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Thread: Balancing leaning out vs gaining muscle

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    36

    Balancing leaning out vs gaining muscle

    Hello,

    I've been primal for about 3 years now. I'm a 5'10" 32 year old male, and I've lost about 40lbs during this time. The first year was more significant, and I've maintained around 180lbs +- 5lbs for about 2 years. I still have some fat on my gut and chest, and also on my sides. I want to take it to the next level and be leaner and bigger/stronger. My typical routine is as follows;

    I usually eat about 2500 calories. My workouts consist of weighted pull-ups, push-ups and hill sprints. Typically 6 reps is max, then I add weight. I also play tennis and ball hockey, and generally walk an hour a day. A sample for a workout day;

    - fasted workout
    - 2 cans of tuna or 2 chicken breasts, banana, coconut water
    - salmon or steak with large salad, sweet potatoe
    - bacon, eggs, chicken as "snacks" throughout.
    - veggies throughout
    - blueberries
    - greek yogurt
    - 7 to 8 hours sleep

    On rest days I usually go for a higher fat (50-60%) percentage and keep the carbs in the 50 to 100 zone.

    I've found that if I reduce calories from that, say -300, I lean out but lose lots of muscle. If I increase any from that, I gain muscle but also considerable fat. I'm finding it very difficult to add muscle and not a significant amount of fat.

    Any suggestions? I've added muscle mass before, but it came at the expense of significant fat.

    Cheers,

    J

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    NYC area
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    195
    You say "fasted workout" -- are you doing an IF, or just working out before you eat?

  3. #3
    otzi's Avatar
    otzi Guest
    Here's my ideas for you: Stop the bacon, eggs, chicken and veggies as 'snacks throughout'. Only eat meals. No snacks. Not even pre- or post-workout snacks.

    Increase exercises. You don't give the frequency, but try doing pullups/pushups/dips/squats whatever almost every day. Like, do tons of pushups on Monday, pullups Tuesday, squats wed, dips Thu, sprint on Friday, rest on the weekend. Or some variation. Really push it--do like 300-500 pushups on those days, 100-200 pullups, etc... Do them in groups or reverse pyramids. But get in big numbers. If doing them weighted, increase the weights weekly.

    Eat a lot of fatty meat and liver. Skip the skinless chicken breasts. Lots of veggies with butter.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    36
    I eat lots of fatty beef on my non workout days, or "play" days. The truth is I'm very active, and after a workout I'm completely destroyed - there's no way I can do more, or even repeat the next day! I mean spent. My sprints usually have me collapsing on the grass and wobbling home.
    .
    The chicken is a recent addition since it was on sale, but I mostly eat fish and beef. I generally follow the Whole 30 protocol - with the occasional yogurt. But from my experience, dairy does not have an effect on me in terms of weight loss or gain.

    And by fasted workout, I mean I follow leangains.

    J

    EDIT: I only sprint once a week, but I'll try 2 or 3 times see how that goes. I usually play tennis twice a week and that takes a lot out of me so hard to sprint on these days.
    Last edited by Primal-J; 06-26-2012 at 01:13 PM.

  5. #5
    otzi's Avatar
    otzi Guest
    It sounds like you are right on with the exercise, I wouldn't add more sprints--I think those are best in moderation. Once a week is plenty. I'd give the diet another look. Cut out the snacks and throw in a weekly all-day fast. Eat a big dinner and don't eat at all the next day, then start eating normally. That gives you a 36-42 hour fast and cuts about 2500 calories out of your weekly intake.

    I'm 5'11 and 165 (down from 250). At 5'10 and 180, unless you are a muscle-head, you could stand to lose a few pounds. My biggest problem with eating more to gain muscle was fear of the fat re-gain. If you are working out hard, staying active, and sleeping good a few extra calories won't make you fat. I stopped sweating the calorie count and focused on good food and getting full twice a day. Lots of meat, berries, melon, and green veggies.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    36
    Well I'm actually 175lbs right now, but need to lose some fat. The thing is my legs are quite strong and have some larger muscles (compared to when I first started).

    So here's what I'm getting;

    Eat one or two large meals, no snacks. Done
    Stay on track with exercise, try to increase if possible. Done
    More fat on training days? I tried this before...but didn't work for me. Maybe try again.

    I might also go 100% Whole 30 but with more calories for a month see how it goes.

    The good news is that I'm much stronger and have lots more energy than when I was 25. So I guess I just want to take it to the next level. This isn't a "primal doesn't work" thread.

    J

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    ME/Southwest Asia
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    Quote Originally Posted by Primal-J View Post
    Eat one or two large meals, no snacks. Done
    Stay on track with exercise, try to increase if possible. Done
    More fat on training days? I tried this before...but didn't work for me. Maybe try again.
    I'd concur on everything above and add this; look at a carb count at or below 50 throughout your week. Bring it up a little on the weekends an treat yourself maybe. You and I are pretty close size wise, I'm right at 6'1" 175 lbs but sitting at around 10% body fat. I started at 220 lbs 6 months ago. Ketogenic throughtout the week, on an IF schedule that had me eating breakfast and lunch, about 4 hours apart, and nothing through the remainder of the day. I had two specific criteria: 1 gram of protein per lbs LBM (estimated at the time about 150 lbs or so) per day and less than 50 grams carbohydrates. It was a pain to count macro-nutrients, but it worked great for me. The link to my journal is below if you'd like more details on what I did and to see my own progression. The photos are pretty telling.

    One more side note, you mentioned earlier that when you cut fat, you also cut muscle. If you still have a layer of adipose tissue you want to shed, you likely have plenty of excess inter-muscular fat along with the outter layer. Unless you get physically weaker when you noticably cut fat, you're likely just dropping intermuscular fat from otherwise lean tissue. Something to think about. Keep pluggin' away, brother.
    Went Primal: 20 DEC 2011
    Starting: 6'1" 220 lbs
    Starting Energy: "bleh...."
    Current: 183 lbs @ 8.33% BF (Jackson/Pollock 4 caliper method)
    Current Energy: "WOOHOO!" See my journal HERE.

    "Paleo? Try it, but be wary of the cult mentality that comes with it. Paleovangelists are everywhere and a bit scary."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Calgary, AB
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    One suggestion, if I may, is to try the major 5 lifts as your training (i.e. Starting Strength, Strong lifts 5x5). Unless I missed it, you only doing push-ups, pull-ups and sprints. The 5 main lifts would focus your strength gains and allow progressive gains, and may thus trigger further muscular growth.
    My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread57916.html
    When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Temecula, CA
    Posts
    889
    That's kind of strange that you lose mass when you cut. If you are following lean gains, you should be pretty high on protein. Combine this with resistance training, and you should be conserving lean body mass on a deficit. How do you know you are losing muscle? lifting numbers going down or staying the same?

    I find it hard to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. I usually shoot for one or the other. If you want to put on some mass, you might want to add in some squatting/dead lifting to your workout. I would adjust your LG on/off day percentages to either bulk or cut. The standard body recomp -20/+20 is kind of a hybrid bulk/cut and I think better results come from a more specific goal.
    "The problem with quoting someone on the Internet is, you never know if it's legit" - Abraham Lincoln

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Canada
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    460
    I agree with you here. Most people can't build/gain muscle and lose body fat at the same time. This only works if your a newbie to exercising even that has a limit at some point. I think the main goal here is to preserve the muscle. Do more compound movement ie. squats , deadlift and stick with the 5x5..i don't agree with the 300-500 pushups that another poster mentioned. That's an overkill.

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