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  1. #1
    Registered User smzeh's Avatar
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    Unhappy Big calorie deficit for a long period but not shifting belly fat - time to bulk?

    Hi all, been on roughly 1600 calories for a good while now and I’ve never been able to shift my belly fat or moobs and it’s getting pretty draining on me. Body fat is around 19% and I go to the gym ~4 times a week doing weights and do cardio several times as well. Foods always been an issue but I eat very cleanly and the lack of change is making me question if there’s something I’m doing wrong because I’m already in such a large deficit.

    I’ve read about skinny fat and I’m not sure if upping my calories will actually get rid of this belly fat. Any help would be greatly appreciated, pretty stressful topic :/

    Reddit username samzeh to see a post with a few pictures of what my body looks like at the moment.

    Thanks
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  2. #2
    Registered User hardyboysare's Avatar
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    https://imgur.com/a/GPDYl5p

    Here is your image for others to see for ease.

    Need stats (age, height, weight) and what training program are you following?

    How long you been weight training?

    What are your 1rm or 5rm major lifts like?

    You lack lean body mass and should be aiming to gain muscle not cutting as you have nothing to cut to.
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  3. #3
    Harsh Truth Distributor xsquid99's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by hardyboysare View Post
    https://imgur.com/a/GPDYl5p

    You lack lean body mass and should be aiming to gain muscle not cutting as you have nothing to cut to.
    ^^^^^ This.

    There comes a point where you need to switch gears and go into a muscle building phase. To fix skinny fat you have to do multiple bulk and cut cycles over a period of a few years to obtain the physique you're after.
    All it takes is consistency, effort, proper nutrition, good programming, and TIME.
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  4. #4
    Registered User 11numerology's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by smzeh View Post
    Hi all, been on roughly 1600 calories for a good while now and I’ve never been able to shift my belly fat or moobs and it’s getting pretty draining on me. Body fat is around 19% and I go to the gym ~4 times a week doing weights and do cardio several times as well. Foods always been an issue but I eat very cleanly and the lack of change is making me question if there’s something I’m doing wrong because I’m already in such a large deficit.

    I’ve read about skinny fat and I’m not sure if upping my calories will actually get rid of this belly fat. Any help would be greatly appreciated, pretty stressful topic :/

    Reddit username samzeh to see a post with a few pictures of what my body looks like at the moment.

    Thanks
    Are you trying too hard to get shredded that you're doing it incorrectly?

    Eating 1600 calories is way below maintenance, and if you don't strategically cycle carbs or introduce re-feeding you'll be stuck with a crashed metabolism.

    In order to achieve low body fat percentages and maintain it, you need to have a high metabolism, and your body needs to be efficient at utilizing body fat as fuel when you don't feed it.

    This takes time to develop... you need to have body awareness and understand what foods/training methodology will allow your body to be the most anabolic. When you're lean, training and feeding yourself strategically, you body fat will melt. I can lower my body fat from about from 14-16% to 10-12% in two weeks or so. Just by implementing this technique.

    I'd recommend:
    1. Intermittent-Intermittent fasting - 2 meals (1 smoothie - small meal; 1 large meal)
    2. Carbing up every 2 days or so (refeed)
    3. Lifting moderately heavy for volume 6-8 reps.

    This will skyrocket your metabolism and build lean mass.

    Try these 4 compound lifts too (all in one workout; adjust based on strength/training exp. i.e use barbell as you get stronger):
    youtube.com/watch?v=vd2vkCjIYNw
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  5. #5
    Harsh Truth Distributor xsquid99's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by 11numerology View Post
    Are you trying too hard to get shredded that you're doing it incorrectly?

    Eating 1600 calories is way below maintenance, and if you don't strategically cycle carbs or introduce re-feeding you'll be stuck with a crashed metabolism.

    In order to achieve low body fat percentages and maintain it, you need to have a high metabolism, and your body needs to be efficient at utilizing body fat as fuel when you don't feed it.

    This takes time to develop... you need to have body awareness and understand what foods/training methodology will allow your body to be the most anabolic. When you're lean, training and feeding yourself strategically, you body fat will melt. I can lower my body fat from about from 14-16% to 10-12% in two weeks or so. Just by implementing this technique.

    I'd recommend:
    1. Intermittent-Intermittent fasting - 2 meals (1 smoothie - small meal; 1 large meal)
    2. Carbing up every 2 days or so (refeed)
    3. Lifting moderately heavy for volume 6-8 reps.

    This will skyrocket your metabolism and build lean mass.

    Try these 4 compound lifts too (all in one workout; adjust based on strength/training exp. i.e use barbell as you get stronger):
    youtube.com/watch?v=vd2vkCjIYNw
    This is some of the worst, absolute crap, broscience chit I've read on here in quite a while. You should not be giving advice to anybody.
    All it takes is consistency, effort, proper nutrition, good programming, and TIME.
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  6. #6
    Registered User smzeh's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by hardyboysare View Post

    Here is your image for others to see for ease.

    Need stats (age, height, weight) and what training program are you following?

    How long you been weight training?

    What are your 1rm or 5rm major lifts like?

    You lack lean body mass and should be aiming to gain muscle not cutting as you have nothing to cut to.
    Thanks for that.

    Age:26
    Height: 5'7"
    Weight 147 lbs (67kg)

    Been focusing on legs twice a week, back and biceps, shoulders and chest and tris all once a week. Been training now for a good 2-3 months consistently and although I have crept up some of the weights I'm lifting I feel like it isn's a significant amount.

    RM mean rep max? Squat I normally do 5 sets of 5 x 90kg, pb would be 100kg. Only recently gone back to doing bench press so it isn't great, sets of 55kg, 1 rep max would be 60kg. Dead lift I normally do 90kg, max would be 100kg.

    Yeah I used to be fat so I've always fixated on less calories and trying to shed the last remaining belly and chest fat but I trying to work out whether less calories is actually the answer.

    Originally Posted by xsquid99 View Post
    ^^^^^ This.

    There comes a point where you need to switch gears and go into a muscle building phase. To fix skinny fat you have to do multiple bulk and cut cycles over a period of a few years to obtain the physique you're after.
    So essentially time to up the cals and see what difference that would make? Thanks
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  7. #7
    Never accept defeat! backinthegymbro's Avatar
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    How long you been on 1600 calories a day? Do you actually count all your calories with myfitnesspal? My stomach fat disappeared in 2 months on 1600 cals. If you're not being strict and simply guessing your calories, then you're probably eating a lot more.

    I disagree on upping the calories. I recommend a better lifting routine where you hit all the muscle groups twice per week.
    And just make sure your protein stays high. Around 0.8 - 1 gram per lbs bodyweight.
    I gained a lot of muscle mass on 1600 calories and lost all my fat, so it can be done.
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  8. #8
    Registered User hardyboysare's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by smzeh View Post
    Thanks for that.

    Age:26
    Height: 5'7"
    Weight 147 lbs (67kg)

    Been focusing on legs twice a week, back and biceps, shoulders and chest and tris all once a week. Been training now for a good 2-3 months consistently and although I have crept up some of the weights I'm lifting I feel like it isn's a significant amount.

    RM mean rep max? Squat I normally do 5 sets of 5 x 90kg, pb would be 100kg. Only recently gone back to doing bench press so it isn't great, sets of 55kg, 1 rep max would be 60kg. Dead lift I normally do 90kg, max would be 100kg.

    Yeah I used to be fat so I've always fixated on less calories and trying to shed the last remaining belly and chest fat but I trying to work out whether less calories is actually the answer.

    So essentially time to up the cals and see what difference that would make? Thanks
    With 2-3 months weight training experience you don't have enough lean body mass to consider cutting down. Building muscle mass is the harder part of good body composition and also the part that offers the best overall results (or you just look skinny and small).

    Now to start off with I am a hard believer in sticking with a set program until you are experienced enough to expand and develop a current program (which is what I do) or design your own (I'm too lazy to do that) now there is no set program you should follow but I personally recommend one of these:-

    Pick one of these workouts that suit your individual lifestyle, remember that the link between strength and size is generally that the stronger you are the bigger you are.

    https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...hp?t=175493881

    That said some people respond better to different rep range and workout methods however increasing in strength with the right nutrition will cause size increase in most if not all beginners and are the foundations of all training programs. All these programs will work whether you are cutting or bulking, calories control whether you are losing weight or gaining it.

    Training programs:-

    Starting Strength
    https://startingstrength.com/get-started/programs – Very well-known program which is simple to understand and easy to execute, a barbell is required and progression is quick. A highly recommended starting point for all beginners and is still effective for intermediates and advanced alike depending on their needs.

    StrongLifts
    https://stronglifts.com/5x5/ – Another solid starting point for all beginner weight trainers, doesn't generally have the renowned backing off Starting Strength however personally I find a real solid program to start off with (I personally used this program in the beginning and still do from time to time). Progression is quick and the exercises are the key lifts, as well as this very easy to add supplementary exercises once you progress.

    Jim Welder 5/3/1
    https://www.t-nation.com/workouts/53...-pure-strength – One of the best programs around for strength gains and can easily be adapted and added to in order increase muscular size. His programs are fantastic and in-depth with a vast amount of information available online and especially in his books (I highly recommended buying them if possible).
    For beginners it is best to start with this program of 5/3/1:-
    https://jimwendler.com/blogs/jimwend...for-a-beginner

    Fierce 5
    https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...2916931&page=1 – One of most solid programs designed on this forum and is basically the complete package this has programs that start off with beginners all the way to advanced. I personally have found this to be both enjoyable yet challenging and have added solid amount of muscle doing it.

    AllPro
    https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...hp?t=169172473 – A simple but effective method to build solid muscle, does lack some of the elements of strength, however with the basics comes the ability to add strength elements. That said very good at building muscle mass. I have not personally used this one but has a very strong follow here and comes very highly recommended.

    Viking Bare Bones
    https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...2565211&page=1 – For individuals past the beginner phase of Allpros who wish to carry on implementing more higher volume training hypertrophy compared with more strength/ hypertrophy implemented to Fierce 5 and Strong Lifts. A very interesting program which offers a high progression in volume combined with systematic weight increase. I personally feel this program is best for individuals who are either recomping/ maintenance training or bulking. For cutting individuals I would advise Allpro if interested in higher volume training.

    Training is only one part you must have good nutrition as well I advise you to read this section for more information:-

    https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...hp?t=173439001
    https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...hp?t=136691851

    For you OP I advise you stick around maintenance TDEE for a bit and see how you progress you should be able to build muscle and lose some fat at least in the beginning (or longer depends on your progress). After which you have milked as much newbie gains as possible it will probably be wise to start consuming a small surplus of calories however you can cross that bridge once you have spent some time at maintenance.
    Remember your maintenance TDEE is NOT what a online calculator says, that is an estimate. It is the caloric amount that keeps your weight on average at the same for a period of time (1-2 week average) work off that number not some random number off the internet.
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  9. #9
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    Originally Posted by smzeh View Post
    Hi all, been on roughly 1600 calories for a good while now and I’ve never been able to shift my belly fat or moobs and it’s getting pretty draining on me. Body fat is around 19% and I go to the gym ~4 times a week doing weights and do cardio several times as well. Foods always been an issue but I eat very cleanly and the lack of change is making me question if there’s something I’m doing wrong because I’m already in such a large deficit.

    I’ve read about skinny fat and I’m not sure if upping my calories will actually get rid of this belly fat. Any help would be greatly appreciated, pretty stressful topic :/

    Reddit username samzeh to see a post with a few pictures of what my body looks like at the moment.

    Thanks
    What do you eat? Do you burn muscles or fat?
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  10. #10
    Registered User estikei's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by hardyboysare View Post
    With 2-3 months weight training experience you don't have enough lean body mass to consider cutting down. Building muscle mass is the harder part of good body composition and also the part that offers the best overall results (or you just look skinny and small).......
    Golden reply.
    Love how some people don't get sick to repeat what's already been stickied in order to help people come to the right path.
    Check out my log in the „losing fat“ category
    https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=177624361
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  11. #11
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  12. #12
    Never accept defeat! backinthegymbro's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by estikei View Post
    Golden reply.
    Love how some people don't get sick to repeat what's already been stickied in order to help people come to the right path.
    Because it's not necessarily true? I started cutting at skinny fat with zero muscle and i packed a good amount of muscle mass despite leaning out at the waist.
    If you want to get rid of your stomach fat, go cut and lean bulk after. Or if you're fine with it and don't mind getting it a bit bigger, go lean bulk right away.
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  13. #13
    Registered User hardyboysare's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by backinthegymbro View Post
    Because it's not necessarily true? I started cutting at skinny fat with zero muscle and i packed a good amount of muscle mass despite leaning out at the waist.
    If you want to get rid of your stomach fat, go cut and lean bulk after. Or if you're fine with it and don't mind getting it a bit bigger, go lean bulk right away.
    But I am going to play devil's advocate here and say in 90% of the time it is. Yes anything can work for a beginner but optimal growth occurs whilst in at maintenance or at surplus as obviously lean tissue must come from somewhere by being in a caloric deficit the use of protein from building tissue is shifted towards tissue maintenance or even just energy (as your body will focus on energy function (aka living) over muscle development as well as this lean tissue is expensive energy wise to make).

    Now he could cut but as he is already eat 1600 (even if he is out by a bit its still low) that would mean to occur fat loss he needs to go lower, you ain't building muscle at that amount of calories. I know you are going to say you have which is great for you, but I know from this forum I am yet to see anyone else claim they are building muscle at 1600 calories so we have to work on the law of averages on this not just one scenario (I have seen your progress pic from another post and yes you have made great progress but again its one case in 100's we see daily).
    You need the mass to cut down to or you will simply just look small, the vast majority of people do not build significant amount of muscle whilst cutting moderately or large amount of calories although I agree it is likely on a small caloric deficit.

    Therefore for a beginner who is 'skinny fat' generally it is advised that they attempt one of three things:-

    - Cut on a small caloric deficit and attempt a recomp (general advise for people who are a little bit more fat then 'skinny fat')

    - Weight train at maintenance and progress and review after following a structured workout plan for a decent amount of time (similar to a recomp but the exercise causes the caloric deficit, I believe this is best for the vast majority of 'skinny fats' to begin with)

    - Add a small amount of calories and focus on muscle growth aka lean bulk (advised for 'skinny fat' who are more skinny then fat)

    I personally have seen very little results of people cutting a vast amount of calories and making decent muscle growth simply because if they did everyone who keeps posted on this forum saying 'I am cutting to 10% but can't get abs even though I am lean' would by now be seeing abs as they would have built muscle whilst in such a deficit. Which alas they have not.
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  14. #14
    Never accept defeat! backinthegymbro's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by hardyboysare View Post
    But I am going to play devil's advocate here and say in 90% of the time it is. Yes anything can work for a beginner but optimal growth occurs whilst in at maintenance or at surplus
    Yes true but how much increase of muscle mass will optimum be, compared to on a calorie deficit? And how much of those increased muscle will you keep once you start cutting in the end? Is it really worth it to carry all that excess fat OP currently is unhappy with? Not to mention it's a lot more satisfying to see results on a cut, more definition, leaner stomach, looking better naked etc which all increases motivation.

    Originally Posted by hardyboysare View Post
    Now he could cut but as he is already eat 1600 (even if he is out by a bit its still low) that would mean to occur fat loss he needs to go lower, you ain't building muscle at that amount of calories.
    We don't know if OP is actually counting his calories and is legit eating 1600 calories though. If he's guessing, then he's over eating.
    If he is eating 1600 calories, then it simply takes time. He does not need to lower his calories in order to lose fat. Losing fat simply takes time.
    1600 calories is already below his maintenance so he will lose fat and if he adds cardio + intense work outs on top of that, he will get results faster.

    Originally Posted by hardyboysare View Post
    I know you are going to say you have which is great for you, but I know from this forum I am yet to see anyone else claim they are building muscle at 1600 calories so we have to work on the law of averages on this not just one scenario
    Although i agree you have to look at the average. But how many people come here and say they started a bulk as a skinny fat and simply got fat instead?
    I think the reason people fail is because they either diet wrong, or train wrong and most likely it's a combination of both.

    I'm not genetically gifted and i trained my lifting partner who went from 200 lbs no muscles and overweight to 160 and gained a good amount of lean muscle as well. Now he's lean bulking and he's able to get bigger without carrying that big gut all the time while looking a lot better. In the end, it's a personal choice, cut then lean bulk, or lean bulk and cut. Maybe lean bulk first is slightly more optimal in terms of end results/muscle mass, but it also has the downside of not looking good until your bulk+cut is over, which might be an entire year or longer. So in the end it comes to OP's personal decision. Does he want to get rid of his stomach as his post suggests, or does he want to carry it for a year and then start his cut? It's up to him.

    Originally Posted by hardyboysare View Post
    everyone who keeps posted on this forum saying 'I am cutting to 10% but can't get abs even though I am lean' would by now be seeing abs as they would have built muscle whilst in such a deficit. Which alas they have not.
    Granted, some of the training routines that get recommended to beginners don't advise them to train abs 6 days a week or at least every other day. And others don't even lift and simply only diet. So for the few who legit did reach 10% body fat or lower, it's only normal for them to get disappointed with their abs result. Unless you're one of the lucky people who can get them through compound exercises alone.
    Last edited by backinthegymbro; 10-10-2019 at 08:56 AM.
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    What are your stats again? Sounds to me you may not be eating as low calories as you think you are. At 1600 calories it's very hard not to lose weight. If you don't have much muscle mass I suggest you work on building muscle first, then do a cut. You'll look x100 times better. I did the same mistake. Ate around 1600 cals back when I had no muscle. I looked like I was sick by the time I finished the cut. Started a bulk, gained all the fat back, but I put muscle ad well. I look really good now. Keep protein intake high
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    Originally Posted by backinthegymbro View Post
    Yes true but how much increase of muscle mass will optimum be, compared to on a calorie deficit? And how much of those increased muscle will you keep once you start cutting in the end? Is it really worth it to carry all that excess fat OP currently is unhappy with? Not to mention it's a lot more satisfying to see results on a cut, more definition, leaner stomach, looking better naked etc which all increases motivation.
    Look at the this point is really difficult to get solid scientific understanding due to the term 'skinny fat' not being a scientific term so we have to use the term 'untrained', but generally the way I understand the bases it depends on the caloric deficit pressed upon the individual combined with the resistance training carrying out along with adequate protein. There is a point where muscle growth will simply not occur most research I have read seems to suggest that a caloric deficit of around 500 - 800 calories will offer some muscle growth as shown in these studies on this article here (some didn't count calories so very difficult to consider all the analysis).

    https://sci-fit.net/bulking-deficit-gaining/

    That said when we compare the rate of muscle growth when on a deficit to on a surplus it seems to possible even gain muscle even without strength training as long as protein is high as the body is in a position to gain excess lean mass due to the availability of energy.

    https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jam...rticle/1103993

    Likewise when compared to studies which overfeed individuals both non-training and training individuals it seemed that lean mass increased on all participants as long as protein was high.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5786199/

    Now we could conclude from these studies that protein is needed which of course it is. But also as lean mass increased on all participants throughout multiple studies even when not training once they were in a caloric surplus compared to a caloric deficit training individuals where not all groups gained muscle and none of the inactive individuals (no strength training) gain any muscle at all. This would suggest that high protein in a caloric surplus would offer the best environment for growth.

    How much different is not compared but I imagine there is quite a different if even non-training individuals still gained muscle.

    We don't know if OP is actually counting his calories and is legit eating 1600 calories though. If he's guessing, then he's over eating.
    If he is eating 1600 calories, then it simply takes time. He does not need to lower his calories in order to lose fat. Losing fat simply takes time.
    1600 calories is already below his maintenance so he will lose fat and if he adds cardio + intense work outs on top of that, he will get results faster.
    This is true I would need more info from the OP to consider whether he is actually eating 1600 calories or not. However this doesn't relate to the problem of his lack of muscle which I feel needs addressing more and expanding above.

    Although i agree you have to look at the average. But how many people come here and say they started a bulk as a skinny fat and simply got fat instead?
    I think the reason people fail is because they either diet wrong, or train wrong and most likely it's a combination of both.
    That is due to not having a small calorie surplus. No one says eat a large caloric level as that will make you fat but bulking in itself doesn't mean getting fat.

    I'm not genetically gifted and i trained my lifting partner who went from 200 lbs no muscles and overweight to 160 and gained a good amount of lean muscle as well. Now he's lean bulking and he's able to get bigger without carrying that big gut all the time while looking a lot better. In the end, it's a personal choice, cut then lean bulk, or lean bulk and cut. Maybe lean bulk first is slightly more optimal in terms of end results/muscle mass, but it also has the downside of not looking good until your bulk+cut is over, which might be an entire year or longer. So in the end it comes to OP's personal decision. Does he want to get rid of his stomach as his post suggests, or does he want to carry it for a year and then start his cut? It's up to him.
    I agree it is up to him but again your training partner was significantly overweight therefore the room for growth on a larger caloric deficit is probable as linked in the studies above. However the skinnier you become the chances of this being a success is unlikely especially under a large caloric deficit.

    Granted, some of the training routines that get recommended to beginners don't advise them to train abs 6 days a week or at least every other day. And others don't even lift and simply only diet. So for the few who legit did reach 10% body fat or lower, it's only normal for them to get disappointed with their abs result. Unless you're one of the lucky people who can get them through compound exercises alone.
    This is a different debate but I believe training abs daily is not needed. I personally don't know anyone who train abs that amount in order to get a six pack. I am certainly not 'lucky' with my physique and only train ab twice a week. The ab muscle is no different from any other muscle no-one days legs six times a week in order to stimulate growth why would you do abs differently?
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    Originally Posted by hardyboysare View Post
    Now we could conclude from these studies that protein is needed which of course it is. But also as lean mass increased on all participants throughout multiple studies even when not training once they were in a caloric surplus compared to a caloric deficit training individuals where not all groups gained muscle and none of the inactive individuals (no strength training) gain any muscle at all. This would suggest that high protein in a caloric surplus would offer the best environment for growth.

    How much different is not compared but I imagine there is quite a different if even non-training individuals still gained muscle.
    I think it's obviously optimal to lean bulk/bulk for the most muscle mass no doubt.
    You provide your body with all the nutrition it needs to build muscle. Energy wise from food, protein etc, all of this is easier on a bulk.
    However i don't think the people who don't lift who simply eat high protein surplus diet gained a lot of muscle mass because other wise a lot more people would be muscular.

    In the end it's impossible to tell how much more lean muscle an individual will have between lean bulk then cut, vs cut and then lean bulk in the same time frame.
    Personally i don't think it's that much difference if the individual eats a high protein diet during their cut and trains for muscle mass but we can agree to disagree on this. It's impossible to tell per person anyway.

    Either road OP chooses, if he trains long enough and diets properly and trains properly, he will reach his goals. It just comes down to his own preference and how badly he wants to get rid of his belly fat or if he doesn't mind carrying it for a year or more.

    Originally Posted by hardyboysare View Post
    That is due to not having a small calorie surplus. No one says eat a large caloric level as that will make you fat but bulking in itself doesn't mean getting fat.
    True, but i also believe the beginners who immediately go on a cut don't get muscular simply because they train wrong. But that's simply my suspicion. I don't have evidence of this. Hence why i am not against starting off with a cut due to my own personal bias and what i've seen from myself and others.

    Originally Posted by hardyboysare View Post
    This is a different debate but I believe training abs daily is not needed. I personally don't know anyone who train abs that amount in order to get a six pack. I am certainly not 'lucky' with my physique and only train ab twice a week. The ab muscle is no different from any other muscle no-one days legs six times a week in order to stimulate growth why would you do abs differently?
    I think certain muscles can take more abuse than others. I've started training abs 5 times a week and i got a lot of abs results compared to before in just a month.
    Some pro bodybuilders recommend training calves every day too. In the end you gotta listen to your own body and if it's sore, then give it a rest day.
    I'm no expert though, i just read things and try it out for myself and that's all i can say.
    Here's a part from the Education of a Bodybuilder book about training certain muscles every day.

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    Originally Posted by backinthegymbro View Post
    How long you been on 1600 calories a day? Do you actually count all your calories with myfitnesspal? My stomach fat disappeared in 2 months on 1600 cals. If you're not being strict and simply guessing your calories, then you're probably eating a lot more.

    I disagree on upping the calories. I recommend a better lifting routine where you hit all the muscle groups twice per week.
    And just make sure your protein stays high. Around 0.8 - 1 gram per lbs bodyweight.
    I gained a lot of muscle mass on 1600 calories and lost all my fat, so it can be done.
    Roughly 2 months and I don't deviate a lot from what I eat. All calories tracked with myfitnesspal and honestly I used to think I was eating more but after tracking it all it ends up around 1600.

    Thankfully I'm someone who can eat the same thing everyday so it has become easy to track. Macro breakdown is 43% carb, 42% protein and 15% fats.

    Originally Posted by andy0w View Post
    What do you eat? Do you burn muscles or fat?
    Have a smoothie first thing, porridge with peanut butter and a banana for lunch, chicken + rice with a load of veggies when I get back from work and then sweet potato with turkey and another load of veggies for dinner. Don't seem to be burning fat but also not gaining a whole lot of muscle.

    Originally Posted by BBryan098 View Post
    What are your stats again? Sounds to me you may not be eating as low calories as you think you are. At 1600 calories it's very hard not to lose weight. If you don't have much muscle mass I suggest you work on building muscle first, then do a cut. You'll look x100 times better. I did the same mistake. Ate around 1600 cals back when I had no muscle. I looked like I was sick by the time I finished the cut. Started a bulk, gained all the fat back, but I put muscle ad well. I look really good now. Keep protein intake high
    Age 26. 5'7" tall and 147lbs. Yeah that's why I am starting to question whether a gradual increase is needed to kick start everything again. That's why it's very disheartening to see not a lot of change. Yeah thanks I think I'm leaning towards doing a clean bulk.
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    How strict do you count your calories? Do you weigh your peanut butter?
    Might sound dumb, but the difference between a pinch of pb or a tablespoon is enormous.
    Maybe you can post a screenshot of your myfitnesspal log so we can see what it looks like.
    How many grams of protein you get per day?

    That said, 1600 is a calorie deficit. You will lose fat if you stick to it. But you can't demand instant results either.
    If you want to speed up the process, do more cardio. Eating more will not help you lose fat. But it might help you with gaining more muscle mass.

    Also posting your training routine might help give some insights as well.
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    Originally Posted by backinthegymbro View Post
    How strict do you count your calories? Do you weigh your peanut butter?
    Might sound dumb, but the difference between a pinch of pb or a tablespoon is enormous.
    Maybe you can post a screenshot of your myfitnesspal log so we can see what it looks like.
    How many grams of protein you get per day?

    That said, 1600 is a calorie deficit. You will lose fat if you stick to it. But you can't demand instant results either.
    If you want to speed up the process, do more cardio. Eating more will not help you lose fat. But it might help you with gaining more muscle mass.

    Also posting your training routine might help give some insights as well.
    Peanut butter is typically a tablespoon, I would post a screenshot but I need 50 posts before I can post pics The breakdown is 174g carbs, 26g fats and 165g protein. Yeah I know it isn't instant but I've been trying so many different things for years, eating clean, going keto, intermittent fasting and yet everytime I still have my belly. I know it's probably more in my head that I'm fat but I feel like the longer nothing changes I'm just gonna keep being unhappy.

    Training is typically:

    Tuesday - Squats and calf raises
    Wednesday - Back and Bis - Pull ups, slow declines, bent over rows, cable machine for biceps and occasionally a bar with weights.
    Thursday - Boxing mini HIIT circuit.
    Friday - Legs again
    Saturday - Push sesh, normally chest and tris
    Sunday - Shoulders
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    Originally Posted by smzeh View Post
    Peanut butter is typically a tablespoon, I would post a screenshot but I need 50 posts before I can post pics The breakdown is 174g carbs, 26g fats and 165g protein. Yeah I know it isn't instant but I've been trying so many different things for years, eating clean, going keto, intermittent fasting and yet everytime I still have my belly. I know it's probably more in my head that I'm fat but I feel like the longer nothing changes I'm just gonna keep being unhappy.

    Training is typically:

    Tuesday - Squats and calf raises
    Wednesday - Back and Bis - Pull ups, slow declines, bent over rows, cable machine for biceps and occasionally a bar with weights.
    Thursday - Boxing mini HIIT circuit.
    Friday - Legs again
    Saturday - Push sesh, normally chest and tris
    Sunday - Shoulders
    The problem i see with your routine is that you only train each muscle group in your upper body only once a week. I see a lot of people train this way in the gym and they look the same year after year. It's definitely something i would change. How long have you been weight lifting?

    Personally i would train legs once a week and upper body twice a week but that's because my preference is a more developed upper body compared to big legs.
    I would also combine biceps with triceps together as a superset for a bigger pump, and it opens space for another muscle group on another day. And not to dedicate an entire day just for shoulders, which would open up even more space.
    If you like a split routine, you could do back and chest on monday. shoulders and bis+tris on tuesday, legs wednesday, thursday boxing, friday, chest and back, saturday shoulders and arms.

    This way you train chest, back, shoulders, bis and tris twice a week and legs once a week. I guarantee you you'll see muscle mass improvement.
    And in the beginning it might be a lot of volume if you're a beginner, but your body adepts to it fast. If you like boxing, your stamina is probably above the average non lifter and if you have been training for a few months already, you can definitely handle it.

    And about diet, it all looks good. If you're truly eating 1600 calories, then i know if you stick to it and you train, and you do your boxing hiit circuit.
    You'll lose that stomach fat. And if you want to lose it faster, add 15 minutes of incline treadmill walking or jogging at the end of your workouts which will burn another few hundred calories per week.

    But if you want to lean bulk, that's 100% fine too. I would just change your training routine imo.
    However there are plenty of other routines people will recommend you on here.
    I'm a firm believer of trying something out and if it doesn't work for you, then change it up. Because doing the same thing over and over without results is obviously not working. But definitely stick to something for 3 months or so to try it properly.
    Last edited by backinthegymbro; 10-10-2019 at 01:21 PM.
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    Originally Posted by smzeh View Post
    The breakdown is 174g carbs, 26g fats and 165g protein.
    Only 26g of fats? You should be getting closer to 60g.
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    Originally Posted by backinthegymbro View Post
    The problem i see with your routine is that you only train each muscle group in your upper body only once a week. I see a lot of people train this way in the gym and they look the same year after year. It's definitely something i would change. How long have you been weight lifting?

    Personally i would train legs once a week and upper body twice a week but that's because my preference is a more developed upper body compared to big legs.
    I would also combine biceps with triceps together as a superset for a bigger pump, and it opens space for another muscle group on another day. And not to dedicate an entire day just for shoulders, which would open up even more space.
    If you like a split routine, you could do back and chest on monday. shoulders and bis+tris on tuesday, legs wednesday, thursday boxing, friday, chest and back, saturday shoulders and arms.

    This way you train chest, back, shoulders, bis and tris twice a week and legs once a week. I guarantee you you'll see muscle mass improvement.
    And in the beginning it might be a lot of volume if you're a beginner, but your body adepts to it fast. If you like boxing, your stamina is probably above the average non lifter and if you have been training for a few months already, you can definitely handle it.

    And about diet, it all looks good. If you're truly eating 1600 calories, then i know if you stick to it and you train, and you do your boxing hiit circuit.
    You'll lose that stomach fat. And if you want to lose it faster, add 15 minutes of incline treadmill walking or jogging at the end of your workouts which will burn another few hundred calories per week.

    But if you want to lean bulk, that's 100% fine too. I would just change your training routine imo.
    However there are plenty of other routines people will recommend you on here.
    I'm a firm believer of trying something out and if it doesn't work for you, then change it up. Because doing the same thing over and over without results is obviously not working. But definitely stick to something for 3 months or so to try it properly.
    Yeah I might have to try that. Been consistent since around May time so not a huge stretch of time but still a decent amount to actually have seen some decent gains.

    Yeah that sounds like a solid idea, think maybe upping to 2000 calories, doing that routine and adding the treadmill incline would be a good start?
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    Originally Posted by smzeh View Post
    Yeah I might have to try that. Been consistent since around May time so not a huge stretch of time but still a decent amount to actually have seen some decent gains.

    Yeah that sounds like a solid idea, think maybe upping to 2000 calories, doing that routine and adding the treadmill incline would be a good start?
    You'll gain a good amount of muscle for sure. Just make sure you always train with lots of intensity. Only take a minute break between sets. Go heavy and challenge yourself. Experience that progressive overload. And do the exercises properly with full range of motion. Lots of youtube videos out there that demostrate the proper form.
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    Originally Posted by backinthegymbro View Post
    You'll gain a good amount of muscle for sure. Just make sure you always train with lots of intensity. Only take a minute break between sets. Go heavy and challenge yourself. Experience that progressive overload. And do the exercises properly with full range of motion. Lots of youtube videos out there that demostrate the proper form.
    Yeah thanks for this, I do normally try to push myself till I feel exhausted and can't do the sets anymore. Feel like my forms good, often go with a friend who's a physio who has been gyming for a long time now.
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    Originally Posted by xsquid99 View Post
    This is some of the worst, absolute crap, broscience chit I've read on here in quite a while. You should not be giving advice to anybody.
    How is that broscience? l0l

    Which part do you not agree with or think is invalid?
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    Originally Posted by 11numerology View Post
    How is that broscience? l0l

    Which part do you not agree with or think is invalid?
    Carb cycling is completely unncessary and has never been scientifically proven to be a requirement for muscle building or fat loss.

    "Crashed metabolism"? Please... If you are in a caloric deficit you will keep losing weight until you wither away and die. Your metabolism does not "crash", it is always in a constant running state. Do you really think that being in a caloric deficit is going to render your metabolism somehow useless? Your metabolism burns calories for energy, so are you suggesting that somehow this process stops? It doesn't, not unless you're dead...

    You're telling him to intermittently fast and then carb up? For what reason would OP need to do this? Intermittent fasting has no benefits other than convenience for those that like to eat by a clock. A standard caloric deficit acheives the same thing.

    If he's trying lose fat he needs to remain in a caloric deficit, he still has a high level of bodyfat. If he wants to build muscle he should be in a caloric surplus, and then he wouldn't need to intermittently fast. You're not going to build much lean mass in a deficit, and for that intermittent fasting is counterproductive, as regular feedings spread throughout the day are proven to be much more effective for building muscle.
    Last edited by xsquid99; 10-10-2019 at 05:39 PM.
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    Originally Posted by smzeh View Post
    Yeah thanks for this, I do normally try to push myself till I feel exhausted and can't do the sets anymore. Feel like my forms good, often go with a friend who's a physio who has been gyming for a long time now.
    I thought I would sum this up for you OP as I know it can get confusing what the answers are for your question (this is my interpretation of the responses in general).

    You have two choices:-

    Go back to maintenance calories (use a online calculator for this and deduct 10% from the answer for good measure then monitor weight it should stay the same on average over 2 weeks) and follow a progressive overload program and see how you progress on that aiming to get stronger and increase in volume as described within the program. Which program is again can be argued but basically pick one that has you training each muscle group 2 or 3x a week. Any of the programs linked above will be fine. Once you attempted this then add 200/300 calories and aim to add around 2lb a month.

    This will offer the chance to build muscle but you will add some fat overtime (how much depends on your calorie counting ability)

    OR

    Honestly monitor calories better if you currently not monitoring them as well as you can and again run a better weight training program. If weight loss is not occurring then you will need to drop calories. You will hopefully lose more fat and possible gain some muscle as you progressive overload through the increase of weight intensity and volume. This is basically a extreme version of recomp. As for training well again debatable depending on the answer you view (I don't agree with a couple views therefore I can't happily promote it but as long as you are progressively overloading technically any program can work).

    This way you will lose fat and possible gain muscle (this is dependent on your ability to progress on the training program).

    Hope this helps and again this is just a sum up (my view of it). So pick which way you prefer and run with it.

    I will save debating some of the other topics mentioned in this thread as it will just confuse you too much and not really answer you question.
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  29. #29
    Registered User CommitmentRulz's Avatar
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    I didn't see a study that came anywhere close to backing up your assertion that:

    1. Intermittent-Intermittent fasting - 2 meals (1 smoothie - small meal; 1 large meal)
    2. Carbing up every 2 days or so (refeed)
    3. Lifting moderately heavy for volume 6-8 reps.

    This will skyrocket your metabolism and build lean mass.
    I also generally disagree with the approach that says "find an extreme and tell everyone it applies to them." For example, one of the studies you listed restricted people to 420 calories a day. Results do not apply to this poster, or most anyone else on these forums. That's like saying since it is POSSIBLE to drink so much water you die, EVERYONE should restrict water intake to no more than 2 cups of water a day or you could die...
    Last edited by CommitmentRulz; 10-11-2019 at 01:30 PM.
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  30. #30
    Focus on yourself kimm4's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by backinthegymbro View Post
    i trained my lifting partner who went from 200 lbs no muscles and overweight to 160 and gained a good amount of lean muscle as well.
    Overweight men and women are not walking around with no muscle on their frames. The muscle foundation varies but it's there covered under a good layer of fat. It's a matter of fat loss, preserving the muscle you carry now and sprinkle in a bit of newbie gains.

    OP is at the lower end of the scale for his height and lacking in muscle and that's the difference. He has no choice but to build the foundation first and save the cutting for the future.
    Last edited by kimm4; 10-11-2019 at 02:26 PM.
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