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Skinny-Fat Bulk or Cut? Pics Included - Help!

@EyeDentist
Thank you, that makes a lot of sense and I was already doing something similiar to that but you have gave me some new ideas.

@BrickHead
I got the greyskull book, it looks great. I think I will do that one.

[quote]Is this a serious question?

You know you’re doing things right when you are looking better, gaining muscle, and getting stronger (you know this). [/quote]

The reason I ask is because I did a recomp for 2-3 months eating at maintenance with the workout I listed earlier in the thread.
I got a little stronger but I didn’t notice any other difference, weekly progress pictures were the same except my shoulders looked more toned.

[quote]Sutebun wrote:
What everyone has said in this thread and,

chase strength numbers.

Focus on getting your squat up. Your bench up. Your deadlift and press.

Don’t worry about body weight too much now. If it’s not moving (or going down?!) eat more. If you went up over 6lbs in a week, eat less. Get a system for you food so you can make it and consume it quickly.[/quote]

Thanks this is what I really wanted to know.

Here is the workout plan I will start:

GreySkull LP

Monday
Bench 2x5, 1x5+
DB Curl 2x 10-15
Squat 2x5, 1x5+

Wednesday
Press 2x5, 1x5+
Weighted Chins 2x6-8
Deadlift 1x5+

Friday
Bench 2x5, 1x5+
DB Curl 2x10-15
Squat 2x5, 1x5+

Every Day:
Frequency Method Push-ups and Chins (5-6 moderately easy sets spread throughout the day).

Maybe one HIIT conditioning session a week.

Eating at maintenance or just above, focusing on lift progression.

How does that look?

[quote]peetpeew wrote:

[quote]Is this a serious question?

You know you’re doing things right when you are looking better, gaining muscle, and getting stronger (you know this). [/quote]

The reason I ask is because I did a recomp for 2-3 months eating at maintenance with the workout I listed earlier in the thread.
I got a little stronger but I didn’t notice any other difference, weekly progress pictures were the same except my shoulders looked more toned.
[/quote]

It wasn’t an effective recomp though, because your training sucked. I know this because your strength is very low. In 2-3 months of good training you can put at least 40lbs on all your barbell lifts, even at a slight caloric deficit (recomp).

You’ve gotten great advice in this thread and you seem to have the diet aspect mostly figured out in terms of discipline / food choices, so you’re in a good position to make a lot of progress. Focus on training hard and getting stronger on the big lifts while eating around maintenance per BrickHead’s advice. Personally I would do a couple months with a slight caloric surplus of 16-17 kcal / pound and then based on progress consider a recomp at slightly below maintenance, 13 kcal / pound.

[quote]peetpeew wrote:
Here is the workout plan I will start:

GreySkull LP

Monday
Bench 2x5, 1x5+
DB Curl 2x 10-15
Squat 2x5, 1x5+

Wednesday
Press 2x5, 1x5+
Weighted Chins 2x6-8
Deadlift 1x5+

Friday
Bench 2x5, 1x5+
DB Curl 2x10-15
Squat 2x5, 1x5+

Every Day:
Frequency Method Push-ups and Chins (5-6 moderately easy sets spread throughout the day).

Maybe one HIIT conditioning session a week.

Eating at maintenance or just above, focusing on lift progression.

How does that look?[/quote]
Add in a row somewhere and you’re good.

Greyskull is a great program.
Cut out the shit from your diet
Add some quality protein

You’ll be golden.


Hi guys,

So it’s been 6 weeks and I decided to take progress pictures and got extremely frustrated/depressed/annoyed when I compared them.

Lift Progress on final AMRAP (as many reps as possible) sets:
Weight: 132lb (stayed the same)
Squat: 10x 55lb(25kg) > 4x 138lb(62.5kg) (1 deload)
Bench: 11x 88lb(40kg) > 6x 120lb(55kg) (1 deload)
Deadlift: 15x 100lb(45kg) > 6x 165lb(75kg)
Overhead Press: 5x 60lb(27.5kg) > 4x 72lb(32.5kg) (3 deloads)
Row: 5x 77lb(35kg) > 6x 110lb(50kg)

So I am not seeing much changes at all.
I definitely feel a bit more muscle around the side of my pecs and it feels a lot firmer when i tense up, but that is about it.

My diet has been extremely clean and I haven’t cheated once.
Off days: 2000 calories (150p / 120c / 100f)
WO Days: 2100-2200 calories (155p / 250c~ / 55-60f)

This seems to be my maintenance calories as my weight stays pretty much the same most days/weeks, however I stopped caring about what the scales said and just focused on strength gains and eating clean but after 6 weeks I don’t look any different even though I got a lot stronger. If anything I seemed to put a bit more fat on.

Can anyone help?
I am giving it everything and it’s just so frustrating to not see any changes at all after 6 weeks.

6 weeks is the blink of an eye in muscle building terms. Be patient, eat well and push yourself in the gym.

What did you expect? That in 6 weeks you’d look like the secret lovechild of The Rock and Kai Greene?

Patience, grasshopper.

[quote]Yogi wrote:
6 weeks is the blink of an eye in muscle building terms. Be patient, eat well and push yourself in the gym.

What did you expect? That in 6 weeks you’d look like the secret lovechild of The Rock and Kai Greene?

Patience, grasshopper.[/quote]

Ok fair enough.

I didn’t think it should have been that bad in terms of progress pictures.
I thought I would have looked even slightly more defined or leaned out even slightly but there’s no change so it was quite disheartening. I just feel like I am not progressing even though my lifts have gone up.

Should I up/lower my calories or just keep everything the way it is?

Progress can be quick when you’re losing weight, not so much when you’re gaining muscle. Your lifts show good progress so I would consider raising your calories by a few hundred a day and see what happens to your weight.

I’d raise the calories at least on your workout days. I’d prefer to get at least 500 additional calories on days you lift. And I don’t think it would hurt to go up a couple hundred on non lifting days.

I have some experience dealing with what you have here. I graduated high school at 145lbs and never could put any meat on my bones. It’s not your genetics that’s holding you back, it’s your gene expression (your body will adapt to its situation).

Here’s your solution:
2 grams of protein per pound of body weight every day. When you need to convince your body to build structure, there is nothing better than megatons of building blocks.

2 grams per pound of body weight for carbs, as well. We’re talking good, complex carbs here. Rice, potatoes, pasta. Sweet potatoes are especially good.

.5 grams of fat per pound. The only thing to avoid here is trans fats.

That’ll put you right at 20 kcal per pound of body weight; 2640 on average. Keep an eye on the scale and make sure you’re gaining one pound per week. Adjust accordingly.

Stay in the 2-5 rep range for the big lifts, and 5-8 for isolation work. Don’t go to failure all the time. You want to provide solid growth stimulus without too much damage and without sacrificing good technique (form breakdown is failure of the target muscle). Going to failure every three or four weeks to see if you’re making progress is fine.

After you’ve built a decent level of strength, begin switching from periods of low-volume, low rep work to high volume, medium-rep (10-15). This will provide a new stimulus and build work- and recovery-capacity.

You’re probably going to put on some fat. That’s pretty much a necessary evil at this point. In a few months (or years. Making big gains is addictive) you’ll be able to cut that fat off easily.

I followed much the same plan, and I’m now 205@12.5% body fat. I even took a couple of years off (basically, I let life get in the way). When I started back to it 3 months ago, I was 190lbs and 16% fat, and still had a decent level of strength. It’s all about changing your gene expression from “food is scarce, burn muscle and store fat” mode to “food is abundant, but work is hard” mode.

[quote]flipcollar wrote:
I’d raise the calories at least on your workout days. I’d prefer to get at least 500 additional calories on days you lift. And I don’t think it would hurt to go up a couple hundred on non lifting days.[/quote]
This. The fact that your bodyweight stayed the same and your physique didn’t visibly change is a clue that your nutrition still needs dialing in. Adding a half-dozen whole eggs, or something similar, wouldn’t be a bad idea at all.

Have you been doing the Greyskull plan mentioned on the last page?

Forget you ever heard about “deloads”. At your current level, there’s no reason to have a deload in a 6-week timeframe, let alone three freaking deloads for the same exercise. I’m starting to think the concept of “the deload” is one of the worst influences in modern day fitness, and an easy lure for training hypochondriacs. “I can’t get stronger, uh, I hit a plateau, I need to deload.” No, buster, 9 times out of 10, you need to dip your shoulder and plow forward. Especially when we’re talking beginners. (sorry, mini-rant).

It’s actually hard to tell how much strength you gained because of the different reps listed, but overall, it looks like you didn’t really gain much strength on most lifts either. Not trying to be a dick, but that’s the impression I get.

For example, 6 weeks ago when you were benching 88x11, you might’ve been good for 110x4-6 (ballpark, of course), so that’s a gain of 10 pounds in 6 weeks. For a beginner, that’s not great. Same for deadlift. 100x15 was probably 120x10-12 and 140x6-8 at the time. So that’s 25 pounds in 6 weeks on a big lift like that. I could be off on these guesstimates, but probably not by much.

Bottom line is you need consistent good food, hard effort in the gym with a good program, and patience, not “deloads”.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
Forget you ever heard about “deloads”. At your current level, there’s no reason to have a deload in a 6-week timeframe, let alone three freaking deloads for the same exercise. I’m starting to think the concept of “the deload” is one of the worst influences in modern day fitness, and an easy lure for training hypochondriacs. “I can’t get stronger, uh, I hit a plateau, I need to deload.” No, buster, 9 times out of 10, you need to dip your shoulder and plow forward. Especially when we’re talking beginners. (sorry, mini-rant).
[/quote]

I agree with this so much. Along with a misunderstanding of what/how to deload, I find most beginners don’t understand what a plateau is. They start with incredibly light weights, and going to the gym is easy, and the instant that they have to struggle in any way, they consider it a plateau because it’s not as easy as it used to be.

The solution is just as you prescribed: start grinding.

[quote]peetpeew wrote:
Weight: 132lb (stayed the same)
[/quote]

BIG problem.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]flipcollar wrote:
I’d raise the calories at least on your workout days. I’d prefer to get at least 500 additional calories on days you lift. And I don’t think it would hurt to go up a couple hundred on non lifting days.[/quote]
This. The fact that your bodyweight stayed the same and your physique didn’t visibly change is a clue that your nutrition still needs dialing in. Adding a half-dozen whole eggs, or something similar, wouldn’t be a bad idea at all.

Have you been doing the Greyskull plan mentioned on the last page?

Forget you ever heard about “deloads”. At your current level, there’s no reason to have a deload in a 6-week timeframe, let alone three freaking deloads for the same exercise. I’m starting to think the concept of “the deload” is one of the worst influences in modern day fitness, and an easy lure for training hypochondriacs. “I can’t get stronger, uh, I hit a plateau, I need to deload.” No, buster, 9 times out of 10, you need to dip your shoulder and plow forward. Especially when we’re talking beginners. (sorry, mini-rant).

It’s actually hard to tell how much strength you gained because of the different reps listed, but overall, it looks like you didn’t really gain much strength on most lifts either. Not trying to be a dick, but that’s the impression I get.

For example, 6 weeks ago when you were benching 88x11, you might’ve been good for 110x4-6 (ballpark, of course), so that’s a gain of 10 pounds in 6 weeks. For a beginner, that’s not great. Same for deadlift. 100x15 was probably 120x10-12 and 140x6-8 at the time. So that’s 25 pounds in 6 weeks on a big lift like that. I could be off on these guesstimates, but probably not by much.

Bottom line is you need consistent good food, hard effort in the gym with a good program, and patience, not “deloads”.[/quote]

testify!

[quote]Yogi wrote:
testify![/quote]

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
Here’s your solution:
2 grams of protein per pound of body weight every day. When you need to convince your body to build structure, there is nothing better than megatons of building blocks.
[/quote]

Could we please stop this 2g/lb bullshit? That’s way more than necessary according to about 98% of all sources. Yes, I know that Dante Trudel and Dorian Yates will disagree, but 1g/lb, even 0.8 is perfectly fine for most people, especially when there is no caloric deficit. Sorry.

Thanks for all the replies guys, it’s really eye opening for me and I am happy I posted here.

I am following the GSLP program that I listed on the last page, but I haven’t been able to do the burpees every day as it really hurts my left calf for several hours afterwards for some reason.

Deloads:
If I couldn’t get 5 reps on the last set then I would drop the weight down by 10% (as suggested by GSLP ebook).

When I first reached 110lb (50kg) squat, my reps were 5/5/6.
After deloading when I failed 5 reps at 120lb (55kg) I then reached 5/5/10 reps on 110lb (50kg)… so 4 extra reps on the last set which made me think I was definitely getting stronger.

I am pretty much just following the GSLP program exactly as it is laid out.

Calories:
The problem I see with increasing calories is that I will add on more fat (possibly). I already think I added on a tiny bit eating at 2000-2200.

I was advised on here to just lift hard at maintenance or slightly above and recomp over a long period of time. 6 weeks of doing this showed 0 changes which lead me to think I must be doing something wrong as I should have seen something at least and it seems like a few of you agree.

I understand that it’s hard to tell how strong I’ve got and I knew that would be the case with the different rep ranges. I started off light for sure at the start and I am now starting to find the weight harder to lift and reach 5 reps.

So I should try increase calories to 2400-2500 on workout days and 2200 on non workout days and re-evaluate after a week or two via scale?

What about fat gain and recomping? Because the main purpose of this thread was to check whether I should cut first or bulk/recomp and most said to recomp at maintenance.

Thanks everyone.

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
Here’s your solution:
2 grams of protein per pound of body weight every day. When you need to convince your body to build structure, there is nothing better than megatons of building blocks.
[/quote]

Could we please stop this 2g/lb bullshit? That’s way more than necessary according to about 98% of all sources. Yes, I know that Dante Trudel and Dorian Yates will disagree, but 1g/lb, even 0.8 is perfectly fine for most people, especially when there is no caloric deficit. Sorry.
[/quote]

Tried that; it didn’t work. Tried 2g/lb; it worked. I don’t care who says what, I’ll go with what works.

I don’t eat 2g/lb now, but that’s what it took to get things moving. It’s also what it took for me to hop past the 200lb mark. I also had to gain some fat along the way. At my heaviest, I was 235 and over 20%bf. I had to eat over 5000kcal/day to get there, including 500g of protein per day.

That was also when I was my strongest, with a 495 DL, 285 bench, and 435 squat. I know those aren’t amazing numbers, but I think they’re pretty good for 5 years of serious lifting in your thirties. Of course, I had lifted “seriously” before, but never could make any progress, so I basically gave up for years at a time before going back to try it again.

[quote]peetpeew wrote:
Thanks for all the replies guys, it’s really eye opening for me and I am happy I posted here.

I am following the GSLP program that I listed on the last page, but I haven’t been able to do the burpees every day as it really hurts my left calf for several hours afterwards for some reason.

Deloads:
If I couldn’t get 5 reps on the last set then I would drop the weight down by 10% (as suggested by GSLP ebook).

When I first reached 110lb (50kg) squat, my reps were 5/5/6.
After deloading when I failed 5 reps at 120lb (55kg) I then reached 5/5/10 reps on 110lb (50kg)… so 4 extra reps on the last set which made me think I was definitely getting stronger.

I am pretty much just following the GSLP program exactly as it is laid out.

Calories:
The problem I see with increasing calories is that I will add on more fat (possibly). I already think I added on a tiny bit eating at 2000-2200.

I was advised on here to just lift hard at maintenance or slightly above and recomp over a long period of time. 6 weeks of doing this showed 0 changes which lead me to think I must be doing something wrong as I should have seen something at least and it seems like a few of you agree.

I understand that it’s hard to tell how strong I’ve got and I knew that would be the case with the different rep ranges. I started off light for sure at the start and I am now starting to find the weight harder to lift and reach 5 reps.

So I should try increase calories to 2400-2500 on workout days and 2200 on non workout days and re-evaluate after a week or two via scale?

What about fat gain and recomping? Because the main purpose of this thread was to check whether I should cut first or bulk/recomp and most said to recomp at maintenance.

Thanks everyone.
[/quote]

Your workout days should be 500 above other days. So 2200 and 2700.

You didn’t get fatter. We all saw the pictures. You didn’t change at all.

You’re also not fat enough to warrant cutting. Don’t be ridiculous. If you still have that in your head, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to help you.

I don’t know anything about the program you’re doing, but it sounds dumb. Burpees are terrible. And as others have said, deloads are not for you right now. Hopefully if enough people tell you this, you’ll actually listen.