Weight and Resistance Training - HELP! Clean bulk first, weight loss later?

10-06-2009, 05:41 AM
I'm sure this question must have been asked a million times but I really need some info!

I'm just trying to get into weight lifting and resistance and am a bit unsure exactly how to proceed. I have already changed my diet and am eating clean. I have some fat to lose around my waist and butt, arms and legs, but not too much.

I am worried that if I keep losing, the fat will become loose skin. I basically lost 60 pounds through nothing but cardio, with very little toning, and think I have very little muscle. I have read that I should clean bulk whilst lifting and strengthening to add muscle mass and fill out the flab and then cut later.

Any suggestions?

10-06-2009, 08:02 AM
I'm sure this question must have been asked a million times but I really need some info!

I'm just trying to get into weight lifting and resistance and am a bit unsure exactly how to proceed. I have already changed my diet and am eating clean. I have some fat to lose around my waist and butt, arms and legs, but not too much.

I am worried that if I keep losing, the fat will become loose skin. I basically lost 60 pounds through nothing but cardio, with very little toning, and think I have very little muscle. I have read that I should clean bulk whilst lifting and strengthening to add muscle mass and fill out the flab and then cut later.

Any suggestions?

I've lost 20 pounds since June, and added LBM while resistance training 5x a week. You can do both. It's not easy and certainly not fast, but it's possible.

10-06-2009, 08:09 AM
Hey Sunny p - how did you do that? Did you still have a high cal intake of clean foods?

10-06-2009, 08:56 AM
BeaBaby, whether you can build muscle and lose fat at the same time depends highly on your current training status and physical condition. For someone who is new or relatively new to resistance training and has very little muscle mass from lack of training and who still has enough stored energy (fat) to support both everyday function and the calories needed to build muscle, doing both at the same time is definitely possible and not uncommon. The newly introduced stimulus combined with the caloric surplus supplied by fat stores will allow this to happen. As you get more training experience, then you will need to worry more about nutrient timing, cycling, etc as you we are talking about an anabolic reaction (muscle gain) and a catabolic reaction (fat loss).

Now someone who has a bit training history and is already relatively lean, will need to have a dietary caloric surplus to build muscle. This is the perspective that most of the literature is coming from, especially the bodybuilding literature, although more and more of it is starting to mention the "newbie effect."

From your post, it sounds like you have just introduced resistance training so are a good candidate there for some newbie gains. You have, however, already lost 60 pounds so it depends upon how much usable fat (total fat - essential fat) you have left to supply the calories that you are not getting in your diet to use to build muscle.

A rule of thumb that I follow based upon a research analysis by Lyle McDonald is that each pound of usable fat can support about a 30 calorie deficit (I believe the research he wrote about actually used 31 calories but I find that a bit too exact). So, for instance you had 30lbs to lose and ate a 500 calorie deficit. With the right training stimulus, you would have 400 calories to put towards building muscle. If you ate a 100 calorie deficit, I wouldn't count on gaining muscle. There is no caloric surplus supplied by diet or fat stores.

Now if you look at someone who is already lean, they cannot support much of a defecit before their body starts burning muscle for energy. That is whay the leaner you are the less caloric deficit you can be in without sacrificing too much muscle and it is also much more likely that they will lose muscle during a diet even when they do everything right.

So, what is your caloric deficit and how much usable fat do you have to support that deficit? Does it leave an energy surplus to build muscle? These are the things you need to calculate. I would aim for about a 300 calorie surplus (provided here by fat stores). If you need to lower your caloric deficit to hit this figure, then you need to decide which is more important to you, the higher weight loss or building the muscle. If your fat stores don't even support your current deficit, then you are sacrificing muscle.

10-06-2009, 09:25 AM
Thanks Depalma - I'm guessing that a lot of it will just have to be trial and error and see what happens. I've increased my calories by a lot but all good - I'm really struggling to find good foods to take it up really high though! I don't know how I'm going to eat this much!

10-06-2009, 10:09 AM
Are you still in a deficit?

If your deficit is matching your goals and you are having a hard time meeting your calorie allowance, I have always found that healthy fats serve a good purpose here. They provide something the body needs and are calorically dense so that you don't feel like you stuffing yourself. Also, when it comes time to reduce calories, you can remove them from your diet without losing a lot of volume which makes reduction easier psychologically in my opinion (of course, I'm a volume eater).

Fish oil supplements
Guacamole or other avocado dishes
almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, etc
Some natural peanut butter

However, be careful with things like nuts, because they are easier to overeat. A good way to get those in if you are prone to overeating them is to put them in salads, cottage cheese concoctions, etc. Sneak them into meals rather than making them snacks of their own. This also makes it likely that you will never miss them if you have to take them out to reduce calories later on.

10-06-2009, 10:43 AM
My calorie intake at the moment is 1600-1650, so I am in a deficit. This is the diet I have worked out at the moment - it's still rough and any tips on refining it would be gratefully accepted! I am allergic to nuts and don't eat red meats so my protein has to come from chicken and fish and my fats from seeds etc...

Meal 1 - Porridge with semi skimmed milk
Meal 2 - low fat yogurt, 1 banana, 1 glass of skimmed milk
Meal 3 - 2 eggs (poached) on 2 slices of whole wheat toast
Meal 4 - 100g cottage cheese with 30g of sunflower seeds, 1 glass of skimmed milk
Meal 5 - 2 x chicken breasts, 1 portion of broccoli, 1 portion of cauliflower, 1 portion of spinach

That's what I have so far and need more but don't know where or what to add - currently, my protein is at 129g, carbs at 160g, fats at 52g. I think my protein needs to be at 140g as I weigh 140 pounds. I don't think I should be over 150 on the carbs so as not to turn into fat. But do I need more fats???

This all totally new to me!

10-06-2009, 11:21 AM
Don't worry about the carbs. I generally eat very low carb myself, but that is more for diet compliance issues or for the way I store fat when I go into a dietary caloric surplus. In a defecit it doesn't matter because you will not gain fat in a caloric deficit.

Or I should say, carbs don't matter after you account for adequate protein and fat intake.

For example, this is how I diet personally.

I set a goal weight. Being a man, I want to shoot for 10-12% body fat. For a woman, I would go for around 17% since you carry more essential body fat. You are likely to lose a little lean mass while dieting (much of it non-essential lean mass like water and glycogen, but some of it muscle or connective tissue) an you likely won't be at these body fat levels when you reach your goal weight, but you will be close and you will likely be please with the results and shouldn't wind up skinny fat from muscle loss. I feel, and this is my personal diet philosophy and not gospel, that this sets a goal weight that is realistic and achievable.

I take my weight now x current bf% to determine how much lean mass I currently have (there wil be errors no matter which bf measurement method you use, but best estimates are ok as our goals are not etched in concrete).

I take this lean mass figure and divide it by .88 or .9 (or .83 for a woman) and this is my goal weight.

I try for theoretical maintenance of my goal weight, about 14 calories per lb for me. Use various calculators using your goal weight and activity levels to set yours.

I set protein at 1g per lb of body weight
I set fat at .4gs per lb (I try to spread them fairly equally among mono, poly, an saturated fats)

The rest of the calories can come from any source I please although, I try to fill them out with carbs or fats as those provide easier access to energy for workouts and such.

As you diet down, your deficit will manage itself as it will get smaller as you get closer to goal, meaning you are far less likely to go into too much of a deficit and burn lean mass. It also makes maintenance easier once you get there as you are living your goal maintenance now.

If your goal is to be a fit, strong, 125 lb woman, then eat and train like a fit, strong, physically active 125lb woman and you will get there.

Shannon in ATL
10-06-2009, 11:37 AM
Depalma - I'm trying to do your formula and having trouble for some reason. I keep getting a goal weight of 26 pounds. Must be missing something somewhere. :)
Here is what I'm putting in:
current 123.2 * current body fat of .18 = 22.176 lean mass
22.176/.83 = 26.718 goal weight
Am I supposed to subtract the weight x body fat result from my current weight and divide that number by .83? That gives me 121.5 as a goal, which makes more sense, and is actually my current goal. :)


10-06-2009, 11:42 AM
Sorry, not enough detail. When you multiply by bf% that gives you current body fat. Subtract that from current weight.

So 150lbs at 20%bf would look like:
150*.2=30 lbs fat or 120 lbs lean mass


So your last calculation is what I meant but worded poorly.

10-06-2009, 12:10 PM
Any tips on how to add more protein? Is having plenty of skinned chicken a good idea? I already have two pieces set for meal 5 but should I add another one or two at other meals, or some more portions of veg, that kind of stuff?

My diet before this was 1200 cals a day of regular, not that healthy food, so I'm a little confused with all this new healthy stuff.

Deplama - do you eat a lot of proteins if you are low carb? I just want mine to be good enough for a really clean bulk. My aim is to put on some weight and weight train pretty hard for three months, then cut. As for weight, I don't care - I've never weighed myself and am happy with my size - UK8-10. I think I was around 200 pounds before I started. I just want to clean bulk to get rid of this skinny fat thing I have going on and then cut to get leaner.

Shannon - your pics look amazing!

Shannon in ATL
10-06-2009, 12:22 PM
Thanks Depalma! :)

And thanks for the pics comment, Bea! For me, I try to eat 30/30/40 protein/fat/carb, I like the one gram per pound of protein but don't always make it. I try for a minimum of 100 grams per day, if I can do 125 I'm ecstatic. (Though I tell you, I feel much better the more protein I eat so i need to get back on board with it.) I find that I tend to be more in the 25/20/55 range too often... I eat skinless chicken breasts, ground chicken breast, ground turkey breast, string cheese, yogurt, greek yogurt, skim milk, smoothies made with protein powder, peanut butter in small doses, lots of veggies.

10-06-2009, 08:14 PM
I eat a lot of different proteins, chicken, turkey, lean cuts of beef, extra lean pork loin, salmon,eggs, cottage cheese, cream cheese, greek yogurt, etc. I will use protein powder too, but prefer whole foods whenever possible.

I try to not to get out of hand with protein. I will try not to let it go over 40%.

I should also clarify that when I say low carb, I really don't count most vegetables. I really try to restrict the processed or sugary stuff that causes insulin spikes and leads to wild swings in blood sugar as it makes appetite control and staying on plan a PITA. I do eat a ton of vegetables.

10-07-2009, 07:34 PM
This is a great thread! I usually don't have time to peruse anything but the monthly chat, so am taking advantage of some free time today.

I am wondering, which meal is your post workout (PWO) meal? After lifting would be a good time to put in that extra protein...salmon is a good source that you don't have on there yet. I find it helps to get all my carbs from veggies and fruit (more veggies than fruit) when I can. Grains and sugary stuff, like Depalma said, just gives crazy spikes and cranks up the hunger/cravings for more, so avoiding those keeps me on an even keel. It always takes me days to get back on track if I eat anything like bread, sugary desserts, etc. :dizzy: I wouldn't ditch the cardio altogether, but adding in weight training is a good move, for sure!

10-08-2009, 05:12 AM
Hey Cheryl,

My PWO is the eggs on toast and I've just added mushrooms to it as well. I thought it was best to get carbs and protein post workout so that seemed like a good choice - do you think?

I forgot about salmon! Yes, I will add that too. I read that you should limit carbs to before 6, but as vegetables are carbs and really clean, can I have them after 6? Is whole wheat bread bad? I keep reading that whole wheat bread is good, especially after a workout? There are just so many conflicting ideas out there! I could cut a slice of bread and add some salmon, I guess?

Cheryl - do you clean bulk/cut?

10-18-2009, 10:35 PM
If you're doing BFL, meal 2 doesn't have protein in it. Your yogurt is a carb. Yogurt with some ctg cheese would be a good snack. Right now you've got a carb/carb/carb overload! Yogurt, banana, milk. That's what I meant in the other post about getting the food list and having it with you and taping it to the fridge.

10-20-2009, 12:02 PM
Thanks Sportmom- you're absoluterly right! But I revised my BFL diet about a week and a half ago and am finally on the right track with all the proteins and carbs in my meals!