Did I bulk/recomp? Do I look leaner even though I’m heavier?

peachvine29
peachvine29 Posts: 400 Member
I’ve lost over 60 lbs. total, coming down from 200 lbs. in 2017 to averaging 133 over the summer. I wanted to keep losing from 133 but was too hungry and burnt out and tried to cut, but couldn’t meet my deficit.

I started seeing a personal trainer in November and have been working out hard six days a week, 4 days of lifting, progressive overload. I have not been watching my calories as closely as I should, many days at maintenance or surplus on the weekends.

I just took progress pics last night though and compared to over the summer and feel like I look better even though I am heavier! I was around 138 in May and am 141 today.

Do I look leaner in these pics to anyone? I think I successfully bulked?!

I am thinking my plan is to recomp until spring and cut until summer. Thoughts?
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Replies

  • erickirb
    erickirb Posts: 12,290 Member
    edited December 2019
    Def look leaner... weather you put on much muscle is hard to tell. With only a 3 lb difference it could be fat loss of 2 lbs, gain 2 lb of muscle and 3 lbs of water. A bulk is usually done with more than 3 lbs, and typically gain fat, where you look like you lost fat.

    I would call what you did a successful recomposition. Keep up the good work!
  • peachvine29
    peachvine29 Posts: 400 Member
    edited December 2019
    erickirb wrote: »
    Def look leaner... weather you put on much muscle is hard to tell. With only a 3 lb difference it could be fat loss of 2 lbs, gain 2 lb of muscle and 3 lbs of water. A bulk is usually done with more than 3 lbs, and typically gain fat, where you look like you lost fat.

    I would call what you did a successful recomposition. Keep up the good work!

    Thank you! I was truly doubting whether recomposition was possible, I was hearing from certain sources online that it isn't really effective to recomp unless in certain specific situations and it's not really what I was aiming for, but I'm glad I did it! Now I believe :)

    I am seeing a personal trainer for the next 3 months (already booked), I want to put on muscle as I am being held to 4 days lifting hard a week, don't want to miss out on any muscle, but also want to be lean for summer. Would anyone want to recommend whether I eat at maintenance or surplus? I could keep recomping or small surplus for 3 months, cut this spring, recomp summer and bulk next fall?
  • erickirb
    erickirb Posts: 12,290 Member
    erickirb wrote: »
    Def look leaner... weather you put on much muscle is hard to tell. With only a 3 lb difference it could be fat loss of 2 lbs, gain 2 lb of muscle and 3 lbs of water. A bulk is usually done with more than 3 lbs, and typically gain fat, where you look like you lost fat.

    I would call what you did a successful recomposition. Keep up the good work!

    Thank you! I was truly doubting whether recomposition was possible, I was hearing from certain sources online that it isn't really effective to recomp unless in certain specific situations and it's not really what I was aiming for, but I'm glad I did it!

    I am seeing a personal trainer for the next 3 months (already booked), I want to put on muscle as I am being held to 4 days lifting hard a week, don't want to miss out on any muscle, but also want to be lean for summer. Would anyone want to recommend whether I eat at maintenance or surplus? I could keep recomping or small surplus for 3 months, cut this spring, recomp summer and bulk next fall?

    If you want to put on noticeable amount of muscle in that amount of time, a slight surplus, and a later cut, would be the way to go... set your surplus to 200-250 cals/day and make sure you get adequate protein... given your stats should be in the 100 gram/day as a minimum, but more isn't bad.
  • mom23mangos
    mom23mangos Posts: 3,070 Member
    I think you would do fine to recomp the whole time or recomp until early spring and see how you look/feel then. If you still think you need to lean out a bit more, do a small cut. Maintain for the summer and you'll be in prime spot to bulk in the fall if you want.
  • sardelsa
    sardelsa Posts: 9,812 Member
    erickirb wrote: »
    Def look leaner... weather you put on much muscle is hard to tell. With only a 3 lb difference it could be fat loss of 2 lbs, gain 2 lb of muscle and 3 lbs of water. A bulk is usually done with more than 3 lbs, and typically gain fat, where you look like you lost fat.

    I would call what you did a successful recomposition. Keep up the good work!

    I agree with this, it is quite a small fluctuation so I wouldn't quite call it a bulk, but whatever it is you look great and definitely made awesome progress!

    In terms of what to do next, it is really up to you. The thing is, if you gain weight, even with a small surplus, it will come with some fat gain... it really depends on how lean you want to be for summer. Most women will start a bulk when their bodyfat is 20% or under (unless they are underweight or close not sure if that applies to you). Not to say you can't bulk above 20% but it just gets harder to put on muscle and then cut down (again, this all depends on how lean you want to get.. this may not be your goal).

    I would probably continue to recomp, then you can re-evaluate if you want to bulk at some point.
  • peachvine29
    peachvine29 Posts: 400 Member
    edited December 2019
    sardelsa wrote: »
    erickirb wrote: »
    Def look leaner... weather you put on much muscle is hard to tell. With only a 3 lb difference it could be fat loss of 2 lbs, gain 2 lb of muscle and 3 lbs of water. A bulk is usually done with more than 3 lbs, and typically gain fat, where you look like you lost fat.

    I would call what you did a successful recomposition. Keep up the good work!

    I agree with this, it is quite a small fluctuation so I wouldn't quite call it a bulk, but whatever it is you look great and definitely made awesome progress!

    In terms of what to do next, it is really up to you. The thing is, if you gain weight, even with a small surplus, it will come with some fat gain... it really depends on how lean you want to be for summer. Most women will start a bulk when their bodyfat is 20% or under (unless they are underweight or close not sure if that applies to you). Not to say you can't bulk above 20% but it just gets harder to put on muscle and then cut down (again, this all depends on how lean you want to get.. this may not be your goal).

    I would probably continue to recomp, then you can re-evaluate if you want to bulk at some point.

    Thanks for the advice. I do want to be lean enough to be comfortable wearing a two piece swimsuit this summer, I was not ready for it last summer and don't feel ready now either, I want to be a bit leaner. I've been estimated to be about 25% bodyfat, I would like to get to 20% or under. I'm 5'8'', so I wouldn't be underweight until around 122 lbs., I'm quite aways away from that.

    I think I am probably going to recomp considering I don't really want to put on more fat at all, and I've been getting progress with the recomp so far it seems.
  • sardelsa
    sardelsa Posts: 9,812 Member
    sardelsa wrote: »
    erickirb wrote: »
    Def look leaner... weather you put on much muscle is hard to tell. With only a 3 lb difference it could be fat loss of 2 lbs, gain 2 lb of muscle and 3 lbs of water. A bulk is usually done with more than 3 lbs, and typically gain fat, where you look like you lost fat.

    I would call what you did a successful recomposition. Keep up the good work!

    I agree with this, it is quite a small fluctuation so I wouldn't quite call it a bulk, but whatever it is you look great and definitely made awesome progress!

    In terms of what to do next, it is really up to you. The thing is, if you gain weight, even with a small surplus, it will come with some fat gain... it really depends on how lean you want to be for summer. Most women will start a bulk when their bodyfat is 20% or under (unless they are underweight or close not sure if that applies to you). Not to say you can't bulk above 20% but it just gets harder to put on muscle and then cut down (again, this all depends on how lean you want to get.. this may not be your goal).

    I would probably continue to recomp, then you can re-evaluate if you want to bulk at some point.

    Thanks for the advice. I do want to be lean enough to be comfortable wearing a two piece swimsuit this summer, I was not ready for it last summer and don't feel ready now either, I want to be a bit leaner. I've been estimated to be about 25% bodyfat, I would like to get to 20% or under. I'm 5'8'', so I wouldn't be underweight until around 122 lbs., I'm quiet aways away from that.

    I think I am probably going to recomp considering I don't really want to put on more fat at all, and I've been getting progress with the recomp so far it seems.

    I love bulk/cut cycles but they are not for everyone and not to say you can't do it if you really are set on it, or if you wanted to give it a go in the future.

    I would keep doing whatever you are doing right now!
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,811 Member
    If being lean is important to you then don't bulk, recomp until summer. Maybe reassess your goals including your ultimate physique goal at the end of summer.
    Great progress, well done.
  • LAT1963
    LAT1963 Posts: 1,375 Member
    edited December 2019
    Yes, I think you do look leaner, especially at the waist and upper thigh. Weight went up so that weight must be from muscle--good job!

    I don't know how to bulk and cut, so I can't advise you what to do next, but I can observe that whatever you did was effective.
  • GaryRuns
    GaryRuns Posts: 506 Member
    You look great. I think the improvement looks significant. Without a doubt a leaner physique. Great work!

    If you're not comfortable gaining fat then just stick to recomp. It is certainly a slower process but if you're doing this for your health you're going to be doing it for a long time anyway, right? Like the rest of your life! Anyway, I think it's a great idea to start with recomp and see how happy you are with the results, although I'm not sure if spring gives you enough time for a recomp to work, especially since you may not have much of those early gains left as you're becoming more experienced with resistance training. Might want to give it six months instead. If your gains are too slow to suit you, and you decide you can live with a little fat, then try a bulk for a few months. Again, you have the rest of your life to figure out what works best for you. No rush.
  • GaryRuns
    GaryRuns Posts: 506 Member
    I'm also hopeful that the fact that your hair got darker is related to your resistance training. I'm getting tired of the increasing "blonde" in my hair as I age and could use some of that darkening. :D
  • peachvine29
    peachvine29 Posts: 400 Member
    edited December 2019
    GaryRuns wrote: »
    I'm also hopeful that the fact that your hair got darker is related to your resistance training. I'm getting tired of the increasing "blonde" in my hair as I age and could use some of that darkening. :D

    Haha well I guess you could say the increased comfortableness with myself after training contributed to being open to making a drastic hair color change :) I say go for any change you want, I'm not regretting it!
  • sardelsa
    sardelsa Posts: 9,812 Member
    Happy I could help! That's why I say it sounds so simple, but it's really hard to get your mind around eating more to lean out.. and you are correct it is a learning process. Some people even have to go through it to know for sure (which was me). I dieted when I should have maintained or gained, I did all the "wrong" things but learned so much from it all.
  • rheddmobile
    rheddmobile Posts: 6,840 Member
    I have to say I was doubtful of seeing much change in such a short time frame until I clicked on the pictures! Just wanted to say well done!
  • peachvine29
    peachvine29 Posts: 400 Member
    edited December 2019
    MikePTY wrote: »
    I feel like I may have told you to focus on recomp 1 or 17 times in the past 😉. I am glad you did and the progress really shows!

    I think you should keep doing what you are doing. You are definitely making progress.

    Just remember the other thing that I know that I have preached: that confidence in our body ultimately comes from within, not what's outside. You should absolutely feel comfortable and confident in your body as it is now, even if you want to keep continue to make progress. So I think along with the recomp, self-acceptance and self-pride are things to focus on.

    Hahaha... yes, yes you did... Many did. I guess I just had to find out for myself, let my body lead the way into it and show me the results before I could trust that recomp would be good for me...

    And yeah I do agree. Thanks for the reminder.... I believe I will find my way in that eventually. Inner work is a bit harder than the outer work, much more intangible in process and results.

    Honestly I'm not sure where to start with that one. !

    Thanks Mike.
  • peachvine29
    peachvine29 Posts: 400 Member
    edited December 2019
    I have to say I was doubtful of seeing much change in such a short time frame until I clicked on the pictures! Just wanted to say well done!

    Thank you :) I really thought I was going to look like my BF went up comparatively so it was hard to believe myself!