T Nation

Not Sure What to Do Next!

 Hi guys!  After being introduced to this site by a friend 3 months ago and lurking around, I've finally decided to say hi.  Glad to be here, and have a great time reading what all of you have to say.

 Just to give a little intro:

22 year old male
Asian Indian
5’9"
175-178 lb (changes based on time of day of course)
Body Fat: Est. 16-18%

 Before I ask my question, Just wantyou guys to know that 6 years ago, I used to weigh around 210 lb, mostly fat.  Being pretty tubby, I decided to do something about it, became active, changed some of my eating habits (now im a health nut), and lost 45-50 lbs in about 3-4 years time.  

Got stuck along the way, but had advice from great people, and gained some great habits using some great products to help me out. I weighed 162 at my lowest point. Now, I combined cardio and weight lifting during most workouts.

I had no set training program or anything, but just tried to become more active and exercise. My standard was running about a mile (2 miles later on as my body got used to it) and then doing machines for about 30 min.

I did this for at least 2-3 times a week. Obviously I was a beginner and didn’t know the benefits of free weights at the time like I do now.

 With this process, I went from ~23-25%% Body fat to ~16-18% body fat (sorry for the ranges, Im estimating here based on my weight and some body fat measurements i had done at random times).  

My problem is that I had slimmed down alot, it was very noticable physically, and of course I felt stronger and healthier. But I always had subcutaneous fat right below my stomach. At my weight of 160 lb, my family described me as being skeletal because my face looked like I was extremely skinny.

Yet, I always had a big gut. Fat always was located in my stomach and my upper chest. Thats right, I have slight manboobs lol, and still do (this is the only place I’d actually admit to that) Spent most of my life trying to hide it.

 Around 3-4 months ago, after wanting to gain more mass and strength (since more muscle = greater metabolism) in hopes that it would help me with my fat loss. I decided to really get into it with free weights (started with barbells, now moving on to dumbbells + squats, deadlifts, press, etc).  

Now that Im around 175-178, i probably gained about 10-15 lb, of course not all of that was muscle I’m sure, but a decent gain in that span of time. Now, my gut is bigger, manboobs are still there, but I do definitely feel alot stronger (esp with my core).

Now im at 1RM: 230 deadlift, 150 squat, 155 bench (recently incorporated squats, working on upping those now). To be honest, I’d like to continue with the mass-gaining, but my fat problem in certain areas really tends to affect my confidence level in daily life.

I was considering starting Rippetoe’s Beginner’s Strength Program (since I want to fix some form problems I’ve been having), or considering doing HIIT, but Im not sure. What should I do first to help me deal with my issue? Also, my end goal is to be 5-10% BF, six pack, and much stronger

 I haven't told many people about these problems, let alone a whole community of strangers, but I hope you guys could really help me out. Pictures would help, but as of right now, I don't have access to a camera.  If its necessary, I can post pictures at a later time.  I know this post is a long read, but if you get down here, thanks for reading!

SS is a great program, I recommend it.

The fat is probably a function of your diet, and some genetic storage patterns.

What does your diet look like?

Congrats on your weight loss and life style changes.

[quote]Kaizen08 wrote:

 I haven't told many people about these problems, let alone a whole community of strangers, but I hope you guys could really help me out. Pictures would help, but as of right now, I don't have access to a camera.  

If its necessary, I can post pictures at a later time. I know this post is a long read, but if you get down here, thanks for reading!

[/quote]

Thanks for sharing, it takes guts to share your problems with other people. Nearly everyone on this website would be more than glad to give advice! I joined recently myself. As to your problem though.

Dont stop working out, I myself used to have ‘man-boobs’ and a belly and I worked out consistantly,and ate right. Diet definently played a big factor. All healthy, no sugars, and good carbs.

When working out I started doing high repitition excersies with all muscle groups. Eventually the fat died away and muscle was left. My belly reappeared as abs and my chest as being pretty defined after a while.

Thats my story, I dont know if that exact method will work for you because we are genetically different. For instance fat storage and burning. Look for different programs in the search tab as well.

[quote]Drizzt wrote:
Kaizen08 wrote:

 I haven't told many people about these problems, let alone a whole community of strangers, but I hope you guys could really help me out. Pictures would help, but as of right now, I don't have access to a camera.  

If its necessary, I can post pictures at a later time. I know this post is a long read, but if you get down here, thanks for reading!

Thanks for sharing, it takes guts to share your problems with other people. Nearly everyone on this website would be more than glad to give advice! I joined recently myself. As to your problem though.

Dont stop working out, I myself used to have ‘man-boobs’ and a belly and I worked out consistantly,and ate right. Diet definently played a big factor. All healthy, no sugars, and good carbs.

When working out I started doing high repitition excersies with all muscle groups. Eventually the fat died away and muscle was left. My belly reappeared as abs and my chest as being pretty defined after a while.

Thats my story, I dont know if that exact method will work for you because we are genetically different. For instance fat storage and burning. Look for different programs in the search tab as well.
[/quote]

Yea, I’ve considered it just being a genetic makeup of mine in comarison to someone like you. If that picture of yours as your avatar is you, that actually would be my goal exactly. The thing is, I don’t want to tell myself that “oh its just my genetic makeup, I won’t look like that.” I’d feel like Im making excuses as to why I can’t have a body like that, so I try not to think of it in that perspective.

As for my diet, I've definitely cleaned up since my 200+ days.  For example, today, this is what I ate:

-Breakfast: 1 bagel (high protein, low carb) with either cottage cheese or peanut butter, 1 banana, 1 glass 1% milk
-Snack: 1 Peanut butter nutrition bar, low glycemic
-Lunch: Chicken breast, green beans, pita bread, salad
-Snack: Low glycemic protein or meal replacement shake
-sometimes, depending on my mood, I may drink some coffee with sugar free syrup and low fat milk
-Dinner: Lean Turkey patty, 1 slice lowfat cheese, whole grain bread
-before bed: used to do milk, but I hear casein protein is best, so Im gonna try eating some cottage cheese instead

 Of course I also eat foods like egg-white protein, take fish oil supplements, and some very effective nutritional supplements that help me recover faster after my workouts(i work for a health science company that manufacture's some amazing health products)  Also, something I noticed after much trial and error is that my body has a VERY efficient metabolism.  That means that my BMR is low, and it takes less calories for me to maintain an equilibrium state.  I find that to be around 2000 kcal (for my age and activity level, it should be around 2500-2600).  Right now, it seems like im hitting somewhere between 2000-2200.  I know I should eat more for muscle gain, but I'm kind of hesitant to have that weight be from fat.  So yea...interesting situation I'm in.  What should I focus on first?

And before I forget, thank you for your kind words guys!

[quote]Kaizen08 wrote:

Yea, I’ve considered it just being a genetic makeup of mine in comarison to someone like you. If that picture of yours as your avatar is you, that actually would be my goal exactly. The thing is, I don’t want to tell myself that “oh its just my genetic makeup, I won’t look like that.” I’d feel like Im making excuses as to why I can’t have a body like that, so I try not to think of it in that perspective.

As for my diet, I've definitely cleaned up since my 200+ days.  For example, today, this is what I ate:

-Breakfast: 1 bagel (high protein, low carb) with either cottage cheese or peanut butter, 1 banana, 1 glass 1% milk
-Snack: 1 Peanut butter nutrition bar, low glycemic
-Lunch: Chicken breast, green beans, pita bread, salad
-Snack: Low glycemic protein or meal replacement shake
-sometimes, depending on my mood, I may drink some coffee with sugar free syrup and low fat milk
-Dinner: Lean Turkey patty, 1 slice lowfat cheese, whole grain bread
-before bed: used to do milk, but I hear casein protein is best, so Im gonna try eating some cottage cheese instead

 Of course I also eat foods like egg-white protein, take fish oil supplements, and some very effective nutritional supplements that help me recover faster after my workouts(i work for a health science company that manufacture's some amazing health products)  Also, something I noticed after much trial and error is that my body has a VERY efficient metabolism.  That means that my BMR is low, and it takes less calories for me to maintain an equilibrium state.  I find that to be around 2000 kcal (for my age and activity level, it should be around 2500-2600).  Right now, it seems like im hitting somewhere between 2000-2200.  I know I should eat more for muscle gain, but I'm kind of hesitant to have that weight be from fat.  So yea...interesting situation I'm in.  What should I focus on first?

And before I forget, thank you for your kind words guys![/quote]

I burn’t alot of fat before I started packing on muscle. At the same time though I always tried to get some gains.
and yes the avatar is what I am today.

You have a pretty good diet, you have a great split on carbs/protein/fat. I wouldn’t drink whey protein shakes during the day because they go through you pretty fast, thus putting you in the catabolic non-fat burning state. Save for post workout when your body really really needs its, throw BCAA’s in it too. I just stick with regular food through the day. Cut the coffee out, I read somewhere that some of the nutrients in there can build up in the colon, thus give you a belly. I wouldn’t eat peanut butter unless its all natural. Usually they take the omega’s and all the good stuff out of if its proccessed.

One rule I followed Fresh before frozen-frozen before preserved.

If I try to lose weight I usually do all low fat or no fat dairy products. Like non-fat milk.

Get some Vitamin C, and some Fish oil too, that’ll help.

What does your workout routine look like, and do you take any supplements? That plays a factor too

I would make the following changes to your diet:

Breakfast, drop the bagel for spinach, peppers & broccoli mixed in with scrambled eggs.

Both snacks should be a nut, or some natural Jerkey, maybe cottage cheese. Or a serving of Peanut Butter on a apple.

Dinner, drop the bread and add a lot of veggies.

A few random notes:

Eat the yoke of the egg. You’re missing the best part of the food.

I disagree about the Peanut butter. Just because there is no Omega doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat it. Don’t live on Jiff, but there are a lot worse foods.

I also disagree with the coffee comment. Drink it if you want. Colon build up is the exact opposite of what coffee does to me. I drink a good amount of coffee, and have zero gut.

Make sure you drink enough water.

Eat more red meat & fish.

Also, you can’t survive off both a Low-Carb & a Low Fat diet. So get all your carbs from Veggies, and don’t be afraid of fat.

[quote]countingbeans wrote:
I would make the following changes to your diet:

Breakfast, drop the bagel for spinach, peppers & broccoli mixed in with scrambled eggs.

Both snacks should be a nut, or some natural Jerkey, maybe cottage cheese. Or a serving of Peanut Butter on a apple.

Dinner, drop the bread and add a lot of veggies.

A few random notes:

Eat the yoke of the egg. You’re missing the best part of the food.

I disagree about the Peanut butter. Just because there is no Omega doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat it. Don’t live on Jiff, but there are a lot worse foods.

I also disagree with the coffee comment. Drink it if you want. Colon build up is the exact opposite of what coffee does to me. I drink a good amount of coffee, and have zero gut.

Make sure you drink enough water.

Eat more red meat & fish.

Also, you can’t survive off both a Low-Carb & a Low Fat diet. So get all your carbs from Veggies, and don’t be afraid of fat.
[/quote]

In terms of the list of what I tend to eat generally, thats not just it lol. I usually try to incorporate nuts, some fruits, vegetables (i should eat more brocollo actually), and alot of fish (mahi mahi and salmon mostly).

Peanut butter is one of the healthiest servings of fat and protein you can obtain. The peanut butter I get is all-natural (im not a big fan of preservatives. In terms of Vitamins and supplements, I get more than enough of what I need on a daily basis. Of course fruits are always a plus because of the additive fiber.

  Red meat?  If I was focusing on muscle mass gain, then yea, but for fat burn, not so much.  I'm not too big of a coffee drinker, probably a couple cups a week.  Interesting observation on the effects of coffee on the colon, I did not know about that.  

Ill take a look around and see if I can find anything about that. As for the yolk, I’ve heard the same thing, very beneficial in moderate amounts. Its very high in choline which is essential for our bodies but our body tends to produce enough of what it needs throughout the day to maintain safe levels.

So I generally do a 1:3 ratio when it comes to egg yolk to egg whites. The water is definitely something I feel I’m not adequate on, so I need to focus more on that (especially for muscle gain).

 Should I get rid of the fat first, and then focus on the muscle gain?  Or should I gain more muscle, increase my metabolism (while trying to live with my situation), and then cut?

My workout routine tends to be split:

M: chest/biceps
T: back/triceps
W: off (sometimes light jogging)
Th:compound lifts/legs
F: off (sometimes just some core exercises and stretching)
Sa: off
Su: off

But I may start on either Rippetoe’s Program or HIIT so that would significantly change my workout schedule, but again, would like your advice on what I should do first. Thank you for your help!

yes, please do starting strength and stop the body builder split, until your a body builder. You can do HIIT on your non lifting days. I will tell you that if you do SS right and HIIT you will probably have to up your calories a touch.

You can gain muscle and lose fat at the same time, so don’t worry about the red meat. Your weight should stay pretty stagnant, and your pants & shirts size should drop. (Assuming your not 100lbs over weight.)

Plus on a strength program like Rippetoe’s you will only gain so much muscle mass anyway. You will gain muscle while your still a beginner and gaining strength, but it will slow as you progress beyond SS.

[quote]countingbeans wrote:
yes, please do starting strength and stop the body builder split, until your a body builder. You can do HIIT on your non lifting days. I will tell you that if you do SS right and HIIT you will probably have to up your calories a touch.

You can gain muscle and lose fat at the same time, so don’t worry about the red meat. Your weight should stay pretty stagnant, and your pants & shirts size should drop. (Assuming your not 100lbs over weight.)

Plus on a strength program like Rippetoe’s you will only gain so much muscle mass anyway. You will gain muscle while your still a beginner and gaining strength, but it will slow as you progress beyond SS. [/quote]

 I was thinking of doing SS and HIIT at the same time.  Like you suggested, I was gonna do SS on MWF and HIIT on TTH.  That sounded like a very sound program until I read an FAQ about SS , in which Rippetoe mentioned that combining both programs is a bad idea, as it will make your lifts much weaker and your progression more difficult to obtain.  

I’m guessing I’d have to up the calories by at least 500 to about 3000 if i wanted to do a combined program like that. Right now, increased strength and decreased BF are my two main goals. Size will have to come later after I have my base strength down.

What do you think? Would it be possible? Should I ignore Rippetoe’s idea and do it anyway?

Hmmm, I just came across the Velocity Diet threads for the first time and it caught my eye. What do you guys think?

He is the expert. I would say you can, but like he said, it will slow you down. There is nothing wrong with a bit slower either.

It might just mean you can use SS for a longer period of time.

I guess it’s a matter of stuffing 10 pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag. Personally I would just do both, and try to make it work. But I can be a stubborn bastard.

I had great results on the velocity diet. I do not remember the exact pounds, but I lost around 21lbs, lost inches in my waist and other places. I was able to increase strength during that time as well. However, use it as kick-off.

I have been off for a little over a month, and 5lbs of the loss is back on in some form. As far as diet goes; eat at least 5 times a day, lean protein and vegetables for each. Drop the complex carbs (bread, pasta,…)except for after workouts.

For a workout, I am with you trying to find the next. If you are aiming for strength take a look at 3x3. Your primary lifts should all be complex lifts.

Concentrate on variations of dead, squat, and bench; leave the curls and tricep extentions till after you have these lifts down and with weights you are happy with. If you read you will find that your other muscles will get plenty of work.

All in all read the articles on this site. All things Berardi for nutrition. If you have not already read the recommended articles in the stickeys up above, do so. I would recommend reading up on GFlux as well.

I am basically regurgitating all the advice I have recieved and have read on this site so make sure to use the search function. Sounds like you have made great strides so far, keep up the work.

[quote]needresults wrote:
I had great results on the velocity diet. I do not remember the exact pounds, but I lost around 21lbs, lost inches in my waist and other places. I was able to increase strength during that time as well. However, use it as kick-off.

I have been off for a little over a month, and 5lbs of the loss is back on in some form. As far as diet goes; eat at least 5 times a day, lean protein and vegetables for each. Drop the complex carbs (bread, pasta,…)except for after workouts.

For a workout, I am with you trying to find the next. If you are aiming for strength take a look at 3x3. Your primary lifts should all be complex lifts.

Concentrate on variations of dead, squat, and bench; leave the curls and tricep extentions till after you have these lifts down and with weights you are happy with. If you read you will find that your other muscles will get plenty of work.

All in all read the articles on this site. All things Berardi for nutrition. If you have not already read the recommended articles in the stickeys up above, do so. I would recommend reading up on GFlux as well.

I am basically regurgitating all the advice I have recieved and have read on this site so make sure to use the search function. Sounds like you have made great strides so far, keep up the work.[/quote]

Yea, I’ll definitely take a look at some more articles based on nutrition. I guess I’m gonna go ahead and try the SS and HIIT combination workout. After a couple weeks, I’ll let you know it works out and if it is too energy demanding. 3x3 is a great idea.

 One thing about the Velocity diet...isn't it expensive?  I'm a college student, and by no means is obtaining the money for 13 Metabolic Drives an easy get.  It sounds like the plan that I've been waiting for, but I just can't afford such an expense at the moment.  Its actually crazy how most of that weight loss is actually fat (based on pictures that I've seen and articles I've read.  In any case, thank you all for the advice!  Lets hope this plan works out.