T Nation

Lose the Weight or Turn it into Muscle?


Hey everyone. I have a problem and I'm looking for some advice. I am currently 22 years old at 6' 1" and I weigh 265. Yes it is A LOT, but I don't have a really fat belly, but rather the fat is spread out all around: I have large arms, large legs, large head (joke), etc. It's pretty evenly distributed and it doesn't look horrible, but I could look MUCH MUCH better.

I played basketball in high school, I jog, and I lift occasionally. The problem is I have a garbage diet. In fact, I couldn't write it all down if I tried. Everyday its drastically different, and I eat out a lot.

I have been told that I could "convert the fat into muscle" but I'm not so sure if that will work.
What should I do at this point? Focus on fat loss, or muscle? Once that's decided, what do I eat? I have NO idea on how to make a good diet. Then, should I continue with the Body of Fire, or is there a particular routine I should work on? Finally, if I establish a good diet, will MAG-10 pulse fasts accelerate my progress? I would like to see some results soon (visiting family in early Feb.), but then I can continue slowly but surly.



Well, don't listen to whoever told you that you can convert fat into muscle. In fact, if they told you that the sky was blue, I would question that as well.

I'd say to cut, but that's just me. There's smarter people here though.


You can't "turn fat into muscle"

You can lose fat and gain muscle. You might be able do both at once for a short time when you make the initial lifestyle change, but for the most part you have to pick one or the other to focus on.

You'd probably get more of a visual effect from losing fat if that is what you are concerned with. Personally I think that would be the best thing to do first as well, but of course it is up to you


It's definitely possible to change your body composition while staying the same weight. I've done it.

Pictures would tell a lot in this case, post some or expect really mixed advice...pretty touchy subject 'round here.


Well I definitely do not want to stay this heavy, it gets in the way of a lot of things. I fatigue quickly, its tough to do body-weight exercises like push-ups and pull-ups, and i am fat, just not a huge ball that some people would imagine at 280 lbs.

I know I want to burn fat, and lots of it, but from the looks of things I should focus on that first without aiming for muscle gain (although I sure as hell dont want to lose any).

Any diet advice?


Look up "carb cycling codex" in the search. Should be the first thing to pop up, Imo it's a great way to shed some fat without completely overhauling your diet.


you cant magically turn one tissue into another, but you can lose fat and grow muscle


get a good understanding of nutrition, i.e. understand what simple carbs to do your body, get an idea of calorie dense vs. low-calorie foods that fill you up.

learn how to cook your own food so you can control exactly what you're putting into yourself

it's one thing to follow a diet plan, but it'll help a lot if you understand why a certain diet will 'work' (either lose fat, gain muscle, change body comp in some way) or why it won't.

once you have that figured out, start a program that strengthens your entire body, and also includes some sort of conditioning work. if you make your conditioning fun, then you're more likely to do it. if you used to play bball, even shooting some baskets for a half hour a few times a week will do something for you.

that's some pretty general advice, and i'm sure people could build on it. if you can, read michael pollan's "in defense of food"... it will help dispel a lot of the dietary b.s. that you may hear. otherwise, be consistent and work hard.


Your biggest problem is going to be your lack of dedication. You know you eat like crap, yet you still eat like crap. Whether trying to lose fat, gain muscle or do both you need to get both your diet and exercise in check, consistency makes progress.

Eat protein (from meat, eggs or dairy) with every meal
limit or eliminate simple sugars other than from whole fruits
use fats like extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and butter to cook with
eat fish (especially salmon, mackeral and other oily fish)
eat fibrous vegetables several times a day (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, greens)
get an hour of sun light a day and/or supplement with vitamin D
get no less than 7 and no more than 12 hours of sleep every night

If you follow the above list, eating calories attuned to your goals (a surplus for muscle gain, a deficit for fat loss)and lift heavy at least 3 days a week and increase your overall energy output with walking, jogging, cycling, hiking etc. you will be a different person in a year. It doesn't have to be complicated, it just requires dedication.


read the stickies


WHat you need to focus on FIRST is consistency, fuck fancy diets and advice. Just getting in the damn gym, working every body part hard 1-2x per week, and eating decent food (stop eating out) will do 80% or more of the work for you. There's no magic pill to replace consistency.


hungry4more, thanks. You are 100% right and i cant believe I just realized it.

atg410, great advice. I am looking into nutrition some more at this point, as I lack in that area the most.

@ the others, I think what was meant was that I can burn fat and gain muscle at the same time, but I get the idea.

It's obvious that consistency was what I lack, but I am working on it day by day. I established some healthy eating guidelines based on some things that you guys told me (and showed me via PM), and I am sticking with a workout routine. In the following months I promise to come back with pictures.

Thanks for the advice, and if anyone has anything to say PLEASE PM me or post here. I really want as much input as possible.


dryheat: If you get your nutrition sorted and stick to a routine for several weeks-months you will see tremendous change. Stick with it and absolutely come back to show us your progress, pictures = motivation.