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  1. #1
    Registered User DaDude2020's Avatar
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    How to determine if it's muscle or fat

    I'm moving to an intermediate program (upper/lower split) and increasing calories.

    I'm currently around 25% body fat and attempting to reduce this. There will be times where I can't add an extra rep in or add weight to the bar so what would be the best approach to determine i am building muscle during this period?
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    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    You won't lower BF% if you increase your calorie intake unless it's still below maintenance after the increase which I assume is not the case.

    You can't know with precision what your BF% is but I would not generally recommend bulking if you believe you are 25%. Perhaps run a moderate deficit - you should be able to make progress in the gym despite this.

    A well designed intermediate routine will have you progressing at a suitable rate - getting stronger is a good proxy for muscle gain in the long run, particularly if it's improvements in let's say your 8 rep maximum rather than 1 rep maximum which are being measured.
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    Registered User DaDude2020's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    You won't lower BF% if you increase your calorie intake unless it's still below maintenance after the increase which I assume is not the case.

    You can't know with precision what your BF% is but I would not generally recommend bulking if you believe you are 25%. Perhaps run a moderate deficit - you should be able to make progress in the gym despite this.

    A well designed intermediate routine will have you progressing at a suitable rate - getting stronger is a good proxy for muscle gain in the long run, particularly if it's improvements in let's say your 8 rep maximum rather than 1 rep maximum which are being measured.
    Thanks for replying, I posted something about my calories on the nutrition section

    forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=178896761&p=1614971611&posted=1#p ost1614971611

    Which I'm trying to establish how I should proceed. If I have understood all this correctly then I think I would still be under my maintenance..... What you reckon? Thanks
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    Registered User DaDude2020's Avatar
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    I saw your reply to my other thread so I will first figure out the true calories I've been consuming. Once I know I can readjust back to 1700 and see what happens I assume..... But that still leaves the question if I'm lifting the same weight for a few weeks am I still building muscle or is there a way to determine this?

    I think if I'm losing fat I am but if possible I would like some confirmation especially if it's one exercise that I can't add more weight to i.e. bench press

    The upper/lower split I'm doing is pretty much this aworkoutroutine.com/upper-lower-split/ which is the 4 day split.

    I say pretty much as I have substituted some exercises to fit with my home equipment.
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    Don't over complicate things

    Fat Loss: Its not from a single spot it reduces as per your body.
    To get fat loss, eat a deficit. It really is that simple.

    Muscle gain is not the same as strength gain. You sound new to lifting, so you will have the ability to get a lot stronger without adding any muscle mass.

    When you get your BF down to 15% ish you can think about deliberately eating at excess.

    Until then eat a deficit, and get on a lifting program that challenges you and enjoy newbie gains.
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    Originally Posted by DaDude2020 View Post
    But that still leaves the question if I'm lifting the same weight for a few weeks am I still building muscle or is there a way to determine this?
    If you're an intermediate, you could be lifting the same weight for months.
    I can tell time. Time cannot tell me.

    Formerly LactoseTolerant. I'm not very imaginative.
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    Originally Posted by DaDude2020 View Post
    I saw your reply to my other thread so I will first figure out the true calories I've been consuming. Once I know I can readjust back to 1700 and see what happens I assume..... But that still leaves the question if I'm lifting the same weight for a few weeks am I still building muscle or is there a way to determine this?

    I think if I'm losing fat I am but if possible I would like some confirmation especially if it's one exercise that I can't add more weight to i.e. bench press

    The upper/lower split I'm doing is pretty much this aworkoutroutine.com/upper-lower-split/ which is the 4 day split.

    I say pretty much as I have substituted some exercises to fit with my home equipment.
    Building lean muscle tissue is a long and rather slow process. Gaining 6-lbs of lean muscle mass per YEAR for beginners is about all one can expect. With each passing year, that number falls significantly.

    Another part of the equation that is essential to quantify is how many calories you are expending on average. Pit that against an equally accurate estimate of what you're taking in (everything that passes thru your lips) and you'll have a far more accurate picture of where you stand. Hope that helps some.
    Without proper diets and effective meal plans dialed in, you might well be spitting in the wind.
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    I would not analyze muscle gain. If one trains on a well rounded program with progression and eats well it certain muscle gain/retention is managed as well as it can be while losing weight.

    Good luck with the weight loss.
    “Physical fitness can neither be achieved by wishful thinking nor outright purchase.” – Joseph Pilates

    A bodybuilder uses the weights to work the muscle.
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    I'll be simple here and talk from a bodybuilding stand point.
    First you can't flex fat,simple as that.
    I agree with the above that determining your BF level is a educated guess at best unless you get accurate testing that can be expensive.
    The poor mans bodybuilder way is take pictures of the same poses,in the same light,every month and compare them.
    Pictures won't lie.
    The other is take a waist measurement every month.
    If it's going down your on the right track.
    As far as weight training you need to make training each set you do as intense as possible rather that adding a rep.
    Adding reps is ok but it won't necessarily increase intensity.
    The more advanced you get with training the more you need to kick it up to inhibit muscle growth.
    Eat mostly protein and veges with other carbs before and after training.
    Good luck.
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