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  1. #1
    Registered User heythereuser's Avatar
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    Previously pre-diabatic and wondering if I should bulk at 19+% BF.

    40 y/o, 5’ 5”, 139 lb, ~19% BF.

    Short term goal: 145–150 lb and 12–14% BF.

    I lifted for years in my 20s but didn’t follow through on nutrition so I gained strength but not much mass. Then some chronic joint pain led me to give it up. About 6 years ago I found out I was pre-diabetic. I think it’s mostly genetic as I’ve never been close to fat but I wasn’t eating healthy. After changing my diet I’m no longer pre-diabetic and my A1C is now at 5.5, .2% below pre-diabetic. I’ll be monitoring it every 2–3 months while bulking.

    I started lifting again 2 months ago and now I’m also counting calories and eating healthy. I’m currently eating 2300 calories; 40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat. I’m also taking creatine and BCAAs.

    With that out of the way… since I started again I’ve firmed up and I’m starting to see some muscle again but I still carry most of the fat in my stomach. Using skin calipers and photo references I think I’m somewhere around 19–21% BF.

    My instinct here is to slowly cut to 15% BF before bulking so I’m starting in a better place to not feel gross while bulking and not pushing my BF% up too much in case that puts me at greater risk for pre-diabetes again. I think as of right now I weight more than I ever have (I’m usually about 134 lbs). How much on average does someone’s BF% increase during a bulk (let’s say 6 months)?

    A trainer I was talking to at my gym told me to clean bulk which would allow me to slowly gain muscle and lose fat. I’m guessing he was talking about recomping which is more viable when you’re just starting out? Is that done by eating just above maintenance (with clean food of course).
    Last edited by heythereuser; 06-14-2022 at 08:46 PM.
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  2. #2
    Super Spreader desslok's Avatar
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    Well since you are kind of “new” again, you are a good candidate to try a recomp, you can start out right around maintenance and see if your strength is steadily increasing. Have you been gaining weight on the calories you are on? Are you on a proven lifting routine? I would suggest reading some of the stickies here as it sounds like you are going off %s.
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  3. #3
    NASM-CPT xsquid99's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by heythereuser View Post
    40 y/o, 5’ 5”, 139 lb, ~19% BF.

    Short term goal: 145–150 lb and 12–14% BF.
    Based on your stats, you would have to add roughly 15 pounds of muscle to achieve that weight at that body fat, and for someone over 40 that will take you a few years. So I would actually call that a long term goal, not short term.

    BCAA's are a waste of money if you're getting enough protein in your diet, so save the coin and put it towards something else, unless you like paying for flavored water (but there's cheaper options out there, like crystal light).

    You can't gain muscle and lose fat on a bulk. You can gain muscle and attempt to minimize fat gains if you're on a very slight surplus while following a good lifting program, but you will still end up adding *some* amount of fat. For me, bulking for my first time over age 40, for every 2 pounds I gained per month I would venture to say that 50-75% of it was fat. Looking back, I probably added 6-8 pounds of muscle in my first year of serious training at age 43, the next year was probably 3-4 pounds of muscle, then 50% less each subsequent year, etc. Thats just the reality of things.
    All it takes is consistency, effort, proper nutrition, good programming, and TIME.

    Don't be upset with the results you didn't get from the work you did not do.
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  4. #4
    Haligtree faithbrah's Avatar
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    what they said ^

    eat a minimum of 0.7g of protein & 0.4g of fat per pound of bodyweight, then fill the rest with whatever. macro ratios just overcomplicate it and there's no benefit. i'd also suggest you to ditch the concept of clean and dirty foods and replace it with satiating vs non-satiating foods
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  5. #5
    Registered User heythereuser's Avatar
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    Apologies for the confusion. I didn’t have my app with me when I posted so I just shared the macro % I use in the app. I’m eating 180g of protein and 80g of fat daily.

    My main concern really is whether my A1C reading worsens if I increase in BF%, even if I’m eating healthy while bulking.

    As for my exercise routine, I’m still developing it. I started a couple months back just working out at home on an upper/lower split doing apple fitness+ strength routines with light dumbells to ease into things again and more focusing on just living a healthier lifestyle.

    Now I’m shifting my focus to gaining muscle mass since I’ve been consistently living a healther lifestyle. I’m doing a 3-day split now: legs / chest+shoulders+triceps / back+biceps+core then resting for 2 days before repeating. I’m going to start recording my reps this week to track my strength gains. I’m doing all the typical exercises although I have to unfortunately avoid deadlifts due to my lower back issues.

    I just learned about the importance of focusing on volume for hypertrophy so I’ll just be making sure that I’m getting enough sets to failure for each muscle group.

    Also the reason I take BCAAs, and perhaps I’m wrong here, is that my protein supplement is plant-based (my stomach doesn’t tolerate whey) and my understanding is that BCAAs can make that protein more effective.
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  6. #6
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    I will touch on the DB type ll issue you are concerned about. It is completely treatable with exercise and diet changes. If you're gaining "weight" it doesn't mean you will become pre-diabetic unless there is not much muscle tissue gained to "soak" up the glucose (carbs). Try carb cycling every week to help keep insulin response healthy and if there is a genetic issue it sounds like exercise and diet has already helped (this would indicate to me your GLUT4 transporters are fine and you shouldn't worry)
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