Originally Posted by arian11
Awesome squat workout dude!
So, I'm in a bit of a conundrum and figured I should ask a few people with more knowledge & experience on the matter for advice. So I'm coming to you!
Basically the story is that I used powerlifting as an excuse to get fat lol. I topped out at 230 lbs & 29% bf according to some bio impedance method before I decided I should make a change. I've slowly cut down during 2013 and last week I was 206 lbs & 24% bf according to 7 site caliper test. So I lost a good amount of fat but some muscle as well and during that time my squat went down but bench, deadlift and powerlifting total went up.
I want to put on muscle mass but I'm wondering how effective that process would be in my current state. Back in the day when I was more into bodybuilding I've read that really low or really high levels of bf do not allow for optimal gains in muscle mass. Would you say this idea is true? And would you say that trying to gain muscle mass at 24% bf is not going to be very effective? And if this is true, do you suggest to continue slowly cutting till I'm at more normal body fat levels? Or do you think it's possible to do a "body recomp" where I stay at ~205 lbs and try to lose some fat and gain some muscle at the same time.
Sorry it's a long read! I hope I explained everything clearly and am very interested in your thoughts on the matter. Thanks and keep up the good work.
First off, I think those are decent numbers for your first real attempt at losing fat. I calculate 17.3 lb fat loss and 6.7 lb muscle loss.
And yes, you are correct regarding the science. The higher BF% you are at, the more likely subsequent gains are going to be fat and vice versa.
Here are a few articles on the subject:
First one is really good
I would say trying to add mass at 24% will not be optimal and you would be better served by a slow cut down to 10% before attempting to add mass again.
You are currently 156.6 lean mass and 49.4 fat mass. 10% with no muscle loss would be 174.4 pounds. I know that's probably not what you want to hear, but if you diet slowly you should maintain a lot of strength and you will actually improve your wilks coefficient.
I'd split it into multiple phases. Give yourself 3 months to diet down to 190 and stick at that weight for a few weeks, giving yourself a mental break and attempting to just recomp/maintain at that weight. Then finish the job with another 3 months to lose the next 15 pounds. 3 months is 13 weeks roughly, so just slightly over 1 pound per week during each phase. That should not effect strength levels too much.
Hypothetically, in 7 months, you could be a better powerlifting in terms of your relative strength and with improved body composition you would be on your way to much more successful mass gains.
Let me know if you have any other questions or need advice.