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  1. #1
    Registered User AMarieV's Avatar
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    Skinny-Fat: Help me end my confusion once and for all

    I am a petite person and my goal is to define my muscles while shedding a layer of fat- particularly on my upper arms. I still want to maintain being petite and I feel bulking is not the best option for me. (I HATE how I feel when I over eat) My question is should I be eating at a deficit or a surplus for this goal? I went to a lab to have my RMR done and is it 1082 calories a day. I work out 3-4 times a week with an upper/lower body split. I’m not always lifting progressively as my energy levels vary throughout the month. Sometimes I don’t even break out into a sweat.

    I AM SO TIRED of reading countless articles and watching videos saying to eat in a surplus or a deficit. I really need to hear from someone who’s had first hand experience or who knows of someone who has achieved similar goals. I know it takes a long time to build muscle but I really want to start seeing results.

    I have pictures posted on my profile to give you a better idea.
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  2. #2
    Registered User Fiction2Fitness's Avatar
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    Fiction2Fitness is offline
    Originally Posted by AMarieV View Post
    I am a petite person and my goal is to define my muscles while shedding a layer of fat- particularly on my upper arms. I still want to maintain being petite and I feel bulking is not the best option for me. (I HATE how I feel when I over eat) My question is should I be eating at a deficit or a surplus for this goal? I went to a lab to have my RMR done and is it 1082 calories a day. I work out 3-4 times a week with an upper/lower body split. I’m not always lifting progressively as my energy levels vary throughout the month. Sometimes I don’t even break out into a sweat.

    I AM SO TIRED of reading countless articles and watching videos saying to eat in a surplus or a deficit. I really need to hear from someone who’s had first hand experience or who knows of someone who has achieved similar goals. I know it takes a long time to build muscle but I really want to start seeing results.

    I have pictures posted on my profile to give you a better idea.
    What are your stats? Height, weight, etc. You say petite but that can be a range of height.

    Bulking and cutting cycles are often preferred because the progress is a little easier to see quicker compared to attempting something like a recomp (stay around the same weight but develop muscle while losing a little fat). Recomp can be done but it takes a long time to see the progress since the changes are subtle and done over a longer period of time. However, if you're already in the healthy weight range for your height and just want to work on definition without a cut it may be an option if you have the patience for it.
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  3. #3
    Registered User daudi81's Avatar
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    You have fat, you have muscle.

    Gaining muscle requires resistance training and is usually easier (but not required) to do in a caloric surplus.

    Losing fat requires a caloric deficit.

    That's about as simple as I can make it.

    Recomping straddles that line and does both at the same time, although usually much slower than specializing (in most cases). Just eat at, or slightly below maintenance, get in enough protein, and stay on a consistent weight training program. This is actually what Bret Contreras recommends for most of his clients.

    I like to bulk/cut because I see visible results faster but it ends up being a 3 steps forward, 1 step back process. So the jury is still out which strategy is actually faster in the end. But I'm also a guy and don't mind bulking up, so that might not be an option for you.

    Either way, it takes a LONG time of being extremely consistent with your diet and workout to see results. Unless you're extremely overweight / underweight, changes are very slow and steady. This is measured in years, not weeks or even months. If you look a little better than you did 12 months ago, then you're ahead of the curve. Compound the years, and the changes can be dramatic, but they are extremely hard to see during the journey. For example, If I look at pictures from 4-6 months ago, the difference in almost imperceptible. If I look at them from 18 months ago, the differences are obvious but not mind blowing. If I compare them to before I started, I look like a different person entirely.

    Judging by your pics, If you are worried about getting "bulky" you can rest assured that probably isn't going to happen. I would advise a simple but long term recomp, slowly adding muscle over time while staying at or slightly less body fat. Results are less noticeable, but the bulking/cutting confusion is bypassed and you can just focus on your workouts and nutrition.
    Last edited by daudi81; 02-12-2020 at 12:41 AM.
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