Some stats: I’m 29. I weigh 180 pounds. I’m about 5’ 10"
First off, thanks in advance for reading through my dilemma; I realize that people on these forums probably hear these same topics on a continual basis. I’m just basically looking for advice - I’ve read through most of the articles, and I find the evidence to be relatively inconsistent on these questions; therefore, I’m looking for some recommendations from people with experience.
Here’s the deal: throughout my life, I’ve sort of been on a weight roller coaster. As a teen, I weighed over 230 pounds; then, I graduated from high school, went to the gym, and lost about 60 pounds. Then, when I started my junior and senior year, I shot back up to around 190 pounds. Then, I got married, and I got serious about running and lost a ton of weight; for awhile, I weighed 145 pounds! But - alas - I went to graduate school and gained almost 45 pounds over three years. Recently, I got divorced, and obviously I’m concerned about my appearance now that I’m thinking about dating again; as a result, I’ve gotten back into running and started weight lifting hardcore.
I’ve been working out for about 6 months. I really consider myself more of a runner than a bodybuilder; right now, I’m training for a marathon, and I run about 20-30 miles each week (with one long run of between 10-16 miles on the weekend). However, I’ve been down the running road before, and I know that it puts you in great shape but transforms you into a little shrimpy weasel man. I don’t want to be shrimpy. So I’ve also been weightlifting for the first time in my life. I go to the gym 4 times/week - alternating between different muscle groups (chest/triceps, back/biceps, shoulders, and legs). I’ve made some pretty considerable gains; for example, with the bench press, I started out doing 3 sets of 8 reps with just the bar; as of Monday, I’m now doing 3 sets of 8 reps at 125 pounds. I’m pretty happy with my progress, for the most part, and I’ve definitely been losing fat; I’m down from a 38 to a 34 jean size. But here’s the problem -
I haven’t really lost any “weight,” and this makes me really uncomfortable. I started out weighing about 185; now, I’m at about 180. I still have a considerable layer of fat covering my stomach and upper chest. I don’t like it. But I’m not sure what to do. What I’m doing seems to be working; on the other hand, it also seems to be moving quite slow. So how do I get rid of this extra layer of fat? If I just keep lifting and running, will it eventually just disappear? Or should I cut calories and get rid of my little belly and then worry about building muscle mass?
Over the last couple days, I’ve cut back to 1800 calories, but I find that it’s miserable. I mean, I’m burning 500-700 calories/day, and on top of that I have all this new muscle. But I’ve never “cut calories” while doing such intense, regular exercise before; to give you an idea, I ran 16 miles at a 5.5 MPH pace this weekend, which took 3 hours and burned about 2,200 calories.
I honestly don’t know the right course of action. One thing for sure - I hate this little belly!