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  1. #1
    Registered User aewok's Avatar
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    Question 21.2% Body Fat But I can See My Ribs Like Malnutrition

    --- ABOUT ---

    I have been working out 2-4 times a week for about 2~ years now.

    MWF: Weight Training
    Sat/Sun: Cardio <- a lot of misses though

    After 1-2 years I believe I had a ok body. And I didn't do macros back then, just ate clean food and listened to my hunger. I am ovo-vegetarian.

    But I had a problem, how to show abs. I believe I had a strong 1 pac in there, it's very firm. The second half of my routine was all about ab workout. So I decided to cut and use macros.



    --- EVENT ---

    Now here's what happened, I believe I overdid cutting last year. according to my spreadsheet log, these were my numbers:

    Weight Neck Waist Body Fat
    134 36 79 15.7

    And I still had belly fat, maybe it was because I missed a lot of cardios?


    And I didn't know that you should only cut for about 2 months max or you'll loose energy, mass, mood, testosterone, etc. and by cutting for 8 months I think that's what happened. I believe I lost muscle mass, and my parents commented that I looked malnourished.


    I started bulking again last July, I am back to 21% body fat now (starting September), all I want is to get all my muscles back as well as getting abs in the near future.



    --- FORMULAS ---

    Height: 163.5 cm
    Neck: 37 cm
    Waist 87 cm
    Weight: 150 lbs
    Body Fat Percentage: 21.24510144

    Lean Body Mass (LBM): 118.13
    Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): 1527
    Total Calorie Requirement (Maintenance): 2138
    Protein Intake 129.943

    Bulking: 2138 * 1.2 = 2565.6
    Cutting: 2138 * 0.8 = 1710.4


    I hope these formulas are correct.
    Because I found out that the numbers aren't though. I studied my logs and apparently my bulking numbers is my maintenance and I think my maintenance numbers might be for cutting.



    --- FOOD ---

    Or is my problem about too few food lineup?

    I eat (more to the left):
    nuts = almonds and peanut butter
    legumes = white beans, chickpeas
    grains = oat meal, wheat bread
    fruits = banana
    misc = eggs, olive oil

    I once added celery, muesli, brown rice and oysters.



    --- WHAT DO I DO? ---

    Please help, I can't decide whether I should:
    1) go back cutting
    2) maintenance and increase barbell/dumbell weights by feel
    3) bulking


    I am hesitant to go back cutting now, I just want to see muscles again.
    But then my body fat might increase out of control, and make abs harder to show.

    Can I just prioritize on the rest of the build and forget about my stomach?
    When do I stop bulking? At 25% body fat?


    I thank you all in advanced.



    --- ATTACHMENTS ---

    Taken April 27, 2011

    Correct me if I'm wrong but in pic 1 (back view) I believe it's normal but when looking at pic 2 (side view) you can see the rib lines.

    Did my rib cage enlarge or something?
    Attached Images
    Last edited by aewok; 10-04-2012 at 05:37 PM.
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  2. #2
    Registered User danhaney's Avatar
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    You wont be seeing abs at 21%. You'll see the top few around 15 and the lower around 10
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  3. #3
    Registered User aewok's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by danhaney View Post
    You wont be seeing abs at 21%. You'll see the top few around 15 and the lower around 10
    Thanks for the numbers.

    Thought 10% BF might make my rib lines dilemma worse.

    How do I shape all this mess...
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  4. #4
    Supp: Super Bro 69000 lawlShep's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by aewok View Post
    Thanks for the numbers.

    Thought 10% BF might make my rib lines dilemma worse.

    How do I shape all this mess...
    Keep calm and cut on, friend. In due time you will have abs. I was similar to you in that I could have a rather large gut but still see my ribs sometimes, moreso around ~18 for me. But now I'm a little lower and they don't seem "more" apparent. So I would think you should be fine
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  5. #5
    Registered User SteveFromNY's Avatar
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    if I stretched like that my ribs would show too. it's normal, and you have more fat to lose.

    Originally Posted by aewok View Post
    --- ABOUT ---


    When do I stop bulking? At 25% body fat?
    And if you are bulking, please don't let yourself get up to 25%. A lot of us here agree to cut to 10%, bulk to 15%, and repeat. I'm currently cutting to about 12% and will bulk hard.
    2011:
    LBS: 210+ to 148
    BF%: 28+ to 11%

    2014: 3/1-4/30
    LBS: 170
    BF%: 20

    Goal: 10%BF
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  6. #6
    Registered User dmacdonal9's Avatar
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    Cut, and lift while you do it, on a solid program (strength training, full body, no bro routines) with good macros. Or eat at maintenance until muscle gains slow/stall, then cut. You can make gains without eating at a surplus.

    120g protein is too low for cutting, barely adequate for maintenance. You don't mention fat, but make sure you're getting about 60-70g.

    Ribs are irrelevant, I could easily see mine at 20%, who cares.
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  7. #7
    Registered User Nejae's Avatar
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    The world of bodybuilding is not a world of formulas my friend, although they may push you in the right direction. Diet is all about trial and error; you have to find what works for you. First and foremost you have to choose whether to bulk or cut. Your muscles aren't very large so I would advise bulking. Like you said, calorie restriction can affect hormone balance if the proper macros are not met. Establish a rate at which you want to gain weight and weigh out once a month. If your gains are above or below your projected rate of gain (or loss) then adjust your calorie intake accordingly. I saw 120g of protein mentioned as your intake by another post. This is far too low. Increase your protein intake. And above all keep persevering. Keep repeating the trial and error process and I promise you'll get where you want to be. I have faith in you.
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  8. #8
    Registered User dmacdonal9's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Nejae View Post
    First and foremost you have to choose whether to bulk or cut. Your muscles aren't very large so I would advise bulking.
    No, he doesn't. Bulking vs cutting are extremes that are necessary and logical for intermediate to advanced bodybuilders and athletes. Most beginners with excess fat and no muscle mass are at a disadvantage if they do either. Bulking at 21% BF with a calorie surplus is not going to lead to an improved body composition.

    A beginner is far better off taking advantage of his ability to make significant muscle gains even without a calorie surplus.
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  9. #9
    Registered User outofshape111's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dmacdonal9 View Post
    No, he doesn't. Bulking vs cutting are extremes that are necessary and logical for intermediate to advanced bodybuilders and athletes. Most beginners with excess fat and no muscle mass are at a disadvantage if they do either. Bulking at 21% BF with a calorie surplus is not going to lead to an improved body composition.

    A beginner is far better off taking advantage of his ability to make significant muscle gains even without a calorie surplus.

    But what if I'm overweight (my case in 5'6.5 and 180 lbs)? Don't I want to cut and hit the weights hard, so I'm not fat anymore? Are you saying that noob gains can actually be 'wasted'? I always just assumed under development was under development and so I should cut, but the weights hard, and when I finally start bulking If I'm still under developed I will benefit from 'noob gains'..

    Thanks for any help
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  10. #10
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    Originally Posted by outofshape111 View Post
    But what if I'm overweight (my case in 5'6.5 and 180 lbs)? Don't I want to cut and hit the weights hard, so I'm not fat anymore? Are you saying that noob gains can actually be 'wasted'? I always just assumed under development was under development and so I should cut, but the weights hard, and when I finally start bulking If I'm still under developed I will benefit from 'noob gains'..

    Thanks for any help
    Cut and lift. Cardio if you like. Rinse repeat. Forget the idea of bulking at this point.
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  11. #11
    Registered User aewok's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lawlShep View Post
    Keep calm and cut on, friend. In due time you will have abs. I was similar to you in that I could have a rather large gut but still see my ribs sometimes, moreso around ~18 for me. But now I'm a little lower and they don't seem "more" apparent. So I would think you should be fine

    Thank you for giving me hope


    Originally Posted by SteveFromNY View Post
    if I stretched like that my ribs would show too. it's normal, and you have more fat to lose.

    And if you are bulking, please don't let yourself get up to 25%. A lot of us here agree to cut to 10%, bulk to 15%, and repeat. I'm currently cutting to about 12% and will bulk hard.
    Yes thanks for the warning, I too realized that 25% fat should be a bitch to fix.

    Originally Posted by dmacdonal9 View Post
    Cut, and lift while you do it, on a solid program (strength training, full body, no bro routines) with good macros. Or eat at maintenance until muscle gains slow/stall, then cut. You can make gains without eating at a surplus.

    120g protein is too low for cutting, barely adequate for maintenance. You don't mention fat, but make sure you're getting about 60-70g.

    Ribs are irrelevant, I could easily see mine at 20%, who cares.

    I have decided to do a full-on hardcore clean maintenance for 2 weeks and adjust from there.


    My previous macros was:

    129g protein, 86g fat, 244g true carbs (carbs less fiber)

    * which consists of:
    46 pieces almonds
    4 cups white beans (measured in cooked form)
    2 cups oatmeal (" " uncooked form)
    2 large slices of wheat bread
    4 eggs
    1 tbsp olive oil
    some spaghetti or tomato sauce for the beans


    My new macros (starting today) is now:

    148g protein, 77g fat, 195g true carbs

    * which consists of the same food lineup above but without the grains; wheat bread and oatmeal.


    I had an internal debate with myself whether it's a good idea to cut all the grains since legumes (e.g. beans) needs nuts and grains to complete the amino acids. I'm gonna assume 46 pieces of almonds P:23g;f:28g;c:6g is enough to cover the elements that were deficient in beans.


    I could up my protein to 165g and carbs to 222g by having one more cup of beans. But to begin cutting, the carbs should be less than 210g, but then again my spreadsheet logs said I didn't gain pounds when I was at 250g carbs/day, so less than 250g might be for cutting.


    The common method I heard is 1g protein per pound of body weight, my weight is around 150 lbs. But I also heard multipliers of 1.1 to 1.5 protein per weight is also good.


    So should I add more protein or stay at 1g per weight? Yes I know I have to test, monitor and adjust. But if 120g protein is "too low" then I started to think that 150g is good, 165g is better and 180g+ is too high. And I can start with 165g right now.


    Originally Posted by Nejae View Post
    The world of bodybuilding is not a world of formulas my friend, although they may push you in the right direction. Diet is all about trial and error; you have to find what works for you. First and foremost you have to choose whether to bulk or cut. Your muscles aren't very large so I would advise bulking. Like you said, calorie restriction can affect hormone balance if the proper macros are not met. Establish a rate at which you want to gain weight and weigh out once a month. If your gains are above or below your projected rate of gain (or loss) then adjust your calorie intake accordingly. I saw 120g of protein mentioned as your intake by another post. This is far too low. Increase your protein intake. And above all keep persevering. Keep repeating the trial and error process and I promise you'll get where you want to be. I have faith in you.

    Thank you, I agree with everything you said, just except the bulking part. I will be dancing around the maintenance numbers with a stricter food lineup like I wrote above. If I can't gain muscles and/or fix my ribs I'd reconsider slight bulking around 20% body fat. Then perhaps yoyo back to 15%.


    Yeah I love formulas, they give me some success in the first place. The only problem was I treated it as a one-time solution and I rarely adjusted. I was too busy to adjust, and busy enough to the point where I stopped looking at food for pleasure but for numbers.


    Originally Posted by dmacdonal9 View Post
    No, he doesn't. Bulking vs cutting are extremes that are necessary and logical for intermediate to advanced bodybuilders and athletes. Most beginners with excess fat and no muscle mass are at a disadvantage if they do either. Bulking at 21% BF with a calorie surplus is not going to lead to an improved body composition.

    A beginner is far better off taking advantage of his ability to make significant muscle gains even without a calorie surplus.

    I'm not sure if this applies to me since I don't think I'm a beginner ;p
    But perhaps I just sucked.

    I did mention "2~ years" in my first post. Notice the "~"? You see I'm not sure if it has been 3-4 years now. I was waaaaay fatter before, prolly borderline obese. I followed a beginner routine for a long time, no macros, no adjustments, few clean food... ignored everything, mindset: just do it.

    I did lost a lot of weight, but I now know it was a mistake. I didn't evolve, not until I began asking too many questions


    Thank you all so much!
    Last edited by aewok; 10-07-2012 at 04:46 PM.
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