This is my current body after losing around 100lbs. It took me around a year or so. My goal is not "weight lifter" physique. I do not want to get huge or big, I want to be lean and have visible abs with a generic toned chest/upper body physique.
I am currently 139lbs. 5ft 9in. according to a bioimpedence scale I am 20.7 BMI and 12.3% bodyfat, but I do not trust those scales.
Yes I have loose skin at the bottom of my stomach, I'll worry about the loose skin later via whatever treatment I need.
Do I keep losing weight at this point and stick to my deficit? or should I just start eating at a surplus while lifting? I have no idea how to reach my goals from here and I don't know if continuing to lose weight will give me the look I want?
To give a brief and quick history. I spent the first 6 months of my diet doing only cardio and a -500 TDEE caloric deficit. I never lifted once. After that I spent the next 6 months juggling between one day lifting and one day cardio. I do that to this day. Still eating -500 TDEE deficit to this day and slowly losing weight. I intake around 150g of protein daily. These days I average around 3-4lbs lost per month.
Here is a rough example of what I'd want my end goal to look like. I know I cannot achieve it perfectly, that's fine, I want something as close as possible to it. My problem is I seem to still have too much fat on me despite the fact I'm 139lbs? so I've just defaulted to "keep losing weight" and keep at a -500 deficit, but I also lack muscle definition so I'm at a complete loss what road I need to take to make progress towards this pic. Fat loss is great and I can do it, but do I just keep doing it? or should I swap to a surplus now? I don't know.
When I have no idea what to do I just default to losing more weight via deficit diet
Hey op, congrats on the weight loss. I'm also an exfat struggling with lots of loose skin hiding my new muscle. I think you should not cut or bulk but focus on maintaining your current weight while working out and getting plenty of protien so you are focusing on recomposition. I would say you have similar mass to but are far less muscular. Honestly, I agree with the person who said that it probably won't be possibly for you to have extremely visible abs at that size even if you get fairly lean. I think if you would be OK with being slightly more muscular than your goal body pic, you would look more "filled out" and achieve something closer to your goal pic to the eye.
>I think you should not cut or bulk but focus on maintaining your current weight while working out and getting plenty of protien so you are focusing on recomposition.
Do you feel recomp works better than the cut/bulk cycle approach? both ultimately head towards the same goal but recomp just handles both fat loss and muscle gain at once, but slower. the cycles are, well, cycles. fat goes down during cut, and then muscle goes up during bulks and repeat. It's hard to decide
I think a bulking and cutting cycle is better for when you are already fairly fit and need the extra edge for building more. OP is basically still untrained and wants to be both less fat and more muscular so achieving both at the same time while you can, and being able to see results (which it sounds like is a big motivating factor to OP) even if it's a little slower would be the healthiest thing.
I also struggled a lot with seeing the scale go back up after losing so much weight. It's hard but once you feel you're at a good weight, stop weighing yourself entirely and just go by mirror/clothes. Muscle is much heavier than fat and just the number on the scale can give you an imperfect mental picture imo
>Muscle is much heavier than fat and just the number on the scale can give you an imperfect mental picture imo
Yeah I fully agree with that. I think this is probably the biggest mental hurdle I need to overcome to try a recomp phase out. The fact I WILL see those numbers start to reverse. I mean I started this whole shit at 256lbs and saw those numbers fall and fall and fall and fall. Never once did they go up, ever. I was in it to lose fat. So I'm used to gauging progress based on a number on a scale going down, and indeed, progress has been excellent...but now watching that REVERSE and seeing the number climb up.
I guess to most people they don't really see it that way (especially if they were just skinny and WANTED to see the number climb) but after dropping so much weight, the thought of seeing the number climb, shit man it's a mental fear after so much weight loss.
I think I need to research some ways to confirm that as the number is going up..it is not my bf% that is going up, but my muscle mass. The mirror itself obviously SHOULD be the big factor, but at the same time it takes a long time to notice changes, for me especially because I can never fucking tell changes on myself for some bizarre reason. Just as an example it took me 40 (FORTY) lbs lost before I finally turned at the mirror and said "woah, something looks different holy shit) back when I was super huge.
Bioimpedence scales are honestly not good at this. They seem to link your body fat% to your actual weight just based on a formula, meaning they won't be able to show your bf% staying the same as you gain more muscle mass, it will simply just show "hey bro you're getting fatter". To be fair it's a 30$ amazon scale.
I need ways to CONFIRM that my weight going up is indeed not my FAT going up, but my muscle mass primarily going up.
Unironically do a test cycle. Stop wasting your time
What do you mean by do a "test cycle" exactly? you mean go ahead and try and bulk for a month then go and cut for a month and observe results?
He means get on the gear mate
Good job at losing the weight, you gotta start lifting now though.
You're not "skinny fat" Don't listen to these fucks, you're just "thin" with no muscle now, not skinny fat.
Eat at maintenance, while maintaining 1gram of protein per lb of weight. So eat 130grams of protein daily. Eat at maintenance or 200-300 calories over to build muscle, don't fall for the "bulk" meme of eating 3.5k a day or 500, it just gets people fat. Make sure its mostly animal protein like dairy or meat, plant protein has shit bioavailability so you have to eat more of it and bread has so little of the chemical that stimulates muscle growth that the protein in bread doesn't even count.
Do a full body lifting routine 2-3x a week, takes 45 minutes 3x a week, so like 1.5 hours weekly. You won't get abs with all that loose skin, building up muscle should help though.
You won't have abs with all that loose skin.
It's not guaranteed that you'll have abs after surgically removing all that loose skin.
This is why being a skelly is always better.
Then you're saying to not go into a surplus. To stay at a -500 Deficit as is and keep losing weight?
You look like you've lost enough weight, you should go to maintenance calories and start working out. You have to escape skinnyfat mode. I know you don't want to be Arnie, but you should put on a bit of strength for tone and beware of what you're eating. Cut out seed oils, sòy, corn syrup, and any ingredients you have to read more than once to pronounce.
>You have to escape skinnyfat mode
I read in another thread that "just keep losing weight" is the answer to this, not to eat at a surplus or at maintenance though? this is what makes this process so complicated. I have two routes to take that are completely opposite in the way I handle my diet and I have no idea which one is going to lead me towards my goal
Look think of it this way
Skinnyfat means too much fat + too little muscle. Those are two different problems to solve
Your bf% is a measure of how much of your weight is body fat right
So far you've been improving your bf% by cutting fat, and that's great
But losing weight is not the only way to improve your bf% because adding muscle also means less % of your bodyweight is fat
I think if you go through periods of eating at maintenance and lifting hard, then eating at deficit and lifting lightly, you might be pleased with the results, and they might bring you closer to your goal. It's time to shift away from the mentality of "I have to lose more weight" and start thinking about "I'm at a good weight, I need to make less of it fat and more of it muscle"
>"I have to lose more weight" and start thinking about "I'm at a good weight, I need to make less of it fat and more of it muscle"
Yeah. Like you said, this is the mental block that I am going to overcome. Just talking about this really helps seals the deal that I need to start this process and avoid the fear of "seeing the number go up" when the number is not "you getting fatter" it's "you getting stronger".
>I think if you go through periods of eating at maintenance and lifting hard,
I think this is also a slight fear I have. The "lifting hard" part. I mean I have read a lot of plans, starting plans based on compound lifts (overheads, pull ups, squats, deadlifts, etc etc) but I guess one fear is that I will eat at maintenance, not be lifting "hard enough" and ultimately my muscles are not growing and I'm only putting on fat. Though I assume because of how scrawny I am muscle-wise it would be hard to "not lift hard enough" since I'm weak as shit and even lower weights will cause me to struggle AKA: my muscles are being put to work.
Of course that's just what I tell myself. It's still a slight fear I have
Bumping for posting something fitness related instead of [instawhore picture, relationship thread]
what is that physique? why do baseball players look so weird?
i think you have too much lose skin.
i know a guy at work who's 5'6 136lbs and shredded; he doesn't even workout.
How are you taller than him, weight the same as him, yet look fatter?
GG i guess. Better luck next life.
See, this is poor advice, I've never read up on a single situation where "loose skin" just instantly means "sorry you can never look fit, just give up and go eat whatever you want".
This is a poor attempt to dissuade your fellow IST bro from progress. Loose skin is not an excuse to give up all your efforts and it never will be (for me)
Hmm, so you advise to stop the -500 deficit cut, and instead to just lift while eating at TDEE maintenance? not continue to focus on more weight loss?
never implied any of that
being a healthy is better than being a fat fuck but OP is chasing this
He wants to lose more weight; at his height being less than 135lbs is unhealthy. Op needs to understand he won't attain his ideal body naturally.
>He wants to lose more weight; at his height being less than 135lbs is unhealthy
at my height going below 18.5 BMI puts me into "underweight", which is now unhealthy. I'm currently 20.7 BMI @ 139. If I got to 135lbs I will still not be in any danger of being in an unhealthy weight range? similarly my bf% (going off a scale) is above 12% (but below 13%) so my weight dropping further would still result in net positives (less fat on my body concealing muscle)
Yes the loose skin is there and yes it does also conceal muscle, I'm aware of that. I just don't find loose skin to be a "deal breaker" in all this.
If it requires extra work be put in to see results, that's fine. I am 100% okay with putting in more time because of the skin, my whole thing revolves around what methodology and path to take to reach the goal (OR AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE) to the goal picture.
"Just keep losing weight" has literally been my only road and it still is to this day. I figured if I keep shedding off fat, the muscles will show easier, but I also know I have low muscles to begin with so I'm aware I can't reach the goal by just ignoring bulking and continue to cut. I have always lifted, I always maintain high protein, but I'm also cutting. Meaning all the lifting and protein cannot stop my muscles from being low due to my cutting, but on the flipside, I am dropping body fat% via the cutting. That's what the thread is for, acquiring advice from other anons on what path to consider taking that will lead me towards the goal physique.
Good work on the weight loss fella.
Basic bodybuilding programs will get you the physique you want. If you go for maintenance calories there's no risk of becoming "huge", this is very hard to achieve without overeating so try not to let it worry you. Just train for hypertrophy in the 12+ rep range and you'll find you've developed some decent definition in 6 months.
You've basically made it OP, well done. The trick here is getting comfortable with oscillating between eating caloric surpluses and deficits, during periods of bulking and cutting. This can be tricky because it means you'll need to drop the hard-and-fast deficit mentality and allow yourself to periodically bulk up. In your specific case I would recommend continuing the cut to around 10% bf or thereabouts, then switching to bulk mode. You can start now if you want but losing a tiny bit more fat will let you bulk a bit longer.
From there you'll wanna bulk to about 15% bf, then cut back to 10%, then bulk to 15% and so on until you look like you wanna look.
There is unfortunately no way to know what you'll look like all said and done so the only way to find out is to give it a go, but I think you'll be happier with your body after a few bulk/cut cycles than you are now. Keep in mind while bulking you generally put on a 1:1 ratio of fat to muscle, and while cutting you generally lose 0.9lbs fat for every 0.1lbs muscle if you follow a high protein diet, so cutting periods will always be shorter than bulking periods.
Bottom line: cut a bit more to 10% if you want to, then bulk to 15%, then cut to 10%, over and over until you look the way you want. The difference between being toned and being the hulk is in how long you lift so just lift like you normally would and cut it when you're happy. Getting from skinny bitch > toned is the same process as getting from toned > huge, it just takes more time. Don't overthink it, just lift!
p.s. don't listen to gays who obsess over diet, avoiding specific things for pseudo-scientific reasons. that's some shit women do and women fucking suck so don't do that. just get enough protein and u good.
>mandatory kys section
Hey thanks for all that. I've actually read before on the cycling of cut and bulk cycles. I've only ever known the cut "cycle" as all I've done is sit at this deficit and watch bodyfat% drop.
your idea of dropping to 10% (which isn't huglely far off) and then going to 15% and back and forth may be a path to try. I think my biggest fear in "bulking" is the obvious one. I spent a year working to drop fat, and watching a scale drop numbers. In fact when I was 15% BF I weighed 157lbs. I know this because I have catalogued all this down over the year.
I guess the thought of jumping from, say I weigh 128 at 10% bf to 157 to get back to 15% it scares me shitless to think I'm "just getting fat again". A fucking huge fear after the effort it took to go down this much you know?
Is there a for sure way to know that as I get bigger again I am not putting on fat but primarily putting on muscle? like do i just measure the circumference of my stomach every month?
Yup know exactly what you're talking about, did something similar-ish a couple years back. What gave me peace of mind was purchasing fat calipers and doing the caliper test every week or so. Ultimately it wasn't really necessary but it was nice to have. Alternatively you could do the navy's body fat composition test where you use a tape measure to measure your waist and your neck to get a pretty accurate idea on bf%.
really though you just need to chill and recognize that so long as you are 1) lifting and 2) eating enough protein you will *guaranteed* build muscle. You are not a genetic anomaly, you will build muscle if you do the work and give yourself the right macro nutrients. There is no possible way you gain all fat and no muscle unless you literally don't lift and just stuff your face with food all day. Losing fat is so much harder than gaining muscle brother. You done the hard work already, from here it's just getting your mind around the concept that eating food no longer equals messing up.
Hah! you posted this as I typed all this out
(nice trips btw, mr. satan) But honestly you're right, this is just all in my head. Hell I already do good with protein, just being able to eat a bit above TDEE would let me boost my protein to literally 170g of protein a day or so, which is honestly overkill for my pathetic weight, but if I need to add more food to my day, may as well be protein based food.
Do you feel I should do the bulk/cut cycle? or a recomp like the other anon suggested? Only reason I'm leaning to your cycles is because I'm at 12.3bf% now. I was thinking maybe the moment I reach 12% bf flat go ahead and bulk to 15% then back to 12% and such, rather than waiting ill 10%.
Thanks bud. I started at 256lbs. At 139lbs today.
What I did when I was in your shoes was stop cutting and cruise at maintenance for about 6 weeks, just to get used to not being on a 500 cal deficit for a minute and because it happened to fall around the holidays when I wasn't too crazy on lifting. And like you're suggesting I didn't wait for 10% either lol, I got to 11-12% and thought fuck it let's just go, so I went.
Been a couple years since then but I went a couple rounds bulking/cutting, then maintaining for a bit while I focused on other parts of my life, then bulking/cutting, and on and on. Still following the same mantra today but now I'm significantly more beefy.
So to answer your question you can do whatever you want, no wrong answers really. If I was you'd I'd take a month breather just to figure out how to eat a non-deficit amount of food again, then jump into bulking/cutting. Additional advice would be to ignore everything your brain is telling you and simply stick to the plan until you have done at least one bulking and cutting round, because your brain will try very hard to convince you that it isn't working. Ignore the brain. The numbers don't lie, your body isn't unique, do the work and eat the protein and the results will follow. It's stupid how simple it is once you take all the second-guessing out of the equation, it's just wasted emotional effort that would be better spent on anything else. You probably won't feel like you're on the right track so just ignore your feelings until the results are obvious.
p.s. other anon was suggesting you hop on testosterone, which depending on your age might not be a bad idea. Consult a doc if interested but it's absolutely not necessary and at this stage would only add unnecessary complications to the mix.
>but I went a couple rounds bulking/cutting, then maintaining for a bit while I focused on other parts of my life, then bulking/cutting, and on and on.
And your method (which I assume you used navy test, or a bio scale) was to go from 12% to 15% then back and forth right? meaning you knew WHEN to switch from cut to bulk and bulk to cut depending on when your bf% hit 12 or 15, making those your "magical numbers" for the process?
also you mentioned that you're more beefy these days, do you STILL follow this exact same pattern (12% to 15% and back and forth) cutting and bulking? I assume this is what you meant by "same mantra" today.
>The numbers don't lie, your body isn't unique, do the work and eat the protein and the results will follow
I think this is what I'm going to drill into my head, my fears of getting fat are all in my head. A slight surplus is fully managable, will bring more protein to the table, and allow muscle growth. I won't even shoot for anything higher than +200. So I eat at 1500 as my TDEE is 2000 (roughly) so I'll eat at 2,200. Though I will start by just eating at maintenance like you suggested.
Yeah definitely don't want to complicate matters, likely not worth trying this at least not yet for sure.
Yup you got it. I still use a combination of the skin calipers and the navy tape test to get a bf % estimate, and once I'm within a percentage or so (because these things are imperfect) I switch modes. 15%-ish I start cutting, 12%-ish I start bulking, super simple. But if I'm off by a percent here or there it honestly doesn't matter because a percent here or there won't make much of a visual difference at these levels. Doing this for years now and it's working great.
>I think this is what I'm going to drill into my head, my fears of getting fat are all in my head.
This mind is the hardest thing to master in all of this, because you need to re-train your relationship with food and body fat. It isn't easy but it's doable and from what you've said so far it seems to me like you're going in with the right mindset.
Fully agreed on the test bit. Imo keep it simple and get into your routine for a while. Go through a couple bulking/cutting cycles and a couple periods of just general maintenance to get used to everything. Shit after a couple of those you may very well be at your goal body and not have to worry about this again. Cannot stress enough that you've already done the hard bit by digging yourself out of the 100lb hole, everything from here on is ez street so long as you stick to the plan. We all gonna make it bro <3
Thanks, king. I really do appreciate all this advice. Talking to someone that's been there is miles apart from reading generic shitty blog posts off google or reddit jank. I know this is kind of an odd question to ask since this will vary A LOT from person to person, the way they eat, genetics, metabolism, etc etc. but on average for YOU how long does it take for you to go from your 12% to 15% bulk cycle, and then same question for your 15% to 12% cut cycle? just kinda curious how many months it takes you both ways usually?
Like for me right now I drop around 5lbs monthly on my cut, which equates to about 3 or so months to go from a 15% to a 12%. On average at my weight range, some months I lose more weight or less than others. I can't give numbers for the opposite because, well, I've never done a bulk yet. But you said bulking back up to 15% is apparently going to take less time than the drop from 15% to 12%? of course that'd make sense, weight loss is slow and steady as fuck, I have no idea how "fast" 12% to 15% can happen since I have never tried to go that route.
thinking about things in terms of all these percentages and numbers is meaningless, especially when comparing two people
I know, it's just more for my own curiosity. I am fully aware of this. I still like to know though. Hell I even pointed out first in that post that I am aware it will never be the same between two people.
Still curious to know
Did you do cardio during your bulk cycles (and cut cycles?) or only lifting
what was your starting weight?
what's your weight now?
Impressive stuff, I'd never say you were once fat.
Great job man and the weightloss. Im currently halfway through my 100lb weightloss. Been doing alternating gym/cardio days with a 500cal deficit the same as you so your pics are inspiring to see where I could end up. Sorry theres nothing I can add as far as advice goes.
>Been doing alternating gym/cardio days with a 500cal deficit the same as you
Fuck yeah. Just keep at it anon, it 100% works and you get to a point that you are SO used to doing it it's just second nature to you. I did that exact thing, alternating lifting/cardio days. 500 deficit (hell I still do this, and am just now trying to break away from it). Keep at it and you'll get it done
>all this talk of cycles.
So this really works, then? I was told it takes ages to see results if you keep shuffling your muscles between growth and then fucking them up when cutting and it's highly inefficient. Or does this only work if you're a scrawny shit?
Usually people who roid cycle between harsh cuts/bulks more commonly it seems.
In all honest bulking/cutting for natties is usually 200-300 above or below maintenance, not this 500+ calorie shit people seem to try. This seems pretty efficient for escaping skinny fat mode, not if you're skelly or fat.
If you see someone "bulking" and they're eating 3k+ daily its a meme, you only need 200-300 excess calories to "bulk". Just eat at maintenance and lift weights.
Lift and bulk to 170~180 then cut to 150~160. From there it's up to you.