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Garris

Getting closer to my goal weight..but when do I start eating for muscle

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Garris   

I started about 286 lbs 2 years ago, when I weighed myself this week I was 216.

 

I never really thought I would get this far. I've always thought to get myself down to 200lbs (I'm 6' male)

 

I ve really gotten into calithensics and would like to start progressing more down that path.

 

Im eating 2000 cals a day now, but I can't stay that low if I want to get stronger.

 

most tdee calcs I use put my maintenance around the 3 k cals mark.

 

any advice on when I should start creeping the cals up. My Ideal body type is pretty lean muscular like an Danny and al kavadlo, Jason statham, Chris heira type.

 

thanks guys!!

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PaulG   

Bring cals up once you're ready to stop cutting. Hit that goal weight first, then get serious about your next step.

 

Keep in mind, at a roughly -1000kcal/day deficit, it will still take you 8 weeks to hit your goal weight. You've got some time, so don't overstress just yet.

 

You mention you're enjoying calisthenics and want to do more. That's a subject dear to my heart, though this section of the forum might not be the place for it. You can choose to follow someone else's program, or gain the knowledge to create your own. I prefer the latter -- I think it's better over the long haul to be a smart MF-er who can make their own decisions about their training, instead of paying someone else (of often questionable competence) to tell you what to do. Feel free to throw any questions you have over to the Bodyweight section -- it's frequented by a wildly disparate crew, so you'll get a lot of different kinds of answers, but it's a good resource. I can also recommend the overcominggravity reddit, based on the excellent calisthenics book of the same name.

 

A very salient question: do you want to consciously bulk to gain muscle, or just eat at roughly maintenance and focus on your exercise? Either is perfectly valid and a good challenge in its own right, but they have very different plans associated with them (bulking is much harder).

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Garris   
5 minutes ago, PaulG said:

Bring cals up once you're ready to stop cutting. Hit that goal weight first, then get serious about your next step.

 

Keep in mind, at a roughly -1000kcal/day deficit, it will still take you 8 weeks to hit your goal weight. You've got some time, so don't overstress just yet.

 

You mention you're enjoying calisthenics and want to do more. That's a subject dear to my heart, though this section of the forum might not be the place for it. You can choose to follow someone else's program, or gain the knowledge to create your own. I prefer the latter -- I think it's better over the long haul to be a smart MF-er who can make their own decisions about their training, instead of paying someone else (of often questionable competence) to tell you what to do. Feel free to throw any questions you have over to the Bodyweight section -- it's frequented by a wildly disparate crew, so you'll get a lot of different kinds of answers, but it's a good resource. I can also recommend the overcominggravity reddit, based on the excellent calisthenics book of the same name.

 

A very salient question: do you want to consciously bulk to gain muscle, or just eat at roughly maintenance and focus on your exercise? Either is perfectly valid and a good challenge in its own right, but they have very different plans associated with them (bulking is much harder).

Basically right now I'm focusing on my core strengths. Roughly were I'm at

 

12 rep max push-up

 

 I can't quite do one full chin up.

i can pull myself up from just over halfway and I'm up to 3 sets of 35 sec eccentric chin ups.

 

im starting to train bench dips , but I've been working my way into them slowly.because I've been having a hard time finding a shoulder position that doesn't feel like I'm just grinding them off.

 

my current goals are to continue losing weight (get sub 200)

 

get my first chin up, then my first pull up.

 

i also really think the plyo metrics look amazing, but I'm not sure at my current level how I would train that.

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Pretty much everything Paul said.  But I wanted to add a few less-technical points.

 

So, as another 6 foot, 250+ pound start weight guy who had a goal of getting sub-200.... Start ditching that number now, and start looking at body fat percentages.  Trust me.  I spent way too long cutting and not doing what I should because I wanted to get under 200 stably.  And I just couldn't.  I got close.  Something like 203, somewhat stable around 205.  I'd sometimes try cuts to get to under 200, and might hit 199 or a day or two, but nothing sustainable.  And on top of it, my performance sucked.  Because I was eating something like maybe 2400 calories.  For a reference, I've mostly kept the same level of activity (slight uptick in lifting) and now am slightly losing weight eating 3200 calories a day.  Because yea, I apparently am that unicorn who temporarily tanked their metabolism by wayyyyy under eating.

 

Now, my goal is to limit my body fat while not destroying my progress.  It's slow, but mostly I'm eating at maintenance and watching my body composition change slowly.  While I have lost weight, it's not a super dramatic weight loss.  But in six weeks I lost about an inch around my abdomen.  Which is a result I haven't seen since I started losing weight in 2012 (yes, I've been here a long time).

 

So, keep an eye on weight, but accept it's one metric of many.  And start using those other metrics ASAP.

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Garris   
1 hour ago, RisenPhoenix said:

Pretty much everything Paul said.  But I wanted to add a few less-technical points.

 

So, as another 6 foot, 250+ pound start weight guy who had a goal of getting sub-200.... Start ditching that number now, and start looking at body fat percentages.  Trust me.  I spent way too long cutting and not doing what I should because I wanted to get under 200 stably.  And I just couldn't.  I got close.  Something like 203, somewhat stable around 205.  I'd sometimes try cuts to get to under 200, and might hit 199 or a day or two, but nothing sustainable.  And on top of it, my performance sucked.  Because I was eating something like maybe 2400 calories.  For a reference, I've mostly kept the same level of activity (slight uptick in lifting) and now am slightly losing weight eating 3200 calories a day.  Because yea, I apparently am that unicorn who temporarily tanked their metabolism by wayyyyy under eating.

 

Now, my goal is to limit my body fat while not destroying my progress.  It's slow, but mostly I'm eating at maintenance and watching my body composition change slowly.  While I have lost weight, it's not a super dramatic weight loss.  But in six weeks I lost about an inch around my abdomen.  Which is a result I haven't seen since I started losing weight in 2012 (yes, I've been here a long time).

 

So, keep an eye on weight, but accept it's one metric of many.  And start using those other metrics ASAP.

What method do you use for body fat measurement? Do you know of any good tutorial ?

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I have a body tape measure like this one.  I've used this bodyfat calculator for years, using the Navy method.  It's not super accurate, but it is something that I've been consistent with, which is the more important aspect.  Also it's stupid easy and quick.  But really you could pick any method and as long as you stick with it the data will be worth it over time as a trend.  But over all, it's an important lesson in not letting numbers be the only driving force in the fitness journey.

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Garris   
2 minutes ago, RisenPhoenix said:

I have a body tape measure like this one.  I've used this bodyfat calculator for years, using the Navy method.  It's not super accurate, but it is something that I've been consistent with, which is the more important aspect.  Also it's stupid easy and quick.  But really you could pick any method and as long as you stick with it the data will be worth it over time as a trend.  But over all, it's an important lesson in not letting numbers be the only driving force in the fitness journey.

Thanks,

 

im trying to be goal orientated in my fitness . I wanted to be able to do 10 push-ups and I can, now I'm working on my form.

 

my next goal is to get my first chin up. I can do 3 sets of eccentric 35 second chin ups but haven't been able to pull myself all the way up yet.

 

the scale and the numbers are accountability to me.

 

ive been eating at 2000 cals but I'm beginning to see that I think that's still to low for me.

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36 minutes ago, Garris said:

I'm just so nervous to bump up my calories...it's been so hard to lose this much as it is.

 

Ayup.  And that is one of the reasons it took me so long to accept changing my habits to eat enough.

 

What seems to have helped me is setting my MFP to sedentary, and manually logging my workout routines, to get an idea of how much I was burning and under eating.  On days I don't do much/am resting, I can eat ~2400 calories and be content with life.  When I go to the dojo or lift or a combination of the two, anything short of 3000 and I'm a ravenous monster.  Just take it slow.  I made a goal of just never being more than 500 calories under my target calorie count, and that did wonders for me mentally.  And from the results I've been getting, it's certainly a good physical result, too.

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1 hour ago, Garris said:

So Is that sedentary maintenance or sedentary set to lose ?

 

Maintenance.  I can subtract a couple hundred calories easily enough from that mentally, plus it gives me the benefit of showing a green number on my MFP dashboard, rather than the evil red negative numbers.  Without workouts, my TDEE is just shy of 2,500 calories.  With them, I add something like 400-900 calories just to maintain. If I eat them all back, cool.  If I don't, also cool.  Depends on my mood that day.

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PaulG   

Plyometrics are part of what got me into parkour. They're lots of fun. Don't get into them too early, though. If you can't do a pull-up or a controlled pistol eccentric yet, you've got more to do before trying plyo.

 

If you're doing 3x10-12 push-ups, you can probably move on to something more difficult, like diamond pushups. Dips are probably a little beyond you at this point, because of the danger to your shoulders. But go through a diamond push-up progression and some feet-elevated push-ups, and you'll be ready.

 

If you keep plugging away at the exercises, you certainly could be ready to bulk in another couple months.

 

When you say 35s chin-up eccentrics, do you mean 3-5 seconds? Because 35s is 100% insane, impressive, and I've never heard of someone doing it. If you can do 3x3(10s) chin-up negatives, you should be able to do a couple real ones.

 

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PaulG   

Food and MFP-wise, I agree with @RisenPhoenix, though my strategy tends to be more aggressive.

 

As you get leaner, a waist measurement will get more valuable and the scale will become less valuable. Bodyfat % becomes more important than your overall weight. Which is a good thing, because your weight starts to fluctuate more with your body's water retention as you get leaner. The waist, though, fluctuates very little. 

 

I also set MFP to sedentary, with my goal being to maintain. Then I just manually adjust my calorie goal to whatever I want based on my own TDEE calculations. It's much more accurate and flexible than relying on MFP to do your math for you. MFP is a great tracker, but a poor goal-setter; and its math is terrible.

 

For measuring bodyfat %, I use a tape measure also. It's important to make sure you're using the same method every time (same rough spot on your waist, same amount of pull on the tape) so your measurements are consistent. Because of that, I bought a tape that's spring-loaded and pushing a button pulls on the tape for me.

 

I use an average of the Navy formula, along with two others. But as @RisenPhoenix said, what's important is the trendline, rather than the actual number the formula gives you. If the formula tells you you're 10% bodyfat, that's likely wrong. But if over time the formula tells you you've lost 2% bodyfat in the last two weeks, that's probably right.

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Garris   
5 hours ago, PaulG said:

Plyometrics are part of what got me into parkour. They're lots of fun. Don't get into them too early, though. If you can't do a pull-up or a controlled pistol eccentric yet, you've got more to do before trying plyo.

 

If you're doing 3x10-12 push-ups, you can probably move on to something more difficult, like diamond pushups. Dips are probably a little beyond you at this point, because of the danger to your shoulders. But go through a diamond push-up progression and some feet-elevated push-ups, and you'll be ready.

 

If you keep plugging away at the exercises, you certainly could be ready to bulk in another couple months.

 

When you say 35s chin-up eccentrics, do you mean 3-5 seconds? Because 35s is 100% insane, impressive, and I've never heard of someone doing it. If you can do 3x3(10s) chin-up negatives, you should be able to do a couple real ones.

 

 

Uh. No I meant 35 secs... unless I'm doing it wrong.

 

i set a workout timer with a 10 sec warmup countdown so I don't have to worry about counting before I get into position.

 

jump up, squeeZe everything and hold it and lower as slow as possible and it takes 35 secs to get to full lockout at the bottom.

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PaulG   
6 hours ago, Garris said:

 

Uh. No I meant 35 secs... unless I'm doing it wrong.

 

i set a workout timer with a 10 sec warmup countdown so I don't have to worry about counting before I get into position.

 

jump up, squeeZe everything and hold it and lower as slow as possible and it takes 35 secs to get to full lockout at the bottom.

 

1. You are a beast.

2. I know you're on the Kavadlo program, so not sure if they already have a solution to the pull-up issue.

3. If your goal is a couple full concentric reps (it should be), the long eccentrics haven't done the job so far. Question: in a whole workout, do you perform 3 pull-up eccentrics total, or 3 sets of 3 eccentrics (9 total)?

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Garris   
1 hour ago, PaulG said:

 

1. You are a beast.

2. I know you're on the Kavadlo program, so not sure if they already have a solution to the pull-up issue.

3. If your goal is a couple full concentric reps (it should be), the long eccentrics haven't done the job so far. Question: in a whole workout, do you perform 3 pull-up eccentrics total, or 3 sets of 3 eccentrics (9 total)?

 

1. Thanks

 

2. The way the program is laid out you are supposed to be able to do a 30 sec eccentric chin up at the end of the first phase and the next phase has you starting at 3 sets of 2 reps of chin-ups and going up from there.

 

3. Yes I want to get my first chin up and work my way up to getting my first actual pull up.

and 1 workout is 3 35 sec eccentrics( 3 total moves)

 

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PaulG   
14 minutes ago, Garris said:

 

1. Thanks

 

2. The way the program is laid out you are supposed to be able to do a 30 sec eccentric chin up at the end of the first phase and the next phase has you starting at 3 sets of 2 reps of chin-ups and going up from there.

 

3. Yes I want to get my first chin up and work my way up to getting my first actual pull up.

and 1 workout is 3 35 sec eccentrics( 3 total moves)

 

 

Okay, you might find this helpful then.

 

Sounds like the Kavadlos left a big gap in difficulty between phases. This happens sometimes in prefab programs. However, one of the nice things about calisthenics is that it's not too hard to bridge those gaps, with a little knowledge.

 

My working theory: your eccentrics are giving lots of time under tension (TUT), but you have a dearth of rep volume that's holding you back. The body adapts not just to TUT, but also to volume, and it sounds like it's time to adjust your routine to increase that adaptation. I used a similar technique a while back to (finally) manage sets of wall headstand push-ups, when eccentrics were all I could do previously.

 

As an aside: if you're curious about volume adaptations, do a little googling of Prilepin's tables for strength gain. They clearly show that there is an optimal amount of volume trainees need to get a strength adaptation. Too little volume, and even if a trainee is doing extremely high-intensity work, that work won't spur much of an adaptation. Even deeper down the rabbit hole: Prilepin's tables were written to give you the volume to shoot for per workout, but what really matters is the total volume over time. Grease-the-groove training, for instance, works because even though you never go to failure on any one day, you accumulate a crap-ton of volume over a week, and that drives a very strong adaptation.

 

But never mind the theory. Your goal is to start driving volume up, without necessarily increasing your total time under tension.

 

My plan would be: dropping your eccentrics to 10s per rep and work in sets of 3 reps, with your goal to get to 3x3(10s) (3 sets of 3 reps, each rep lasting 10s). That will equate to the same TUT (90s total in the workout), but you'll triple the number of reps you perform. And 9 reps in a workout should be plenty to get you to level up.

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Garris   
2 hours ago, PaulG said:

 

Okay, you might find this helpful then.

 

Sounds like the Kavadlos left a big gap in difficulty between phases. This happens sometimes in prefab programs. However, one of the nice things about calisthenics is that it's not too hard to bridge those gaps, with a little knowledge.

 

My working theory: your eccentrics are giving lots of time under tension (TUT), but you have a dearth of rep volume that's holding you back. The body adapts not just to TUT, but also to volume, and it sounds like it's time to adjust your routine to increase that adaptation. I used a similar technique a while back to (finally) manage sets of wall headstand push-ups, when eccentrics were all I could do previously.

 

As an aside: if you're curious about volume adaptations, do a little googling of Prilepin's tables for strength gain. They clearly show that there is an optimal amount of volume trainees need to get a strength adaptation. Too little volume, and even if a trainee is doing extremely high-intensity work, that work won't spur much of an adaptation. Even deeper down the rabbit hole: Prilepin's tables were written to give you the volume to shoot for per workout, but what really matters is the total volume over time. Grease-the-groove training, for instance, works because even though you never go to failure on any one day, you accumulate a crap-ton of volume over a week, and that drives a very strong adaptation.

 

But never mind the theory. Your goal is to start driving volume up, without necessarily increasing your total time under tension.

 

My plan would be: dropping your eccentrics to 10s per rep and work in sets of 3 reps, with your goal to get to 3x3(10s) (3 sets of 3 reps, each rep lasting 10s). That will equate to the same TUT (90s total in the workout), but you'll triple the number of reps you perform. And 9 reps in a workout should be plenty to get you to level up.

 

Thanks Ill give this a shot.

 

i really like the idea of the kavadlo' training program. Im not sure it's best for me and my goals. 

 

Any chance yoyd you'd be willing to give me a hand with some programming over Pm?

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PaulG   
1 hour ago, Garris said:

 

Thanks Ill give this a shot.

 

i really like the idea of the kavadlo' training program. Im not sure it's best for me and my goals. 

 

Any chance yoyd you'd be willing to give me a hand with some programming over Pm?

 

Absolutely, PM me a couple questions to start us off.

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Defining   

Are you sure the 2,000kcal is accurate? (I mean, as accurate as calorie counts can be ;)) I just ask because I'm a 5'2" female, and can comfortably lose fat on 1,800kcal a day with regular exercise (I'm around 25%BF at the moment).

 

So either you're in an incredible deficit and your hormones could be out of whack, or the numbers need to be calibrated. 

 

Paul and Risen have already given you the best advice, with more experience than I can draw on: keep cutting until you hit your goal BF%, be consistent with whichever form of measurement you use, waist circumference is a good shorthand for body fat, KISS. 

 

I will add that you probably won't manage a chin up over 20-22%BF, it's one of the reasons women struggle with them: disproportionate ratio between upper body muscle and gross body weight. 

 

I sound like a broken record lately, but put some focus into your recovery: sleep quality & quantity, go for a walk, do some yoga, spend time outside, keep a gratitude journal, meditate, etc. 

 

Don't forget to have fun!!! :) You've come so far already, take a moment to pause and thank yourself for the self care. 

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Garris   
5 hours ago, Defining said:

Are you sure the 2,000kcal is accurate? (I mean, as accurate as calorie counts can be ;)) I just ask because I'm a 5'2" female, and can comfortably lose fat on 1,800kcal a day with regular exercise (I'm around 25%BF at the moment).

 

So either you're in an incredible deficit and your hormones could be out of whack, or the numbers need to be calibrated. 

 

Paul and Risen have already given you the best advice, with more experience than I can draw on: keep cutting until you hit your goal BF%, be consistent with whichever form of measurement you use, waist circumference is a good shorthand for body fat, KISS. 

 

I will add that you probably won't manage a chin up over 20-22%BF, it's one of the reasons women struggle with them: disproportionate ratio between upper body muscle and gross body weight. 

 

I sound like a broken record lately, but put some focus into your recovery: sleep quality & quantity, go for a walk, do some yoga, spend time outside, keep a gratitude journal, meditate, etc. 

 

Don't forget to have fun!!! You've come so far already, take a moment to pause and thank yourself for the self care. 

 

I weigh and measure everything I put in my mouth, even when I go over my cals for the day. It's as accurate as I can make it.

 

I orknin construction so I'm up at 4:30 - 5 am every morning so I'm in bed by 8:30 every night.

 

I try to do a bit of yoga / stretching every day.

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1 hour ago, Garris said:

I orknin construction so I'm up at 4:30 - 5 am every morning so I'm in bed by 8:30 every night.

 

You need to eat more, assuming this is the physical "work in construction" and not the desk/management "work in construction."  My cousin works at the desk in construction - she does lifting to keep in shape.  I had a friend who worked construction in the building crew, he needed to eat significantly more calories because of the physically demanding nature of the job.  He was a skinny, hard gainer-type, but he had to eat 4,000-5,000 calories to bulk up to what he wanted (to account for his own lifting AND the job).  Not saying you SHOULD eat that many calories, but it definitely is something that needs to be taken into account. 

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Defining   
43 minutes ago, RisenPhoenix said:

You need to eat more, assuming this is the physical "work in construction" and not the desk/management "work in construction." 

Agreed. 2,000kcal could possibly lead to stalling, especially if your body is using less energy (reactive thermogenesis, reduced NEAT/fidgeting) in response to the extreme deficit. 

 

I also understand the nervousness around eating more though. Check your protein numbers to make sure you're getting enough (probably 180-200g for your build), and then maybe consider something like reverse dieting? It's effectively adding 100-200kcal to your meal plan at a time, and monitoring for small changes. Stay at the new number until you stabilise and then bump it up again! Very similar to clean bulking actually, just with 5% surplus rather than 10-15%. 

 

Maybe see how you feel eating 2,200kcal for a fortnight; evaluate your progress and how you feel at the end of the two weeks, tweak again, and keep on keeping on! 

 

You may find these interesting:

https://www.t-nation.com/diet-fat-loss/truth-about-metabolic-damage

https://legionathletics.com/clean-bulking/
https://breakingmuscle.com/healthy-eating/reverse-dieting-what-it-is-and-why-you-should-try-it

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Garris   

Thanks for the articles.

 

lookng over that first one from t nation. I would probably put myself between type 2-3. I'm going to bed on time and just not feeling rested when I wake up.

 

im not feeling full of energy and I'm exhausted by most afternoons.

 

i am on anxiety meds and have been for about 12 years which complicates things, and I definitely am fighting my depression.

 

for the last 2 days and going forwards I'm boosting my calorie intake up to 2400. I'm going to try this for the next 2 weeks.

 

im also going to do as Paul suggested and track my workouts for calories and see how that is affecting my net weekly average.

 

thanks guys!

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PaulG   
9 hours ago, Defining said:

then maybe consider something like reverse dieting? It's effectively adding 100-200kcal to your meal plan at a time, and monitoring for small changes. Stay at the new number until you stabilise and then bump it up again! Very similar to clean bulking actually, just with 5% surplus rather than 10-15%. 

 

A reverse diet would not be necessary for this. Garris hasn't stalled, and nothing is showing that his TDEE isn't stable already.

 

 

4 hours ago, Garris said:

im not feeling full of energy and I'm exhausted by most afternoons.

 

i am on anxiety meds and have been for about 12 years which complicates things, and I definitely am fighting my depression.

 

I hear this. This does sound like hormonal effects of weight loss could be having an effect on you. It can be tougher for people with clinical depression who are already using SSRIs or other medication to counteract hormonal deficits.

 

Just bumping up calories to maintenance for a little while is enough to help that. I remember a little while back, you were considering taking a diet break. If you're feeling lethargic and the depression is getting more difficult, a diet break could be a good idea.

 

Do you have good data on your calorie intake and weight loss over the last couple weeks? If so, you should be able to average out your TDEE. Then you can do whatever you want with that, including taking a diet break.

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