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View Full Version : Was skinny, now Skinny-Fat



nmSOL27
10-08-2011, 11:07 AM
Hi there everyone,

I have toyed around with bodybuilding in the past, but I recently tried to get serious about it in the last 2.5 months. I am 6'3 and started out at 165 pounds (i know). However, I was a professional tennis instructor and I at least felt comfortable in by own skin and was not a fat-ass. I was, however, tired of being a skinny person and I decided to bulk up. I picked a good routine, the 3 day split full body hypertrophy routine in the "5 laws of big" article on this website. Lots of compound movements, etc. I am one of the weakest guys in the gym, (bench 135, squat less than my bodyweight), but I have been hitting it really hard and have improved my strength by like 20 pounds on my major lifts in the last several months.

During the first 2 months, I didn't count calories, only protien, and I tried to eat "clean" but now that I look back on it I ate a bunch of shit too. I shot up to 178 in 2 months. For the last two weeks I have been using fitday . com and have been counting calories and protien.

The issue is however,....put on at least as fuch fat as muscle, probably more. I am now up to 180 lbs, but half of the mass I gained has manifest in a nice, big, ring of fat above my ass in my gut and love handles. It looks rediculious. My arms, shoulders, and legs have grown visibly, but the most obvious thing is that I now look like a skinny-fat person. You can even see it in my face. My frame is so narrow that even a few pounds of fat just explodes into view. It is absurd.

Last night, I even realized that I have lost confidence in the bedroom with my wife. It didn't used to be like that. I am not comfortable with the way I look. And I am not one of those tools who gets mad if they can't see their "RIPPED ABZ, YO". Literally, my bulk went wrong and I gained a ton of fat.

The problem is, I am still so skinny that If I cut down to a reasonable BF, then I may lose all of my hard-earned strength and the small but visible amout of muscle I have gained.

The weird thing is, I don't think I was even eating that many calories! Like, on fitday I am eating around 240 g's of protien a day and about 3000 cals total! That is supposidly above my maintinance, but I suspect I am still gaining fat. I have always been like this, the smallest amount of surplus of cals goes to fat. I hate to admit it, but I have the worst build for BBing -- the dreaded ecto-endo. My grandpa was 350 pounds when he died. My dad used to be a stud pro cyclist and now he is fat too. I do not want to follow in the footsteps of my dad (tennis player-to-fatass).

I know I should probably bulk but I have no confidence in my appearance. I watch videos of Arnold and Zane from the 70s; those guys are my heros and inspirations. One moment, I am excited about bulking, but then I see my disgusting fat ass ring of nastyness and then I want to cut.

I need to sort out my priorities. What should I do?

Thanks

JacobH
10-08-2011, 12:38 PM
Nobody can tell you what you should do, because you have to decide what you want. But I can tell you that if I were in your shoes, and it was affecting my self confidence, etc, that much, I would do a fairly low calorie cut and then basically restart your bulk but do it muuuuchh slower. If your body truly works like you say it does, you will have to monitor your calories very carefully. I would personally only increase calories by maybe 250. Also if you keep at it in the gym and be consistent with your calories and macros you wont lose too much of your har earned muscle.

Behemoth
10-08-2011, 01:25 PM
You only gained 15lbs, you didn't get that fat. You feel that way because you've always been so small. If you want to get rid of it, it's simple. Just do what you did to get there in less portion. Track your food but just eat less of it. OR... Since you were 165 before without toying with your diet just simply go back to that lifestyle. Your weight will slowly fall back down and probably with a few extra pounds of muscle now too.

In the future you need to remember that you're going to have to accept at least a little fat gain for a while if you want to put on significant amounts of muscle.

tommygunz90
10-08-2011, 01:48 PM
Id suggest that maybe you should cut back your calories to maintenance for a while if you are so concerned with it and get to a reasonable body fat percentage at your weight that you feel comfortable with, and then bulk again if you feel the need.

As behemoth said you couldn't have gained to much fat if you've only gained 15lbs. Continue lifting heavy. And just keep working at it.

From my standpoint before I was working out at all I was 190lbs. I decided to lift heavy and go overboard on cardio and in 3 months my body weight dropped down to 168. I looked pretty goood being 5 9 and around 11% body fat but I soon felt the need to gain weigt. I worked my way up to 190 lbs again and I look far better then the 190 fat lbs I began at. I always debate cutting but decided not to until I reach 200lbs. Maybe you'd be best to set a goal to reach and cut down your weight after you've grown significant amount of muscles.

Don't fear of being the fat man you think about for your future, because only you can control that.

IronRanger
10-08-2011, 04:26 PM
but I have been hitting it really hard and have improved my strength by like 20 pounds on my major lifts in the last several months.

Were you having form issues? Problems with flexibility? Mental blocks? I'm all for slower progression, but 20 pounds added to the main lifts in several months, unless you're an advanced lifter, is mighty slow.

What program are you using? Do you keep a log of your lifting sessions?

nmSOL27
10-08-2011, 05:04 PM
"Were you having form issues? Problems with flexibility? Mental blocks? I'm all for slower progression, but 20 pounds added to the main lifts in several months, unless you're an advanced lifter, is mighty slow.

What program are you using? Do you keep a log of your lifting sessions?"

I am using a good program, its a 3 day full body hypertrophy split from one of the articles on this sight "the laws of big" or something like that. I record my lifts religiously in a log.

Actually, I think an issue in the slow strength gains has been that for the first 8 weeks I thought I was hitting it hard but I wasn't. I watched pumping iron a week and a half ago and I saw the intensity that those guys hit the weights with and I realized that I was halfassing it by comparison. So since then I have really been busting my ass on every lift. I know there is room for improvement in my intensity though. It really is an art to be able for mentally force yourself through the pain barrier. I am getting the hang of that aspect though.

Maybe I will get stronger faster now that I am hitting the weights harder.

IronRanger
10-08-2011, 05:38 PM
I am using a good program, its a 3 day full body hypertrophy split from one of the articles on this sight "the laws of big" or something like that. I record my lifts religiously in a log.

Yea, I actually read that in your original post, but it didn't register.


So since then I have really been busting my ass on every lift.

Work the rep ranges of the program and, as long as your form is good, add weight to the bar every time you enter the gym. Obviously, adding weight every time might not be possible, but make it a goal.

nmSOL27
10-08-2011, 06:31 PM
Ya maybe I should set a goal of lifting a certian weight before I cut. Maybe I should aim to put on some more muscle. I go back and forth it really is frustrating.

In high school I was a fatass with bi*tch tits and a huge gut. Then I started playing tennis for literally 6+ hours a day and the fat melted off in a matter of months. I was actually a really good looking guy for that period of time, but still skinny as phuck.

Now im in law school and have adult responsibilities, etc. No more time for tennis except once a week. All my effort goes to the gym. Jesus it is just so hard for me to put on muscle. I curse this damned ecto-endo genetics I have. Some guys seem to just explode by simply touching a weight.

IronRanger
10-08-2011, 06:47 PM
Right now, you don't need a calorie surplus, IMO. If you decide you do, I'd go for +200 calories. You can always adjust it up. This is a more conservative approach, but will minimize fat gain.

If you decide to cut, I'd stay in the lower rep ranges for CNS adaptive gains. It's also realistic to gain muscle while cutting fat, especially since you're a newbie. Aim for a gram/lb of bodyweight in protein. If you're interested, there are recomp/cut diets which is simply +20% of maintenance on lift days and -40% on nonworkout days. It's worked very well for me in the past.

Flip-flopping programs or goals are the bane of a lot of weightlifters. Only you can decide what's best for you at any certain time. We're here to help once you decide.

Holto
10-11-2011, 01:35 PM
Jesus it is just so hard for me to put on muscle.

I think you'll find if you really focus on your intensity that you'll find your core lifts are going up every week. Once you lock that in for consecutive weeks I think you'll find a huge difference in your results.

nmSOL27
10-14-2011, 01:21 AM
Thanks Holto, I do feel like I am starting to hit that intensity level now in my lifts. I am really clamping down and going as hard as I can. It just sucks carrying around this spare tire. Here are some pics. As you can see, especially in the front relaxed, I have very little muscle mass and it creates a lack of shape to my body with this high bf. It was amazing how much better I looked at 10% bf, even though I still had puny muscles.

Off Road
10-14-2011, 08:15 AM
Your diet should really follow your intensity levels. A guy just starting to squat will find it difficult for sure, but he's really not squatting with a high intensity yet. That comes with time under the bar. The lifter will keep gaining on the squat week after week for a long while before he starts to stall. That's the point where his intensity is enough to start 'bulking' and he will use the extra food to fuel further strength gains.

nmSOL27
10-14-2011, 10:37 AM
Thanks OffRoad. The mental aspect of training is much deeper than I once thought

nmSOL27
10-14-2011, 12:58 PM
Any thoughts based off of the pics? I feel like I have conflicting priorities, I can not stick with a goal. I do like seeing extra mass up top around the shoulders and back, but I also dispise the gut and lovehandles.

brihead301
10-14-2011, 06:16 PM
Any thoughts based off of the pics? I feel like I have conflicting priorities, I can not stick with a goal. I do like seeing extra mass up top around the shoulders and back, but I also dispise the gut and lovehandles.

Judging by your pictures, I would say that you defintely are not "skinny fat", nor are you excessively scrawny, nor excessively fat. You actually just look AVERAGE IMO. You don't look like you work out, but you also don't look terribly out of shape. That's no big deal....with some effort and consistency you can fix that! Notice I said CONSISTENCY!

Here is exactly what I would do, if I were you:

1.) Hit the gym 3 - 4 days a week, and follow a good pre-made program that includes all the major and important lifts: Squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press, barbell rows, and chinups. You don't need to really focus on isolation lifts too much (only do a few sets at the end of each work if you absolutely feel you must do them).

If you're a total noob to training, especially total body training (legs included), then I'd start with the "Starting strength" program, stick to that for about 3 months, then move on to either HCT-12, 5/3/1, BGB, or one of the WBB programs.

2.) Eat exactly 2500 calories per day (plus or minus 50 either way). Of those calories, make sure it is constituted of at least 200 grams of protien. Eat a mixture of carbs and fats to account for the rest of the calories. Do this for a whole month straight. If, after an entire month of consistently training and following this solid diet, you find that you are not moving in the direction you want (either you're gaining too much weight too quickly, or losing too much weight too quickly), then make minor adjustments to your daily caloric intake. Only make adjustments of 200 calories at a time....so if you find that you need to add more calories, then opt for 2700 calories per day (still hitting your minimum 200 grams of protien of course!) and vise-versa if you find you need to lower your calories.

3.) Always keep the caloric intake consistent, and always hit your minimum grams of protien no matter what you are doing (cutting, bulking, or maintaining). Only make small adjustments of about 150 - 200 calories at a time, and only make these adjustments once a month.

4.) Space out your meals over 3 - 6 meals per day. I personally like to do 3 solid meals, with protien shakes in between meals.

5.) Do cardio! Many may disagree with me here, especially the guys that like to bulk up a lot, then cut....personally, I found that once I started consistently doing cardio (key word: consistently), then managing my physique was very easy! The trick is to choose a form of cardio that you actually enjoy doing, and it will be easy for you to stick to. Whether it's basketball, running, soccer, swimming, martial arts, boxing, bike riding, etc...just anything that makes you sweat, and you enjoy (I think I read that you liked Tennis...so there ya go!). My personal choice is Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

6.) Stick to this solid training and proper dieting consistently for a whole year, and I guarantee you that you will have unbelieveably amazing results. Stick to it for 5 years, and you will be f***ing JACKED!!!

Behemoth
10-14-2011, 08:30 PM
Judging by your pictures, I would say that you defintely are not "skinny fat", nor are you excessively scrawny, nor excessively fat. You actually just look AVERAGE IMO. You don't look like you work out, but you also don't look terribly out of shape. That's no big deal....with some effort and consistency you can fix that! Notice I said CONSISTENCY!

Here is exactly what I would do, if I were you:

1.) Hit the gym 3 - 4 days a week, and follow a good pre-made program that includes all the major and important lifts: Squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press, barbell rows, and chinups. You don't need to really focus on isolation lifts too much (only do a few sets at the end of each work if you absolutely feel you must do them).

If you're a total noob to training, especially total body training (legs included), then I'd start with the "Starting strength" program, stick to that for about 3 months, then move on to either HCT-12, 5/3/1, BGB, or one of the WBB programs.

2.) Eat exactly 2500 calories per day (plus or minus 50 either way). Of those calories, make sure it is constituted of at least 200 grams of protien. Eat a mixture of carbs and fats to account for the rest of the calories. Do this for a whole month straight. If, after an entire month of consistently training and following this solid diet, you find that you are not moving in the direction you want (either you're gaining too much weight too quickly, or losing too much weight too quickly), then make minor adjustments to your daily caloric intake. Only make adjustments of 200 calories at a time....so if you find that you need to add more calories, then opt for 2700 calories per day (still hitting your minimum 200 grams of protien of course!) and vise-versa if you find you need to lower your calories.

3.) Always keep the caloric intake consistent, and always hit your minimum grams of protien no matter what you are doing (cutting, bulking, or maintaining). Only make small adjustments of about 150 - 200 calories at a time, and only make these adjustments once a month.

4.) Space out your meals over 3 - 6 meals per day. I personally like to do 3 solid meals, with protien shakes in between meals.

5.) Do cardio! Many may disagree with me here, especially the guys that like to bulk up a lot, then cut....personally, I found that once I started consistently doing cardio (key word: consistently), then managing my physique was very easy! The trick is to choose a form of cardio that you actually enjoy doing, and it will be easy for you to stick to. Whether it's basketball, running, soccer, swimming, martial arts, boxing, bike riding, etc...just anything that makes you sweat, and you enjoy (I think I read that you liked Tennis...so there ya go!). My personal choice is Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

6.) Stick to this solid training and proper dieting consistently for a whole year, and I guarantee you that you will have unbelieveably amazing results. Stick to it for 5 years, and you will be f***ing JACKED!!!

I like #1
#2
#3
#4 except I would say 2-6
and #6

#5 I think it comes down to the person. Some people may have better success just controlling weight through diet and training. But yeah, definitely some people will have better success also using cardio. I don't think it's a definitive one way or the other for everyone though.

nmSOL27
10-15-2011, 02:27 AM
Thanks guys! Man, the advice here is so much better than over at bodybuilding . com. Seems to be dominated by jersey-shore type guys and tennage bro's. I really appreciate the thoughtful commentary.

brihead301
10-15-2011, 01:34 PM
#5 I think it comes down to the person. Some people may have better success just controlling weight through diet and training. But yeah, definitely some people will have better success also using cardio. I don't think it's a definitive one way or the other for everyone though.

I agree. I was just pointing out that it made a dramatic improvement for me, once I started incorporating cardio, but yes, some people can achieve their goals with just dieting and training alone.

nmSOL27
10-15-2011, 08:21 PM
Judging by your pictures, I would say that you defintely are not "skinny fat", nor are you excessively scrawny, nor excessively fat. You actually just look AVERAGE IMO. You don't look like you work out, but you also don't look terribly out of shape. That's no big deal....with some effort and consistency you can fix that! Notice I said CONSISTENCY!

Here is exactly what I would do, if I were you:

1.) Hit the gym 3 - 4 days a week, and follow a good pre-made program that includes all the major and important lifts: Squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press, barbell rows, and chinups. You don't need to really focus on isolation lifts too much (only do a few sets at the end of each work if you absolutely feel you must do them).

If you're a total noob to training, especially total body training (legs included), then I'd start with the "Starting strength" program, stick to that for about 3 months, then move on to either HCT-12, 5/3/1, BGB, or one of the WBB programs.

2.) Eat exactly 2500 calories per day (plus or minus 50 either way). Of those calories, make sure it is constituted of at least 200 grams of protien. Eat a mixture of carbs and fats to account for the rest of the calories. Do this for a whole month straight. If, after an entire month of consistently training and following this solid diet, you find that you are not moving in the direction you want (either you're gaining too much weight too quickly, or losing too much weight too quickly), then make minor adjustments to your daily caloric intake. Only make adjustments of 200 calories at a time....so if you find that you need to add more calories, then opt for 2700 calories per day (still hitting your minimum 200 grams of protien of course!) and vise-versa if you find you need to lower your calories.

3.) Always keep the caloric intake consistent, and always hit your minimum grams of protien no matter what you are doing (cutting, bulking, or maintaining). Only make small adjustments of about 150 - 200 calories at a time, and only make these adjustments once a month.

4.) Space out your meals over 3 - 6 meals per day. I personally like to do 3 solid meals, with protien shakes in between meals.

5.) Do cardio! Many may disagree with me here, especially the guys that like to bulk up a lot, then cut....personally, I found that once I started consistently doing cardio (key word: consistently), then managing my physique was very easy! The trick is to choose a form of cardio that you actually enjoy doing, and it will be easy for you to stick to. Whether it's basketball, running, soccer, swimming, martial arts, boxing, bike riding, etc...just anything that makes you sweat, and you enjoy (I think I read that you liked Tennis...so there ya go!). My personal choice is Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

6.) Stick to this solid training and proper dieting consistently for a whole year, and I guarantee you that you will have unbelieveably amazing results. Stick to it for 5 years, and you will be f***ing JACKED!!!

So, which direction would you advise me to go, once I have stayed on 2500 per day for a month. Should I go for fat loss or for muscle growth?

brihead301
10-16-2011, 02:51 AM
So, which direction would you advise me to go, once I have stayed on 2500 per day for a month. Should I go for fat loss or for muscle growth?

Personally, I'm not into the whole bulking and cutting thing. I pretty much just maintain at around 175 - 180 @ 5'11". I'm in very good shape (pretty strong for my size, single digit bodyfat, have a very muscular look), but not huge by any means. Initially, I bulked up to about 220 lbs., got pretty strong, and then did one major cut down to my current weight. I was pretty fat when I was 220, and I was pretty damn ripped when I did the major cut. I honestly think I could have just saved myself the trouble and never did that bulk though. That entire bulk and cut lasted about 2 years. I could just as easily spent that 2 years just eating right at about 2500 calories per day, doing cardio, and lifting consistently to get stronger and I would have probably had the same results in the end.

What I would do if I were you, would be just get started and then take it from there. You will really learn a lot along the way. The fact that you will be going from not lifting at all, and probably never really following a diet of any sort to a lifestyle of lifting and dieting will give you dramatic results. You will be shocked at how easy it actually is IF you are willing to put in the consistent work, and STICK WITH IT.

There's so much information out there, and it definitely can be confusing if you've never done it before, but really just hit the gym hard, and eat right...get started NOW, and you will figure out lots of things along the way. Simply eating 2500 calories per day, with 200 grams of protien every day, along with consistent lifting will give you great results though! Over time, you will start to learn your body, and you will learn how to gain a little size here and there if you want (by slightly increasing calories), or burn a little fat here (by lowering calories)....but overall, time and consistency will be your biggest factor in your success.