T Nation

Plateau

A couple years ago, I overtrained and didn’t eat right for a long time because I wanted to lose some weight and get cut up. At first, my results were good, but after a while I lost a lot of muscle and really screwed myself up physically and mentally. When all was said and done, I was under 100 lbs. as an 19 year-old who is 5’9". Eventually, I met up with a competing bodybuilder who took me under his wing and showed me how to train, eat, rest and supplement properly. Now, eighteen months later, I’ve put on 51 lbs. and am 9.9% bodyfat. When I started, my BF didn’t even measure on the skin calipers. Lately, though, I’ve noticed that I’ve been adding fat a lot faster than muscle. I realized that my bulking cycle lasted a lot longer than most people’s do because of my special circumstances. Is it possible that my body adapted to an excess of calories over this long period? I was thinking about backing off the calories and adding in more cardio to try to get down to about 5%. My hope is that it would reprime my system for more gains down the road. I look around the gym and see some guys who are bigger than I am, but I’ve got more heart than they’ll ever dream of having, so I’ll do what it takes. I’m learning, but I’ve still got a long way to go. I’d appreciate any advice you guys have from your experiences. Would it be a good idea for me to cut up, and, if so, how? Thanks.

You’re obsessed with being too thin. Just keep lifting and gaining. If you’re gaining too much fat, just cut a couple hundred calories out, everyday. When you get up to 13% bodyfat, it might be time to cut back down to about 7 or 8%, but not 5. Just my 2 cents. Do what you want, but learn from your mistakes and DON’T lose muscle when you diet… EVER.

I hear what you’re saying, and that’s what I did for quite a while. The only problem is that six of the last eight lbs. I’ve put on have been fat (according to the calipers).

If you are 9.9%, forget cutting. I say - bulk. Another thing, forget the calipers too. It is impossible that you added pure fat, I think, and taking into consideration the fact that you know a lot about nutrition. If I were you, I would stop bulking when I reach 15 % or so. Since you know a lot about bodybuilding and diet, you’d be back to 10 % in no time. Anyway, did you develop anorexia when you were 100 lbs?

I started dropping weight when I was 180 or so (in November of 98). It was more a matter of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (exercise addiction) than anorexia. I wanted to eat; I just didn’t know what to eat. Once I learned how to do so, it was all smooth sailing and gains. My deadlift has gone from two 35-lb dumbells to 5 x 335. I guess I had a little bit of muscle memory working for me, although I’m an endomorph with piss-poor genetics (I was always fat, yet athletic, as a kid). Surprisingly, though, is the way it has come back. I was really into soccer for a long time, so I figured that my legs would respond quickest. Oddly enough, my back and traps have progressed really well while my legs, especially calves, are lagging behind. I’m thinking about starting up with Mag-10 when it’s available; it might help me out of the plateau. If I was getting stronger while I gained weight, I’d accept it a lot easier. But, I’m just getting fat and staying weak.