T Nation

Lose Fat / Gain Muscle?

To whomever can help:
I’m 21 yrs old, college student, about 5’8, 175lbs with 18-19% body fat. I’ve been working out for a couple of years now and started when I was back in high school. However, I didn’t begin to get serious working out until about a year and a half ago. I steadily work out about 4-5 days a week(working out a different muscle group a day.

Ex:chest + tri,back + bi, shoulders,arms,legs) and I honestly don’t know what to do!! Strength wise i think that I’m fairly strong (with a bench max of about 280, sqt max of about 350?) but I’m just not seeing what I want to see (as far as what I want my body to look like).

I know that one of my biggest downfalls is not doing cardio, however I’ve been working on that. I eat fairly healthy I think ( plenty of water, no sodas or candy, plenty of fish, staying away from fast food, and taking protein shakes).

I’ve been trying to also limit my carbs because that’s something that I always hear people doing. And with me doing all of these things…I haven’t seen any results that I desire.

My goal is to weigh about the same as I do now (175lb) however I want that to be more lean muscle than fat. So I would love to take my bodyfat down to about 12-8%. I want my chest to be more defined, to have bigger arms, and to have a smaller waist.

I would love to get rid of my pudge on my lower stomach! I am not against taking any steroids so if you’d think that would help than I’d like to know what kind I should be seeking.

If someone could give me a better work out plan(with cardio+ abs included) and a daily meal plan that wold be more than appreciated!


Plenty of plans here. Iwould concentrate on eating well, writing it down actually. Most of your exercises should not be tricep pushdown but front squats etc. Look up Waterbury or Cosgrove has something new here. The cardio could be 400 intervals which seem to work well.

You want to lose ~ 10 pounds of fat and gain 10 pounds of muscle.

You need to pick a direction, either gain or lose.

It might be quicker to gain muscle first and then lose the fat but if you don’t like the way you look now you might not like this method.

Some say you can lose the fat first and then the weight you gain will be a higher % muscle but I don’t know if this is true. It seems more anecdotal to me.

There is plenty of debate about which way to go first.

Either way make a choice and go for it.

What do your reps look like? As well as your program.

You don’t necessarily have to do Cardio.

You will have to lift more intensly if you plan to change.

Every body part is not equal and they respond differently to different days rest periods.

For awhile there I was able to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time, but then again I was fat as shit at the time so I don’t know if it would be possible for you. I definitely know that you can maintain your muscle while you lose fat. Whichever direction you go in good luck!

Read Body-for-life Bill Phillips. Learn about metabolism and maintain the muscle you have now while dropping your fat %.

At your age, given that you are still pretty young, I would focus on trying to get stronger in the main exercises–squat, bench, deadlift, row, military press, weighted chin/pull-up–while building more muscle mass. Eat more protein and add in some form of cardio if you feel necessary.

As someone mentioned, 400m sprints are good, or you could look at timed 1-2 mile runs as well. With the timed runs, keep track of your time and try to beat that time as you get into better condition.

Try out some of the high intensity interval training articles. That should help you get some bodyfat off without sacrificing much muscle loss. Just search for HIIT.

And keep a food log. Modify your calories until you are losing about a pound a week.