Weight loss before muscle gaining????!

Do you need to be at a certain BMI before your body can start building muscle? As in do you need to become skinny before bulking? I'm 5'5 and 129lbs and I'm working on gaining muscle , however I feel if I lost just a little more weight in fat I'd have more success with it.
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Replies

  • psuLemon
    psuLemon Posts: 38,015 MFP Moderator
    the good new is NO! - the Beauty is that you can weight train while your BMI is higher! - when you build muscle you will burn fat faster because when you increase your muscle mass you increase your metabolism!

    For every muscle you gain, its like an additional 4 calories per day burned. You really have to gain a lot of muscle to have an impact on metabolism.


    OP, if you want to bulk, it would be ideal to be below 20% ish body fat. Alternatively, you can eat at maintenance and follow a progressive oveoad lifting program in hopes for some fat loss and muscle gains.
  • xvhailey
    xvhailey Posts: 15 Member
    psuLemon wrote: »
    the good new is NO! - the Beauty is that you can weight train while your BMI is higher! - when you build muscle you will burn fat faster because when you increase your muscle mass you increase your metabolism!

    For every muscle you gain, its like an additional 4 calories per day burned. You really have to gain a lot of muscle to have an impact on metabolism.


    OP, if you want to bulk, it would be ideal to be below 20% ish body fat. Alternatively, you can eat at maintenance and follow a progressive oveoad lifting program in hopes for some fat loss and muscle gains.

    Thank you for that information! Found out my body fat percentage is 25% so I'll be focusing on working that down a bit then go for the gains!
  • LiftHeavyThings27105
    LiftHeavyThings27105 Posts: 2,104 Member
    One of the things to consider when entering a bulk is that you are going to put on weight and that a part of that weight will be body fat.

    And, to be clear - a bulk (generally speaking) is a focus to gain strength. This implies additional caloric consumption (since we need to feed the machine - spending all that quality time in the gym with our new friends - the barbell and dumbbell - will require additional fuel). Additional caloric consumption is very potentially going to increase both body weight and body fat.

    So, if you are at a higher body fat percentage - and I would suggest that 25% is indeed a 'higher' body fat percentage - then it might behoove you to first work on reducing that to a lower percentage. But, that all depends on you and your goals. Do you H * A * V * E to be at a lower bf% to go into a bulk? Heck no!!!!! Would it likely be a great idea to consider lowering that bf%? Heck yes!!!!!

    And, please please please please understand that I am not trying to insult you. I find that people are somewhat easily offended and nothing I say in here has the intent to insult anyone.

    What - if you do not mind - are your goals? How to you plan to get there?
  • donkey9512
    donkey9512 Posts: 60 Member
    edited September 2017
    Are you a lady? Only 129 lbs and 5 ft 5. 25% for a woman is very nice! You probably already look smoking now..
    I don't mean to disagree with the esteemed psuLemon but in my opinion 25% is not too high for a lady. So you could go either way. You may want to start your journey to gain some muscle mass or do as PsuLemon suggests and focus on cutting.
  • LiftHeavyThings27105
    LiftHeavyThings27105 Posts: 2,104 Member
    And, just to be complete - your height and weight seem fine! Like, right in the middle of ideal (on paper). So, if I might ask, how did you determine that your body fat percentage is 25%?

    What method did you use? One of those all-purpose scales?

    If a scale, which one? Generally speaking, those things are less than accurate. Some more so than others...thus, my question.
  • sardelsa
    sardelsa Posts: 9,826 Member
    Generally, you want to have a lower bodyfat % (under 20% for women) before you actually start to bulk and put on weight. Again not to say you can't if you are higher right now.. but unless you are underweight with a higher bodyfat%, it is recommended to cut down. Now I have heard about better nutrient partitioning (basically the lower the bodyfat%, the more gain will be muscle vs fat). However, I think more importantly is the mental aspect and comfort of being lean, as if you have major problem areas now (ex. belly, back, thigh fat) it will usually get much worse as you gain weight. Some (if not most) people will struggle with that and quit the bulk early as a result.. and basically not be as successful.

    As mentioned, you can also maintain and recomp.. (lose fat and gain muscle over time). So that is another option.

    Either way, whatever you do.. if you aren't already.. start lifting now.. follow a progressive lifting program.. if you are cutting down, recomping, bulking.. you always always want to be lifting to maintain/build muscle no matter what stage you are in.

    And @donkey9512, it was not indicated that 25% was high for a woman to maintain (which is definitely is not), but high to start a bulk.
  • LiftHeavyThings27105
    LiftHeavyThings27105 Posts: 2,104 Member
    Yes, sorry. I left out the part that @sardelsa clarified. 25% bf for a woman is not bad at all. But, in the context of this post, it likely is. I knew what was in my head! :smile:

    And, to echo what @sardelsa stated - start. There is no time like the present. And lots and lots of people - making a very general comment - have a problem with change. Starting a training program is indeed 'change'. So, start the new behavior, the new life style. Today. And, go 'every day' - whatever that means for you.

    Not to hijack your post, but I made the life style change some 18 months ago. I am 50. I am WAY better than when I was 20-something, 30-something. WAY BETTER. The younger guys in the gym don't know how I do it. I don't tell them, but my secret is to simply make that life style change and it all just falls into line. Sure, "just falls into line" is simplified. It is simple. Now, make no mistake: it is not easy. But it is sooooooo stinking simple. It not easy, though, because of that thing called 'change'. Anyway, enough of the rant....

    Start. Start RIGHT NOW. Never look back. I mean, if this is what you want. Not trying to push anything on you. :smile:
  • donkey9512
    donkey9512 Posts: 60 Member
    edited September 2017
    Of course it's her choice but at such a low BMI, it's basically tricky call. What about a very gradual slow cut? It would be a shame at such a low weight to start with for her to loose more muscle. She would not want to be skinny fat.

    I am kind of her male counterpart in same boat. I have these damn love handles I need to get rid of. Everywhere else, I am very lean. I am only 141 lbs and 5'6" so I really don't want to loose the little muscle mass I have.

    @xvhailey,. Can you please post pictures? Body fat is just a number and may mislead
  • RoxieDawn
    RoxieDawn Posts: 15,491 Member
    edited September 2017
    OP your thinking is correct. Leaner the better to start bulking.

    I concur completely up thread with the ideal body fat% to be around 20ish%. When you are leaner to start, the proportion of weight gained will be muscle as apposed to packing on fat, as long as all other aspects of your program are on point such as protein intake, and the resistant training you are following is progressive overload. So when starting at a higher body fat %, as we increase body fat, it negatively affects nutrient partitioning making gains much more difficult..

    You can recomp (eat a maintenance) to drop more body fat and make slower muscle gains that way, but if you have a time frame in mind when you want to starting building muscle, this might not be ideal as this is a slower process.
  • donkey9512
    donkey9512 Posts: 60 Member
    edited September 2017
    RoxieDawn wrote: »
    OP your thinking is correct. Leaner the better to start bulking.

    I concur completely up thread with the ideal body fat% to be around 20ish%. When you are leaner to start, the proportion of weight gained will be muscle as apposed to packing on fat, as long as all other aspects of your program are on point such as protein intake, and the resistant training you are following is progressive overload. So when starting at a higher body fat %, as we increase body fat, it negatively affects nutrient partitioning making gains much more difficult..

    You can recomp (eat a maintenance) to drop more body fat and make slower muscle gains that way, but if you have a time frame in mind when you want to starting building muscle, this might not be ideal as this is a slower process.

    Would that work for me too? I am in same boat. I am fed up of starving myself trying to cut while feeling low in energy. Should I bring some cardio so I can still eat?

    I think that I may benefit from loosing a couple pounds of fat but I am stuck at 141. My body does not want to budge. Unless cut off a limb, I don't think it's going down.
  • xvhailey
    xvhailey Posts: 15 Member
    RoxieDawn wrote: »
    OP your thinking is correct. Leaner the better to start bulking.

    I concur completely up thread with the ideal body fat% to be around 20ish%. When you are leaner to start, the proportion of weight gained will be muscle as apposed to packing on fat, as long as all other aspects of your program are on point such as protein intake, and the resistant training you are following is progressive overload. So when starting at a higher body fat %, as we increase body fat, it negatively affects nutrient partitioning making gains much more difficult..

    You can recomp (eat a maintenance) to drop more body fat and make slower muscle gains that way, but if you have a time frame in mind when you want to starting building muscle, this might not be ideal as this is a slower process.

    Alright this is me as 5'5 129lbs and 25% body fat. Would you guys say I should still slim down to the ideal 20%body fat before I work on muscle gains? And if I do lose the weight will it diminish what muscle I have already worked up??? c850a51p4axm.jpg
    1p1quvbjdos9.jpg
  • mmapags
    mmapags Posts: 8,946 Member
    edited September 2017
    donkey9512 wrote: »
    RoxieDawn wrote: »
    OP your thinking is correct. Leaner the better to start bulking.

    I concur completely up thread with the ideal body fat% to be around 20ish%. When you are leaner to start, the proportion of weight gained will be muscle as apposed to packing on fat, as long as all other aspects of your program are on point such as protein intake, and the resistant training you are following is progressive overload. So when starting at a higher body fat %, as we increase body fat, it negatively affects nutrient partitioning making gains much more difficult..

    You can recomp (eat a maintenance) to drop more body fat and make slower muscle gains that way, but if you have a time frame in mind when you want to starting building muscle, this might not be ideal as this is a slower process.

    Would that work for me too? I am in same boat. I am fed up of starving myself trying to cut while feeling low in energy. Should I bring some cardio so I can still eat?

    I think that I may benefit from loosing a couple pounds of fat but I am stuck at 141. My body does not want to budge. Unless cut off a limb, I don't think it's going down.

    Short answer: Yes, but for a man the target BF% before starting a bulk is 15%. Women need more body fat. A longer answer would be best found by starting your own thread so as not to derail the OPs.

    ETA: Body fat is not just a number but a measure of body composition. While #xvhailey has a good shape, if she is interested in improving her body composition and shape, the ways to do that have been mentioned.
  • mmapags
    mmapags Posts: 8,946 Member
    xvhailey wrote: »
    RoxieDawn wrote: »
    OP your thinking is correct. Leaner the better to start bulking.

    I concur completely up thread with the ideal body fat% to be around 20ish%. When you are leaner to start, the proportion of weight gained will be muscle as apposed to packing on fat, as long as all other aspects of your program are on point such as protein intake, and the resistant training you are following is progressive overload. So when starting at a higher body fat %, as we increase body fat, it negatively affects nutrient partitioning making gains much more difficult..

    You can recomp (eat a maintenance) to drop more body fat and make slower muscle gains that way, but if you have a time frame in mind when you want to starting building muscle, this might not be ideal as this is a slower process.

    Alright this is me as 5'5 129lbs and 25% body fat. Would you guys say I should still slim down to the ideal 20%body fat before I work on muscle gains? And if I do lose the weight will it diminish what muscle I have already worked up??? c850a51p4axm.jpg
    1p1quvbjdos9.jpg

    Yes, cut to around 20% or recomp. Too high BF% to bulk. If you weight train, you will maintain the maximum amount of muscle possible while losing fat. You may lose a slight amount of muscle if you cut but not a significant amount if you do it right. Not too aggressive a deficit, 1/2 lb per week, and weight training. I'm sure the awesome ladies who you tagged will be along with similar input soon.
  • LiftHeavyThings27105
    LiftHeavyThings27105 Posts: 2,104 Member
    I am still interested in how you figured out your body fat percentage?????
  • xvhailey
    xvhailey Posts: 15 Member
    I am still interested in how you figured out your body fat percentage?????
    I measured my waist, hips, forearm, and wrist. I know there's a more accurate way but I just worked with what I could do for the time being so yes my body fat percentage may be off
  • xvhailey
    xvhailey Posts: 15 Member
    mmapags wrote: »
    xvhailey wrote: »
    RoxieDawn wrote: »
    OP your thinking is correct. Leaner the better to start bulking.

    I concur completely up thread with the ideal body fat% to be around 20ish%. When you are leaner to start, the proportion of weight gained will be muscle as apposed to packing on fat, as long as all other aspects of your program are on point such as protein intake, and the resistant training you are following is progressive overload. So when starting at a higher body fat %, as we increase body fat, it negatively affects nutrient partitioning making gains much more difficult..

    You can recomp (eat a maintenance) to drop more body fat and make slower muscle gains that way, but if you have a time frame in mind when you want to starting building muscle, this might not be ideal as this is a slower process.

    Alright this is me as 5'5 129lbs and 25% body fat. Would you guys say I should still slim down to the ideal 20%body fat before I work on muscle gains? And if I do lose the weight will it diminish what muscle I have already worked up??? c850a51p4axm.jpg
    1p1quvbjdos9.jpg

    Yes, cut to around 20% or recomp. Too high BF% to bulk. If you weight train, you will maintain the maximum amount of muscle possible while losing fat. You may lose a slight amount of muscle if you cut but not a significant amount if you do it right. Not too aggressive a deficit, 1/2 lb per week, and weight training. I'm sure the awesome ladies who you tagged will be along with similar input soon.

    I've decided I do need to cut the weight, and thanks for the insight ! My exercise consists of full body workouts everyday, should I just stay more focused on weight training instead?
  • RoxieDawn
    RoxieDawn Posts: 15,491 Member
    edited September 2017
    xvhailey wrote: »

    First of all you look amazing. Congrats to you!!!

    If this were me, I would do a slowish cut. You are not quite what I call at a good enough leanness that if you were to move into a bulking phase you will be quite disappointed with your results.

    Basically recomp (but with a smallish deficit of about 200/250 calories). Choose your strength training program that is a progressive over load, and keep doing this for as long as you feel you need to. I am just under 5'4" and it looks like maybe in another 4-5 pounds for you and then reassess. In your diet, make sure your protein intake is adequate enough to handle your regime, I personally do a *minimum* of 100 grams and add grams up to my body weight that I find is more than enough.
  • LiftHeavyThings27105
    LiftHeavyThings27105 Posts: 2,104 Member
    @xvhailey Cool.....not a bad way to do things. I would ask one of the ladies (or some of the other dudes) if they think, based on your two pics, that you are 25% bf.