 and cut back to 180 you will look better than if you get down to 160 now.


guys who look cut in magazines and shit use diuretics and other fun techniques like glycogen flushing.


read the whole thing.


Losing fat is not the only way to improve your bodyfat percentage. When you consider the fact that you lose muscle mass while in a caloric deficit it is not in your best interest to try and lose weight at this point, if you want to improve how you look.


Get your bf down more...

Staying super-lean and dry as in contest condition is not something one can do year-round. Or even for more than a day or two at a time.


Indeed. The bigger you are, the leaner you appear at the same bf percentage...

And of course you can recomp.


The drying out thing is definitely not a long term thing, you can't look at yourself in that condition and expect to maintain it. If you really are content with your size, drop that last bit of bf into single digits(which is tough to maintain but doable for sure) and go from there. Remember that you will lose some size in the process of dropping down more, so keep that in mind with how big you want yourself to look.

Edit: Could also be something simple like you being slightly dehydrated as is, if you aren't drinking enough water your body fights to retain what it does have, which can give you a little puff in the stomach. Something to check on with it being summertime and gettin all hot and whatnot.


a 300 pound guy at 12% will look like having less fat than a 165 pound guy at 12%. The 300 pound has more fat in absolute value, the same in relative value but he will look like he has less in relative value than the 165 pound guy?


if he eats copious amounts of bcaa, muscle loss will be minimal.


A 300 lb off-season bodybuilder with 20 percent bf looks smooth /full house condition.
A 150-200 lb guy with 20 percent bf looks fat.

That's what I mean.


Are you talking about two people that are the same height?

Lets take an average american male. 5'9 - 5'10

5'9.5 300lbs at 12% is pretty much Jay Cutler off season or probably closer to 20-24 weeks out from a show.

5'9.5 165lbs at 12% is pretty much Jared from the Subway commercials.

It's safe to say that Cutler (even in the offseason) looks better than Jared.

Your extreme situation is retarded btw, I'm not sure why I answered it.


Sweet generalization. There is soooo much more to AAS-free dieting than JUST amino acids. Amino acids don't even break the top 5 IMO


The reason why I don't recommend additional weight loss is simple.

When dieting your muscle appear flat. The fuller your muscles look the tighter your skin will appear the more striations will come out, basically everything a bodybuilder looks for when trying to peak.

Dieting has it's place but it's silly to bring your body to an extremely low level of bodyfat unless you have the genetics to walk around comfortably at low bodyfat. If you have to constantly being if a caloric deficit to stay under 10% (where you think youll be lean enough to see striations) it is unlikely that your muscles will stay full. Flat muscles just look bad, regardless of bodyfat.


Jay in the off-season


At the same height, yes.


Perfect post. This should be required reading.


Excellent post.

I tried to maintain 12% BF, which is very lean for me, and I had to quit simply because I was starting to look emaciated. After a carb refeed or a cheat day, I'd look great for about 24 hours, then my muscles would start to deflate. Plus I got tired of eating like Calista Flockhart. When you're in the apple aisle, comparing two types and worrying about minute differences in glycemic index, its time to rethink wanting to look like a Men's Health model 365 days a year and EAT SOME FOOD. At least to me...you may look at things differently.


I know guys that have the dry look all year round. I think it's a combo of genetics and diet. They probably experimented with alot of things until they found the winning combo. I myself am always about 10 days out, meaning I can look cut n dry within 10 days. Try to find the point where you can get that look when you need it pretty fast.


Not to use it as an excuse, but I think that a majority of mine is mostly genetics. I used to be a ectomorph, but as I got a little older (I am 32 now) I started holding a little more fat on my body. I pretty much stay in the 10-12% BF range no matter what I eat but I have never had a really dry look. I know that I need to add some more muscle mass to my frame, I am currently trying to get to 200lbs. But when I get to that weight I dont want to look even softer with the same bodyfat. So the concensus is add more muscle and dont try and get dry because I will look flat?


I doubt it's too hard when your under 160 pounds.