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Skinny-Fat, Fat-Phobic 45yr Old Needs Help Starting

Howdy. I need a little help, please.

I’m a 45 year old male, standing at 6’0" and weigh 168 lbs. I’m long-limbed and thin-boned, my wrist measuring at 6.5 inches diameter. My body composition is skinny-fat (gut, man boobs, back fat). Tape measure test using Navy site puts me at 23% body-fat.


  • Youngin’. Very athletic, never lifted weights (played tennis religiously). Lean, but built like bean pole.
  • Early 2000s. I peaked at around 207 lbs and I looked rotund. My work badge photo used to be something I carried around to shock people; my face was blubbery.
  • 2010. I had stabilized around 180 lbs. I had a gut and man boobs from my previous weight. I starting dropping weight down to 157 lbs when training for a half-marathon, gut and man boobs remained.
  • 2012-2013. New stable point around 165 lbs. I decided I wanted get rid of the gut and man boobs. I started doing lean gains with the Big Three plus chins/pullups. I did this for about a year, but I didn’t do it well (in hindsight). I am so fat-phobic, that I continually cut that my weight dropped to 146 lbs. I still had a gut and man boobs, albeit smaller.
  • 2013-2015. Disenchanted with my attempt to drop the gut and man boobs, I stopped altogether, even running. My weight drifted back up to around 170-175 lbs.
  • 2015-Present. The only thing I’ve done since is run. My “normal” runs are about 6 miles (~10 km) with the occasional 12-15.5 miles (20-25km). Currently I’m 168 lbs.

My #1 goal is to lose the gut and man boobs without being underweight and maintain it (i.e., have a lifestyle that is maintainable for the long haul). That’s it. I don’t need to be ripped, shredded, have visible abs, etc. etc. I still want to run, but I’m willing to dramatically cut back my 30 miles/week.

I have a simple home gym (power rack, barbell, plates and dumbbells up to 25 lbs). I’m planning on starting Stronglifts 5x5 with chins and running.

With what do I need help?:
Any advice you feel is relevant for a 45 year old male with my stats and history.

Nutrition is a big question mark as I failed miserably when doing lean gains. Cut? Bulk? How much? Based on my frame and height, I’m thinking maybe 185…? I’m fat-phobic and knowing me, I’ll have a hard time if someone tells me to GOMAD until I’m 195 lbs… (silly example, maybe).

But… I’ll try and keep an open-mind, because what I tried before didn’t work.


Eat more…start lifting cut back on on the running.

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What he said

Stronglifts ok to get in the swing of things but move on after 6-10 weeks or you will hit a wall, especially over 40. After that get on a proven template off this site like this…

Further down the line can crank it up with a tough 5/3/1 variation or something like this…

This a good log and guy was in a similar boat re running…

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Run 6 miles 3 days/week, alternating with whole-body lifting 3 days/week. Eat a little less (mainly in the form of fewer carbs) on running days, a little more (mainly in the form of pre- and post-workout carbs) on lifting days.

Alter your mindset. No longer are you a runner who lifts; you now are a lifter who runs.

Eat more, the right kind of cals, put on muscle. I am 6 ft and 220 @ 165 more muscle will you give you more balance. I consider myself overall average build. Cannot figure out the gut thing though - at least muscle gives me a more balanced look.

If you figure out the gut thing please post, mostly I assume that despite my best efforts its never going away. Genetics, etc? who knows.

Can you expand on this a bit more to help me recognize the deficiency of the program?

And thanks to everyone else that’s contributed.

Too much training ‘on the nerve’ once the weights get heavy. 80% of guys here report back hitting a stubborn plateau after about 10-12 weeks. Mood and training enthusiasm often affected as well.

Also meant to be done on a significant calorie surplus. If like that style of training look into Madcow 5x5 or Texas method -similar but much better