T Nation

Lose Fat or Build Muscle First?


#1

As a beginner I am constantly seeking information but allot of it seems conflicting, some people tell me to lose a bunch of body fat first, others tell me to get a strong as possible first then lose the fat later.

Anyone have any thoughts/advise on this? I just want one goal to target but my head is just so full of conflict from this!!!


#2

All of this depends on what you look like right now. Some people are severely skinny with OK bodyfat levels (10-15%), some are just fat, and some (the worst) are flabby with zero muscle underneath it. “Just eat tons and lift heavy” only seems to work well for the first group. The other two need to be more precise with their nutrition.


#3

Rank the following in order of importance to you:

  1. Being able to lift a school bus
  2. Having biceps that look like an anaconda ate a herd of gazelles
  3. Having abs you could use as a cheese grater

Or in english:

  1. Lean
  2. Strong
  3. Big

#4

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:
All of this depends on what you look like right now. Some people are severely skinny with OK bodyfat levels (10-15%), some are just fat, and some (the worst) are flabby with zero muscle underneath it. “Just eat tons and lift heavy” only seems to work well for the first group. The other two need to be more precise with their nutrition.[/quote]

getting stronger and building muscle will almost always be part of your plan tho, just to point that out. What can you tell us about yourself? what’s your height and weight and how do you train now?


#5

I find it depends on patience etc.

if you don’t mind forming a lifestyle and are in it for the long run. Dont go adding loads of unwanted fat and weight to your frame. get your nutrition sorted. If your muscles get bigger you will naturally burn more fat and become leaner over time.

if i have to make a choice I generally tell people to lean up first especially in the beginning.
it helps you look at your physique and see lacking parts and how you would like to sculpt your body accordingly.
then if you decide to put on some size you can push hard during your bulking phase on lacking parts,thus leading to a more impressive physique the next time you cut down as your poor parts are now more impressive.

just my way around… but i bet others will feel bulking first is important.

good luck


#6

My general rule of thumb is that no one above about 15-18% bodyfat should intentionally bulk. They already have the excess calories needed for muscle growth.


#7

[quote]Big Al 1983 wrote:
some people tell me to lose a bunch of body fat first, others tell me to get a strong as possible first then lose the fat later.

Anyone have any thoughts/advise on this?[/quote]
It’s a little weird asking people to choose a goal for you, but I know what you mean about the confusing info.

In your other thread the other week, you said you were “6 foot 1, 290 lbs 25% body fat.”

Bodyfat percentages are impractical to say the least, but presuming that’s the ballpark you’re in, you could lose 30 pounds of fat and still be a very big dude. I’d think about cleaning up your nutrition, doing some basic not-too-intense cardio, and a simple lifting routine to drop fat first.

You’ll still build some strength along the way as long as your diet isn’t too harsh and you’ll end up in a better place, physique-wise, after a few months.

Also, if you’re still interested in doing a powerlifting meet, find one and sign up for it ASAP. You can totally still do it even if you’re in “fat loss mode.” The numbers you’ll put up are secondary to the experience of competing and having a concrete deadline scheduled should help motivate you to shoot for the 275-pound class (or whatever).


#8

Thanks all for your replies!

I have signed up for a meet in July and my numbers are competitive in the 120kg class already looking at the last set of results but a little weak in 120kg plus class so weight loss it may have to be.

I’m currently doing Starting Strength have been on it a month so far hitting my 5kg increases each workout. I was a semi professional rugby player 12 years ago before I went to university and have been pretty sedentary for 10 years so put on A LOT of fat and lost some muscle mass. Eating big but clean - I used to eat McDonalds KFC etc. and drink 5 or 6 beers a day so having cut that out and training I hope to recomp but I’ll have to see what changes I see in the mirror.

I’m planning on posting my training log for the next 12 weeks with some before and after pics for a bit of motivation!

Thanks again!


#9

Just, get, healthy.

“6 foot 1, 290 lbs 25% body fat”

There is no reason you must delve into some esoteric theory of muscle evolution at this stage.
The talk isn’t conflicting either. The consensus is you’re out of fuckin shape.


#10

[quote]Big Al 1983 wrote:

I’m planning on posting my training log for the next 12 weeks with some before and after pics for a bit of motivation!
[/quote]
Start the log now, and log your eating also. it will help keep you accountable.