T Nation

Strength, Bodyfat, and Mental Image


I used to be a fat boy as a kid. I measured my waist today and was appaled when it was slightly under 38 inches. I am 15 and wrestled at a pretty lean 160 this year, but after three months of lifting and eating I put on about 30 lbs, and weigh 190-195 at 5'10. I plan to wrestle at 189 next yar. I gained a lot of muscle and strength since the off-season, but some of it has been fat. I want to keep gaining muscular size and strength but want to cur-tail or reduce the bodyfat. I know it's not a big deal in the off-season but being a recovered fat kid this is a big mental thing. What should I do to lose some of the fat while training a la Westside?


195lbs with a 38" waist??? Wow man, back off the plate. You need to focus on improving your eating habits mainly.


This is going to be hard to hear because I know it was hard for me to hear. You are fat. I insisted that I was powerlifting and didn't need to worry about my diet aside from loading up on the protein. I was wrong. I was powerlifting and I was getting stronger, but I was a fat bastard. Right now I'm 5'10 at 235 pounds and have a 38" waist, and I still consider myself fat, though not as fat as I was. I used to wrestle and I know all about the cardio involved. Maybe you should start applying some wrestling conditioning to your regimen. Run the stairs with a sandbag on your back, do wind sprints until you hyperventilate, and then check out the tabata lifting protocol.

Yes you are strong and it feels damn good out lifting all the other scrawny bitches in the weightroom, but imagine how much better it would feel if you were 175 and doing the same weight.

My best advice is to take a picture of yourself, because the mirror lies. Now that you have the proper motivation research Berardi's diet articles, but most importantly SPRINT and perform tabata as often as you can stomach it.

I'm 17 and went through the same phase that you're going through now(denial). I mean no disrespect, but it took similarly harsh words for me to realize that I was fat and needed to do something about it.


Exactly. Unless you are the thickest bastard on the planet, you just didn't gain some fat - you gained a lot.

I start to cut back when my waist reaches 38 inches, and I'm 6' and 240lbs. While that's just me and I could be very dainty around the waist, I really, really doubt it.

Clean up your diet, do some sprints, and you'll see your pecker again.


Woah Woah Woah, 38' waist is fat? I'm not quite sure about that. It depends on a huge number of factors in my opinion. Firstly, we are talking actual measurement in inches, not pants sizes which are generally 2-4 inches smaller. My waist tends to sit at around 38 and I still have visible abs. It's sure as hell not lean, but it's not fat either. It also depends on the body type. I am extremely prone to gaining fat and typically bulk on a diet of less than 200 grams of carbs per day and can still gain fat in the process. If I ate much "cleaner" or less than I do now, I'd have a hard time putting on much muscle at all.

That being said, the first time I measured my waist and saw that it was 38', I almost shat my pants. I felt like my dad should be the only one to have an almost 40 inch waist. But, if you know what your doing and your diet is relatively clean, it's okay. But don't let yourself "fall into it." It should be a conscious decision and only if it is a necessity for you gain muscle and strength. Most of the time it isn't, so clean up the diet and see if your gains start to slow.

In a nutshell, if you don't pay much attention to your diet, then start paying attention. If your diet is crap now and you clean it up, you'll likely be able to lose some fat which will help out with your athletic performance.

If your chest is 50 inches (which it wouldn't be given your stats, but just saying), then noone will care if you have a 38 inch waist. If your chest is 40 inches, then it'll be a different story.



Since you are young now, you are learning the habits that will last you for the rest of your life, way beyond high school wrestling. And when that is over, how do you want to look? If you want to lean out, and look good, and improve your performance athletically, now is the best time to do so. Because being older, I can promise you, that as good an opportunity will never come again. Research your diet here, work hard, sleep, and you will be very happy with yourself in the end.

But if you're cool with what you are now, then don't do anything. You'll have no one to blame you or to answer to but yourself.


Lol dude it's been said on here before.. If you aren't just some thick meaty bastard a 38" waist is way to big.. I was 5'8" 205 with a 38" waist and I was a pudgy little bastard..

Do H.I.I.T. program with your running, stop carbs after 7 p.m.ish, clean up what you eat.. (yes that means no fastfood for awhile)

good luck


Maybe I'm delusional. All of these pictures are of me with between a 36 and 38 inch waist. I don't consider myself especically thick (although maybe I am) nor do I consider myself fat (maybe you do). I'm sure as hell not very lean, but it's a conscious bit of fat that one puts on in an effort to build size and strength.

So, am I fat, or am I bulk chubby?




Where are you measuring your waist? At the belly button or at the smallest part right below your ribs? The term "waist" gets thrown around a lot and can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people.


Around the bellybutton.


Looks bulk chubby to me. You can pull it off because you've got good size on you.


That's what I mean, it's hard to judge the person without a picture. As far as Massif goes, I can't see how at 240lb and 6' you would view a 38 inch waist as "fat." As a comparison, if I had an extra 20 or 30lbs of muscle on my frame (given the height 2' height diff btw us) the fat would look like very little on me.

To the original poster, how is your diet now? Submitting pics would be more helpful as well or at least giving other measurements.



I didn't say that I was fat, I said he probably was. He might be just thick through the waist, but that would be pretty thick at 190lbs and 5'10".

I was a bit pissed off last night when I wrote that. As someone said, the best way to tell would be a picture. Apologies to the OP if I've judged you harshly.


Thanx for all the honesty guys. I sincerely appreciate the honest advice, it means a lot more coming from serious weightlifters than from some of my 5'9 112 lb friends or a family member who 'tones'. I don't mind having a little belly in the off-season, I just don't think its good to be fat.

I measured all my major bodyparts. My waist is actually 37", not 38", but I know that makes very little difference. My chest is 42", not particularly big in comparison to my waist. My arms are 15", and my legs 25". I have very slight abdominal definition, pretty much the same as Dave Tate looks now. I carry the bulk of my fat around the waist, as I still have comparatively deep seperations between my bicep and shoulder, very well defined legs (the quads are easily distinguished from the inside of the leg), and a pretty impressive back, as it is the main muscle group I work. I think if I just lost 10 lbs and went down to 185ish I would like much better.

I think I have gained a combination of fat and muscle, as people that know I lift now ask me how much I can squat and estimate my caloric intake to be around 4,000 calories a day. So I think that means they think I'm really strong but put on a little gut to complement it. Some other people (my drinking buddies) tell me I look like I have had a few too many beers and some other peopel tell me I look bigger and that I have been working out. I have a general outline on the upper abs, much like Tate does in his recent pics, with an indation visible between the two upper abdominals. I honestlythink I am about 12-15% bodyfat. However, what bothers me most is when I sit down and lean to one side it looks like I have fat rolls, which gets me fucking pissed off as a former fat boy.

I want to maintain this weight while shifting the composition to more muscle as opposed to fat. Would this be possible with a slightly modified Westside template with added conditioning work? However, this is complicated by the fact that I have a case of Ashgood-Schlatters that doesn't seem to go away, and everytime I get myself up to the track my knees start to feel like shit as I start to jog. So running is not an option for the condition work. I will go for sandbag exercises, bodyweight stuff, and jump rope instead. I might try sandbag carries up a hill or sprints on it as well, as I hear they spare the knees. O-Lift EDT's will be implemented as part of my cardio as well. In addition, to watching my diet, of course. I was thinking of a cardio split along the lines of Monday-'Light' Clean & Press EDT Tuesday-Sprints up a hill Thursday-Bodyweight circuit stuff Friday-Sandbag/Strongman conditioning (carries, loading, etc.)

I have a glass of very high-sugar iced tea routinely with breakfeast, which I think is promoting this big feeding to turn to fat. I have sugared drinks a lot with big meals, which is probably the main culprit, as insulin can cause a nutritent-rich feeding to become prone to storage as fat (except post-workout). By cutting out the sugared drinks, I hopefully will be able to lose some bodyfat just with this. In addition, I will be more select about what school lunches I buy. The school lunches at my school are tiny (an example is five mozzarella sticks or one burrito), so I buy a grilled cheese (no meat) and two lunches or a roast beef & american cheese wrap and one hot lunch. However, sometimes the school lunch is healthy (chicken breast or a beef burrito) and sometimes it is shit (kentucky fried chicken or fried mozzarella sticks), so I will stop depending on that and bring a back-up lunch in case the school lunch is unhealthy shist. My changes to the diet will be cutting out the sugared drinks (except Wednesday's, as I have a Subway ritual with some of my bros and Saturday or Friday is drinking night), and eating healthier overall. I think cutting the sugar from the big meals will make a big difference.

Thanx in advances for the new reponses guys.


I should add that the foods I eat, except at lunch and the beverages, are usually very healthy. Grilled chicken breasts, MuscleMilk, steak, and a bunch of vegetable mixes are regular parts of my diet as well. I look a little chubbier than you, Matgic, with similar (perhaps slightly chubbier) abdominals. The definition on the other body parts is basically the same. I don't have that level of muscle mass yet, although I honeslty don't think I'm that far off.


Could be your rectus abdominis is unbalanced with the transverse abdominis. I think this is something to which FFB are more prone. Basically, in this case, the outer ab muscles are too heavy for the inner girdle, and pull the stomach forward.

Actually, some people think this is bunk. But you could try power breathing or stomach vacuums, and see if that makes a difference. And clean up your diet, either way. Good luck.


I am not a digital camera expert but I will give it a shot.


This would actually make a lot of sense for me. A lot of people tell me I don't look overweight at all if I am just standing there and there is no particular emphasis on my belly, but when I lift my arms back over my head or somethign they can see the gut. I used to do loads of sit-ups as my main exercise, crunches, full-situps, weighted, etc. but never did anything directly for transversus abdominis.

I still do weighted sit-ups on lower body day for Westside, and will continue doing that to increase ab strength but also add some stuff for the TA at the end. Thanx for all the advice.