T Nation

Which Way to Go, 5'11'' 220 lbs


#1

I started the summer at 210 pounds and gained 10 pounds of weight in 3 months. All my lifts went up and my chest and shoulders have gotten wider. At this point I cant decide if I need to lose the fat I have or continue gaining weight and making muscle.

I am currently eating between 2800-3200 calories and gained 10 pounds in 3 months.
Bench 205x5
Squat 205x5

In order for me to be lean I think I would have to lose at least 20 pounds which would take around 4-5 months. Is it worth losing the weight and not gaining muscle during that time or continue bulking and worry about the fat later. I am confused because I don't have much muscle in the first place.


#2

I find it odd that you would ask me, an internet stranger, to choose your goals for you.


#3

I wouldn't worry about the whole bulking/cutting thing right now, just eat well and train hard and give it some time.


#4

There are basically three options.

1) Do a "cut" -- try to lose the fat quickly, get lean, then reverse diet and gradually gain weight while minimizing bodyfat gain.

2) Keep gaining, while minimizing bodyfat gain.

3) "Recomp", i.e. gradually lose fat / build muscle by keeping your calories close to maintenance. Realistically this means a little under maintenance, and precludes much muscle gain.

Which you choose depends on you and your goals / preferences. The most dramatic visual/aesthetic difference will come via option 1. It's also the least pleasant option, lifestyle-wise.


#5

This.

As a side note, try to get your squat a fair bit higher than your bench. ALso consider deadlifting. If you're not a powerlifter it is far from essential, but some kind of DL variation would probably do you good.


#6

I've always felt this was complete garbage. I don't know why people suggest this. For most people who simply work hard on theirs legs, this is likely to end up being the case, but it's not like it really matters, particularly if strong legs is not a specific goal. I benched 300 well before I squatted it. That was fine with me. Now my best squat is 140 lbs more than my best bench. That's also fine with me. It happened organically, not in the pursuit of some sort of bench:squat ratio. It's simply much easier for most people who work hard to reach, say, a 400 squat than it is to reach a 400 bench.

As a side note, I know a guy who mostly competes as a 181, who's capable of a 500 bench, and his squat and deadlift are both less than 600. He's either the second or 3rd current best bench presser in the weight class.


#7

Was increased bodyweight and strength your goal for the summer? If so, are you comfortable with your current fat level?

I think for the most part, especially with beginners, an "imbalanced" strength ratio like that can give insight to improper program design at the very least. Some people might just be natural pressers to sort of explain the difference, but that can also be a crutch-excuse some guys use.

If a guy benches bodyweight and squats bodyweight, there's a good chance he's either overemphasizing upper body work (or, more particularly, the beach muscles) and/or under-emphasizing lower body work. This kind of imbalance could lead to, at best, muscle size discrepancies that need to be addressed down the road or, at worst, set the guy up for injuries (over-strong pushing muscle and relatively-under-developed pulling/stabilizing muscles).

Kind of like if a guy can overhead press almost-bodyweight but deadlift "just" bodyweight. It's a much-less-likely scenario, but the same principle. If we didn't know any more details (like we don't with the OP), wouldn't we tell that guy "Hey, um, something's out of whack, you really should get your deadlift up ASAP"?


#8

I think the under-emphasizing lower body work is generally more likely. The thing about that is, most people know they're doing it. When my bench was higher than my squat, I KNEW why it was happening. I just didn't care about legs very much. I wasn't a competitive lifter, I just wanted to enhance the muscles that I felt were worth enhancing. 'Leg day' in college was Friday afternoons for me. You can probably guess how likely I was to skip my leg days versus my Monday chest day, or my Wednesday arm day. Or my Saturday arm day. Or my Sunday arm day. My priorities changed over the years, but they don't for everyone.

I just don't see that this has to lead to any physical problems, per se. If you want to have the upper body of Ronnie Coleman, and the legs of a marathon runner, so be it. There's probably no real harm in that, although it would be quite the strange aesthetic. If you want big legs, you'll work your legs more, and harder. Honestly, if I didn't get a rush out of squatting heavy weights, there's zero chance I would be doing it.

The bottom line to me is, unless there is a true concern regarding health that a trainee may not be aware of, I don't see a real reason to tell someone what their goals SHOULD be.


#9

I tend to agree with you there, Flip. But I reserve the right to think that anyone who doesn't squat heavy at least some of the time is a pussy.