I am not sure whether I should continue to eat to lose fat or change up my diet to gain muscle.
For about a year now I have been dieting and exercising to lose fat. When I started I weighed 98kg/216lb. I am proud to say I lost 13kg/29lbs. For the past few months things have been slowing down. I am now at the 84.6kkg/186lb at 6'2" mark and I want to lose more fat because I still carry a considerable amount around my waist, chest and face. I will share some pictures of how I look today. (I'm not sure if you can post pics in the middle of your post so they may appear at the bottom of the post)
After looking at my photos below you may notice even after my fat loss I still am a bit flabby, and not at very toned. For the past few months I have been doing weight lifting at home and today I started the Stronglifts 5x5 program today and exceeded my expectations with how much I could lift.
Now I am at a crossroads.
Because my fat loss has slowed down I have realised I may have damaged my metabolism a bit, seeing as I was eating below my BMR most days for almost a year. I am still losing, but at max maybe 1lb a month. I didn't know whether I was still losing fat and gained some noob gains seeing as I started weight training, but the weights weren't very heavy; 2 10kg dumbbells. So i decided to do what I should have done when I started, buy a fat caliper and a measuring tape. In the photos below you can see that my waist line is 98cm and my fat caliper measurement was 20mm which translated to 19% bodyfat (according to the chart that came with it)
*NOTE if you see that I am measuring incorrectly from the images below then can you please tell me? Thanks
From these measurements it confirmed that I still have a bit of a way to go to lose my fat. But now I see people saying that the best way to lose fat is to build muscle.
I am not sure how much muscle I have. I know I'm not a weak guy who faints after doing 10 push-ups, my estimation is that I may have gained around 2lb of noob gains and stopped because I was eating at around a 1000 calorie deficit from my TDEE (which according to MFP was 2800). My Bmr is averaged at around 2030 calories from all the calculators.
What do you reccomend I do to shed off these last few pounds? When I have completed my transformation I would like to have a lean body; thin with a some lean muscle on top, not heaps, but enough that you can visibly see my shoulders, abs, traps, etc. Even now I have noticed my triceps and shoulders are becoming more visible.
Should I stick with my fat loss diet eating at a caloric deficit? If so, how much do you reccomend I eat.
*I attend uni 4 days a week but I walk to uni 4 times a week which is around a 45 minute walk at around 4mph. I count this as exercise in my calorie log. On top of this I also lift weights 3-4 times a week. Other than that I spend most of my day stationary doing work. Does this mean i live a sedentary lifestyle? Or a active/lightly active lifestyle?
Anyway my TDEE at Light Activity level is 2600 calories and my BMR is 2030 Calories. To lose fat how much of a deficit do you recommend I make?
OR should I change my diet to gain muscle?? As I understand you must eat a calorie surplus to be able to gain muscle, but this also means you will gain fat. Seeing as I am not at a particularly healthy body fat % I am worried that if I do this I will increase my fat even more, especially seeing as fat is easier to put on than muscle. Am I wrong to be worried about this? Again my TDEE is 2600 and my BMR is 2030, if I should eat to gain muscle how much do you recommend I eat? Also if you recommend I eat like 3000 calories, then I might have trouble with that at the start because I know I used to love eating heaps of fodd (how I became overweight) but now because I've adjusted my diet I am eating lots of protein (1g/lb of bodyweight) and fiber and I must say, I get full after eating a meal that has 500 calories in it. I guess i've gotten used to eating less to satiate my hunger, and I am worried that I will have to force myself to eat most of these calories. For example: today i had a total net calorie intake of 2084 calories. I woke up and had a whole grain cereal with light milk which all up was 276 calories. I then went to the gym where I burnt around 130 calories doing the Stronglifts 5x5 workout for like 32 mins and then another 233 calories doing a brisk walk on an incline on the treadmill for 20 mins (I measured my heart rate and weight for accurate calorie burn) I then had a portein shake which consisted of 400ml of light milk and 2 scoops of whey powder. Added up to 450 calories. By now I am stuffed again. I then have lunch an hour later which is 2 multigrain sandwiches with cheese and lean ham. Totaled up to 737 calories. I was VERY full now. About 3 hours later I munched on some celery which was alright, didnt really change my hunger. And then I went to my grandmas for dinner (shes Italian so I ate a **** load or else I would have been beaten) It totalled to around 1000 calories. I also drank around 12 glasses of water. I netted a total of 2084 calories and I feel as if I'm gonna burst. HOW DO YOU EAT SO MUCH WHEN THERE ARE SO FEW HOURS IN THE DAY?! Is there some secret small food that isnt really filling but has heaps of calories in it?! TO think I would have to eat another 1000 calories on top of that, I don't know how I was able to stand eating that much my whole life. So how many calories should I NET to gain muscle?
If you recommend that I eat to lose fat, how much do you think is a healthy enough % to reach and then gradually change my diet into a muscle building diet?
Also what is with all this 'cutting' and 'bulking' I hear so much about? I get the general idea...I think. You eat to gain muscle and then you cut down calories to lose...fat? Can someone please explain this in more depth and exactly how long and when you should do each phase?
I am really sorry about the length of this post but there's just so many things I need to know about!
THANK YOU TO ANYONE WHO HELPS ME IN ANY WAY!!! Greatly appreciated!