T Nation

Stuck, How to Progress?


Not sure the best way to put this - but I'm a bit stuck

And yeh this is a little like the post I made a few months back

I'm in a routine going to the gym over the last 1-2 years I feel I have the training worked out to keep enough variance in my routine (not doing the same thing over and over but doing a compound then switching out the isolation exercises every few months) but I'm not sure the best way to go about my goals

At the moment I do a routine that probably should be done with a higher calorie intake to stack on muscle - but because I want to loose fat i'm keeping intake down, as a result I'm (heres the stuck part) not gaining muscle as fast as I could be - and not loosing fat as fast / at all as I want to.

How do I get out of the 4 - 5 days a week routine into something that is better suited to fat loss while still preserving what average / low muscle mass I have?

Is it diet better - (lower carbs & higher protein) and keep the routine

Is it less weights (currently 3 day body part split, back & biceps, legs, Chest shoulders & Triceps) and more cardio, meaning cut down the weights to 3 exercises not 6-7 (20 - 30 minutes weights instead of 45 - 60) and up the cardio + 20 minutes and add a 40 minute HIT cardio session day

Is it a completely different routine while loosing fat - push pull or upper lower whole body style with cardio as well

Right now I'm neither here nor there

Who's done it and can say "I was stuck - and I did changes x, y & z for results and am now back on a clean bulk"

12 week challenge style?


What should I do? Should I clean up my diet? Should I lift less? What should I do? Should I superset all my exercises? Maybe I should just use the search function...



do not exchange work in the weight room for 'cardio', but adding additional short, intense HIT sessions can help


Train the bigger muscle groups more often. You haven't told us anything about the sets/reps/weights you use, haven't provided pics so we can judge where you're at, etc. The more you give us, the more we can give you.


You're chasing two rabbits. Despite what the fitness industry wants you to believe, you can't add appreciable muscle mass and lose fat at the same time (well, once you get past the newb stage, anyway). Figure out which one is your priority, and dedicate your focus on it.

You want muscle mass? Eat big, lift big, make sure you're making progress every week. And by progress, I mean an extra rep, an extra pound, or even "that last rep with 230 felt easier than it did last week". If you're doing it right, you're going to gain some fat, though. It's just the way the body works.

You want to lose fat? Drop the calories down and supplement the heavy lifting with activities that burn a lot of calories. Don't expect much progress in the way of strength or hypertrophy when you're dropping fat. Again, just the way it works.


I reccommend CT's destoying fat program found here:


I have been on this program for 6 weeks now and I have lost a lot of fat while still preserving my muscle mass.


I don't know the answer!? What should I do? Make something up? Ridicule the OP for asking a question? Maybe I should unplug my keyboard and put it in the closet so I can read more and type less...


Sounds like an answer to the question I asked :wink:

Are you doing it exactly as the article suggests or ad libbing in some areas


Thanks for the info Jay

I was more angling for "whats the best way to keep muscle while loosing fat"

From someone who has done it


I do 6 to7 exercises per workout at about 45-60 min sessions and get 4-5 days a week in the gym

3-4 sets for each exercise with 8-10 reps the aim but sometimes as low as 4-6 on squat and deadlift

legs day will be back squat - warmup with bodyweight and stretch, 60s rest then start at
154lb 10 reps, 60s rest repeat then up to 176lbs 6-8 reps, 60s rest then repeat then up to 198lbs.

most other exercises follow similar pattern

current 1rep max estimate
210 bench
238 squat
256 deadlift


I am following the program exactly as it is written. There is some freedom in choice of exercise. For example, you can pick any vertical pull you want as long as it is a vertical pull. I have read a lot on these forums that people switch programs too often and don't follow programs as they are written so I picked one, I do it exactly as it is written and I am going to give it 8 weeks before I consider switching.


how on earth do you do 6-7 exercises 3 sets each in 45-60min?


Ah, I read your first post wrong. Go with CT's War Room plan as posted. I've done it and lost 15lbs of fat in one month (20lbs total, but of course 5 or so of that was glycogen loss and I gained it right back the first week)

Recently tried the slow and steady method, and it has its merits for a full-blown cut, but it takes too long. I just wanted a quick re-comp.

Ooooooooh... here, let me just shut my fat fucking mouth... dick.

LOL :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Aww dont take it the wrong way - I would have thought you were well beyond anything as basic!

I didnt mean you wouldnt know about it lol

"From someone who has done it from the basic position I am in"

that better?


60s rest between sets - using watch timer so pretty strict on it.

if i hit 7 exercises I will probably go to 1:10 but not much more

Keep intensity pretty high


So I think I did what your looking for earlier this year, cutting from about 20% to 10% body fat and then following with a "clean" bulk. I started after only being about 1 year into training. I'm not saying this is necessarily the ideal way to do it, but it got the job done for me.
Diet: I switched to a more paleo diet, increasing fats to 50-60% of my diet with carbs down to about 10%. I was probably sitting at 1800 cal/non-training day and 2100 training (my weight was going down from 190 to 170 and I'm 5'10")
Training: 3x/week total body training. Sessions involved 6-8 exercises (2 lower(bilateral, unilateral), 2 upper(push/pull), 2 core, 2 arms) performed in superset and/or circuit fashion with very little rest (0-45 sec between sets). I didn't do any traditional cardio as far as HIIT or steady goes, since I was already in a caloric deficit. Just busted ass in the gym. My strength slowly progressed during this time. Obviously, I was not retesting my 1RM, but weights were increasing in the rep ranges I was using. They seriously varied from 6-25 per set. I typically had 1 low (5-6), 1 medium (8-12), and 1 high (15+) rep day each week.

Hope this helps. Take it for what it's worth. I think the primary reason it worked for me was because I believed in it, so I busted ass and stayed consistent without losing motivation. You're going to get a diversity of advice here, especially since this is a bodybuilding site but not everyone is a bodybuilder (myself included). I've never found a place for bodypart split training in my regimen personally, so if bodybuilding is your ultimate aspiration it is probably worth considering their advice over mine.


in terms of progressing, dont you think you are short changing your strength gains by doing that much in a session and not allowing for adequate rest between sets? you might be better off lifting heavy and doing a little bit more cardio on the side.


Gawd i cant imagine doing squats at full effort and then hitting the leg press 60 seconds later.....

Think i'd puke lol


I feel pretty well rested, squats I do give myself 120s when I hit the heavy sets like the last 1 or 3

Pretty much all others its 60s


Between exercises I do allow 2-3 minutes, like walk to the next exercise, rest up for a minute then get set up and do it