To Lose or Gain Weight?

First of all, what a fantastic site. So much free quality information is hard to find anywhere. Been using quite a few hours lerking the forums, and have already learned a lot. You have to excuse my english skills, as it’s not my native language :slight_smile:

Some background info:

I’m 23 years old, and somewhat of a chubby :confused:
For the last 4-5 months I’ve been changing my lifestyle dramatically. Been a little fatty my entire life, and decided it was time to do something about it. Not only do I want to look and feel better, I’m also somewhat concerned about my health.

I’m 175cm(5.7 I think), and 185lb (down from 211lb), so I already lost some weight, and feel a lot better. But how to progress from here is my question.

Goals:

  1. Get healthy
  2. Get low bf%
  3. Add muscle

Just ordered Starting Strength, and I’ve been researching a lot of different programs, and SS just seems so simple, yet effective. Also I’ve got the diet down. I know what to eat, and what not to eat. I know about proteins and carbs and all that, but here’s my question:

To reach my goals, should I(in your opinion) be in energy deficit, excess or in balance, while doing the SS program?

In my opinion I have a couple of different options to chose from:

  • Energy deficit + cardio = lose fat and muscle, and later on do SS.
  • Energy excess + SS + a little cardio = gain muscle and fat, and later on work on losing fat again.
  • Energy balance + SS + a little cardio = as above, but less gains.
  • Energy deficit + SS + cardio = lose weight, not sure on how fat/muscle ratio will be affected by this.

Is it possible to be in deficit and do SS? I would most likely not be able to progress the way it is intended, if I don’t eat in excess.

I hope you understand my question. If I was skinny it’s quite simple, just eat a lot and lift heavy weights. But I can’t quite figure out what route to take. Should I keep doing what I’m doing and loose more weight, or should I start doing SS with energy deficit/excess? That’s what it comes down to.

Thanks for your time, really appreciate it.

  • Daniel

EDIT: added info, that somehow got lost.

If you havent started lifting yet, burn the fat off first, get that shit out of the way, and enjoy lifting for the rest of your life.

Losing weight and gaining muscle are two conflicting goals to some respect. Therefore to fully succeed in either, one of them needs to be kepted in the shadow for a while, whilst the other one gets achievied, get it?

You can gain strength from Starting Strength while in a caloric deficit.

However, what would likely be more effective is to pick a goal and shoot for it. IE- cut or bulk.

In theory, beginners can do both at the same time, because their system reacts very well to the novel stimulus of weight training. However, without a single, clear goal, its difficult to track your progress. So I recommend cutting or bulking.

SS is great while bulking. Many here can attest to that.

If you decide to cut, I recommend the T-dawg Diet 2.0 for diet and the Waterbury Summer Project for training. If you do them with intelligence and dedication, you can probably drop 10-14 lbs in 8 weeks.

Good luck! Don’t forget to inform us of your progress, and if you have more questions, use this thread to post them.

^Good advice right there OTep said it best^

Thanks a lot all of you. I’ve actually already adobted the T-DAWG diet, and made a diet that suits me. Around 230g protein and 100g carb per day(50 from breakfeast and 50 from PWO drink). I think I’ll take the advice, and get rid of the fat first, and then start the SS program later on(while bulking).

I just bought a really nice roadbike a couple of months ago, and really enjoy riding it. So I shouldn’t have any problems getting enough cardio in. I’ll take a look at the Waterbury Summer Project also.

All suggestions are appreciated.

  • Daniel

So it’s been a while since my last post, and I thought that it might be a good idea to update you on my progress.

I’m down to 174 now, so that’s another 10-11 pounds for the last 4 months. Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s getting kind of hard to hit those high numbers recently, as one might expect.

I actually started SS before I planned and it went well for the first month or so, but then I started to get frustrated that I couldn’t add any significant weight to the bar because of my low kcal intake. My motivation took the final hit as I was in an accidnt which kept me away from the gym for a month or so. I did really enjoy lifting though, and I have no doubt in my mind that I will start it up again at some point, with a higher kcal intake preferably.

I’ve been eating like a bird ever since I stopped working out hard, and I can deffinately feel my strength going down(loss of muscle /cry). At the moment I think I average around 1600-1700 kcal/day, and I get some exercise, but not nearly enough. I’d like to up my intake and work out more, but I got tons of excuses of course :).

Although I’m not completely happy with the way I’ve done it, I still have managed to lose a total of 37-38 pounds since I started. Even though 174 sounds kinda low(especially on this site), I’m still wearing a big ass tire around my waist. I don’t mean the “when I sit down I can see a fold” thing, but more in the direction of “my tire is resting on my thighs when I sit down” kind of thing :D. So I’m not even close to being happy with the way I look but I I’m still optimistic that I’ll reach my goal one day.

So at approx 175cm and 79kg(5’7 and 174), do you think I should keep on losing fat, or is it time to change things up? I really want to lose fat, but not be skinny either. I’d like to slap on some muscle at some point, the question is just when to do what, and in what order if you understand what I mean?

-Daniel

[quote]Banrak wrote:

So at approx 175cm and 79kg(5’7 and 174), do you think I should keep on losing fat, or is it time to change things up? I really want to lose fat, but not be skinny either. I’d like to slap on some muscle at some point, the question is just when to do what, and in what order if you understand what I mean?

-Daniel
[/quote]

This is sort of a tricky thing. It’s time to gain muscle, you know it, we know it. The trick is to do it without adding a whole bunch of fat as well. Most of the ‘lift heavy as shit and eat everything in sight’ pledges come from the ranks of the perennially skinny, which isn’t you. So when you see that posted anywhere, discount it.

To add muscle, you need to be adding weight, reps, or sets to the bar. Force progress weekly. Add pounds. If you can’t add pounds, add reps. If you can’t add reps, add sets. Eventually you get to a point where you can add pounds, and you start the whole bit all over again.

Diet-wise, there are a bunch of different ways to minimize your fat gain while gaining muscle. Searching Thibs’ ‘carb cycling codex’ or the ‘anabolic diet’ will net you two classics, and Berardi’s ‘massive eating’ is also highly recommended. The upshot though is you need to be in caloric surplus. So you’ll get to eat more. But keep watching your weight, because it’s seriously all too easy to balloon the fuck up.

In a nutshell, eat enough to make sure you’re gaining weight slowly- a pound or two a week is plenty. And make sure those weight gains are justified by strength gains. You gained 5lbs in a month is acceptable if you also added 20lbs to your 5rm on the bench and 30 on the squat. Otherwise, boost your training or decrease your kcals (or not, if you’re getting results that are good enough for you).

Good luck, and welcome back.

Thanks a lot for the reply Otep.

[quote]But keep watching your weight, because it’s seriously all too easy to balloon the fuck up.
[/quote]So true unfortunately.

I’ve been in a deficit for about 2 months straight now, before that I had a month or so where I gained 2-3 pounds(on purpose) because I was pretty much stalling at that point. After that month I cut down on the kcals again and lost another 10 pounds. So after at least 2 months of being in a deficit, does it matter how fast I turn around and start eating more? Should I ease into it slowly, or just go from 1600 to 2600(or whatever I might find necessary) from one day to the other?

Well, gonna do some more reading then on the diets you suggested.

Thanks again

-Daniel

My belief is that it does matter. My belief is that taking time to re-set your body’s default fat% is well worth the time it takes to do so.

I would advise two months at maintenance to get your fat cells used to the idea of not being full. And your mind a break from being in the caloric red (1600 kcal? Wow. That must suck).

HOWEVER

The real trick is to make sure you keep monitoring yourself on the way up, just like you did on the way down. Every pound of fat you keep off while gaining is a pound you don’t have to drop after you’re finished. But you want to make sure you gain muscle. Hence the ‘justify weight gain with strength gain’.

[quote]TRAIN2Failure wrote:
If you havent started lifting yet, burn the fat off first, get that shit out of the way, and enjoy lifting for the rest of your life.

Losing weight and gaining muscle are two conflicting goals to some respect. Therefore to fully succeed in either, one of them needs to be kepted in the shadow for a while, whilst the other one gets achievied, get it?[/quote]

Agreed!