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  1. #1
    Registered User Nelg1993's Avatar
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    Cut fat or focus on building muscle?

    Long story short: I've had stomach surgery a few years ago and weighted 58kg. Fast forward 4 years and I'm back up to 78kg (I'm guessing 15-16% bodyfat - upper 4 abs slightly visible in good lighting, slight love handles). Been off and on in the gym due to some shoulder injuries, which are ok now.

    My TDEE lies around 2300-2400 calories (been eating this for the past 3 weeks, haven't gained nor lost 1 pound - weekly average). Followed a simple but rather aggressive linear progression program to test my strength levels after a lay off.

    Should I start cutting at 2000 calories or lean bulk at 2600? I track my calories fairly well, haven't done any cardio so far and keep my protein at least at 1 gram per pound of lean mass (140 gram + per day).

    My gut tells me I need some more muscle to fill my frame, but I don't want to end up at 20%+ bodyfat before cutting. Also eating 2000 calories a day doesn't seem like a sustainable approach for a few weeks... If I get my muscle mass up this automatically rises.

    Bonus question: does a higher bodyfat level contribute to being less able to put on muscle? I read that it influences insulin sensitivity and the less sensitive you are, the more likely you're going to put on fat instead of muscle. Any truth in this?
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  2. #2
    Manlets gonna make it Natty1980's Avatar
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    Natty1980 is offline
    Originally Posted by Nelg1993 View Post
    Long story short: I've had stomach surgery a few years ago and weighted 58kg. Fast forward 4 years and I'm back up to 78kg (I'm guessing 15-16% bodyfat - upper 4 abs slightly visible in good lighting, slight love handles). Been off and on in the gym due to some shoulder injuries, which are ok now.

    My TDEE lies around 2300-2400 calories (been eating this for the past 3 weeks, haven't gained nor lost 1 pound - weekly average). Followed a simple but rather aggressive linear progression program to test my strength levels after a lay off.

    Should I start cutting at 2000 calories or lean bulk at 2600? I track my calories fairly well, haven't done any cardio so far and keep my protein at least at 1 gram per pound of lean mass (140 gram + per day).
    Only you can tell if it's better to cut or to bulk: there are no photos in your profile section.
    However if 4 abs are slightly visible, I guess you don't need to cut and if the calorie surplus is only 200-300 Cal/day you will not get much fatter.

    Bonus question: does a higher bodyfat level contribute to being less able to put on muscle? I read that it influences insulin sensitivity and the less sensitive you are, the more likely you're going to put on fat instead of muscle. Any truth in this?
    On the contrary, with a reasonable level of body fat (15-20%) you will bulk up more easily and you will be stronger. Issues begin when you get past 20-25% and towards obesity.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Nelg1993's Avatar
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    Nelg1993 is offline
    Originally Posted by Natty1980 View Post
    Only you can tell if it's better to cut or to bulk: there are no photos in your profile section.
    However if 4 abs are slightly visible, I guess you don't need to cut and if the calorie surplus is only 200-300 Cal/day you will not get much fatter.



    On the contrary, with a reasonable level of body fat (15-20%) you will bulk up more easily and you will be stronger. Issues begin when you get past 20-25% and towards obesity.
    Well, I feel uncomfortable at this bodyfat level, but I also feel as if I need to gain a bit more muscle before it’s actually worth cutting.. But then again, I don’t want to end up at an even higher bodyfat percentage.

    Ah, I always thought it’s better to cut down to 10%, then lean bulk and when you reach 15% cut again. B/c at 10% it’s easier to add muscle than at 15%. So I have been told at least..
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  4. #4
    Manlets gonna make it Natty1980's Avatar
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    Natty1980 is offline
    10% is a very low fat % and it's not sustainable on the long term.
    Of course I am talking about the real 10%, many people at 15-17% believe they are at 10%.
    At 15% you can still see your abs (provided that you have developed muscles there) and still bulk, preserving your health.

    Consider this image for comparison:

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