I am 5’9″ and I weigh 71 kgs. But even outside of a traditional recomp scenario, some people are capable of losing fat and building muscle at the same time (basically, the fatter and less experienced you are, the more likely it is to happen, and vice versa). My strength has gone up considerably, I’ve lifted the most I ever have. What would you recommend I do? Depends on the exact approach. The article pretty much explains the answer to your question. Thanks for confirming this and also on your other blog about how to cut fat without losing muscle. So if they are in fact happening at an equal rate, it would mean fat loss is happening quite slow (not extra fast growth). My goal now is to reach the ideal weight for my height and get lean before embarking on a bulking journey. Also, if I do manage to crack in say 2 days a week, are you saying that that will go some way to going beyond maintenance and building me muscle? Could you provide some info regarding that. For this reason, you don’t want to begin bulking until you are “lean enough” to do so, as attempting to bulk when you’re “too fat” means you’re just going to end up getting even fatter. in 20 weeks was purely for illustrative purposes. How many calories are you eating per day? Glad to hear it! beginner routine and with a diet plan for fat loss with high protein.Got it! I'm trying to gain weight right now since May and it's hard. But with all else begin equal, the specific food sources won’t change this. Am i best to bulk first before cutting and for how long? In line with your article I want to lose fat, so am cutting, but my question is where to stop? Cardio wise I was doing an hour after PT session and cardio on days in between but switched to doing a 20-30 min interval cardio session recently. I’m doing your full body routine and I’m staying on a 500-700 calories defeceit. I’m 5’11 male and weight 163 lbs. Starting tomorrow, I’ve decided to use your upper/lower split routines. So if you’re not as toned as you’d like to be, then you either need to keep cutting and losing fat, or, if you truly are as lean as 17% (or even a little higher) and your lack of tone is a mostly a result of a lack of muscle mass… then good job lady, you’re lean enough to start building some muscle. But where’s the balance point? More to *gaining* weight, I’m getting conflicting conclusions from your articles. And when the deficit is present, and the sufficient protein/EFA intake are there, and you’re weight training correctly… everything else (nutrient timing, food sources, exact ratios, etc.) I say this because most doctors make you lose in order to slow your metabolism so that you gain weight. And this, combined with the small amount of excess body fat they have, often leads to meaningful improvements in body composition during those initial months. If preferred of course, cardio can be used as well, although it’s completely optional. What I’m wondering is, if I follow your Ultimate Weight Training Routine with the once-a-week frequency, intensity, etc (i.e. Impossible to say what you’re seeing without seeing it. i am avoiding wheat gluten and sugers. The sum total of the growth of all of the individual muscle fibers is what causes overall muscle growth. As someone who is just starting to seriously work out at age 26, this is probably one of, if not THE, most helpful articles I have read in regards to working out for beginners. I’m very thin so they recommended bulking and training everyday, that led to fat gains and over training. My friend is a nurse and she let me use a scale that gives BF %. Then bulk up after I see enough muscle and possible visible abs showing? 3 kgs less and will be under weight. Macronutrient ratios and timing and that stuff plays a role too. Measuring my back near the shoulder and the side of my stomach, near my right hip. When I look in the mirror, I feel fat! Men have an easier time building muscle because they have higher levels of androgens, hormones like testosterone that are anabolic. I have been doing Kris Gethin’s 12 week hardcore trainer found in the bodybuilding.com website, this is my second time around and I have seen considerable improvement. Yes, my example of 10 lbs. Now i have started on a fat loss training to shift the belly fat i have but to maintain muscle i do one day metabolic resistance training, next day weights (as heavy as i can lift with 6-10 reps) for 6 days and have one day off. This entails eating an amount of calories that causes a small caloric surplusto exist so that a slow rate of weight gain occurs. The increase in muscle size is known as “hypertrophy.” Conversely, during a period of detraining, we progressively lose strength and muscle size. Yes my end goal is to build more muscle eventually but I really want those abs as well. My aim is to be around 60-62 kgs. I followed the links and read your articles on diet, and maybe it was too late when I read them or I just missed the point, but I’m confused about the carb/protein/fat percentages and macronutrient requirements. What should I do first? I think I’m at 20% body fat or 18% maybe If i took a guess in a mirror. Let us know how well your bulk goes! My diet is very high in protein, some carbs and fish oil supplements. Thanks! im 6’2. I want to get bigger (as in muscle mass) but i want to barely have a thin layer of fat over that muscle. If I want to lose fat faster, I should just lower calories further, right? One diet may have chicken for dinner, and the other might have a twinkie for dinner. Thanks for the great article! You gained 20lbs. I understand that gaining or losing weight is simply a calories in minus calories burned equation. Based off some recent posts here, I feel a subject needs to be brought up, specifically what I wrote in the title: fat is easier to lose than muscle is to gain. This is an interesting related question and might come to mind for people who want to get lean but are afraid of packing on size from strength training. Hang in there though, it gradually fades away as your results gradually get better and better without them. Should I start with a moderate surplus or straight out surplus of 300-500 calories? One of the perks of being a semi-fat beginner. If you don’t count calories, then it’s highly improbable. Achieving lean mass is rarely easy, but it's easier if you avoid the following errors. Then again, since I’m not losing fat very fast at all, maybe my BMR is actually lower than the calculators tell me? While i do not notice any change in the size of my muscles, a lot of friends have told me that they noticed. Prevent losing muscle by training right. You can gain some body fat along with the muscle you’re building and still look fairly decent throughout the process because you never end up getting “too fat” along the way. Thanks for your help. Sounds like you’re doing everything right and it’s all working exactly as well as it should be. Fat cells also have these cells. So, an intelligent weight training program will be needed during this time to take advantage of that possibility. Firstly, a reduction in muscle fiber size does not affect the number of myonuclei inside the muscle fibers. the ratio of how much muscle and fat you gain while in a surplus), it also means you’re going to look like crap throughout the entire muscle building process, because going from “fat” to “fatter” isn’t exactly a pretty transformation. This decrease in muscle size is known as “atrophy.” During retraining, we regain strength and muscle size that we lost during a detraining period after a previous training period. Am i on the right track or should i change to achieve belly fat loss and keep muscles? When we gain muscle size and strength through retraining (training after a period of detraining), we typically achieve those gains at a much faster rate than during the original training period. This means that despite performing a hard set to muscular failure, they leave many thousands of muscle fibers inside the muscle completely unstimulated. But the bigger the deficit, the harder it’s going to be for you to take advantage of your ability to build muscle during this time. losing fat and building muscle at the same time, How To Create A Weight Training Workout Routine. I’m operating under a 20% deficit but I wonder if I would be better off with some form of appetite suppression and up to 50% deficit (maintaining my protein intake)? Again, awesome site! Much like fat loss, muscle gain is often not linear. 15%bf. . I started lifting weights in Feb/2013 in a crossfit/boot cam hybrid gym. About 12 years too late, but I’ll gladly take it. They’d rather stay a little leaner even if it means they may sacrifice some muscle/strength progress. it really is hindering all my efforts, and it stress me a lot (you know, a flappy abdomen can be as ugly or worse than being fat for me). However, the rates of muscle protein breakdown are not similarly affected. I also have pictures from Day 1, and there is at least a small difference compared to now. If anything, it’s the safest stimulant known to man, and one of few performance-enhancing substances that works, is legal and doesn’t involve steroids. However, if you’re someone who doesn’t mind being in a slightly higher body fat range during the muscle building process, or you just want to focus on building muscle right away rather than spending any extra time getting leaner first, you can feel free to start bulking while you’re at the higher end of these ranges. So just one full body workout per week? Forums are something I’ve thought about. And if I go into a caloric deficit will I lose strength and be unable to maintain my current muscle mass? What do you think is the optimal length of time for each cut and bulk cycle? But it's common to lose muscle instead of fat. Now that I have proven that I’m disciplined, committed to my health, and understand the basics of weight lifting, I need to make some tweaks. So the fat gains which still aren’t too bad don’t come as a surprise and i do look much healthier overall, so my QUESTION IS: will it be hard to get my six pack back? Just wrote something a week or so ago about this very subject. I only have fat round my belly. Now about that one group of people who a recomp will be ideal for…. I know there is no magic formula but can you give a starting point as I keep doubting my decisions? My goal is to get to get down to 8% bf and also put on 5 more lbs of muscle. I want to get to 225 but I want to get rid of gut too. If you’re 16-17%, then yes. I did the HCG diet at one point during the 4 months and dropped some lb. I’m 23 years old, I’m 180 cm tall and weigh about 83.5 kg, and even though I’ve got somewhat skinny arms and legs, I’ve got a beer gut and man boobs on my chest area. This is clearly happening with me; however, I am a bit confused as to why my weight is the exact same as three months ago. A recomp would not be a good option for people fitting this description. As the lifter gains in strength, they increase the number of motor units they can recruit, and this opens up an additional group of muscle fibers that can now be trained. Honestly, it can all work and it can all cause problems. You’re not eating enough protein. Do I cut with minor bulking, I want bigger legs and arms, but lose the fat. Plus, cycling calories is the main reason your calories need to get that low, so your average calorie intake for the week still works out to be something higher. Aging also plays a role in how quickly you’ll lose strength. So i am a 29yo male, (1m85 / 72kg) i decided to start weight training at home using a multi gym and thus started bulking to progress. This would obviously include anyone who is overweight or obese, as well as anyone who is above the ideal range for bulking that we just discussed. I appreciate the civil discussion here. Hi, this forum is really insightful and I feel you’re the best person to ask, so here goes. After some months and lots of reading I found someone with a similar view like yours but with a much restricted diet which I hated but help me with the decision to stop paying the gym and instead got my own barbell and pull up rack. To be clear, a “skinny-fat” intermediate or advanced trainee within these body fat ranges should still bulk or cut. What I’m wondering is what kind of routine to do. This article answers your question. Like you mentioned, fat loss can happen waaaaay faster than muscle growth can. This deficit can be created through diet alone, which is usually my first recommendation. I’m at around 11% body fat(got it measured at my gym). I have gained more endurance than strength. It contains beginner, intermediate, and advanced home workouts. I am guy . I wouldn’t call myself fat, but I would call myself overweight, and am lacking muscle at the moment. 2) i’ve made some progress the last year, training an dieting very carefully. For the muscle fibers of high-threshold motor units, we just need to balance the decrease in the rate of muscle protein synthesis that occurs between workouts with an increase during and after a workout. . Muscle development is more challenging for women after menopause. I am skinny-fat currently 167lbs at 5′ 10″. I am 5 foot tall 20yr old female and I have just lost weight by eating 1200 kcals a day while doing weight training and cardio. Each training week (whether training, retraining, or maintenance) actually involves its own micocycle of training, detraining, and retraining. I do not know my BFI. From reading this blog today, what he said appears to be wrong. I still work out 5 times a week on a different routine, completely removed cardio exercises afterwards and closely monitor my calorie intake. Hi, im 5 ft 8 and weight 131 lbs. Yes. As long as you are legitimately still in need of fat loss (and not a crazy person or someone with an body image disorder/eating disorder… and at 140lbs I’d wonder how tall you are, because that’s pretty light for a guy), and are in a sane deficit (10-20% below maintenance), then I wouldn’t worry about it. The issue is rarely the type of cardio, but the specifics of how that cardio is implemented and how it fits with your diet and the rest of your training. However, if you’d much rather be losing fat as fast as you could be, there should certainly be some degree of net weight loss happening even if you are building muscle at the same time. In addition, periods of training that are intended to increase muscle size must increase motor unit recruitment levels and the number of myonuclei inside each muscle fiber to make continual progress. I just don’t want to undo all of the hard work I have done by doing this wrong. You see when you add muscle you also increase Igf-1 or insulin growth factor 1. I def don’t take steroids and I’m not regaining lost muscles. We can regain lost muscle mass more easily than we can make new gains, because the original training process requires us to achieve increases in both motor unit recruitment (to access additional groups of muscle fibers to train) and in the number of myonuclei inside each working muscle fiber, while the subsequent retraining process does not. I’d suggest losing that fat and then bulking again… properly. I’ve been trying to bulk for some time, and i am very confused as to how much really is of ‘loose skin’, and how much can i really improve by removing fat… the one time i tried to cut, this ‘folds’ of skin persisted.. can you give me any advice on to improve this situation? I am following a high protein lower carb diet, and it seemed like maybe I was not eating enough with the extra cardio and weight training I was doing. looking forward to your reply thank you, I’m still sort of confused… I want to start off by saying that you have plenty of good info on this site and the best part is that its legit and free. After I finished the HCG diet I increased 3 lbs. Sure beats T-Nation. Problem is, I don’t have a plan, and I don’t know where to start nor how to keep it up. the maintenance routine) would that sufficiently maintain my muscle so I can lose fat not both? This is, by far, the most comprehensive and well thought out (not to mention well intentioned) piece of literature on food and fitness that I have ever read. So assuming all else (training, calorie intake, protein intake, etc.) Great article! Mirror evaluation shows fat on the chest and lower abdomen and I’m starting to see my ABS. I do have a friend of mine who currently competes and she has been carb cycling with ridiculous results. Since losing fat is the thing you want to do, do it. Most experts agree that the imbalance that leads to muscle loss begins around age 50, although some studies suggest it might start earlier. I’m a 16 year old teen girl with my height being 5’1. The caloric deficit I am in right now is around 500-700 calories. I do have under active thyroid disease but am on medication and its stabilized with the medicine. Some other intelligent beginner routine? The deficit (calories in vs calories out) is ALWAYS the cause of fat loss. I’m about 5’11” and 173lbs. Thank you so much! In this model, small increases in muscle fiber size are produced by an increase in muscle protein synthesis rates through increases in the activity of existing nuclei, while larger increases in fiber size are caused by an increase in the number of nuclei. Not sure what this has to do with the article, but… are you saying that you took 2 months off from lifting, started back up and now you’re extra sore (and by “sore” I’m talking about delayed onset muscle soreness, not pain associated with an injury)? Even if it’s all 100% “clean” foods. I started back barely able to do 135 7 times. For those muscle fibers of high-threshold motor units, each workout and the 48 hours afterwards are a period of training, in which the rate of muscle protein synthesis is elevated above the rate of muscle protein breakdown. Some people just want to build muscle (aka “bulk”). Thanks a lot, man! Consequently, the net effect is for muscle protein breakdown to exceed muscle protein synthesis during periods of detraining, and this leads to rapid losses in muscle fiber protein. But, both diets can still have equal totals of X protein, Y carbs and Z fat for the day. I have been consistently weightlifting since Feb 2012. And like I mentioned a minute ago, exactly how lean you get before making that switch depends on your personal preferences. In short, my BF is at 10%, i’m 147 lbs and 5.6 foot in height. After my third child, I took myself from 165 pounds to 105 pounds and 17% body fat (I’m only 5’2”). Hmm, I started out on a 17% BF, so I do not think I count as a fat beginner. But regardless, assuming you’re a beginner you’ll be able to build muscle and lose fat at the same time. I wish you’d add some forums for discussions. Hi I love your article but I’m still a little confused and don’t want to do the wrong thing. If so, I've written the ultimate guide to getting the results you want without a gym. That’s the thing though. This article might have some of the answers you’re looking for. To break it down, I’m 17 years old, 5’9”, and weighing 150-155lbs atm. What do you recommend to help me out with the aforementioned problems I have? Transforming your body isn't easy, but if you want muscle definition, you'll need to do it. active (sports) I started hitting the gym, been about 3 weeks and I feel like I’m in the middle but I wanna lose belly fat :S, thoughts ? I just bought your ebook – not because I need another workout routine – but because I think you deserve to be supported. I’m 5’6. As for the reasoning behind the dietary recommendations I give, it’s all based on what is A) best for fat loss and/or muscle growth (or muscle maintenance), B) best for overall health, function and training performance/recovery, and C) most enjoyable and sustainable. Check it out. Consequently, we experience a loss in the size of the muscle fibers that are controlled by low-, medium-, and high-threshold motor units. First of all, thank you and congratulations for the amount and quality of info. Train For Muscle Gain, Not Fat Loss. In addition, the ability to recruit high-threshold motor units increases with training. Foodstuff is designed up of calories which are utilised by the overall body for quite a few distinct procedures which it must have … Once this recomp progress begins to stall, that would be the time to switch to bulking or cutting depending on what your body fat percentage and personal preferences are at that point. Thanks for the prompt response ! you collected on your site… it really helps, for the massive, contradicting overload there is on Internet (and i’ve read a lot!). I’ve been following a barbell-compound lift routine with built in progressive overload for six weeks and I’ve lost about 12 inches all over my body but not a single pound. Thank you So much for the quick reply! Hey! i’ve bought a cheap caliper from internet but i really suspect its effectiveness, besides i have some loose, low fat skin. (Love your work) Sex: Male Age: 21 Height: 189.5cm Weight: 15 st 9.3 pounds BMI: 26.4 BF: 3 st 13 pounds BF%: 26.1 H2O%: 54. I hope i was clear as i am not a fluent english speaker… thank you in advance! I have currently 14% body fat, i am 511 and weigh 190, and i wanted to do a bulking then cutting phase and was wondering how long each phase would last for optimal results. for the longest time and lost around 6 lbs. Thanks for the replies and explanations. Am I going to have to gain more weight and almost look fat to get the results I’m looking for. Reason being, the untrained state (or detrained state in the case of those returning from a layoff) that these people are in primes them for rapid improvements in terms of muscle and strength gains.