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  1. #1
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    Burn fat or build muscle first?

    So I'm trying to build muscle, but I wanna lose about 10-15 lbs of fat. I googled this topic and there were mixed answers, so I'm seeing what you guys think. I'm 5'10 and weigh at 180 lbs. I've been lifting regularly for about two years now. I've gotten noticeably bigger and stronger, but the fat is still there. Right now, I lift 5 days a week and do cardio twice a week. My diet is quite good, but I don't think I'm eating at a calorie surplus.

    If I want to lose the fat, should I cut down the lifting to 3 days a week and up the running to 5 days? Or should I cut out the lifting completely and focus on just cardio?

    Any input would be much appreciated.

    EDIT: title should be burn fat or build muscle first, not lose.
    Last edited by BroadStBullies; 11-03-2013 at 09:21 PM.

  2. #2
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    Personally I would keep the same routine and focus more on diet and drinking at least a gallon of water per day. Eating all whole grains, and cutting the overall calorie intake while maintaining 200+ g of protein

    I definitely wouldn't cut out lifting completely. How long are your cardio sessions?
    "i don't believe in mysteries but still i pray for my sister, when speaking to the higher power that listens, to the lifeless vision of freedom everytime we're imprisoned, to the righteous victims of people of a higher position" - planet asia, old timer thoughts

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by nastynice View Post
    Personally I would keep the same routine and focus more on diet and drinking at least a gallon of water per day. Eating all whole grains, and cutting the overall calorie intake while maintaining 200+ g of protein

    I definitely wouldn't cut out lifting completely. How long are your cardio sessions?
    My lifting sessions are somewhere around 2-3 hours and cardio is about 30 min.

    I don't really eat junk food or fried food, yet I seem to can't drop the fat. I feel like I'm doing something wrong. Should I keep the same routine and up the cardio to like 3-4 days?
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  4. #4
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    There's no reason to be in the gym for 3 hours lifting weights unless you're wanting to be a world-class bodybuilder, and I'm assuming that's not the case.

    If it were me, I'd focus on dropping the fat and seeing if you're happy with the result. Everyone wants to be bigger, but few really want to maintain that look because it's hard as **** to do so. Drop the 10 lbs, see what you look like, and decide if bulking is for you at that point.

    I'd also cut the lifting lengths down significantly - you really shouldn't have a reason to be lifting weights for much more than an hour, hour and a half TOPS. If you cut that time down, you'd be able to do cardio after every lifting session (or the majority), and that'd likely be better for both the results you want and your general level of health.


  5. #5
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    I'm in the gym that long because I either lift very heavy that day, or I'm doing multiple muscle workouts like back and biceps then forearms. There are shorter workouts where I'm in there for an hour and a half.

    I know for sure I want to get bigger, but not too much.
    Last edited by BroadStBullies; 11-03-2013 at 03:08 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by BroadStBullies View Post
    My lifting sessions are somewhere around 2-3 hours and cardio is about 30 min.

    I don't really eat junk food or fried food, yet I seem to can't drop the fat. I feel like I'm doing something wrong. Should I keep the same routine and up the cardio to like 3-4 days?
    Well, I've never done a full on cut, so take what I say with a grain of salt. But you might get better results if you do about 20-25 min cardio post workout on your lifting days, then about 45 min on your cardio days. There's more to it than just junk food and fried food, you gotta really take into account total calories. Even if they're all healthy calories, if ur caloric intake is high you will put on weight, and you can only put on so much muscle so the rest will be fat.

    I usually have pretty skimpy lunch, plus a few shakes pre and post workout, so I started getting a little more definition just by that alone.
    "i don't believe in mysteries but still i pray for my sister, when speaking to the higher power that listens, to the lifeless vision of freedom everytime we're imprisoned, to the righteous victims of people of a higher position" - planet asia, old timer thoughts

    "God is Universal he is the Ruler Universal" - gangstarr (rip guru), robbin hood theory

    "don't gain the world and lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver and gold" - bob marley, zion train

  7. #7
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    I assume it's your diet. I would continue your normal routine and just eat more strictly... try to cut out grains and carbs. Eat a lot of eggs and meat. It's important to keep your protein intake high. Also drink a gallon of water a day, like what's already been said.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by nastynice View Post
    Well, I've never done a full on cut, so take what I say with a grain of salt. But you might get better results if you do about 20-25 min cardio post workout on your lifting days, then about 45 min on your cardio days. There's more to it than just junk food and fried food, you gotta really take into account total calories. Even if they're all healthy calories, if ur caloric intake is high you will put on weight, and you can only put on so much muscle so the rest will be fat.

    I usually have pretty skimpy lunch, plus a few shakes pre and post workout, so I started getting a little more definition just by that alone.
    I was thinking that, but that wouldn't help me build more muscle, so I guess there wouldn't be a point to lifting 5 days a week.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlohm1 View Post
    I assume it's your diet. I would continue your normal routine and just eat more strictly... try to cut out grains and carbs. Eat a lot of eggs and meat. It's important to keep your protein intake high. Also drink a gallon of water a day, like what's already been said.
    I mean this is what I'm eating pretty much:

    Breakfast- usually two eggs with a slice or two of toast. Sometimes a protein bar or quick strawberry smoothie made with strawberries, half cup of milk and half cup of vanilla yogurt.

    Lunch- cup of rice with grilled chicken and a serving of veggies. Or maybe a turkey breast sandwich.

    Dinner- varies a lot. Depends on what my parents make, but I usually only have a serving.

    Snacks- unsalted nuts, baby carrots, fruit, protein bars, and protein shakes with 1% milk after lifting.

    I feel like that's a decent diet right?

  10. #10
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    At this point you need to pick losing fat or gaining muscle. A lot of people say to cut down to low body fat% and then bulk up, but that isn't always the case. It really depends on how much muscle you have.

    I used to weigh 240+ and cut down to about 170. I had very little muscle to begin with so I was still 18-20% bodyfat at 170lbs (I'm about 6ft tall). I couldn't keep cutting because I would need to cut 20 more lbs of fat before I'd be "lean" and at that point I'd be ridiculously skinny. I've bulked and cut a few more times since then and it's better, but I'm still in a similar situation as you where I still carry a good bit of fat at 180lbs.

  11. #11
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    If building muscle is your main goal then keep cardio to a minimum and eat at a slight calorie surplus and go on a long bulk.

    Post some pictures of where you're at right now if you want better advice. Most people who ask whether they should bulk or cut should bulk because they normally don't have a muscle base to cut down to and end up skinny fat and really just wasting their time by cutting. I learned this myself the hard way.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ugottabjoshinme View Post
    At this point you need to pick losing fat or gaining muscle. A lot of people say to cut down to low body fat% and then bulk up, but that isn't always the case. It really depends on how much muscle you have.

    I used to weigh 240+ and cut down to about 170. I had very little muscle to begin with so I was still 18-20% bodyfat at 170lbs (I'm about 6ft tall). I couldn't keep cutting because I would need to cut 20 more lbs of fat before I'd be "lean" and at that point I'd be ridiculously skinny. I've bulked and cut a few more times since then and it's better, but I'm still in a similar situation as you where I still carry a good bit of fat at 180lbs.
    I'd say I look more fit than fat. My fat is mostly at my stomach and thighs, but you couldn't even tell unless I took off my shirt.

    Quote Originally Posted by DLeeicious View Post
    If building muscle is your main goal then keep cardio to a minimum and eat at a slight calorie surplus and go on a long bulk.

    Post some pictures of where you're at right now if you want better advice. Most people who ask whether they should bulk or cut should bulk because they normally don't have a muscle base to cut down to and end up skinny fat and really just wasting their time by cutting. I learned this myself the hard way.
    I do have muscle mass. It's a lot more noticeable than my fat. The only way people would notice if I had fat was if I took off my shirt cause my fat is mainly situated in my stomach. My thighs have a decent amount too. There's also a little on my chest, but it's not man boob territory lol.
    Last edited by BroadStBullies; 11-04-2013 at 07:03 PM.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BroadStBullies View Post
    I was thinking that, but that wouldn't help me build more muscle, so I guess there wouldn't be a point to lifting 5 days a week.
    Well during a cut I don't really know if you can put on muscle mass. Maybe you can, I don't know. What I would aim for during a cut is minimal muscle loss. This will help with minimal muscle loss. If you do cardio for 1hour plus, ur going to start burning through your muscle, which is why u should stay about 45min on cardio days, and 20 min on lifting days, as your heart rate will already be up there and ur body will hit catabolic state much quicker.

    What the lifting should do for you is minimize any muscle loss, and possibly even give you gains in strength, as long as you're going bananas on the protein.

    I've also heard that hitting some regular cardio on a daily or near daily basis, just puts your body in a higher fat burning state. So even though 20 min sounds like nothing, I think it will go a long way.
    "i don't believe in mysteries but still i pray for my sister, when speaking to the higher power that listens, to the lifeless vision of freedom everytime we're imprisoned, to the righteous victims of people of a higher position" - planet asia, old timer thoughts

    "God is Universal he is the Ruler Universal" - gangstarr (rip guru), robbin hood theory

    "don't gain the world and lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver and gold" - bob marley, zion train

  14. #14
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    I was at your same weight (same height) a couple years ago and diet is the key. I've been unable to do cardio (been dealing with a nagging knee problem), but I still lost 15+ lbs (dropped 10% BF) and it really was all because of the diet (w/ my usual routine of lifting 4-5x a week). Since you can do cardio, that's even more of a plus so really watch the diet and the results will come.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by nastynice View Post
    Well during a cut I don't really know if you can put on muscle mass. Maybe you can, I don't know. What I would aim for during a cut is minimal muscle loss. This will help with minimal muscle loss. If you do cardio for 1hour plus, ur going to start burning through your muscle, which is why u should stay about 45min on cardio days, and 20 min on lifting days, as your heart rate will already be up there and ur body will hit catabolic state much quicker.

    What the lifting should do for you is minimize any muscle loss, and possibly even give you gains in strength, as long as you're going bananas on the protein.

    I've also heard that hitting some regular cardio on a daily or near daily basis, just puts your body in a higher fat burning state. So even though 20 min sounds like nothing, I think it will go a long way.
    Makes perfect sense. I guess adding more cardio to my routine wouldn't diminish my muscles too much. I wasn't aiming for 1 hour though, more like 35 min/4-5 days a week.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle916 View Post
    I was at your same weight (same height) a couple years ago and diet is the key. I've been unable to do cardio (been dealing with a nagging knee problem), but I still lost 15+ lbs (dropped 10% BF) and it really was all because of the diet (w/ my usual routine of lifting 4-5x a week). Since you can do cardio, that's even more of a plus so really watch the diet and the results will come.
    Can you give me ideas/examples of what your meals were like? And how often you ate, etc.
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