T Nation

Need Advice on BF% and Calories

So I need some help deciding whether I should be adding in some calories and size or keep trimming down so adding lean mass is more likely. I’m 26 years old, about 5’7” and I weigh somewhere between 150-160 on any given day. I’ve been under maintenance calories for about 12 weeks now and I’m sitting at about 16% bf. I’d love to be more lean but I have hit a bit of a plateau. I do have a few years of training under my belt and I’ve been as light as 132 in the past with no desire to look that sickly again.

Either your BF estimate is too high or you have a skinny fat look going. You can stay in a deficit, but if you have plateaud you’d have to further it or increase your activity level. How many calories are you taking in right now?

An other approach is to go to maintenance now for 4 weeks, reset mentally, and then continue. If you’re not in a rush you could do 5/2 for athletes or two week maiktenance/two week deficit. Less likely to look sickly.

So I was taking in around 1600-1800 depending on training day. Always keep my protein above 1/1lb body weight. I think I can keep it going but I just need to find a way to not crash once I lower carbs again. Anything sub 100 and I start to truly feel it. I guess I just want to know if a more aggressive approach to finish it off is needed vs the slow more preservative way of loosing fat.

Do you really fluctuate 10lbs? I’m a lot heavier than you, and definitely don’t have my diet dialed in, and I fluctuate maybe 3lbs. What’s going on here?

I’m being a bit generous, last day of my cut I was 149.6 then I ate a pizza and was 157 the following morning so a bit of that is water obviously I just wanted to be honest about my weight over the last 10 days. During the cut I started at like 165 and that was Jan 1st so a little over 1lb a week until the last 3 which I was mostly the same.

Funny, I was just Googling this subject yesterday. The common belief seems to be that you can make much better muscle gains on a bulk if you start out at around 15% and under BF.
Not saying you shouldn’t ask here but if you Google “what body fat percentage should i be before bulking” you’ll get enough information to keep you busy for a week.

Take advantage of the likelihood that you can more easily manage a calorie surplus for the results you want in your 20s.

Yeah I’ve been down that road, according to tnation it’s somewhere near 12-15 I guess. I just don’t want to destroy my metabolism by continuing to cut down. Plus it did bother me how quick it could be put back on which to me means that I picked up some insulin resistance during my little experiment. It’ll take me a solid two weeks to reverse that decision which isn’t ideal

That makes a ton more sense. I thought you were saying your weight was fluctuating 10lbs during your diet, which would be very strange to me. I can easily gain 6lbs per pizza.

In terms or your actual question, sometimes you do have to buckle down and diet really hard. In your situation, though, I’d be more likely to spend the next couple months getting my maintenance calories UP so my next diet doesn’t have to be quite such a trial (and be more likely to keep muscle).

Thanks for the advise, my last few weeks I’ve learned a ton about what my body likes and I seem to be ok if I don’t go too low on carbs and revert immediately.

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