college bodybuilder tips: feeling fat

Dear K***,

I’m going to start by getting the really obvious response to your last letter out of the way.  The obvious response is: you’re not fat don’t be ridiculous.  I’m sure that’s what you get from anyone else if you tell them that you “feel fat.” You are ripped, you have a 6-pack, your bodyfat is probably under 10%.  So you obviously aren’ t “fat”.

That’s how most people would respond to you. But that’s not how I’m going to respond, because I know what you really meant. The thing is, I’ve been where you are right now.  You look in the mirror and all you can see is your goals… and the differences between those goals and how you look now.  I know that you don’t really think you are “fat” per se, but you really mean “I’m not as lean as I want to be.” So let’s talk about that.

First of all, I want to point out something that should be obvious: when you scrunch your chin down and look down at your own body, you are seeing it from an angle that you don’t see anybody else’s body from. So don’t be surprised if it “looks weird.” When comparing yourself to other people, do your self a favor and at least compare the same “angle” and “view”: look in the mirror. That’s how other people see you, that’s how you see other people.  Trying to contort your body to look at yourself will always “look weird.”

Second of all, I need to remind you again of something I told you from the beginning. You need to decide what your highest priority is right now: to put on muscle, or to get more defined. You cannot do both.  Not where your body is at now, not with your metabolism. You have to choose one or the other, because your diet and workouts will have to be completely different depending on which goal you are working toward.  With your metabolism, the only way you will pack on muscle is to eat a lot of carbs and a decent amount of fat.  If you are scared to consume calories because you are scared of “feeling fat” you will not gain muscle.  Period.

So if your main goal right now is to pack on muscle, then you simply have to accept that—in the short term—you will increase your bodyfat some. It’s just the way it is.

But here is the good news: at your age, and with your metabolism, once we’ve packed 20+ pounds of muscle on you, we will gradually transition you to a “cutting phase” workout and diet, and you will lean up very easily. The goal at that point will be to drop as much bodyfat as possible while retaining the muscle that you gained.  And you’ll look awesome.

But that’s Phase 2.  For now, keep doing the cardio and abs workouts that we discussed, but don’t expect to get leaner.  Expect to get bigger, and to maintain your definition as much as we can during this gaining phase.

Next week, we will be increasing your calories again. So be prepared. Pretty soon you’ll be eating as much as a family in a day (LOL), so make sure you’re pushing yourself with the weights to make the most of it.

—Greg

 

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