T Nation

Target Weight to Aim for like your LBM?


Hey guys,

Was just wondering if guys looking to build muscle and lose fat have a target weight to aim for like your LBM?



Does not compute... Please rephrase your question.

Do you mean if a guy is looking to build muscle should he aim for a target amount of weight GAIN? Per week? Per month? Or a target weight to achieve? If so, in what time frame?

Lets try and get to the meat of the issue - What is YOUR goal? Where are you at now?


Basically, im just looking to get back into shape by building up muscle and cutting my bf%. Its not how much weight i want to gain or lose a week, its the fact that should people looking to get fit have a target weight to aim for like a guy who's 180lbs and 5ft 9 should have a target weight of around 160lbs? or is it better just to judge yourself using the mirror on what your next goal should be?

Sorry do i make any sense mate??! cheers


Now we can talk :wink:

Basically its like this: Gaining muscle and Losing bodyfat are 2 different goals. They require different nutritional strategies (some people might even suggest different weight training strategies, I dont know if I agree, its individual) - As for your question, keep reading and I'll address in it point number 4.

So, for someone just getting back into I would recommend the following to make the most of the crucial period where the body is highly untrained:

1 - Focus on making better and better nutritional choices over the coming weeks and month. Think cooking your own food instead of going to Burger King. "The more you cook, the better you look" as they say. Key focuses should be on getting a good dose of protein (20-40 grams) multiple times throughout the day, and think of carb sources like oats, potatoes, rice, wheat pasta etc... I wouldnt even worry about tracking calories right now, just "eat right" and it should work out for quite a while.

2 - As far as lifting goes, picking something challenging that will focus on GETTING STRONGER on big, foundational lifts (Squats, Pull Ups, Shoulder Press, Chest Press, Rows) that has you lifting minimum 3 days a week. There are many programs on this site by guys like Mark Rippetoe, Chad Waterbury, Dan John, Charles Staley that work great for your position. If you feel you are struggling to pick one, or having trouble finding one, just let me know and I'll recommend a few.

3 - Progression is the key. When you go to the gym, the goal should always be to improve your performance in some way. More weight, More reps, less time spent resting, lifting the weight faster, more training density (more work in less time), etc...

4 - Those are the "Do's" - Here are a few "dont's" - Dont FOCUS on the scale, you can use it as a guide, but if your pant size is going down, your shirts are filling out in the shoulders, and the mirror is telling you things are going well, the scale really doesn't mean much. If your goal is to lose body fat, then just be aware that the scale should be going down slowly over the coming months. There is no "ideal body weight" to shoot for, and honestly it will probably change as you progress. Don't abandon ship if you make a few mistakes. We all do, but the key to success is to learn from those and then get back on the horse and keep riding.

Let me know if you have any other questions.


Wow thanks for all that advice!
I appreciate the effort you went to to write all that out!

I love that 'the more you cook, the better you look' saying...will always remind myself of that the next time I am tempted by the big Mcdonalds on the way home!

Ill have a look at some of those routines for sure! Would you recommend lifting lighter for the first few weeks and also how long would you keep doing a 'begginers' or 'get back in to shape' routine until you start lifting more heavy?? 4 weeks?? Just to condition yourself?

Ill start judging by the mirror more now and just check if the scales are going down or up when i need them to be!

Also are the any supps you would reccomend? Im about to start taking ON 100% Whey, L-Glutamine, Omega 3, Multi Vit, and a something to give me energy before hitting the gym (either a supp specifically meant for pre workout, but mind you i have read that you should mainly consume on complex carbs before workout and more simple carbs after such as dextrose or vitagro mixed in with my Whey). Ive also got some ON Serious Mass for when im looking to add a bit of mass(im the type of guy who would rather get a shake down my neck for extra calories instead of having to chow more food) Anyway are there any more supps you would reccomend??

Lastly do you believe that a wide range of reps is beneficial? And how often would you change it up? so say you were fousing on building mass would you do 5x5? or if you are cutting you use higher reps (but from what i have read its best to keep lifting the same amount of reps and weight even when cutting to maintain what you got).

Sorry for the long message and all the questions...you just seem to know what your talking about!! Cheers mate! :slight_smile:


I'm where I'm at because people have taken time to help me out... Now its my turn. I've read thousands of articles for free and been helped for hours and hours by big, strong guys in the gym. We are a small group, we have to stick together!

If you want a few more "psychological tips", you can even do stuff like putting a picture of someone who has your ideal physique, or who has achieved what you want to achieve, on the fridge. Or tape your diet to the fridge. These are simple little "mind games" that you can employ to help give you a little bit of a bumper. Chris Shugart on this site has probably written hundreds of these types of things if you want to search him out.

I think I would recommend taking it a little "easy" for a few weeks. Learn the lifts, learn how to lift weights, and once you are not getting sore from lifting a 5 pound dumbbell over head you can really start to push it.

Just do this: Purposefully go light in the beginning, but focus on lifting heavier and heavier in the coming weeks, and eventually you will get to a weight that is challenging. If you do this right you will be sticking with it for YEARS AND YEARS... Taking 4-5 weeks to "ease" into it wont amount to lost potential in the big picture.

Honestly, a good routine that is built around the compound lifts ( something like "Starting Strength", or Jim Wendlers 5/3/1 system (not saying you need to do these, but look at the design)) could be followed for YEARS with minimal changes. People spend their entire lives improving on those key lifts and unless your goal is to look like a body builder you really dont need much more. Think of how you would look if you could squat 375x6, dead lift 465x6, military press 225x6, and bench press 275x6 ... My guess is pretty jacked.

The rest is just icing on the cake really. Those are the foundation of your program.

That sounds fine. I generally do something LIKE the Anaconda Protocol (meaning, carbs and fast proteins before/during/after the workout) and then just focus on eating good, whole foods the rest of the day. I don't put much stock in any supplement in terms of it actually adding muscle and burning fat. Creatine is the only supplement I can recommend in good conscience really, as it has a wealth of science behind it. Glutamine might be good, but I wouldnt worry if you run out for a few days.

I absolutely recommend things like fish oil and fatty acids. Things like Flameout, FA3, and Superfood in the Biotest Store on this site are staples in my diet. These are not for "body building" purposes per se, they MIGHT help me add muscle/lose fat... But I take them for over all health reasons.

Be very, very weary of "Mass gainer" supplements, as they are largely just sugar ("Maltodextrin" on the ingredients label) and some cheap protein. I much prefer to eat real food, or just make a shake out of whey protein with some oatmeal thrown into it for the carbs. Although something like the Metabolic Drive Muscle Growth formula sold on this site is pretty solid, as it isn't just a ton of sugar, it has a good protein source, and has like 8-9 grams of fiber in it.

I dont want to sound like a Biotest shill here, but some of their products are very good and I use them personally so I feel confident in recommending them.

There are many philosophies on this, and many people have achieved success with a variety of approaches... Hows that? :wink:

Seriously though, these are some of MY thoughts on the matter. Before reading each of these bullet points, remember to say the words "IN GENERAL" :

1 - Anything over 12-15 reps is just more reps

2 - The more often you can lift heavier(4-8 reps), the better

3 - If it isn't REALLY hard, it isn't going to work.

Chad Waterbury has a program in the archives here which is essentially a Monday, Wed, Fri plan and hits the full body on each day. Monday is 12 reps, Wed is 8 reps, and Friday is 3 reps.

The plan I'm currently on is called "Max-OT": Its a body part split that hits each body part once per week, almost always in the 4-6 rep range. This is what I have found I LIKE to do, and what delivers me good gains in both strength AND size. Unless I "mess up" and pick a weight that's too light, I never really go above 8 reps. THAT'S JUST ME THOUGH, others have done it much differently and had massive success.

As far as dieting goes, I think I'm coming around to the philosophy that you should basically keep the same training program as the one that got you your size and strength. Use the weights to build and keep your muscle, use your diet and cardio to burn the fat.

I've had success utilizing complexes, but the next time I try to get freaky lean I'm going to stick with my balls-to-the-wall heavy lifting, and use low intensity cardio and dietary manipulation and see where I get.

I'm happy to clarify anything above, expand on a topic, or just answer new questions you have. Dont hesitate to ask.


Alright... Here's a freebie for you :wink:


This is a great article that explains what the new lifter should focus on, complete with a basic program (that again, could be followed for MONTHS, if not a year or more)

Biggest lessons From the article:

"Here's the most important concept: every time you train ? every single workout until this is no longer possible ? you go up in weight on every exercise. The first time you do the exercises, start with an empty bar doing sets of 5, and go up in small jumps."

"Most people that do this program wrong don't eat and sleep enough. This period of growth cannot occur unless you create both the stress of heavy progressive barbell training and an environment in which recovery can take place."

This is NOT a fat loss program, but if you are a BRAND NEW trainee... You could probably gain scads of muscle and NOT gain all that much fat, which will make you look much more powerful and leave you much stronger and healthier on the other side. I promise you dieting fat off is simple and it happens so much faster than muscle gain that any fat you gain from lifting HARD and eating correctly can come off in a matter of weeks.

Chew on that article for a while, even if you decide not to do that exact program the lessons in the article will still apply.


Thanks again for all that info!!
Ye I understand how you want to give a little back! I will hopefully be doing the same in a few years to come!

I will read over that article and will choose a routine within the next few days! Just want to start back into it nice and slow....Since 8 months ago I had been training for 2 years on and off but then the doc said he thought I had a hernia (But i found out within the last few months he always sends everyone to the hospital and gives them appointments with consultants over any little thing which isnt bad but it cost me 8 months of training....turned out to be a muscle tear)...

...so over the last 8 months while studying in uni I have also been doing research of my own on diet and weightlifting to make sure i can get the best results possible after starting back in the gym. I know it may seem like I actually know nothing to you atm...I do but im the type of guy who likes to have clarification from others...mind it does get annoying as I feel I need that I have to have clarification all the time....I do have low self esteem....(It also dosnt help that I get intimidated by other guys very quickly and how much muscle i have lost and how much fat ive gained since last year)...

..I do keep thinking though that I should have a bit of self esteem as when I was working out before my injury I had no idea about diet and little idea about what I needed to do in the gym...but I still got into pretty good shape.....It was when I hit a wall in the gym (plateauing and not knowing how to make myself better than I was) I started to get my head down in nutrition and fitness books (my first book was 'Muscle Chow' by gregg avedon....he's got the type of body that I aspire to achieve) and on the internet.......and then I happened to have my injury or 'supposed injury' argh!

anyways I have a few more questions if you dont mind mate:

would you use a fat burner when cutting?
Also I originally thought guys should do HIIT even when they are lifting heavy and bulking but then I read if bulking you should do 'moderate cardio' like 45 mins slowly on the treadmill and then cutting is when you use HIIT.....is this true??
Also I got 9 weeks until I start back in uni..basically I want to be back in good shape (mainly for the ladies :wink:...do you reckon this is enough time to get back in reasonable shape (i.e. enough muscle gain and fat loss)...Im guessing it maybe is as many guys who start back to the gym after a while off training gain what they previously had very quickly again...muscle memory maybe?

anyway cheers dude!! :smiley:


We are all prone to these psychological games brother, believe me. I dont know how old you are, but as your mature IN THE GYM you will realize that its all about YOU against the OLD YOU, and improving yourself. I used to be quite "embarrassed" by how small I was and how weak I was compared to other lifters in my gym. Granted I've fixed that problem :wink: But now I dont compare myself as much, and I just focus on beating MY old numbers and making sure than I am progressing.

The mental aspects of the iron game can't be ignored though. Learn to harness them to make you better and you will exceed your expectations.

The fitness industry, unfortunately, thrives on keeping people confused... So its entirely understandable that you have many questions. When in doubt, focus on the basics and avoid anything that sounds like marketing.

Here is my take on it... I did use a "fat burner" when I dieted, but it was mainly because I wanted/needed the energy boost the supplement provided. I honestly don't think they do damn near anything in terms of actually "burning fat" - maybe 3-5% increase in metabolism or something. I would NOT use one until you have proven for several months that you can consistently alter your diet and cardio to produce the desired results in your body weight. THEN add that on top as a small, small "bonus."

I did a 16 week diet and only employed the "fat burner" the final 4 weeks because my energy levels were severely low on some days. Again, I had my diet and cardio IN CHECK and had consistently produced 1-3 pounds a week of fat loss up until that point.

I implemented both when I dieted down. Make no mistake about hit, HIIT is the most effective form of cardio there is in terms of elevating metabolism... But it comes at a cost, which is it dips into your ability to recover.

If you are training your legs brutally hard, not sleeping well, eating a minimal amount of calories (as I was towards the end of my diet) you just can't sustain 4-6 sessions of HIIT a week. Something has to give, and if anything was going to give I was going to make DAMN sure it wasn't my squatting and weight lifting performance.

So, I kept the same number of cardio sessions (or added some towards the end), but some of them were longer duration, moderate intensity instead of the absolutely killer HIIT sessions I was doing.

This is probably different if you are training 3 days a week and are eating plenty of food. You may be able to do 3 days of weights and 2-3 days of HIIT to burn some fat.

The unsatisfying answer is that you have to try both, see what you like, see what works, and go from there. This is where a log book comes in handy. Also, be prepared to make mistakes - Dont get down on yourself, learn from them and and make the right choice the next time out.

Alright, this is where it gets tough... Again, the idea of "muscle gain" AND "fat loss" happening at the same time is really a home run scenario. It probably is not going to happen to any significant degree honestly. They are two separate goals, and unless you have a significant amount of time to devote to training and get your diet in perfect order and maintain it for the next 9 weeks, you really do have to pick one or the other.

So, that leaves us with 2 choices:

1 - Focus on the LONG TERM, don't miss out on our newbie gains, and start laying down some muscle mass while focusing on not gaining too much fat by doing some cardio and eating well. This approach WILL net some fat gain most likely, but the muscle gains that come with it will set us up for success in the future. This will allow you to diet down in the future (2-3 years maybe) and look like Gregg Avedon when you do.

2 - Focus on the short term, gear our diet and training towards fat loss, lose 18-25 pounds of blubber and be ready to look good at school. This approach will most definitely leave you LEANER than option number one... But you will be smaller, weaker, and would have missed out on some of the muscle gains that are available as a new trainer. you will NOT look like Gregg Avedon if you diet down now. Might even lose some muscle because your diet is not conducive to growth.

The choice is yours (although I would recommend number one) - I tend to think that women like a guy who is a little bigger, more muscular, and stronger, and looks like he could do some real work when he is wearing street clothes. Guys under 170 pounds, even super ripped guys, dont look very impressive in a t-shirt.

Straight up, I chose option number 2 when I first started out at 20 years old. The end result was NOT a lean, ripped physique, I was simply small:


Over the next several YEARS I found out more about training, diet, and focused on getting big and strong, and when I dieted the next time, since there was actually (some)muscle to diet down to, it was slightly more impressive - Although I did NOT keep my diet in check and got fatter than I should have, this made dieting less productive, harder, and longer than it needed it to be, but the results were there:


Once Again, taking several more YEARS to focus on getting bigger and stronger, I dieted down again this year: More muscle, less fat = better physique (I dont have the same pose right now, but you can see the growth)


Knowing what I know now, I could have made this transition in half the time and be 3-4 years ahead of current progress, no doubt about it...But that still would have been YEARS of work, not 9 weeks. Ahhh, to be young again :wink:

Again, I can't make the choice for you. I know VERY well the allure of being in shape around girls. What I can tell you is that I wish I would have focused on the long term goal from the beginning instead of trying to remain lean for the ladies. Thats just me though, it might be worth it to you when you get out of school to have looked a certain way during that time.

I'm out until a little later. Hopefully I'm not losing you with these long posts, but you are asking some pretty "big" questions, which is good, and I don't want to short change you here.


Haha can't add much! Great thread.

As far as target "weight" that's so arbitrary... I personally just wanted to be a size ten. Hard to know what weight would accomplish that size.

Now size six and not done yet.

My coach will vaguely say how many pounds might get me to the finish line... but what he usually says is "you'll know it when you see it". I know that for me losing weight it was cool to set the goal of getting to the next "decade" so down from the 170's to the 160's always felt great and was smaller accomplishable "mini goals" to keep momentum and motivation. If you need to lose twenty or more pounds this can be a cool way to track it.


Agreed, I generally find that the goals we set for ourselves change quite dramatically from when we are rank beginners to when we start making some real progress. Or just even as our lifting age increases and we want to improve ourselves in new ways.

Hell, Hallowed may even decide she wants to GAIN WEIGHT at some point in the future ( A female gain weight!? BLASPHEMY!). Heaven forbid, it might even help her get gasp STRONGER! Crazy talk, I know...


I will consider taking the fat burner during the end of a period of cutting in the future then. Also I guess if my diet and exercise is showing me results on the waistline then theres probably no point me consuming an extra supp just for the sake of well a little difference.

With regards to HIIT, I can see what you mean by HIIT is better when your on a fuller diet and can make it harder to recover if your on a cleaner diet but a lot of other muscle building enthusiasts such as kris gethin believe that you shouldnâ??t do HIIT on a bulk as it can dip into the muscle your building.......so confusing as to what cardio to do on a bulk and a cut!! Anyway i guess I could do a bit of both during a bulk and just do HIIT when cutting as thats the best way to burn fat!

I completely understand what you mean by either having a short term or a long term goal. However Instead of either choosing to have excess calories (bulking) and minimal calories (cutting), couldnâ??t I just stay on maintenance for most of this weeks......because from alot of the articles I have read a guy starting back after a long period off from his diet and the gym has the best chance of losing fat and building muscle at the same time.....You said this maybe be achievable if I had plenty of time to focus on my diet and training......which I do at the moment as im currently on my summer break.

I do still have other things going on ive got a bit of time to plan out my diet and training properly.......then depending on where I am in 9 weeks time I either choose to bulk or cut for a period of time....what do you think? Also if i were going to go ahead with maintence for the next 2 months I would also include carb cycling as I believe it is very effective.

When I started back at the gym years ago I remember I was more or less on maintenece then and saw a gain in muscle and drop in fat until I hit about the 10 week period which was when I hit that wall I was telling you about.

Also I wanted to ask when you first started dieting and excercising properly after you did your homework....did you see a big difference in the way you looked....I mean a difference in the way your face looked..like you generally looked more healthy...less spots?......better skin...and anything else etc?? Because I know a lot of guys who after a while (around 2 months) of being on a clean diet..they said they could see a difference in their face etc....was just wondering if you were able to relate to that??

Anyway cheers once again my friend!! :slight_smile:


Again, throughout the course of your training life you will have to experiment and see what works for you. For some people HIIT might inhibit muscle gains, for some it might be the key to gaining muscle and burning fat at the same time. Only you can figure that out

This is what I believe:

1 - If a person is either BRAND NEW, or was at some point in the past in amazing condition and stopped working out for years and years (and knows exactly how to eat and train for their body), there is a very good chance that if they focus on training hard and eating to gain they will in fact gain muscle and lose fat at the same time.

2 - Ways to tip this in your favor include: A very well planned out nutrition plan tailored to your specific needs. A very high volume of weights (not necessarily a high rep approach, look at some of CT's stuff on this site, he is working out guys like 3 times a day), a fair amount of cardio.

3 - Purposefully trying to hold your weight ("maintain") while doing it is a mistake. AIM FOR YOUR MAIN GOAL (fat loss, muscle gain) and do everything you can to set yourself up to get the secondary goal, but the idea of "maintaining" does NOT appeal to me in any way. That sounds like a sure fire way to not lose any fat or gain any muscle.

I can tell you want to lose fat, so this is what I would do: Set up your calories for moderate fat loss (500 calorie deficit per day), use a carb cycling approach and put the carbs peri-workout. Then keep the cardio maybe 1-2 sessions a week of HIIT (16-20 minutes tops, if you can do more than that it is not HIGH intensity enough) and 3-4 sessions of low intensity so you arent digging into recovery stores, train your ass off with the weights and get stronger every single session. If you are not gaining strength you are doing something wrong and need to address it.

For the weight training program, I would pick a program that has you lifting 3-4 days a week in the morning. Then, if you have the time, go back at night and do some of the eccentricless stuff or Neural Charge workouts that CT has been talking about on here for the last year. When in doubt, do more work.

The key is going to be how well you can implement these aspects and TRACK THEM. If your goal is to lose fat and in 2 weeks your waist measurement has not gone down... You'll need to change something.

I have never noticed that personally. I've been doing this for almost 7 years now though, so maybe something did happen in those first few months, but I dont recall.


Ye I think having a particular goal ie muscle gain or fat loss will give me better results than if I were to stick with maintenance for 8 weeks. I have decided to work on my short term goal until the 9 weeks are up and then focus on my long term. Im planning to cut for around 4 or 5 weeks then bulk for the rest of the weeks (and then analyse how I have done and change anything necessary that will help me towards my long term goal)...(I may find that I just need to keep on bulking). Anyway does that sound ok?

I'm going to include carb cycling like we discussed for both the cutting and bulking over the 9 weeks and my diet will be planned out with an effective gym routine for both. Seeing as im starting back and cant lift heavy atm and am working on fat loss first, do you reckon I should stick to mainly high reps and lower weight for the first few weeks and then eventually start more heavy with lower reps when I gradually go into bulking? or would you recommend I use a mixture of rep ranges throughout the cut and bulk?

Thanks once again!


Again, I do NOT like the idea of these 3-4 week "bulking" and "cutting" runs... Bulking is a long term process, its nothing that can be accomplished in 3 weeks. I believe it will result in you spinning your wheels as I did in the past. You are going to do whatever you want, and thats fine, and if you are going to focus on fat loss I would just go the entire 9-12 weeks until school start back up. If you knock it out of the park, you could lose ~15 pounds of fat in 9 weeks. If you only focus on it for 4 weeks you'll be lucky to lose 10, then when you go back to gaining weight it will all come back.

My current philosophy of training with weights is that you should always lift as heavy as possible, especially at your age. You could do something like complexes, but keep the reps low. I know you are just starting back, but the key to your progress is going to be that you continue to push yourself. Over the next few weeks strive to continually beat your numbers from last week and eventually I like lifting in the 4-8 rep range for pretty much everything.

Use your diet and cardio to burn fat, use the weights to build muscle.


After thinking about it, i guess your right! It would be more effective if I cut for 9 weeks and made a true difference! Like you said ill end up spinning my wheels. Ive been getting confused lately as theres many different programs where they say to do '4 weeks cut' then '4weeks bulk' then repeat ...then in muscle and fitness mag they had a 12 week plan 4weeks bulk, 4 weeks of more or less maintenance and then 4 weeks cut.

When I was at my fittest last year when I had built quite a nice bit of muscle and didnt have so much of a belly. I weighed about 160-165lbs. I would eventually like to weigh that much again without the fat and more muscle...so I figured earlier that you were right as if I dropped 5'bs in the next 5 weeks then went on a bulk for 5 weeks id still way 177 lbs (which is over my 'supposed' healthy weight).
So am I right by saying that I should get back down to my desired 160-165lbs and then bulk then cut etc...so ill fluctuate between 160-170 on bulk and cuts (and by doing it this way dosnt it mean ill be increasing my LBM)?

Well I have 9 weeks from tommorow. How much do you reckon I should lose in 9 weeks? From what I read you should lose around 1lb-2lb a week without dipping in to muscle. I have a generally good metabolism (I know im over weight atm but that cause my diets been very poor the last few months) so do you reckon I should aim for cutting 500 calories a day instead of 1000 because I may end up losing more than 1lb a week anyway (because of my good metabolism).

I found this article just now on doing HIIT and how if you do it this way for 8 weeks youll lose 2% BF but this dosnt seem like much too me....ive been trying to figure out how much I would lose but I cant (im currently 177lbs, 20%BF).
How many cardio sessions would you recommend for losing fat a week? 5? everyday??

Lastly I found something called the 'mens health Spartacus workout' basically a circuit of 10 excercises (mainly body weight and dumbbell exercises. Now seeing as I currently cant lift heavy as I got to get back in the gym slowly over the next few weeks, do you reckon I could do this instead of other session in the gym or maybe use it as more of an intense cardio sesh? I am a bit worried though that it could be to highly intense lol but its meant to be good to for stripping fat which is what I want to do.



Lonnie, I hope you are patient.

You gave him gold material and I doubt he understood anything.

Good luck.


Lets cut this down to the very, very basics:

What are you LONG TERM, ultimate goals?

What steps should you be taking to start working towards those TODAY?

If you are considering taking steps other than those you mentioned in the previous question, why are you doing so?

I think I may be misunderstanding what you want. Do you want to look like a body builder? Or do you simply want to be "fit", have abs at 160 pounds, and get chicks?

You have to understand you are talking to someone who has a body builders mind set, I do not give a shit about having abs for the sake of getting chicks in college. I really dont. When it comes to training I care about 3 things, and 3 things only:

1 - Achieving the greatest muscular hypertrophy my body will allow

2 - Stripping as much body fat off my myself as possible

3 - Doing so in the most efficient manner I can, wasting as little time, energy, and resources as possible.

In no way does doing 4 weeks of cutting, 4 weeks of bulking, or ANYTHING involving the word "maintenance" fit in with those goals. Forget 4 weeks... Try 4 years. And then try another 4 years. And then another 4 years.

Nobody does ANYTHING in 4 weeks, man. Those are buzz words. If you want a physique that girls take note of, that will garner you RESPECT from other men, and more importantly that you can feel PROUD of, you need to forget about "4 weeks from now" or even "9 weeks from now" - Start preparing for your FUTURE.

As far as your questions:

I do not believe you should "fluctuate between 160-170" - That is the golden ticket to spinning your wheels for YEARS.

Any article or person that promises you anything concrete is lying to you, no article could possibly know how much fat adding in HIIT will burn.

I recommend doing AS LITTLE CARDIO AS POSSIBLE to achieve the results you are after... If that means none great, I've built up to 14 sessions a week towards the end of a diet. The key is to FIGURE OUT HOW MUCH YOU NEED TO DO. I can't tell you what that number is. Hopefully its none, maybe its 3, maybe its 5, maybe it needs to go up every week... I dont know.

Brother... If you are worried that a "Spartacus" work is "too intense", I honestly dont think this iron game is for you. You need to find a gym that has SERIOUS lifters (guys using more than one 45 per side) and just freaking watch them train. Watch them get into the zone. Watch them lift weights you can only dream of. Watch them lift weights THEY could only dream of a year ago. Watch what it takes to push yourself beyond what you think you can do. Watch as MEN become LEGENDS, if only for an hour.

I want you to do this: Go up to guys in your gym that have the physique that you are after and ask them three things:

1 - How much they weight
2 - How long have they been training
3 - How do they train

Success leaves clues, when you have 5-10 guys give you answers start thinking about the things they had in common with each other and there is where you need to be putting your effort.