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Fear of Fat

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Hi all!


So last year I made a resolution to begin exercising regularly and I stuck to it. Along the way I learned how to both gain and lose weight (fat). I tried to build muscle but I didn't make the gains that I would have liked to.


This year I want to see my body transform by building larger muscles. I lift dumbbells Mon, Wed, Fri for 30 minutes with 3 sets of 8-12 reps. On Tues, Thurs and Sat I do cardio for 30-60 minutes. I'm monitoring everything and I usually hover in zone 2 with about 5 minutes each day in zone 3 (80% Heart Rate).


Now, as for what this has to do with nutrition... I'm currently at about 12.5% body fat. My goal is to get to around 9% and stay there. My understanding is that this contradicts the "rules" of bodybuilding which say that you must consume excess calories in order to build muscle.


But I don't want fat to come riding in with those calories (okay, I admit - it's not a fear - just a strong aversion). I understand that I may be limited by biology though. Is it possible to build muscle without having to go through bulking and cutting phases? Will the changes be noticeable enough?


(For some background, I'm male, 5'11" and currently weigh 136lbs.)

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Excess calories don't have to be dirty.


I've taken my weight from 130 to about 145 over the course of 18 months; gradually increase your weekly calories by just a little, in the same manner that you'd try to add a little weight to your exercises every week or two. This way your body (and stomach) can cope with the increase in calories and adjust accordingly without any major issues.


A 'clean, slow bulk' is how I like to view it and the diet will be complemented by your training as naturally you will continue to get stronger and increases your muscle mass as your calories rise. Emphasise good, healthy fats and avoid junk food ~ comprise them of things like avocados, raw mixed nuts, black olives are great and coconut oil is also a fantastic heart healthy choice. As general rules keep the carbs moderate (you can raise them a bit on your training days) and keep the protein high to promote optimal recovery and keep injuries at bay. Fats don't need to be overly high, 80g total fats would be the most I would be looking to take in during the course of a day. Working from a basic 2,000cal/day diet I would be looking at around 400-500 cals of that coming from healthy fats like the ones I mentioned above. This works out at 44-55g fat and would comprise around 25% of your total daily calories which is fine.


You might even want to consider starting up a training journal as you will gather some invaluable suggestions and feedback in the process. Good luck and keep us all posted MF.

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Thanks for your help Mini Forklift!


I guess I don't completely understand how my body reacts to calories and food even with all of the measurements I take. I've been very slowly going down in weight (1 pound every 1 1/2 to 2 weeks) while only eating 3 meals a day totaling about 1,400-1,600 calories. My BMR has been about 1,600 calories. But typically working out would burn an extra 1,200 calories per week. So I thought I should be losing weight a bit faster.


Then last night I skipped a meal and I lost about 5 pounds overnight! I don't load myself up with sodium so I'm very surprised.


All of this is fine and wonderful because it's bringing me close to the body fat percentage I want, but how do I know I didn't lose some muscle in the process? How can I be sure that when I eat a small excess of calories that they will go to muscle? I eat protein and carbs after my weight training...


Perhaps I'm thinking too much about things. I'm just the type of person who likes to understand exactly what is happening and why.

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