I've made some good progress these past few months.
I'm 36 5'10 180 and just got serious about lifting weights these past 6 months. I've gone from a relative total weakling to the current 5 rep maxes. I know they're still pretty puny but from whence I came it seems like allot.
Deadlift 225x6, 245x2
ATF Squat 175x5
Military(first rep is a push press to get me going) 130x5
I've put on a good amount of muscle I think but also a good amount of fat as well. I'd estimate myself anywhere between 17-19% BF. Mostly in my gut. I wanted to bulk through Christmas and then cut but everything is getting so damn tight on me I feel bloated and gross.
I seem to have a hard time gaining muscle but don't have too fast of a metabolism either. I was able to put on muscle by hitting about 3300-3500 calories a day.
My plan is to reduce calories to about 500 below maintenance (around 2200 a day) and keep it to allot of small meals and clean protein and carbs (high carbs only pre and post workout). I do have one question. Is there a recommended amount of calories to go below maintenance to keep muscle? Is it not good to drop below 500 calories and maintain muscle?
I'm hoping to loose about 10 pounds and keep all of my gains that I've earned. I still think I have some legs in Squats and Deads so am hoping I can still push the weight up even while cutting.
My plan is to get down to 12% and then go back to bulking.
Thanks all for any comments/advice!
To be honest, I'd go a clean bulk to 200 if you can. You're going to lose some strength and muscle when you cut, you want to have enough that when you do cut, you don't look like you did before you started lifting.
How much did you weigh pre-lifting?
I agree with FeelMyLats. 5'10" and 180lbs is still pretty skinny.
Currently I am in the same boat as you. Pants are getting tight and I feel fat. But the more I bulk, the better results I will get after the following cut phrase. Keep at it man, and just keep in mind that you are gaining muscle along with the fat.
The mentality of wanting to have a low BF% is what kept me a skinny weakling for 10 years. Now I learned that you got to get big before getting ripped. Beefcake!!!
If you're in the 15-17% range of body fat I'd stop right there and cut. Fat cells, once created, will NEVER go away...just get smaller as you drop body fat. I, personally, would maintain for 2 weeks to stabilize fat/hormone levels at your current weight and then do a mini-cut to 10-12%....back up to 15%, down to 10%. It'll seem slower than getting totally huge and then dieting down, etc. but it'll be worth it in the long run.
Wow two different opinions here.
I was maybe 160 when I first started. Body fat 13-14% I'd say and almost no muscle tone (kind of skinny and fat at the same time - the WORST possible build imaginable).
If I continue to bulk I'll soon be at 20% BF or higher. Was hoping I could maintain all my gains and drop 5-10 pounds of fat and then go back into a bulk.
If I cut and loose all my gains that will really put a damper on things though.
losing 5 lbs isn't cutting bro. 5 lbs wouldn't take you to 10%. At your height and weight, you should be somewhere around 160-165 for 10%. But remember, muscle weighs more than fat, so you may not have to lose as much weight as you think.
It is true that once fat cells form, they never go away. But if you CLEAN bulk, which I stated in my first post, you shouldn't put on too many fat cells to begin with. All I'm saying is I wouldn't start cutting just yet. In the end, it's up to you and the goals you have in mind to build the type of body you want. If you feel it's time to cut, cut.
If done properly, you dont have to lose any muscle at all. People that do experience a muscle loss often reduce their calories too drastically and dont get enough protein. On top of that, they dont lift heavy enough to keep strength gains coming. And then the rest of it is genetic. Some people just have an ability to retain LBM.
If you want to cut without losing muscle, drop kcals by 250-500 and see if you lose weight. If you do, keep those total kcals untill you stop losing weight. Drop another 250 and so on. The most important thing for you will be trying your best to maintain your 5x5 lifts youre doing. But dont settle on the idea to just keep them the same. Try your best to increase them. If you can increase your lifts while on a cut, its a very good sign you arent losing muscle mass. You might even be building muscle slowly at the expense of body fat for energy. Remember that 2,000-2,500kcals = 1 lb of lean tissue and about 3,500kcals = 1 lb of fat. Cutting kcals too quickly is not a good idea.
I should note, while counting kcals works, some people dont like to do it. And you dont have to. Take me for example. While Im bulking, I drink about 1 gallon of whole milk daily while eating whatever I feel like. When I decide to go back on a cut, Im going to slowly drop the milk to where Im not drinking it anymore while I continue to just eat what Im used to, making sure theres enough protein in there. I will probably just be able to eat whenever I feel like it and whatever I want since I will be down about 2,400 kcals from the milk. With extra food being injested to make up for some of the milk, I would still see a reduction of more than 1,000kcals if I ate mostly lean food with less total kcals than something really kcal dense. And instead of eating to complete fullness and then some, I could just eat untill I am almost full. With moderate cardio if I feel like it, this approach would drop body fat and I'd be satisfied and not starving.
Theres lots of ways to cut. But the key is still to make sure its slowly done and not all at once. The same goes for bulking. If you all of a sudden up your kcals by a couple thousand, chances are youll experience more of a fat gain than if you had just upped it slowly.
Thanks for all the responses! They've been helpful.