Am I trying to gain or lose?

Hi all, I'm a little confused on how to map out my goals. I'm a skinny fat person, 5'8, female, currently 136 lbs, small frame. I've been working out for a little over a year now.

No idea what my exact body fat percentage is (I use a scale, I know it's not accurate), but probably around 25%.

I want more muscle definition and tight abs (not necessarily a pack, just not squishy). I weight train (and lift heavy) 3x weekly with a trainer but his ideas on nutrition seem to be all over the place, so I'm looking for some other advice.

I'm currently eating 1500 calories/day for my deficit to lose fat... but I also want to gain muscle. Should I even be at a deficit? Should I be eating at maintenance and just continue lifting to recomp? I don't really understand how this all works. I don't really care what my scale says, it's the squish that I don't like!

I also am confused about whether I should be doing cardio... I HATE it and have read that you don't really need it if you're lifting and eating right yet others say it's necessary.

Can someone direct me a little here?


  • danielsimkinsb
    danielsimkinsb Posts: 1 Member
    This my subjective opinion on what I know about the subject so take it as you will
    Generally speaking most people agree that it's very hard to both gain muscle and lose fat at the same time, given that these are regulated by different body systems. Basically speaking, your body can be in either 'gain muscle' or 'lose fat ' mode. So what you should aim to do is lose fat while trying to maintain muscle mass- by eating at a deficit, eating lots of protein and working out regularly.
    Now what this means for you:
    The bad news is cardio is the single easiest way to eat at a deficit because it allows you to burn more calories in a day, meaning you can eat more, which makes being on a deficit easier. I highly recommend that you look up different cardio activities. Pretty much anything that gets you up and moving can be cardio, any sport you enjoy, jogging, walking, rowing or biking. Swimming, tennis, soccer, a ton of stuff. Cardio isn't just dull endless hours in front of a treadmill.
    The good news: you don't actually have to do cardio. Just keep eating at a deficit to lose fat while eating lots of protein to prevent muscle loss. If you feel like you aren't losing the squishiness consider reducing your caloric intake even more, although 1500 sounds good to me.

    Once you feel comfortable with your frame, you can increase your caloric intake and keep working out until you're happy with the way you look.
    Cheers and good luck!
  • JoRocka
    JoRocka Posts: 17,525 Member
    Honestly you're tiny as it is- I'm the same height and 165 pounds.

    Sounds like you need significantly more muscle mass... at the very least- I'd keep pushing the lifting and go back to maintenance for 6 months and see what that does for you.
  • holly55555
    holly55555 Posts: 307 Member
    Thanks guys! I'm definitely lean, but I'm full of squish and I gained a lot of fat. My clothes don't fit right, etc. I don't care if the number goes up as long as I look tight and fit back into my clothing! haha