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  1. #1
    Registered User YellowFever47's Avatar
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    Need some advice and tips

    Hi! This is my first post, signed up to post because I'm trying to get a little more serious in my diet/exercise. Basically about 5 years ago I started working out and eating better, I was 240 lbs at my max and my lowest was about 163 lbs. Did keto diet for a couple months recently and it wasn't that bad and lost a lot of weight, but I hadn't ever counted calories or macros until recently, started in April.

    Some stuff about me: Male, age: 25, 165 lbs, about 11(ish)% body fat, 5'7" and I would describe myself as an endomorph, but I know no one is a 100% one of those body types, just kinda what I've based my macros around.

    Diet: 2,100 calories a day, protein 45% = 236g/day, carbs 20% = 105g/day, fat 35% = 82g/day, fasting from 8 PM to 12 PM, 16 hours total

    Exercise: Was doing a lot of exercises at the gym, big compound ones (squats/245 lbs max, deadlifts/315 lbs max, bench press/175lbs max) and then kinda supplemented those with arms, shoulders, all that stuff. But been at home since the pandemic, so I do full body workouts 3 times a week, kick boxing 3 times a week as HIIT, and about a 1.5ish mile walk (30ish minutes) two days of the week.

    Fairly lean/fit now, but since I was much bigger before, I still have a layer of fat over my stomach and noticeable love handles+back fat (chest, arms, and legs look fine not really muscular though T^T). Of course I'm on that eternal quest for abs lol, but I've been reading a lot of articles and they differ a lot of like when to start cutting/bulking or the macro ratio (which I've been adjusting to lower the carbs since learning more about body types), so things like when will I see abs or should I not bulk until I see abs differ a lot.

    I guess what I'm asking is: should I continue to attempt to cut/lose fat or switch to bulking for a while and build the muscles and then cut after that (mostly to see abs, but also to increase strength and muscle overall)? Would love handles go away if I bulk (I know fat gain is inevitable which is why I'm a bit hesitant)?

    Sorry for the long post, but kinda feel like I've stagnated and would greatly appreciate any input or advice! Thank you!
    Last edited by YellowFever47; 06-25-2020 at 08:32 AM.
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  2. #2
    Registered User sunsean's Avatar
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    It sounds like you may be a bit off on your body composition...where did you get the 11% body fat from?

    At 5'7 165lb 11% body fat you would look really good, like amateur bodybuilder good. If you aren't seeing any abs or muscle separation your body fat is probably much higher than you think.

    For reference, in my avi I'm 160lb at 5'8, so you would look bigger/more muscular at your stats. Post a pic for the best advice, but it sounds like you're a good candidate to keep cutting.

    Re: diet, your protein is way higher than it needs to be. Minimum is .7 or .8g (depending on source) per lb. of bodyweight. So at 165 your target should be around 130-135g, you can use the other calories for more carbs/fat whatever you want. Extra protein won't hurt you but it's not necessary and might make your "diet" easier.
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    Registered User AlexSays's Avatar
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    Agreed, if you cant see your abs at that size and weight then you are not 11%. At 11% you shouldn't really have love handles or any meaningful 'layer' of belly fat.

    If you are going by a 'bodyfat scale' or callipers please note that these are desperately inaccurate and not even worth using. A photo would indeed be a big help.

    Either way from your lifts it sounds like you probably have at least some mass. I would say it's worth it to keep cutting until you're in the mid-low teens (until you begin to see decent muscle definition, little to no love handles and a reasonable outline of your abs depending on your body's fat distribution) at least before you go on a mass gain phase.
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    Registered User YellowFever47's Avatar
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    Hey thanks for the replies! For measuring body fat I've been doing 3 things, well 4 I guess: calipers and bodybuildling.com's BF calculator, the handheld Omron BF reader, a Renpho bluetooth scale that measures weight/BF and records it in an app, and then also just visual comparisons to other people.

    The calipers/BF calculator say 9-10% (which I always knew was wrong lol), the BF reader ranges from about 11-13%, and the scale typically says 13.5% BF (so kinda averaged those out, my b lol). But yeah when I look at comparison pictures to other people I can't see myself being any lower than like 15% BF, if that really.

    To be fair, I haven't been able to go to the gym for months now, so for sure whatever I can lift has gone down, which is fine really, like I said I'm just on that eternal quest for abs T^T. But I would eventually like to lift more and have a lot more muscle/muscle definition.

    Feels like I've jut kinda stagnated, although it's 100% my fault for not counting calories/macros until recently, always just made sure to eat healthy and not overeat for these past 5 years.

    Pics attached, please excuse the emojis, I'm still pretty self conscious lol.
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    Registered User Luclin999's Avatar
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    With as little visibly developed muscle as you have, that is more like 20% BF.

    You have about 15 pounds of fat to lose to get into the "lean" range ATM.
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    First of all reduce your calories. You don't require that much of protein. Secondly keep your carbs under 50 grams and add healthy carbs like non startchy vegetables, nuts and seeds. Increase your fat intake. It should be healthy fats, like butter, ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, avacado oil etc. Eat fatty beef, pork, whole eggs. You can go for lean bulking. Bulking doesn't mean getting fat, what it actually means getting more muscular.
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    Originally Posted by YellowFever47 View Post
    Hey thanks for the replies! For measuring body fat I've been doing 3 things, well 4 I guess: calipers and bodybuildling.com's BF calculator, the handheld Omron BF reader, a Renpho bluetooth scale that measures weight/BF and records it in an app, and then also just visual comparisons to other people.

    The calipers/BF calculator say 9-10% (which I always knew was wrong lol), the BF reader ranges from about 11-13%, and the scale typically says 13.5% BF (so kinda averaged those out, my b lol). But yeah when I look at comparison pictures to other people I can't see myself being any lower than like 15% BF, if that really.

    To be fair, I haven't been able to go to the gym for months now, so for sure whatever I can lift has gone down, which is fine really, like I said I'm just on that eternal quest for abs T^T. But I would eventually like to lift more and have a lot more muscle/muscle definition.

    Feels like I've jut kinda stagnated, although it's 100% my fault for not counting calories/macros until recently, always just made sure to eat healthy and not overeat for these past 5 years.

    Pics attached, please excuse the emojis, I'm still pretty self conscious lol.
    Yeah, unfortunately I think your estimate of 11% is on the low side. Closer to 20ish I'd guess.

    How long have you been eating 2100 calories and what has your weight done in that time?

    I vote keep cutting. Get the excess fat down a bit, then focus on bulking up. But you should absolutely get back to the gym and do heavy resistance training as soon as possible. That, along with diet, will do more for your body composition than anything, it's very important to the whole process.

    Oh and don't listen to the guy above about carbs. You don't have to keep them below 50 unless you're intentionally doing keto, which isn't necessary to reach your goals.
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    Registered User Luclin999's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rajesh36 View Post
    First of all reduce your calories. You don't require that much of protein. Secondly keep your carbs under 50 grams and add healthy carbs like non startchy vegetables, nuts and seeds. Increase your fat intake. It should be healthy fats, like butter, ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, avacado oil etc. Eat fatty beef, pork, whole eggs. You can go for lean bulking. Bulking doesn't mean getting fat, what it actually means getting more muscular.
    Ignore the bolded parts from his advice.

    He's basically telling you to go on Keto (which is totally not necessary at all for fat loss).
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  9. #9
    Registered User YellowFever47's Avatar
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    Yeah I was kinda figuring those estimates were off.

    Been eating 2,100 calories for about 4 months now and I have seen some progress around my stomach and love handles, got a little more definition on my arms and chest too, went from 168 lbs to 165 lbs. So definitely progress, just kind of slow maybe?

    All these TDEE calculators are also giving me some pretty different answers too, like how many calories to eat per day/how many to eat to lose weight/the macro ratio and all of that.

    I like to think I've at least kinda been on track since April and I really appreciate your advice!

    And one of my concerns I guess has been since I lost a lot of weight if I'm seeing loose/excess skin around my stomach/love handles? I may need to go see an expert in person for that question though lol.
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  10. #10
    Registered User Luclin999's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by YellowFever47 View Post
    Yeah I was kinda figuring those estimates were off.

    Been eating 2,100 calories for about 4 months now and I have seen some progress around my stomach and love handles, got a little more definition on my arms and chest too, went from 168 lbs to 165 lbs. So definitely progress, just kind of slow maybe?

    All these TDEE calculators are also giving me some pretty different answers too, like how many calories to eat per day/how many to eat to lose weight/the macro ratio and all of that.

    I like to think I've at least kinda been on track since April and I really appreciate your advice!

    And one of my concerns I guess has been since I lost a lot of weight if I'm seeing loose/excess skin around my stomach/love handles? I may need to go see an expert in person for that question though lol.
    If you are around 20% BF (and it looks like you are) , then your lean mass is just 129-130 pounds which puts your BMR at about 1640 and your TDEE at roughly 2100-2200 cal/day.

    Meaning that to lose a pound per week you would need to eat at a true 1600-1700 cal/day.
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    Registered User sunsean's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by YellowFever47 View Post
    Yeah I was kinda figuring those estimates were off.

    Been eating 2,100 calories for about 4 months now and I have seen some progress around my stomach and love handles, got a little more definition on my arms and chest too, went from 168 lbs to 165 lbs. So definitely progress, just kind of slow maybe?

    All these TDEE calculators are also giving me some pretty different answers too, like how many calories to eat per day/how many to eat to lose weight/the macro ratio and all of that.

    I like to think I've at least kinda been on track since April and I really appreciate your advice!

    And one of my concerns I guess has been since I lost a lot of weight if I'm seeing loose/excess skin around my stomach/love handles? I may need to go see an expert in person for that question though lol.
    3lb lost over 4 months is a VERY small deficit, practically non-existent. You can safely lose about 1% of your bodyweight every week without risking muscle loss. So you can lose 1.5lb/week comfortably.

    I think it's time to drop those calories down. Try 1800 and see if you can manage that for a month, and report back your results. Do as much resistance training as possible with as much resistance as possible. If you lose weight without lifting weights, you will lose both muscle and fat, which isn't the goal for better body composition.

    Re: the excess skin, not much you can do about it. Just lose weight/fat the old fashioned way, and once you get lean if you still have the loose skin you can see a doctor.
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    If you have lost 3lb in 4 months then you need to reduce calories (unless you want to be cutting for nearly 2 years if we assume Luclin's estimate of 15lb loss)

    You are definitely closer to 20% bodyfat, drop those 15lb then you really need to start gaining some mass
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  13. #13
    Registered User YellowFever47's Avatar
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    Well looks like I was way off lol. I'll reduce my calories, hopefully I can get back to the gym soon too, they're operating on reduced hours and my job is little sporadic, but I'm pretty sure I can get back soon.

    Thank you for the replies, I really appreciate your guys' advice and this has helped a lot!
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  14. #14
    Registered User Luclin999's Avatar
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    Everyone overestimates how much muscle (lean mass) they have and underestimates their fat. Especially the first time that they try to get truly lean. That tends to throw off their numbers for TDEE as well as their expectations for just how much they really have to lose.

    We've pretty much all done it ourselves at some point as well.
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