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  1. #1
    Registered User ArkI5's Avatar
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    Need help getting to 10% body fat.

    Hey there I'm around 13%-15% body fat and I haven't got a whole lot of muscle as can be seen in the attached pictures. I already posted a thread on here in which people told me I had the skinny fat look and that I needed to put on more muscle - this post isn't me attempting to disregard their advice, I just have different goals to what they were trying to help me with. However, to be honest I've got a much larger desire to lose fat than put on more muscle (at the moment) even if that means I look kind of anorexic for a bit, I just feel super uncomfortable having as much fat as I do even if to an outsider I look fine. I want to get to 10%-12% body fat first so I can look toned and lean all the while I'm bulking (once I properly start).

    I'm about 64kg/141lbs, 5ft6, my BMR is apparently 1600 calories whilst my TDEE is at least 1800, I'm 19 and I try to eat around 1600-1800 calories a day (around 120g of protein in that) in order to be in a deficit but not so much so that I lose any of the gains I've made over the last four months, if any (I've at least got some muscle on me, particularly in my shoulders). I've done my research but I can't seem to find anything concrete that explains what I should do as all that's said is "you're skinny fat and you need to put on muscle".

    I just want to know how many calories I should be eating daily as to not put myself into starvation mode and to still try and retain the small amount of muscle that I do have. Also if I should be doing cardio? Should I still be lifting weights? If so how much? I've got about 12 weeks to do it so as much help as possible would be great, thank you.
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  2. #2
    Harsh Truth Distributor xsquid99's Avatar
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    Starvation mode for the purposes of fat loss is a myth. Your body will not hold onto fat in a calorie deficit. Yes you need to be lifting weights, cardio is up to you.

    READ: https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...hp?t=165843261

    All that being said, you don't have the muscle mass to support a cut to such a low BF percentage.
    The best weight loss and muscle building advice you will ever get:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0eWbk-0qdg

    The truth about "Recomping"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aErqkCgDuE
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  3. #3
    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    You have no business with trying to get to 10%, You should be working on adding muscle.
    If you don't get what you want you didn't want it bad enough
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    Registered User ArkI5's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by xsquid99 View Post
    Starvation mode for the purposes of fat loss is a myth. Your body will not hold onto fat in a calorie deficit. Yes you need to be lifting weights, cardio is up to you.

    All that being said, you don't have the muscle mass to support a cut to such a low BF percentage.
    So are you telling me it's not possible to get to 10% with the muscle mass I have or that it just wouldn't look good?
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    Registered User ArkI5's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Tommy W. View Post
    You have no business with trying to get to 10%, You should be working on adding muscle.
    I don't understand what the problem is. Some people say I should put on muscle, some people say I should cut to 10% before trying to put on muscle. What's wrong with choosing the latter?
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    Originally Posted by ArkI5 View Post
    What's wrong with choosing the latter?
    Well, you say you don't mind looking anorexic. Most people would tell you that for a grown man to be ok with that look is "wrong". ;-)

    If you proceed with your plans, DON'T shave all that body hair. Maybe it'll help disguise how sickly you look to anyone who sees you shirtless.
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    Registered User hardyboysare's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ArkI5 View Post
    So are you telling me it's not possible to get to 10% with the muscle mass I have or that it just wouldn't look good?
    Anyone can get to 10% bf (not that we can really 100% tell when you hit this point but forget that), however most people wish to get to this range for the lean look generally for abs. Problem is if you don't have the muscle to support the look you will just like skinny not ripped.

    Originally Posted by ArkI5 View Post
    I don't understand what the problem is. Some people say I should put on muscle, some people say I should cut to 10% before trying to put on muscle. What's wrong with choosing the latter?
    The 10% mark is not a set rule and is generally only applicable for trained individuals with years of build muscle experience. I think people forget how low 10% is seeing as essential fats are around 2-5% according to the American Council of Exercise, so you are aiming for 5% more then essential fats to live so it is low.

    The reason you will get most people saying don't cut build muscle (me included) as this a bodybuilding website, the main part being building not constantly cutting. Not to mention you are 19 and do lack muscle (as you stated) so cutting to nothing wont do anything but make you small and skinny. Why not build muscle its more enjoyable and will make much more visual differences in the long run.

    That said its your choice at the end of the day so to answer your question how to get to 10%.

    Eat less calories or move more. It really is that simple the only problem you will have the lower you go is your body will fight against you. This is NOT starvation mode that is a myth. What generally happens is you become less active subconsciously less NEAT, less motivation to exercise, temporal hormonal issues (your body will try and make you eat more by making your hungrier then before), etc.

    So you either keep decreasing calories and see how much weight is lost (start with about your TDEE recommended then decrease if no weight loss after 2/3 weeks), I have been a low as 1500-1600 before (not fun pretty much hungry all the time). Or increase cardio (best to save this stall in weight loss) on top of your weight training (weight training first!!), to maintain your lbm you must do weight training and try and progress/ maintain your lifts as best as possible. After that you can do cardio on off days or after weights.

    For your weight training you should be doing a proven weight training program something like Fierce 5, Allpro, Starting Strength.

    After that its patience.

    Now my personal advice is to build muscle or maybe try a recomp, however as I stated its your life just don't expect an aesthetic look by the end of it.
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    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ArkI5 View Post
    I don't understand what the problem is. Some people say I should put on muscle, some people say I should cut to 10% before trying to put on muscle. What's wrong with choosing the latter?
    the problem is getting to 10% takes a lot of effort and that effort is better spent adding muscle. You don’t need to get to 10% to start adding muscle that’s just F’in stupid. Get to a BF level that you’re comfortable at and start adding muscle at that point.
    Very few people are candidates for even attempting a recomp and you are not in this category
    If you don't get what you want you didn't want it bad enough
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    Registered User FitWithSteve1's Avatar
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    I agree with others, build size first, then cut after
    Don't advertise here
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    Originally Posted by ArkI5 View Post
    So are you telling me it's not possible to get to 10% with the muscle mass I have or that it just wouldn't look good?
    Where is the muscle mass?
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    Originally Posted by ArkI5 View Post
    So are you telling me it's not possible to get to 10% with the muscle mass I have or that it just wouldn't look good?
    I don't think you will have the look you want if you cut at this point. You're just going to look skinny and get frustrated and wonder why you just put all this work in. Build strength / muscle at a slight caloric surplus for at least a year before you think about cutting. Or try to recomp (not easy). Up to you man, but that's what I would do.
    8/1/17 - 145-150lb. Skinny SOB. Start of Fierce 5 Novice and lifting journey.

    5/1/18 - 180lb. Start of Cut. Plan to end around 165-170lb.

    Let's go!
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    Registered User ArkI5's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Tommy W. View Post
    the problem is getting to 10% takes a lot of effort and that effort is better spent adding muscle. You don’t need to get to 10% to start adding muscle that’s just F’in stupid. Get to a BF level that you’re comfortable at and start adding muscle at that point.
    Very few people are candidates for even attempting a recomp and you are not in this category
    10% Was more just a number that I heard was good to start from. If I only needed to lose 1% to be comfortable then I'd do that, I just don't know the exact number obviously. I just wanted to get rid of the fat around my waist first cuz I figured I'd then feel pretty comfortable?
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    Registered User ArkI5's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by hardyboysare View Post
    Anyone can get to 10% bf (not that we can really 100% tell when you hit this point but forget that), however most people wish to get to this range for the lean look generally for abs. Problem is if you don't have the muscle to support the look you will just like skinny not ripped.



    The 10% mark is not a set rule and is generally only applicable for trained individuals with years of build muscle experience. I think people forget how low 10% is seeing as essential fats are around 2-5% according to the American Council of Exercise, so you are aiming for 5% more then essential fats to live so it is low.

    The reason you will get most people saying don't cut build muscle (me included) as this a bodybuilding website, the main part being building not constantly cutting. Not to mention you are 19 and do lack muscle (as you stated) so cutting to nothing wont do anything but make you small and skinny. Why not build muscle its more enjoyable and will make much more visual differences in the long run.

    That said its your choice at the end of the day so to answer your question how to get to 10%.

    Eat less calories or move more. It really is that simple the only problem you will have the lower you go is your body will fight against you. This is NOT starvation mode that is a myth. What generally happens is you become less active subconsciously less NEAT, less motivation to exercise, temporal hormonal issues (your body will try and make you eat more by making your hungrier then before), etc.

    So you either keep decreasing calories and see how much weight is lost (start with about your TDEE recommended then decrease if no weight loss after 2/3 weeks), I have been a low as 1500-1600 before (not fun pretty much hungry all the time). Or increase cardio (best to save this stall in weight loss) on top of your weight training (weight training first!!), to maintain your lbm you must do weight training and try and progress/ maintain your lifts as best as possible. After that you can do cardio on off days or after weights.

    For your weight training you should be doing a proven weight training program something like Fierce 5, Allpro, Starting Strength.

    After that its patience.

    Now my personal advice is to build muscle or maybe try a recomp, however as I stated its your life just don't expect an aesthetic look by the end of it.
    I might just have to suck it up and focus on building muscle. I think I'm just in fear that I'll put on a bunch of fat and look worse than I do now despite the gained muscle mass (I wanted to get down to such a low body fat percentage so I could almost guarantee I'd still look lean enough by the end of a bulk).

    So assuming my TDEE is 1800 calories, if I ate around 2100 calories daily (and steadily increased that number due to my increasing body weight and therefore increased TDEE), including days when I didn't work out, and work out four days a week, then I'd maximize my muscle gains with minimal fat gains?
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    Registered User ArkI5's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by daudi81 View Post
    I don't think you will have the look you want if you cut at this point. You're just going to look skinny and get frustrated and wonder why you just put all this work in. Build strength / muscle at a slight caloric surplus for at least a year before you think about cutting. Or try to recomp (not easy). Up to you man, but that's what I would do.
    Assuming my TDEE is 1800, if I ate around 2100 calories a day (including the three days when I wouldn't be doing strength training) and steadily increased that due my increasing body weight and therefore increasing TDEE then I'd maximize my gains while gaining minimal fat right?
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    Originally Posted by CommitmentRulz View Post
    Well, you say you don't mind looking anorexic. Most people would tell you that for a grown man to be ok with that look is "wrong". ;-)

    If you proceed with your plans, DON'T shave all that body hair. Maybe it'll help disguise how sickly you look to anyone who sees you shirtless.
    Funnily enough I was considering shaving the hair on my stomach cuz I thought it made me look even fatter lol.
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    pay the iron price SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    I doubt your TDEE is that low but you could also have errors in calorie countring. So in either case the answer is to progressively add small amounts until you are reliably gaining about 2-3lbs a month. That should be mostly muscle gain.

    Of course you need to use a good novice routine that has planned progressive overload like Fierce 5.
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    Originally Posted by ArkI5 View Post
    Assuming my TDEE is 1800, if I ate around 2100 calories a day (including the three days when I wouldn't be doing strength training) and steadily increased that due my increasing body weight and therefore increasing TDEE then I'd maximize my gains while gaining minimal fat right?
    You're going to put on fat, period while building muscle. However, here is the deal! You can take the advice above and achieve your goals in approx. 3-5 years or do it your way, which will take 8-10 years. Although, like others have mentioned, it's your body.
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    I doubt your TDEE is that low but you could also have errors in calorie countring. So in either case the answer is to progressively add small amounts until you are reliably gaining about 2-3lbs a month. That should be mostly muscle gain.

    Of course you need to use a good novice routine that has planned progressive overload like Fierce 5.
    Well what do you think is more accurate?
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    Originally Posted by jlsnyderTypeR View Post
    You're going to put on fat, period while building muscle. However, here is the deal! You can take the advice above and achieve your goals in approx. 3-5 years or do it your way, which will take 8-10 years. Although, like others have mentioned, it's your body.
    Yeah but I can minimize how much fat I gain right?
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  20. #20
    Registered User jlsnyderTypeR's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ArkI5 View Post
    Yeah but I can minimize how much fat I gain right?
    There is no way to control the level of fat to muscle you acquire. It's going to get ugly before it gets better, but you'll be happier with the results in the long run.
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  21. #21
    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ArkI5 View Post
    Yeah but I can minimize how much fat I gain right?
    Yes it's easy but takes a while to dial in the right calories. You want just a small surplus and this is where accuracy and knowing your actual TDEE is. This takes some experimenting but is worth taking the time to get right.
    If you don't get what you want you didn't want it bad enough
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