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  1. #1
    Registered User DLMTAG's Avatar
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    Hit plateau need help: bulk/recomp/change plan?

    Stats:
    Pics attached.
    42 yo
    Female
    Height: 5'3"
    Weight: 107 - 108lbs

    Lift 3x per week (lower 1 day / upper 1 day / mix 1 day - trainer has me do max reps/ combo of drop sets and super sets)
    Cardio 5x per week - Mets 6-8


    No idea what my body fat percentage might be - estimates would also be appreciated as the methods I've used are all over the board!
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    Last edited by DLMTAG; 11-24-2021 at 11:24 AM.
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    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    Did you get measurably stronger during that time? If so then perhaps you can expect the weight gained to be muscle - but a "clean" diet on it's own is no guarantee that it is.

    I don't see the rationale for eating more and doing more cardio. If your goal is fat loss, you need to be in a calorie deficit - but doing it that way is just making it much harder than it needs to be and possibly compromising your recovery from weight training and your potential for gaining muscle.
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    Registered User DLMTAG's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    Did you get measurably stronger during that time? If so then perhaps you can expect the weight gained to be muscle - but a "clean" diet on it's own is no guarantee that it is.

    I don't see the rationale for eating more and doing more cardio. If your goal is fat loss, you need to be in a calorie deficit - but doing it that way is just making it much harder than it needs to be and possibly compromising your recovery from weight training and your potential for gaining muscle.

    Yes, I did make noticeable gains -- particularly to quads/glutes, hams... Upper body is stronger but not as defined as lower body/noticeable in terms of gains. I've leaned out for sure from when I started, but at this stage I feel I am no longer losing fat, but I am also not putting on muscle -- strength has now remained stable (no increase in strength/weights) over the last 2-3 months.
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    NASM-CPT xsquid99's Avatar
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    What is your goal? Need to be specific here as it will drive what you do with your nutrition and programming.

    Generally speaking, adding muscle and losing fat are somewhat opposing goals. If you're trying to lean down you need to be in a sustained caloric deficit, but if you're trying to add muscle a small calorie surplus usually serves people better, especially with someone who is at the lower end of their healthy BMI range.

    So yeah, need to figure out exactly what is is you're after, and then take action to accomplish that goal.
    Last edited by xsquid99; 11-24-2021 at 03:39 PM.
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    Registered User DLMTAG's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by xsquid99 View Post
    What is your goal? Need to be specific here as it will drive what you do with your nutrition and programming.

    Generally speaking, adding muscle and losing fat are somewhat opposing goals. If you're trying to lean down you need to be in a sustained caloric deficit, but if you're trying to add muscle a small calorie surplus usually serves people better, especially with someone who is at the lower end of their healthy BMI range.

    So yeah, need to figure out exactly what is is you're after, and then take action to accomplish that goal.
    Makes sense and sorry I didn't state that at the outset. I would say my goal is to add muscle. While I would like to lower my body fat even more, I don't think it's realistic for any sustained period of time given my current weight, calorie intake and activity level. Out of curiosity - what would you estimate my body fat percentage to be?
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    Registered User Darkius's Avatar
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    My guess is 20%, which is lean healthy for a woman, hence recomp no longer working so well.

    Taking a break from the deficit sounds good. I read you should gradually increase calories and gain as much strength during maintainence as you can before you bump up to a 100 calorie surplus.



    When I say 20%, I mean not 15% or 25%. I don't know more precisely than that. Two people at 20% can look very different depening how much muscle they have.
    Novice lifter who sticks to the basics 3x per week but likes to theorize about improvements while recovering.
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    NASM-CPT xsquid99's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DLMTAG View Post
    Makes sense and sorry I didn't state that at the outset. I would say my goal is to add muscle. While I would like to lower my body fat even more, I don't think it's realistic for any sustained period of time given my current weight, calorie intake and activity level. Out of curiosity - what would you estimate my body fat percentage to be?
    I'd probably put you in the low 20's bodyfat wise, maybe 21-23% give or take a little. If the goal is muscle growth then perhaps its time to focus on eating in a very slight caloric surplus, with no more than about 1 pound of gain per month for someone your size.

    If you're only lifting 3 days a week if I were training you I would probably put you on a 3x a week full body routine or maybe even suggest that you would benefit more by even considering going to a 4x per week U/L/U/L split, with heavy focus on the major compound lifts (bench, squat, OHP, RDL, pendlay row, etc). Most of my clients see the greatest benefits hitting every muscle group 2-3x per week and I track progress on their reps and weight to ensure progressive overload, sometimes thats really hard to do when doing things like dropsets.
    All it takes is consistency, effort, proper nutrition, good programming, and TIME.
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  8. #8
    Registered User Darkius's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DLMTAG View Post
    Makes sense and sorry I didn't state that at the outset. I would say my goal is to add muscle. While I would like to lower my body fat even more, I don't think it's realistic for any sustained period of time given my current weight, calorie intake and activity level. Out of curiosity - what would you estimate my body fat percentage to be?
    https://youtu.be/EuUh0fkmbyU

    Plenty of studies found people building muscle in a calorie deficit.

    Choosing pure bulk or pure cut will show you faster changes on a weighing scale, but recomposition both directions is mathematically possible, and seen in calorie deficit studies.
    Many advanced people say they have to alternate.

    The key is resistance training that brings each muscle close to failure, and not eating more than 100-200 calories above maintainence or more than 500 below maintainence in your case.

    Your hormones are likely optimal around 20% body fat, and a man's are likely optimal around 12-17%. Stay inside your range and your recomp should go faster.


    Even though 1% loss per week can be done without muscle loss, there still is risk, and a slower loss has more chance of muscle gain, but not as fast a gain as from a bulk. Do 100 surplus if you want, or maintainence. They both head the right direction.



    Even if I knew alternating is faster, I bet recomp is healthier for your joints unless you are obese.
    Last edited by Darkius; 11-27-2021 at 02:36 PM.
    Novice lifter who sticks to the basics 3x per week but likes to theorize about improvements while recovering.
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