T Nation

New to Lifting, Obese

So I’ve been lurking around for a while, and decided to ask for some advice. I’ve done searches, and even searched on other forums, but I feel this one has an overall better crowd.

I’m 28, 6’1’’ and about 315 lbs. I cut down from about 350 lbs with just diet and some cardio. About a year ago I changed my degree in school to exercise science and really got into lifting. Started a variation of Rip’s SS at home after building a home gym.

I never really hit the weights early in my life, and perhaps dabbled a bit in them while in the Army. After I got out I gained an insane amount of weight working nights as a respiratory therapist, eating junk and not working out at all. I’ve always considered myself somewhat strong, being a farm boy, and wanted to start lifting (enter SS).

I took some weightlifting classes for my major and got some 1 rep maxes that were in my opinion good for someone that didn’t lift his whole life. I was able to squat (below par.) 325 and BP 205. Didn’t even know what a deadlift or row was to be honest. Started SS at lower numbers and worked myself up to respectable weights.

Cut to today, and I am able to 5x5 squats at 305, dead 385, BP 245, row 225 and OHP 215. I am still making weekly progress on all my lifts and still feel I have some newbie gains left in me.

The big question for me is this: I am obese. I reckon about 38% bf for sure. I’d like to lose a significant amount of fat, but I do not want to go on a strict cut. I notice that I am able to eat more and stay the same weight while working out as I am. Would it be easier to lose fat after gaining more muscle or better to just go ahead and cut now? I enjoy seeing muscle pop up under my skin, and can honestly say I caught “the bug” and do not want to stop seeing this progress.

I’ve read of body recomps, but do not think I can pull that off just yet. I posted something similar in a running forum and they all felt I should lose the weight first, the build muscle later. I figure I’d get the opposite spectrums opinion and advice. I feel it theoretically should be easier to cut fat when you have a significant amount of muscle compared to a mild to moderate amount.

Opinions?

[quote]doc2b wrote:
I posted something similar in a running forum and they all felt I should lose the weight first, the build muscle later. I figure I’d get the opposite spectrums opinion and advice. I feel it theoretically should be easier to cut fat when you have a significant amount of muscle compared to a mild to moderate amount.
[/quote]
Sounds like you’re looking for an answer you agree with and the truth is that it’s a personal preference. If you are comfortable with your size and prefer to build more muscle first it’s your life.

Personally I would incorporate a high protein and fat diet while limiting my carbs to 100 grams per day. I would also make sure I stacked all of those 100 grams of carbs around my workout window to give the best results.

Another hassle free way to look at your diet would be:

As far as cardio goes I would do fasted morning walks if I was you. This might just be me but I think jogging sucks so take that with a grain of salt. Otherwise if you are seeing results with your lifting program stick with it.

Good Luck.

I’m with you, dude. I’m six months into 5/3/1, never lifted until I was twenty-four at a starting weight of 215lbs at 5’7" tall. I’m now at 240lbs and jokingly refer to my gut as my “balast while squatting.”

Personally I have no issue with being big, google “Rhodes Rules” from Elitefts.com, it will make you chuckle.

[quote]doc2b wrote:
I am obese. I reckon about 38% bf for sure.[/quote]
Not to knock you, but this is one of the reasons why bodyfat percentages are useless. Does it really matter if you’re 38%, 41%, or 35%? It doesn’t. At all. Base your progress on measurements, photos, how clothes are fitting, and how you’re performing in the gym.

Sounds like you’ve stumbled onto a principle called “g-flux.” Basically, making good things happen by eating enough and training hard and often, rather than cutting calories and training hard.

If your goal… your priority… is fat loss, then attack it full throttle. If you’re following a smart training and nutrition plan, you won’t lose much, if any, muscle and you’ll end up looking better regardless. There’d be no reason or added benefit in waiting to build more muscle before starting.

If you want to keep going like you’ve been, that’s your call. Clean up your nutrition, include some moderate cardio throughout your training week, and keep pushing your strength levels up. Like the articles JLo posted, a low carb diet is relatively-quick way to get your body into fat loss mode without needing to make many other changes in your training.

Ever considered taking an anti-aromatase? Think it might help with body recomp if you’re going to put on muscle first. More fat cells means more testosterone will be converted to estrogen. More estrogen will in turn give you more issues with fat. Just a thought.

[quote]BigJc wrote:
Ever considered taking an anti-aromatase? Think it might help with body recomp if you’re going to put on muscle first. More fat cells means more testosterone will be converted to estrogen. More estrogen will in turn give you more issues with fat. Just a thought. [/quote]
This would be such a focus on the wrong things, like telling a starving Ethiopian to take smaller bites so the slice of bread lasts longer.

You’re not talking to someone who’s getting close to his goal and is looking for a finishing touch. The broad strokes of the guy’s training and nutrition are still being figured out. Starting an aromatase inhibitor, or most supplements actually, is still quite a ways down on the priority list.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]BigJc wrote:
Ever considered taking an anti-aromatase? Think it might help with body recomp if you’re going to put on muscle first. More fat cells means more testosterone will be converted to estrogen. More estrogen will in turn give you more issues with fat. Just a thought. [/quote]
This would be such a focus on the wrong things, like telling a starving Ethiopian to take smaller bites so the slice of bread lasts longer.

You’re not talking to someone who’s getting close to his goal and is looking for a finishing touch. The broad strokes of the guy’s training and nutrition are still being figured out. Starting an aromatase inhibitor, or most supplements actually, is still quite a ways down on the priority list.[/quote]

Fair enough. I saw good gains with DAA and an AI so I got pretty hyped on 'em.

OP: nobody wants to be fat, lose the weight. You can still lift heavy weights and maintain most of the muscle that you do have.

And, what exactly did you eat yesterday?

tweet

[quote]theBird wrote:
OP: nobody wants to be fat, lose the weight. You can still lift heavy weights and maintain most of the muscle that you do have.

And, what exactly did you eat yesterday?

tweet[/quote]

I agree, nobody wants to be fat. I noticed a huge improvement in quality of life dropping from 350 to 315. I was probably happiest at 215 while in the Army. I’d like to get there eventually, but to tell you the truth, nothing has come so naturally as lifting has. Albiet I am only barbell training with big compound movements, but I love adding that 5 lbs every set when I can. I’m sure I’ll hit my limit soon, but the changes I see in my upper chest and legs is awesome. I actually look forward to buying my next 2 45 lbs plates to add to my collection. I’ve never had this dedication towards anything other than my son and my studies in my life. Plus I LOVE to eat.

I remember running a study for my major on both people that lost >30 lbs to reach their ideal body weight (Military standards) and people that normally live at their ideal body weight. The person that normally lives there can eat more without fear of putting on much excess fat, where a person that got to that same weight after a significant cut has to maintain at a lower caloric value. I don’t want to be that person. I hope that adding enough lean mass will increase my metabolism enough to offset this any.

For what it’s worth, I don’t look my weight. I hold it pretty well for it being as high as it is. But at the same time, I don’t believe myself to have great genetics either. Just wondering if anyone has had success stripping fat after a significant amount of muscle was put on vs. having to lose it first then clean bulking.

My diet is crap. I know this, and accept it. I’ve tried to start them many times, usually failing because of my poor sleep hygiene. I go to school 4 days a week and work 3 nights. So I am constantly switching from a day sleeper to night sleeper. I have sleep apnea (getting therapy for this in a few weeks), which also adds to my problem. Lifting has been the only thing I’ve done that shows progress. Between microwave meals and mexican food, I know exactly what my problem is…

[quote]doc2b wrote:

[quote]theBird wrote:
OP: nobody wants to be fat, lose the weight. You can still lift heavy weights and maintain most of the muscle that you do have.

And, what exactly did you eat yesterday?

tweet[/quote]

I agree, nobody wants to be fat. I noticed a huge improvement in quality of life dropping from 350 to 315. I was probably happiest at 215 while in the Army. I’d like to get there eventually, but to tell you the truth, nothing has come so naturally as lifting has. Albiet I am only barbell training with big compound movements, but I love adding that 5 lbs every set when I can. I’m sure I’ll hit my limit soon, but the changes I see in my upper chest and legs is awesome. I actually look forward to buying my next 2 45 lbs plates to add to my collection. I’ve never had this dedication towards anything other than my son and my studies in my life. Plus I LOVE to eat.

I remember running a study for my major on both people that lost >30 lbs to reach their ideal body weight (Military standards) and people that normally live at their ideal body weight. The person that normally lives there can eat more without fear of putting on much excess fat, where a person that got to that same weight after a significant cut has to maintain at a lower caloric value. I don’t want to be that person. I hope that adding enough lean mass will increase my metabolism enough to offset this any.

For what it’s worth, I don’t look my weight. I hold it pretty well for it being as high as it is. But at the same time, I don’t believe myself to have great genetics either. Just wondering if anyone has had success stripping fat after a significant amount of muscle was put on vs. having to lose it first then clean bulking.

My diet is crap. I know this, and accept it. I’ve tried to start them many times, usually failing because of my poor sleep hygiene. I go to school 4 days a week and work 3 nights. So I am constantly switching from a day sleeper to night sleeper. I have sleep apnea (getting therapy for this in a few weeks), which also adds to my problem. Lifting has been the only thing I’ve done that shows progress. Between microwave meals and mexican food, I know exactly what my problem is…

[/quote]

Then fix it. Cleaning up your diet seriously could lean to large improvements in the gym and to your waist while all at the same time lowering your waist line numbers. I have yet to meet one person who has regressed from " cleaning up there diet " I am in no way saying you should cut… just stop eating like a slob.