Wits & Weights | Nutrition, Lifting, Muscle, Metabolism, & Fat Loss

Ep 69: What to do FIRST – Lose Fat, Build Muscle, or Body Recomposition?

May 12, 2023 Philip Pape Episode 69
Wits & Weights | Nutrition, Lifting, Muscle, Metabolism, & Fat Loss
Ep 69: What to do FIRST – Lose Fat, Build Muscle, or Body Recomposition?
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Show Notes Transcript

Today, I answer a common question many people have when starting their fitness journey: What should you do first to get results on your body recomposition? Should you focus on losing fat, building muscle, or doing both at the same time?

I discuss seven common scenarios and share a 6-12 month plan for each scenario. You can choose the best approach based on your goals, starting point, and personal preferences. Plus, I'll share some common mistakes people make when pursuing their fitness goals, so you can avoid them and stay on track. I also recommend an app that is particularly helpful for tracking your macros, making it easier to manage your nutrition goals.

Do you have any fitness questions you want me to answer, or do you want to give feedback? You can now send a voicemail, and we might even feature it on one of our future episodes!
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Book a FREE 30-minute call with Philip here.
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Today you’ll learn all about:

[2:44] Listener feedback
[4:58] Six to ten weeks maintenance phase, establishing your habits
[6:47] Common mistakes
[12:23] Scenario 1: You need to lose 10-20 Lbs
[15:24] Scenario 2: You need to lose 20-40 Lbs
[15:24] Scenario 3: You need to lose 40-50-60 Lbs or more
[24:17] Scenario 4: You're at the lower end of skinny-fat
[26:19] Scenario 5: You're untrained and lean
[29:33] Scenario 6: You're trained and lean
[31:22] Scenario 7: You're trained and hitting the upper limit of your body fat
[35:20] Outro

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Philip Pape:

Overall, Are we pursuing a healthy dietary pattern? Are we maintaining our weight? Are we lifting properly? Are we getting enough sleep all the things? Okay, so if you if you need to lose a little bit of weight, I wouldn't actually lose weight, I would actually go for body recomp take advantage of being in a sufficient energy environment, and take advantage of those newbie gains for building muscle and losing fat. And then after you do that, you can decide what to do next. Welcome to the Wits & Weights podcast. I'm your host, Philip pape, and this twice a week podcast is dedicated to helping you achieve physical self mastery by getting stronger. Optimizing your nutrition and upgrading your body composition will uncover science backed strategies for movement, metabolism, muscle and mindset with a skeptical eye on the fitness industry. So you can look and feel your absolute best. Let's dive right in. Wits& Weights community Welcome to another solo episode of the Wits & Weights podcast. I hope you enjoyed our last episode number 68, with Adrian Moreno, where we talked about tapping into your deepest emotions and telling your power story to unlock your potential. So go check that out. Today for episode 69. We are answering a question that I get all the time from listeners potential clients, current clients, and that is what should you do first, to get the best results with your body composition. Should you lose fat, build muscle, aim for that magic of body recomp or body composition where you lose fat and build muscle at the same time. And today I'm going to dive into scenarios that the vast majority of people fall into, I'm going to explain what your six to 12 month plan would look like. If you want the best results that balances your health physique. And performance. We're not talking about the extremes here. We're just talking about the general population what most people are looking forward to look and feel great. Now having said that, these are all designed to focus all of your energy at one goal at a time, so that you can do the whole process more efficiently. Get to that finish line, get the quick wins, and then be in a position a really good position to go after the next goal. Now before we get into the topic, I do have an announcement, you can now send me an audio voicemail directly to the show very easily. Whether you have a question feedback, you just want to say hello, just go to pod inbox.com/wits & weights, or even easier, just click the q&a voicemail link in my show notes again, the q&a voicemail link, you can send me a question, and I will play it live on the next episode. And then answer the question or if it's just feedback, I can play it as well. Speaking of listener feedback, I did want to take a moment to read a few of the recent five star reviews from listeners who I'm very, very grateful for. In fact, I'm just grateful for the opportunity to have this show and this platform to be able to share all of the same information that's helped me and I know will help you as well. So just just three short reviews I want to read. The first is from Lady Blackwood, quote, I've struggled with my weight for many years, one yo yo diet after another. I've been searching for hope and a way out of the endless spiral. And I'm so glad I found this podcast. I mean, I see something like that. And it gives me hope that at least something of what we're sharing here is making a difference out there. And that's what we're all about. We have a review from Brian Montes, who says the host is extremely knowledgeable about fitness and weight loss. The episodes provide actionable steps that you can implement immediately to help on a weight loss journey. Even if you're not looking to lose weight. This podcast helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle. And I want to recognize that the detail the nuances of that review because this this is definitely not a show about weight loss. In fact, I try not to use the phrase weight loss very often I usually use the term fat loss. But this listener definitely recognize that the things we do have a pleasant side effect of helping with our weight if that is something we struggle with, and need to reduce for our health as part of overall health and improving our body composition. And finally, Nicolas Natali writes, Philip is knowledgeable in this space, and enthusiastically provides strategies to shred fat and get jacked. I enjoy his excitement around the topic most. And again, I just I love it because everybody gets something a little bit different. And I am excited about that. So I'm very passionate and if it comes through too much, I don't apologize because that's me. And I hope you really enjoy that aspect of this podcast. So I am truly grateful for this opportunity to create the show, let alone impact the lives of anyone listening for the better. And I always always appreciate hearing from listeners, whether it's through these reviews by email by social or now by voicemail. So with that, let's get into today's topic. What to do first Should I lose fat? Should I go into that calorie deficit and lose fat right away? Should I spend some time building muscle and being in a surplus, or should I try for body re composition? First things first, we're going to assume that you've already gone through a roughly six to 10 week maintenance phase, where you establish your habits, habits, like tracking your food, getting sufficient protein strength training, at least, I would say three days a week, getting a decent step count. So six 810 1000 steps, improving your sleep hygiene and managing stress. If you haven't gone through this foundational phase yet, I wouldn't even consider going after a specific body composition goal until you do, because it is that important to being successful. And if you're, if this is the first show you've ever listened to with me. And this is a surprise or you're wondering what this is all about. Go back and check out episode 25. Now the title is lose 30 pounds or more the right way and keep it off, which maybe it's not really about, it's not just about losing a lot of weight. Even if you don't have a weight to lose, I actually spend a good amount of time and they're going into detail about this metabolic prep phase or primer phase or pre diet maintenance, whatever you call it. So you don't have to listen to a whole episode but but listen for that section, and how I describe it in the steps to get there. And this is what I do with all my clients. When we start, we don't go right into a diet, we don't go right into a muscle building phase, we get things normalized first. Now, once you know your maintenance calories, and you have solid practices in place for training, steps, and recovery, you're ready to go after your transformation. So first, I want to address not first I've said first multiple times today, but let's quickly address some of those mistakes, the general mistakes that people make when going through this kind of transformation. And by the way, I've been there for years and years and years, I tried to transform my body. And it was always either random, it was an extreme, it was restrictive, or I just didn't know what I was doing. Right. So I would get two pieces, right. And I would miss the third piece or or something like that. So these are the big mistakes that I see. Okay, and the first one is setting an unrealistic goal. I'm all for ambitious goals, for sure. Okay, but once we go through all the scenarios and expectations today, you'll know what I mean by unrealistic, I would rather you achieve significant progress within the realm of possibility, even if that that possibility is could still be a far reach from where you are today. I'd rather you do that then overreach for some massive progress that and then be unable to stick with the process to get there. And then that sets you back even longer, right. So it's that fine balance, setting the unrealistic goal second, being inconsistent with your training. Okay, while you're going for building muscle recomp, or muscle or fat loss, the training is one of the key principles that have to be in there the whole time. So you have to be consistent, right? You can't do it three days this week, take a week off than two days and take a week off and then some random timeframe. And then finally you're back at it, and so on, because you're going to leave gains on the table, or you're going to lose muscle during fat loss without that consistency. Now, the next mistake people make is not tracking your numbers. And I say it that way. Because I don't have to be dogmatic about which numbers you track. If you're working with me, as a client, we're tracking everything basically. Because I feel that the the more numbers you have, the more data you have, the better decisions you can make. At the cost of a little bit more inconvenience, I get it. But we're talking calorie and macro intake scale and weight trend over time, your body circumference measurements, your lifting progression, you know, I want to see are you going up in weight every session on your squat? Biofeedback, like hunger, energy, stress, sleep, and so on how you look and feel, which could be measured by photos by the mirror and how your clothes fit. So all of these are objective measures. Yeah, even how you look that is objective because it's something that can be quantified visually, and then compared to overtime. And then last mistake people make is, well, I guess that was the last mistake. But basically, if you are if you are consistent, and you continue to adjust your plan based on all of this, including your numbers, you will inevitably make progress. And to hit those precisely, in my opinion, you'll need to track your food. Now if you're listening to us, you're like, I don't track macros. I don't track food, either. You've done it before and you've developed into version, where you can do it pretty well like good enough for a fat loss or muscle building phase. Or you're just refusing to accept that this is necessary to make progress. And it is, if you don't like this, if you don't want to do this, you can still make progress. But it could be inconsistent, it could take longer than you'd like. And it might result in a less optimal final body composition, and then require you to go through multiple phases or iterations to get there, you're just going to lack the information you need to make those adjustments and decisions. And if you're cool with that, knowing that it might take longer fine, but I highly recommend tracking your food. And the app that I use all my clients use, it's called macro factor. I would look for it in the app store. And you could use my code Wits &, Weights, all one word, and that'll extend your free trial. You don't have to use it. But if you do, it supports me. So I thank you for that. Again, the code is Wits & Weights. In my opinion, macro factor blows away every other app, and I've tried them all I've looked at them all my fitness pal, chronometer, carbon, RP, all of them. And it just it's far superior, in my opinion. So feel free to pause this episode right now. Go download macro factor, enter my code, Wits & Weights, and start tracking your food and weight. I mean, literally do it right now pause the episode and go download it, check it out, even take some time to play around with it, you can send me a message with a question, I'll point you to resources and help you get it going. Because this is gonna give you a ton of helpful data to make progress. Okay, and you're gonna hit your goals more quickly and more easily. Alright, with all that out of the way, let's get into it. Unless I mentioned otherwise, this, the scenarios I'm going to talk about the first the first five of the seven scenarios assumes you're either untrained. So you've never lifted weights properly or intelligently before. And that was me for like 10 years, I lifted weights, but I wasn't doing it the right way. And this assumes you've never done it, you know, with progressive overload to properly build muscle, or it assumes that you are D trained, which means you used to have some muscle and use to train, but you've regressed after months or probably years of not training. And then I'm going to cover trained individuals in the last two scenarios. Okay, so scenario one, is when you have some weight to lose like 10 to 20 pounds, I think that's a good range 10 to 20 pounds. And there's a lot of people who maybe, maybe you've dieted multiple times over the years, and or maybe you're getting a little bit older, and that fat starting to creep up, because your metabolism slowing down, because you don't quite have the muscle mass anymore. And I would say if you're there or at the higher end of skinny fat, right, and you kind of know who you are where you don't really look quote unquote heavy on the outside while you're wearing clothes. But you know, you've got some soft spots, and you want to get rid of them. Okay, so in this scenario, where you have a little bit of weight, or you're a higher end of skinny fat, I would go for body re composition. Okay, this is the only scenario where I'm going to say that. So body composition is where you don't gain any weight or lose any weight. But you build muscle while losing fat at the same time. And to do this, you'll have to stay at your maintenance calories. So all this stuff I just went over and spent all that time talking about with the pre diet maintenance, with tracking your food with using macro factor that needs to all be set up and cranking along for about six to 10 weeks, so you know what your maintenance calories are. And then you could precisely go after body recomp because even being at maintenance still requires some precision to make sure you're not going in the direction you don't want to go. So in this phase, what I would do is I would monitor things like my circumference measurements, photos, and how your clothes are fitting because your scale weights not going to change. Right, you're actually intentionally trying not to go up or down in scale weight, but you're trying to improve how you feel in your clothes, the fit, your strength, your lifts, and your biceps, all these other things, your lifts should progress. They may not be crazy progression, like they might be if you're eating more, but they shouldn't stall they should definitely progress if you're a newbie. The other thing is hunger, digestion, things like that shouldn't really be an issue because you're getting sufficient calories. You're at least at maintenance, you're in that mildly anabolic environment. If hunger and digestion are an issue. We want to look at our food selection and pay attention to things like like volume and fiber. But I don't want to chase hacks to fix these things. I want to look at the whole picture. Right? Are we overall Are we pursuing a healthy dietary pattern? Are we maintaining our weight? Are we lifting properly? Are we getting enough sleep all the things Okay, so if you if you need to lose a little bit of weight I wouldn't actually Lose weight, I would actually go for body recomp take advantage of being in a sufficiently high energy and sufficient energy environment, and take advantage of those newbie gains for building muscle and losing fat. And then after you do that, you can decide what to do next. Okay? Because you may find that you look great, you're perfectly where you want to be. And you're actually 10 pounds heavier than you thought you needed to be. Scenario two, is you have even more weight to lose, we're gonna say between 20 and 40 pounds. Okay, so this is a decent amount of weight to lose, but you're not considered in that obese level of excessive unhealthy weight 20 to 40 pounds, I would go for conservative fat loss, okay, conservative meaning for about 12 to 16 weeks, you want to lose between a quarter to point seven 5% of your body weight per week. So you may have heard me talk about on the show, the range of fat loss, that's considered acceptable without losing muscle is point two, five to 1%. So I'm kind of clipping that upper end 2.75%. So basically, you're looking at around a half percent body weight a week. So if you weigh 200 pounds, that's a pound a week, right? This is a balance between consistency and progress. Because if you go too aggressive, you're just not going to be eating very much, you're going to be a little bit, I'm not gonna say miserable. But I mean, it's gonna be tough, tougher on yourself, which risks you fallen off the wagon and not being consistent, and not making progress. So we want to make progress. But we want to go aggressive enough so that the fat also comes off. So this is where 12 To 16 week plan quarter to 7.75%. So around a half percent of body weight. Now here's what might happen when you start this, you might initially see a weight plateau, because you're getting body recomp. Just like in scenario one, you're actually getting body recomp in the early phases, and not really even trying to, you're actually trying to lose fat, trying to make the scale weight go down. But you're building up your muscle building is outpacing your fat loss, and your scale weight starts to plateau. Again, this is where we need to have our body measurements, our clothes, how they feel how we look, all those things, because I have to deal with clients with this all the time where they have 30 pounds of 30 pounds to lose. And the first few weeks when we start the fat loss phase, it doesn't go as fast as we'd like. But then all of a sudden their waist circumference comes down. And they're getting new PRs on all their lifts for weeks, if not months. That's a good sign. Okay. So your lifting will probably progress modestly. If you're beginner, it may plateau after a while. But I wouldn't expect a big plateau early on, because you're new to it. Okay, so this is kind of another sweet spot where you're getting a little bit of recomp and you're getting some fat loss. And if you see plateaus, going beyond that, I would make sure your step count is high enough, right, we sometimes forget about that, as we go into a diet, our natural movements and tend to slow down or unconscious movements. And we just move less to make up for it without even thinking about it. And so we have to consciously track our steps and keep that expenditure a little bit higher. Okay, so that's scenario two, losing 20 to 40 pounds conservative fat loss. Hey, this is Philip. And I hope you're enjoying this episode of Wits & Weights. If you're looking to connect with like minded listeners on their health and fitness journeys, come join our free Facebook community. It's a supportive space where you can share your experiences, ask questions, and access free guides and weekly trainings, just search for Wits,& Weights on Facebook, or find the link in the show notes. Now back to the show. Scenario number three is if you have a lot of weight to lose, so we're talking 40 5060 pounds or more. And this is a pretty simple scenario, it's aggressive, we want to go for aggressive fat loss. So similar timeframe to start as the last scenario, we're gonna say 12 to 16 weeks. But I would keep it up to the upper end more of a half to 1% of your body weight per week. Because you're at a much higher body weight, you can probably you're probably at a higher expenditure, you can handle roughly the same amount of calories as somebody lighter than you. But that's going to put you into a bigger deficit, meaning you'll lose fat more quickly. Now, not always, this is why I give you a range of a half to 1%. If your metabolism is pretty low, it's going to be a little more challenging. But what I would do is I would plan for 12 to 16 weeks monitor all the things stay on top of your expenditure. You know, if you're using macro factor, you'll know exactly what you need every week. And then use diet breaks if you have to break it up into longer phases. So if you're 200 pounds and you go 1% A week, after 16 weeks, you're gonna lose roughly 16 or roughly 32 pounds it's still not 50 pounds, right? So taking a break bringing your carbs up and getting back to maintenance for several weeks or even months is is really good psychologically. Okay site logically, Don't believe the hype about refeeds, about taking three days or a week, and you're cranking up your leptin and everything recovers, and all of a sudden, you could continue your diet at a healthier state with more calories, it doesn't quite work that way. As soon as you start dieting, again, you're going to readapt back to where you were. But here's the thing, a refeed, or a diet break can give you a mental boost. And there is something to be said about the extra performance in the gym, and the recovery and the sleep and the lack of stress, that does give your body a little bit of a reset. So that when you continue to diet, you're fresh when you start, and there is that to be said for it. Okay. So when we're losing 50 pounds or more, it's all about fat loss, we have to use our biofeedback and track our hunger, we don't want to let ourselves get ravenous. We're all of a sudden we binge, we overeat, we emotionally, we have to do all the strategies and planning that we like to talk about on this show, like meal prepping, meal planning, eating lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and so on. And tracking, tracking, tracking, tracking your numbers and making being aware of what adjustments you need to make. Now, here's one thing that might happen. And this could have happened in the last scenario as well. But I especially see it here, when you're just on a prolonged fat loss phase is the car the calories can start to get somewhat low, and you're trying to keep your protein high. And all of a sudden, you're like, hi, I really don't have much room for fats and carbs, my carbs are down like 100 grams, or even less, and I'm feeling sluggish, and I'm feeling sore. And I'm not recovering and my sleep is a little bit restless. This is where we can say alright, we don't need that many that much protein. If you're at like a gram per pound, we can go down to point seven 11.6 If we have too, and give all that to carbs, and maybe a little bit of fats, sometimes it's the fats that's too low, to be honest, especially for women, it was what I found, just getting that extra 10 grams a day could make all the difference. So we have to make these compromises in these trade offs. The idea here is to be consistent, make progress, lose fat period, okay, and a little bit of compromise between some of these variables goes a long way. So this is a mind game, we have to get ahead of issues when they come up. And don't be afraid to take a break. Maybe it's for a holiday, maybe it's for a trip something else where you plan in the extra calories, rather than it being something you didn't, that you lost control of. Alright, and then along the way, you're also probably going to get some re composition because you're new at this. Okay, I've had clients who were 50s 5070 pounds overweight. And when they started, because they hadn't been training or moving, and now they are they start losing weight, and also on their expenditure starts going up at the same time. And their calories don't have to change, like they start at 2000, let's say 2200 calories, and they start losing 1% a week. And all of a sudden, they are let's say not 1% a week, let's say they're going to half a percent a week, and all of a sudden their expenditure comes up and they start losing at a faster rate without changing their calories. Or they increase the rate by barely changing their calories, or I'm sorry, that's what I just said the same way in two different the same thing in two different ways I apologize. So you could go at a faster rate by saying it staying at the same calories because your expenditure is increasing. Or you could increase your calories and eat more and stay at the same rate. That's where I was trying to go. Okay, so you might be eating 2000 calories, and then all of a sudden you could eat 2200 calories and continue losing at the same rate. That's that's a really nice place to be. Okay, so that was the third scenario that was a large amount of fat loss. And by the way, the reason I suggest these specific directions has to do with that balance I mentioned before between health performance and aesthetics are physique, right, we were trying to balance them all, but going after one goal at a time. So I'm sort of giving you the most efficient goal to go after, based on your starting point. And by the way, when you do that, eventually you will end up in another scenario, most likely the trained scenarios that I'm going to get to. Alright, so scenario four, is you're at the lower end of skinny fat. This is where you really don't need to be any lighter on the scale, right? If you have your clothes on, you kind of look skinny. You know, none of these words were meant to be judgmental. It's just our language, we understand what we mean by them. And you don't need to lose any weight but you need to add muscle. So in this case, I would go for what for conservative muscle gain, okay, some people might recommend trying for body recomp here, but honestly, I think you can stand to push it a little bit on the gaining side. And you're still going to have somebody recomp while gaining which would be awesome. Meaning you might actually lose some fat while you're gaining weight. You may not, but the amount of fat gain should be pretty darn minimal if you're doing it in this conservative fashion. So we want to go for a six to nine month plan gaining around point 1% body weight per week, this is as lean gains as we get, because I would recommend between point one and point two 5% When you gain and here I'm talking about the lower end of that point 1%. So you're barely gonna gain any weight, but you'll be in an anabolic environment to feed that muscle building for your newbie gains. Okay, so it's like a lean gain slash body recomp and you're maximizing muscle growth, you're limiting fat gain to near zero, or at least behind the pace of your muscle gain, meaning the muscle to fat ratio is actually higher than one to one. For somebody like me who has been training for a while, it's the opposite, right? I tend to gain a little more fat than I do muscle as I gained, just because it's hard for me to to add additional muscle in absolute terms. But if you're skinny fat and you've never trained, you're gonna like pack on that muscle and not much fat. And that's what we want to go for. And throughout this process, you just got to enjoy learning to eat more, which can be a challenge for some people, especially if you're a hard gainer, which we'll talk about in a second. And you can enjoy lifting more, you should be making really steady progress session after session week after week on your lifts. Okay, so the next scenario is you are lean and untrained, which is lean is different than skinny fat. skinny fat is lightweight on the scale, but you have your body composition has a fairly high body fat percentage, which is what most people are after, at once again into their let's say 40s or 50s. They've died at a bunch of times and haven't really trained properly. Okay, but they but they keep dieting and getting their scale way down. This scenario. Scenario five is when you're lean and untrained. And it's because you either haven't dieted very often, you know, maybe you've just sat at that weight for years with with no muscle, or you're young, like in your late teens or early 20s and just haven't had the opportunity to gain much fat. This could also include hard gainers. Okay, hard gainers, people who, on the surface seem to have trouble gaining weight, and I'll explain why that is. So in this scenario, if you're lean, and you're untrained lean, you don't have much body fat and you're light and you haven't trained go for aggressive muscle gain period. So if you're 2020 year old male, and you just are skinny, go for this go for all the gains you can six to nine months gaining point to 2.4% body weight per week. This is not a dreamer book, this is not trying to gain 1% Every week, because that's that is going to gain too much fat, but it is going on the more aggressive side. So point 3.3 5.4% of your body weight per week. Point 4% body weight per week is what 1.2 1.3% per month. So that's a decent amount of weight gain. You know, after after nine months, you're talking over 10%. So you have to be okay with gaining some fat when you do this. And in fact, I would welcome it, that extra fat is gonna allow you to move more weight as the lighter lift more. All right, enjoy that the progress on your lifts enjoy filling out your shirt. Like those are the things you have to pay attention to if you're talking about body Recombinase Hey, my biceps are filling out my shirt. Now if you're a hard gainer, if you have trouble gaining weight, it's a very real thing, where because every time you eat more food, every time you eat another 100 calories, your body might actually up regulate and burn 50 more calories. And so your metabolism is is catching up to your intake not all the way. But enough where you feel like man, I have to keep eating more and more just to gain weight. And in that case, the reality is yes, you're gonna have to eat more and more. This is why we want to track you something like macro factor where it gives you the surplus you need to stay in that to stay in that rate of gain. But now you have to start looking at strategies how to do that, right, eating more fats, eating more calorie dense foods, things like that, without going into the processed foods all the time, territory or eating fast foods or milkshakes or whatever. There's a good balance, there's foods like nuts, oil, you know, adding oil to your foods, things like that, that are nice little, I don't want to say tricks. They're just ways to scale up the calorie density to gain more if you're in that scenario. So the big thing here is to optimize things like your workout nutrition, and your performance so that you could maximize that rapid, you know, maximize that muscle growth. Okay, lifting really hard heavy training properly and getting that recovery. Okay, so scenario six and seven are if you are trained. Okay, so scenario six is if you're trained, and you're lean, so you've been training and you've gone through a cut or a fat loss phase, and now you're at the low end of where you'd like to be. So you're basically you might see your six pack, you might see a muscle definition. It all depends on who you are. For a male this might be 10% 12%, body fat, something like that. Maybe it's ate, it really depends on you. But it's that lower limit you've set for yourself. In that case, we're gonna go for moderate muscle gain. So this is just a standard building phase, which you know what scenario seven is going to be, it's gonna be the opposite of that. So I always recommend if you're trained, if you're getting back to a new building phase, six to nine months, point, one 2.25% of your body weight per week, the standard range, monitor your numbers, use your measurements, monitor your look and feel your photos. And I like to use the Navy formula, along with my photos and how I look in the mirror to track my body fat. So once I'm doing this, it's pretty consistent. I know my limits at the top end and the bottom end, how much body fat do I want to allow myself to get to, and then how low do I want to go, where I kind of toggle back and forth between this quote unquote, lean but healthy range, not so lean that you're unhealthy, you know, kind of that bodybuilding range, and not getting to where you're an unhealthy level of fat for things like your blood pressure, resting heart rate, and so on. So, again, you just want to always be training hard, you want to use periodization. This is where you can start having fun as you become an intermediate trainee, and incorporate other modes of programming like conjugate, right west side or bodybuilding training, four and five day splits, power building, and so on. Okay, and then scenario seven is just the opposite of that you are trained, and now you're hitting that upper limit of your body fat, which for some of us, it's higher than we think meaning? Well, it goes in both directions. Either you're the type of person that feels like, oh, no, I'm getting too fat. And you're really not that fat, you just might have a little extra belly there, which is not a bad thing when you're trying to lift a lot of weight. And it's healthy to have a little like a little bit of fat there. Or you might be the type of person that's okay, getting way up into the safer for males 20% of body fat before you cut it, guess what, it's all okay, it depends on your priorities. For me, I want to keep my health markers in a good place. So I tend to live a little bit lighter than some of my, you know, lifting buddies would want me to stay but that's just me. Okay, I'm in my 40s. I've had back issues I've had, you know, health, minor health issues, and I like to keep everything in check. However, I am in the middle of a nine month building phase. And I'm gonna push it a little bit when I get to the end, but then I'm gonna probably push it back the other way with my cut. So if you're the upper lip, eliminate your body fat, here's where you're gonna go for a fat loss phase at your preference. This is the only one that where I leave some wiggle wiggle room. So you're either going to do something like 12 or even 16 weeks at like a quarter 2.75% per week, or you're going to shorten that do like an eight to 12 week mini cut at the full 1% per week. So if your expenditures nice and high, if you've built a lot of muscle, you know, I am finding more and more flexibility now that I can eat more. So when I go on a diet, it's really not that much of a struggle anymore. I can go really aggressive and get it over with quickly. Okay, you've done this before, keep everything consistent scale on your meals, focus on volume, you know, don't change anything drastically just hit those targets those calories, the protein and so on. Okay, so let's recap the seven scenarios. Scenario one a little bit of weight to lose body composition. Scenario two little more weight to lose 20 to 40 pounds, conservative fat loss, scenario three, a lot of weight to lose 50 or more pounds, aggressive fat loss. Scenario four is skinny fat, I would gain muscle conservatively. Scenario five is your lean and untrained, I would gain muscle aggressively. Scenario six is you're trained at the lower limit of your body fat, you want to do a typical standard muscle building phase. And then scenario seven, you are trained and you're hitting the upper limit of your body fat, I would just go for fat loss at your preference as aggressively as you want. Alright, I hope you now have an exact starting point based on your current body composition from those scenarios. But if you do still have questions, and there always are specific questions for your circumstance, I'm always happy to jump on a free 30 minute call to go over your individual case come up with a six to 12 month plan that works for you. Just use the link in my show notes for that free call. And my goal of these calls is to get you answers. It's not to sell you anything I really want to get you an answer because I know how frustrating that is for me to not know what to do. I don't mention my services. I don't mention my pricing unless you ask me. So my mission here is to impact as many lives as possible. And if you're educated about evidence based fitness and nutrition, this rubs off on everyone around you. It makes us all healthier and happier. And this is where my passion comes from and I hope it does for you as well listening to this next week for episode 70. I'm having a conversation with none other than Cody McBee room where we dive into topics related to looking like you lift from using data like we talked about today, to balancing aesthetics and performance to overcoming plateaus. Make sure to follow or subscribe to the show to the Wits & Weights podcast right now in your favorite podcast app so you don't miss it. As always, stay strong. And I'll talk to you next time here on the Wits & Weights podcast. Thank you for tuning in to another episode of Wits & Weights. If you found value in today's episode, and know someone else who's looking to level up their Wits & Weights, please take a moment to share this episode with them. And make sure to hit the Follow button in your podcast platform right now to catch the next episode. Until then, stay strong

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