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

Ep 141: Why I’m Getting Fluffy Before I Get Jacked

January 26, 2024 Philip Pape Episode 141
Wits & Weights | Nutrition, Lifting, Muscle, Metabolism, & Fat Loss
Ep 141: Why I’m Getting Fluffy Before I Get Jacked
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Do you struggle with your body image when gaining weight to build muscle? How can you cope with the emotional challenges of getting a little fluffy on the way to your fitness goals?

Today, Philip  (@witsandweights ) gets real and raw about the emotions you might feel about your body when gaining weight to build muscle and getting a little fluffy on the way. Philip shares his journey regarding his body image so that you'll gain some insights and strategies to help you navigate these challenges. Tune in for an honest, heartfelt conversation about embracing strength, inside and out.

Today, you’ll learn all about:

0:00 Intro
3:06 Benefit to building muscle first
6:44 Motivation for building muscle mass
10:26 Women can build muscle
16:29 Your goal and feelings are correct
22:40 Challenges when you're bulking
28:24 Have realistic goals
38:39 Focus on the long-term progress
39:44 Outro

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Philip Pape:

Today we're getting real and raw about the emotions you might feel about your body when gaining weight to build muscle and getting a little fluffy on the way. I'm going unscripted today to share my personal journey regarding my body image, so that you will gain some insights and strategies to help you navigate these challenges. Tune in for an honest heartfelt conversation about embracing strength inside and out. 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. Today I'm doing something completely different. I am going raw, I am going real, I am going mostly unscripted. And by mostly anyone who knows me knows that I could never do something like this completely without thought or planning whatsoever. But I assure you, if you were looking at my notes in front of me, they're extremely minimal. Usually I spend quite a bit of time preparing an outline, references, side notes, quotes, things like that. And today is a little more unscripted. And what I wanted to do was talk about the feelings that I've had and the experience that I've had, while gaining a little extra weight during the muscle building phase. Now there's nothing super unique about this phase, versus the last few times I did this. But these things recur, right, they come up again. And a lot of the things I feel and experience are very common among my clients, and individuals I've spoken to. And they're the fears, a lot of them are fears of those of you who've never gone through muscle building phase before. And this topic comes up time and time again, because we talk about how important it is to build muscle. And yet, if you've got, let's say 20 or 30 pounds to lose, and by that I mean you're kind of carrying a little extra weight, and you don't feel great in your body, and you don't feel comfortable in your clothes. And so you think logically, the next step is to lose weight, even if you do it the quote unquote, right way and lose primarily fat and hold on to muscle. Because you're eating protein, your strength training and all of that, you may still feel like you that's the direction you have to go, because then you'll feel better and you'll be in a good place, and a good level of leanness from which to build muscle. Now, that's not necessarily a false thing, I have had plenty of clients who the first thing we do after the pre diet phase is going into a fat loss phase, who might lose 1015 20 pounds, maybe more if they're bigger, and then build muscle. And we'll tend to work together for maybe 912 months or longer because it takes that much time to go through these full phases. However, if you're not excessively overweight from a health perspective, and you don't mind about being in the body, you're in for a little while longer, I think there's a lot of benefit to building muscle first, just because of the downstream effects of having that extra muscle for your health. But also for your ability to lose fat later and become leaner and get the body you're really going for in the physique you're going for, but possibly at a much higher weight on the scale. In other words, it makes scale weight less important, which is the end goal here because we don't want to be focusing on just that number. Now, I'm saying all this because the biggest fear people have even if they have gone through a fat loss phases, I'm going to gain all this weight back and I'm not going to look great. I'm not going to like my body. And it seems like it's going to take a while because it takes time to build muscle. And the answer is yes, yes, yes. Like those feelings are valid, that you may not love the body or in. But also remember that to get where you want to go requires some trade offs in the meantime, to get something else. And that's something else is the strength and the muscle required to build up that that physique that you're looking for that defined toned, lean whatever physique. So I've come to terms with this over the years. And I was lucky, I was lucky because the first time I ever built muscle properly. And you may have heard me talk about this on other podcasts. I gained a lot of weight in the process because I wasn't tracking my nutrition. And I was just indiscriminately eating and drinking. And by drinking I mean lots of whole milk. In all my shakes, I had whole milk. And I was just eating a lot of food including a lot of processed food, junk food, whatnot. Not a lot of fiber, not a lot of fruits and vegetables, just just maybe with dinner when my wife would cook that for me, but I wouldn't include a lot otherwise, thinking that I just needed to gain tons of mass. Now, on the plus side, I realized how helpful that was to building muscle and strength because all my lifts doubled or tripled in that first that first novice progression I went through. Would they have gone up as much without eating as much I have no Do I haven't gone through it. But I know from working with clients that if you're at maintenance, or if you're not eating in much of a surplus, it's going to be harder, and you are going to build muscle at a slower rate. So having gone through that, and sort of got lucky in that I gained a bunch of weight at the time, not on purpose or not, in spite of my fears, but just because I thought that's what I had to do. And I did it. I realized then oh, no, I wasn't, I wasn't thrilled with how much extra fat I had put on. And that's what led me to my first fat loss phase. And I did that, and that probably took Ooh, 1620, maybe 24 weeks it was it was rather drawn out, because I was kind of learning the ropes at the time, and I didn't have a coach, if you have a coach, you can do it much more efficiently and effectively, with all the plateaus on the way you know how to get through them. But I got through that fat loss phase got down to fairly lean level. And then I went through several muscle building and cutting phases since then, each time learning a ton more about my body, but also realizing that there are patterns that repeat themselves. And one of those is that as I'm gaining weight, when I'm say, four or five months into a six to 12 month building phase, I start to get uncomfortable with my body in several ways, you know, physically and visually. And I've learned to embrace that. Okay. And that's what I'm talking about today. You notice this is totally unscripted, not polished. I'm not I'm not sharing reviews on the podcast, I'm not, you know, giving you a call to action or anything like that just gonna jump right into today's episode. And there's a reason I call it what I'm calling it. And that is why I'm getting fluffy before I get jacked. Okay, that's the name of the episode. You know, my motivation is for wanting to gain weight and muscle mass is to continue to be strong, capable, confident to be able to walk into a room and people kind of turn their heads like, well, that guy is an outlier. To be able to be, you know, the fitness guy on the beach, all of this. And look, I'm in my 40s. I didn't start this until I was almost 40. And some of you are wondering, Well, can I even do this at x age 4045 5055? The answer is yes. If you've never done anything like this, if you've never lifted properly followed your nutrition, gone through cuts or books, or even a proper maintenance phase, you can still do it at any age and get massive progress and results. But the biggest sticking point for so many people is the building muscle phase, because it takes time. And by time, I mean, at least six months. Okay, it takes time. Now, if you were to work with me for, say, six months in my coaching program, and you said, I love this message about building muscle, I'm willing to give it a go, I'm willing to even gain a little fat in the process. But I also want to lose fat, I would first I would say what's most important to you. But then I would say okay, we can actually, we can actually break this up to do both. And we're just going to compress the timelines to be less optimal. So we'll spend probably a month with the with the maintenance phase, getting the habits down to training that consistency, then three months or so. Or maybe even Yeah, three months or so building muscle, okay, and then and then a month and a half or so and fat loss phase. And then we come out of that into maintenance. So you're kind of compressing everything. Now if you have a year to work with, you can think of a year in terms of seasons, and periods of nutrition. And once you've done this a once or twice, you can start to synchronize your muscle building and fat loss phases with the season. And where you're dieting at most, two, maybe three months out of the year, but more likely to and then you're building or maintenance the other 10 months. And the dieting phases are lined up with where you want to become the leanest for the year, which for a lot of people is the summertime, right or the you know, beach weather, the warm weather when you're not wearing as many clothes. So if you think about that timing, that means that 10 months out of the year. So let's say theoretically, from late summer, to the following spring, all through the holidays all through the the Cold War, cold winter months, and when you tend to eat a lot as well. All that time is at least at maintenance calories, or building muscle. And if your goal is to become leaner and develop a better physique and push your PRs in the gym, and train effectively and feel great while doing it all. I'm going to strongly encourage that you build muscle which means you want to be in a calorie surplus. Now that calorie surplus is not going to be massive, it's going to be the the amount of surplus that allows you to gain if you're a male, probably two to three pounds a month. If you're female, probably one to two pounds a month. Now do the math. We're gonna go with females here because I'm gonna be honest, women will make up about two thirds of my client base and probably Be my podcast listeners are also ones that tend to express the most fear about gaining too much weight during this process, I tend to have less men doing that even though some do, because a lot of men are like, Yeah, whatever, I'll just I'll put on the belly. And, you know, there's, there's a little bit of a double standard out there as well, let's be honest of how people are judged for that better or worse perception or not. All of that, okay. And I'm not going to get into the politics of all body image stuff. But where I was going with this is if you're a female, and I say, hey, let's, let's build muscle for 10 months, at, even if it's one pound a month, we'll do the math, that's 10 pounds of weight gain. And if you are, like 150 pound female, that might seem like a lot, like 10 pounds of weight gain is a lot, especially if you think in your head your quote, unquote, ideal weight is, say, 130, well, aren't we going the other direction. And so I'm going to throw in a few caveats to that right to try to convince you but one of those is going to be, you know, of those 10 pounds you gain, if you're a newer, lifter, half of that, or more is going to be muscle, and then you only then have five, or four or five pounds of fat to then lose, which will take no time at all. And now you get into a cycle of like, Okay, that's interesting. So I can be spending most of the year, eating a lot of food, feeling great in the gym, getting stronger, my lists going up, getting more sleep, having less systemic chronic stress, because I have these beautiful, like, acute stressors of being in the gym and lifting heavy. And all of this and my hormones are fully firing in an optimal mode. Are you going to take that right, like and that's, that's part of the sales pitch, so to speak for, of one of the things I'm going to go through throughout this episode is like getting back to focus on on the positives, focusing on the positives of what we're getting out of it. So I might ramble a little bit in the show, but hopefully not because it's just you and me, right? You the listener, me we're having a conversation. Imagine your favorite beverage in your hand or whatever activity you're doing. And just, you know, you know, we're having a conversation and think about the fears and the scenarios that I bring up and whether they relate to you and then what we can do about them. So, back to back to sort of my personal experience with, you've might have seen me or heard me joke about the power belly, I talk about it with my lifting buddies and clients as well, it's usually it's usually guys that are talking about that, and we talk about the power belly. And that is just having more abdominal fat, which men tend to have more abdominal fat, but women tend to have more thighs, but everyone's a little different. And I know for me personally, like the first thing to go when I started gaining weight is my abs. And honestly, I didn't have them for my whole life until a few years ago anyway. So I'm cool with that, knowing that I can get them back. And so the power of belly is just that you're starting to get this app abdominal fat. And correlated with that is your lifts all start going up. And so you're, you're more powerful, you're more strong, you're able to push more, you can think of it as like, Power Lifting belly, right, like, Okay, I've got a power belly, but I'm hitting PRs on my deadlift. So hell yeah. Right. So that it's part of the muscle building process, right? Now, that's not to say that I don't every day, look in the mirror and think, oh, man, I'm like, months away from seeing my abs like, I've got, you know, a saw, I'm saw, right. And we see that about ourselves too soft, I posted a photo of myself doing my best to try to get in just the right angle, and show off a little bit of bicep, where I've got no definition whatsoever, because everything's covered in fat. And if you look at some of the really strong bodybuilders or lifters who've been doing this for many years, when they go into a building phase, if you look at their photos at the end of their phases, they've lost a ton of definition. All right, and you rarely see those photos because it doesn't sell on social media, right? You rarely see those. So the picture that you're fed on social media of people who are jacked and ripped all the time is 100%. False, let's just put it that way that is a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of people who look that way first of all, and the algorithm is just showing those to you. And secondly, you can only look that way at your leanest at a practically an unhealthy level of leanness. Now, there is a healthy level of leanness that you can walk around with, after you've built muscle for say, five to 10 years, and you've gotten closer to genetic potential. And you're fairly lean, but not super lean that everyone, anyone I've ever met would be completely thrilled with to be at that point. I think that's what we're trying to get what they call lifestyle lean. And yet even with that, if you don't spend some time in a surplus, gaining some body fat and losing a little bit of that definition, you're not going to maximize the speed at which you build the muscle. And you might be okay with that. So you might be okay taking the next 15 years to try to slowly build muscle. But a lot of people I've met would rather build, say 80% of their potential muscle. I'm just throwing a number out there over the next two or three years. Then take 1015 years to maybe Get there, right. And then over the next two to three years, you're making some sacrifices in terms of your body fats. Okay? So there are these complex feelings we have about body image. And I definitely hear that a lot more from women than men, but I have them, the men I talked to have them as well. And there's also a sort of different backlash out there, where very strong lifters will make fun of or joke around with people who are trying to lose body fat and saying like, Hey, don't you know, you're skinny man, you're too skinny, like people will say that. And that's, that's a, that's a similar form of quote unquote, body shaming. Now I personally don't, I find it hilarious because the people I hang out with we joke with each other. And we know we're doing that. And it's all good. But if anyone listening who knows someone else, who is in this journey for their fitness, they're going to be at a different level of strength, and muscle building and fatness and health than you, and also at a different level than other people their age, right. And if you're this person, you know who I'm talking about where, especially if you're a woman, and guys in the gym, make comments about you, that are just unwarranted. They're just inappropriate. And they're stupid, right? They have no idea what you're going through. And by the way, and you could joke in your head, like, I bet I can, you know, I bet I can deadlift more than that guy. Right? But but maybe you can't. And honestly, it doesn't. It doesn't matter. I'm just saying that that's something that, you know, we joke around. I guess what I'm going with all this is, is very personal. And if you're listening, just know that whatever you feel is correct. And also whatever your goal is, is correct. And the question is how to accept all the things that go along with pursuing and achieving that goal. So that on the balance, you are not in cognitive dissonance, but actually very satisfied with the choices you've made. And that's hard, because if your goal really is to get stronger build muscle, and you know, it takes gaining some weight in the process, you have to and this is one of the few times I say you have to you have to accept the fact that you're going to gain weight, so the scale weights gonna go up, and that there's some body fatness that comes along for the ride. That's just a fact. But you also can recognize that there are many, many, many, many benefits that go along with that before you even get to the, to the end goal. Alright, so the reason that you have to gain some fat along with muscle is simply because that's the body's storage mechanism. As you are bringing in energy, it's very easy to gain fat. And you can only build new muscle tissue so quickly. So you know, as you're training really hard, you're eating your protein, you're eating your calories. If you try to speed that up, your body can't go any faster on the muscle side. So it's going to go much faster on the fat gaining side, the counter argument to that as well, then I'm just going to, I'm going to stay barely above maintenance, so that I don't gain any fat. But it just doesn't seem to work that way. Assume that you're going to gain half of the weight that you gain as fat. That's a good assumption. It could be even more than that if you're more advanced. But I've definitely in my current gaining phase right now after having done this three times in the past, using my rough estimates of body fat, I'm about a 5050 Right now, a one to one, which is awesome. That's the best I could possibly hope for. So I want you to assume that at least half of what you're going to gain no matter how slowly you try to go is going to be fat. The positive about that is that you might as well then go as fast as you can go until the point where fat starts to outpace muscle. And we kind of know what that is, we know that that's around, like I said before, two to three pounds a month for men, one to two pounds for women. And so it equates to something like point two to point 3% of your body weight per week. Yeah, I think I got that right point to 2.3% of your body weight per week on the upper end, the more advanced you are the lower you go. So once you accept that, then you know, it's a fact and it's logic, that you're gonna gain some fat to gain muscle period. Let's just accept it. That's the first thing. Now let's keep going. Because if you're not going to accept that, then you have to accept a much, much longer road to building muscle and getting the physique physique you want. Then there's this dichotomy between all of these insecurities I just talked about, and the societal judgments and the people making comments. By the way, get those toxic people out of your life, stay away from them, or give them the peace of your mind. Like tell them, hey, this is wrong. Stop making comments about my body. Like this is not appropriate. And if you're in a gym setting, go talk to the manager. Go talk to the instructor, right. Hey, this is Philip and I hope you're enjoying this episode of Wits & Weights, I started Wits & Weights to help people who want to build muscle lose fat and actually look like they lift. I've noticed that when people improve their strength and physique, they not only look and feel better, they train for other areas of their life, their health, their mental resilience and their confidence in everything they do. And since you're listening to this podcast, I assume you want the same things the same success, whether you recently started lifting, or you've been at this for a while and want to optimize and reach a new level of success. Either way more one on one coaching focused on engineering, your physique and body composition is for you. If you want expert guidance, and want to get results faster, easier, and with fewer frustrations along the way to actually look like you lift, go to wits & weights.com, and click on coaching, or use the link in my show notes to apply today, I'll ask you a few short questions to decide if we're a good fit. If we are, we'll get you started this week. Now back to the show. They're the insecurities of what happens when your body shape changes, especially because the place that we usually dislike the most is the place where fat goes to first. And that's not coincidence. It's because we are used to the fact that that's the fattest part of our bodies. And so we've we've tied that to our overall body image. And so it kind of is a vicious cycle, right? So you take those insecurities, but then you take the confidence and the positives about getting physically stronger and building muscle. And we know that changing your body composition for the better, can improve your self image can improve your confidence. And so one of the things that comes to mind is, is there a way to still exude and embrace that confidence that comes from knowing you're stronger, you're bigger in a good way, there's muscle there, right? You're filling in your shirts, you know, slit, the shirts are getting a little tighter. But it's not like in the past, just because you were getting fat, it's because those muscles are starting to pop, right? You're creating this marble sculpture underneath this little layer of fat that's going to just be there ready to get revealed when you when you carve out the fat. And yes, you're going to have emotional ups and downs throughout this. But coming back to the positive of embracing the bigger, stronger body and what you're able to do with that body, not just in the gym. But in real life. Maybe you can help somebody like moving furniture around. One of my clients said that she she had to put something in the car, she went with her husband to Home Depot or something and put something big in the car. And she was like, Whoa, like I it was super easy. I had no idea I'd be able to just like Chuck it over there. And she's in a building phase. And she's she's bigger and stronger. Right. So that's, that's one thing that comes to mind. See, I told you this will be unscripted because I have some minimal notes here I'm trying to get through. But but I'm trying to address each of the things that I relate to. Another thing is, the challenges when you're bulking include us kind of the reverse of what happens when you're losing fat, which is you hit plateaus. So when you're losing fat, we all know we hit a weight loss or fat loss plateau, we get stuck. And we're not sure why. Right? We've talked about that in the past, I'm not going to rehash all the reasons why. But we have the same reasons the other direction, where when you're trying to bulk or lean bulk, whatever term you want to use, you're gonna hit plateaus along the way, for a variety of reasons. And the reason I bring that up here with the whole insecurity discussion about getting fluffy, is because number one, when you hit those plateaus, you feel like it's going to take longer. And now you're like oh, now I have to be fluffy for longer, like, Come on, let's get let's build, let's build it's built. And you know for sure if you're in a plateau, if along with those scale, a plateau, your lifts, all of a sudden that week seem like they're harder, like obviously, you should be progressing anyway. But sometimes the progression to the next level feels a lot harder than the last time. And sometimes it feels easy, you know what I'm talking about. And oftentimes, that's correlated with your metabolism ramping up, and you're not eating enough to keep up with it. Even if you're using macro factors, which I highly recommend everyone listening this app on the market for this fact, the only one that can get you to precisely bulk at just the right rate. So you don't gain too much fat, but you also don't accidentally go into a diet. And if you use macro factor, of course you use my code Wits & Weights, all one word. That's my only plug today. All right. So if you're using macro factors, even then, what I often see and tell me if this isn't true with you, in your head, of course, because this is a one way conversation right now that you hit these plateaus on the scale. And sometimes they your weight even goes down, you're like what is going on eating, you know, whatever it might be, I'm eating 2600 Or I'm eating 3000 Or I'm eating 3200 calories a day. Okay. And I'm still not gaining Well, what's probably happening is if you look at your expenditure chart, it's probably increasing pretty quickly. And macro factor doesn't want to be over responsive, it's conservative. And so the if you're working with me as a client, we see that and I recognize it as a true plateau. We will simply get ahead of it by eating more. And I know that sounds like oh, that's an easy solution. But when you know your expenditure, and you know that the weight stall is because the expenditure is going up, and no other variables have changed, that's excellent information to make a decision from to eat more, without the risk that, oh, I'm going to gain a bunch of body fat, because I'm going past the rate that Philip just talked about of like the one to one. And so by doing that, you can get out of the plateau pretty quickly by being proactive and upping those calories as it ramps up. So one of the big challenges and I talked about this on the heart gaining phase is just eating more and more and more and more. And then, and then that correlating with your feeling of fluffiness, or being bloated or being a little bit uncomfortable, because your stomach is always bold, basically. Or maybe you have a little bit more digestive issues, because now you're just eating so much more. Maybe you have more processed food, maybe you have more or less fiber, right, we know the deal. Eating a lot of food has its own challenges. And so you correlate that with being fluffier, like, yeah, I feel like a slob, right? Like, the I just black. I feel like blah, okay. It feels it. It's like, Oh, am I doing the right thing by eating so much? Like, is this okay? That I'm eating, eating, eating? And yet, at the end of the day, you know, you're not unless you're over consuming by 1000s and 1000s of calories. If you're tracking, you're still gonna stay within that correct ballpark to, to get through the plateau and make progress, but not do it so fast that you gain too much fat. Right? That makes sense. So I kind of wanted to address that piece of it. Because a lot of us will. A lot of people will give up. Like they get to these things. And they think, Am I just pushing myself to be like, too fat? Am I just pushing myself out there? And this is this is disgusting. Like, what am I doing? Right? These doubts that we have. I've been through it enough times now to know that I'm going to hit these sticking points, maybe three or four or five times in a, say eight month building cycle. It'll happen quite a bit. And I actually just went, I think I'm coming through it right now. And every time it happens, here's here's how we spin it around. Here's how we reframe it, instead of saying, oh, that's disgusting, what am I going to do, but blah, blah, embrace the fact that, oh, you know what, I can even eat more this week. Now, you might not think of that as a positive. Because if you're already hitting 3200 3400 3600 calories, and you're getting a little tired of it, that's a different issue we need to talk about. Because if you're at the point where you're 789 months into a building phase, and you just are sick of eating, we don't want to be in that mental state, like physiological. You don't want to be there. And it's probably time to come out of that. But assuming you're not there yet, we can embrace the positive, like I just did this week. And I said, All right, well, I guess I need to overcome snap II too, but I'm going to overshoot my calories by maybe one to 200 every day. And I know it's going to be fine. Because I'm trying to break through a plateau right now. All right. So enough about that one. What else? Okay, so, as we go through this building phase, you're going to have lots of self talk, you're going to have this internal narrative about how your body's changing. You might even say like, what happened, I did all this hard work to get my diet under control. And, you know, this flexible dieting approach I'm tracking, I'm strength training really hard. Maybe I even went through a fat loss phase. And that's leanness, and definition where I wanted to be. And I feel like I'm throwing it all the way. This is where I think some combination of self care and coping with the mental aspects of this is going to be important. And so what does that mean? So first of all, we want to have realistic goals, right? That's one thing that comes to mind is assuming we're going at a reasonable rate of gain. And we know that we're following an effective program, and we're lifting more and more each session. Okay, those goals are the ones that we want to go after, not the a year from now I'm going to be leaner, because that's too vague, and it's too far away. So I would rather you focus on performance, performance, performance, and not aesthetics. Even though my comment earlier was that there is a way to embrace your fluffier aesthetics, especially when you have a shirt on and you just look bigger and stronger. Now, I know this is different between men and women. But But ladies, you know, when you've got those bigger thighs, because you're building all that muscle, you know, that's, that's something you can embrace. Or maybe it's the back, right, like, whatever it is for you. Okay, for me, it's like, you know, having kind of broader shoulders, bigger biceps, kind of a big strong back. Now, again, if I took my shirt off, I would feel more insecure, because I've gotten a little extra fluff. But then I'm like, so what? I'm big and strong, this is going to pay off later. However, that's a little piece of it. The rest of it is performance is this holistic view of wow, I am able to go to the gym every single session and get more out of my workouts each time over and over and over and over again. And if you're doing a building phase the right way. Okay, so just like when I my clients are, are focused, right? But they also have a plan and we're able to adapt and use that data that we're tracking to adjust each week, assuming you have that. And you know that if you're coming close to stalling on a lift, there's a A reason why it's either because you're not eating enough, sleeping enough, taking enough rest periods, whatever, you can quickly adjust and keep moving in a building phase, you quote unquote, should be able to constantly make progress. Now for a newer lifter, that might look like squatting three times a week and going up five pounds every time. But as you get more advanced, might look like your squat goes up once a week, or, you know, or twice a week, and then once a week, right? Or maybe you get an extra set in each week, and then you reset to a higher weight and get more set. Whatever it is, you get what I'm saying it's progressive overload, but you should be able to constantly progress. That is the sign you're getting stronger and building muscle. If that if that plateaus or regresses that is where you get concerned and look at what's happening. And adjust because that's really what we're going for. Right, the aesthetics and being fluffy and all that, frankly, it shouldn't matter at all right. But I didn't want to make a podcast episode that said, no, just don't worry about that. That's not how we are as humans. So instead of worrying about that, focus on this, and this is performance, in the more holistic view. Okay. The one thing I can't always address as, as much as maybe others can, I never really had, I never really had an experience with I'll say, disordered eating, like an eating disorder, or super poor body image, like some people face when they're younger, I never was happy with my physique, I always thought I was either either a little bit, a little bit fat, or a little bit skinny fat. And I simply accepted that, like, I would never be able to change that. And so I guess it in its own sense, that is a form of poor body image. It's like, it's, it's accepting fate. And just moving on, which, for anyone knows me, I'm very positive person like I, I like to reframe things I like to think of, well, it could be worse, right? It could be worse. And so that's kind of, it gives me a sense of resilience of mental resilience that has helped me cope over the years with these things. Whereas others might have more anxiety, disorders, depression, things like that, as a response to these things, right. I'm also a male, not a female. So there's certain issues that I never had to face being a male. And I also did lots of diets over the years. So you could argue that I'm right now in the midst of making this podcast, doing some form of rationalization or denial, and in reality, every time I would go on a diet and restrict, it was me responding to some insecurity I had about my body, right? I'll accept that for sure. If I'm just to, you know, kind of open up my, my mindset to my past here and try to be more reflective of it. So if you can do the same, and kind of tap into your experience with past disordered eating patterns, or body image, and how those resurface, right, as you try to gain weight, and what kind of reframing and mental shift we want to have, toward the positives of why we're doing this, which is different than why you gained weight in the past. It's two different things. Right? In the past, you gained weight, unwillingly, you know, unwittingly, or unintentionally, probably from overconsumption, probably didn't have nearly enough protein that you needed, and probably weren't strength training effectively, you were gaining a lot of fat. Well, now the mental shift here is we are gaining a lot of muscle. Oh, by the way, there's a little fat that comes along for right now we're going to cut off later. So we're going to shift it that way. It's, it's a little bit different, isn't it? Right. And also, the fact that we can't live with the societal physique ideals that are out there are, first of all false, like I mentioned before, right, where you equate a six pack abs, you know, with your worth, which it doesn't even exist for 99.99% of people. And instead, focus on the functional strength goal. Now, if you see somebody online, who's similar to you, who's power lifter, or they lift weights, and they're deadlifting, way more than you, it's your body weight, and you're a little bit jealous of that and want to get there, take that driving energy, like I'm not going to criticize you for that, right? Because I think I think funk I think strength and performance is a great thing to go after. Just make sure that it's realistically within your grasp for this building phase. So if you currently deadlift 185, and you're in a six month building phase, your targets probably not going to be 475. But it's going to be some reasonable level, assuming you know, X number of pounds per session or week jump over six months. And you know, a little bit of conservatism built in in there for your life. And you say, Okay, this is a goal, I'm gonna go. I'm at 185. Now my goal is going to be 305 for example, I think those are great goals to have, and ideals to have when you're trying to build muscle. So, what else comes to mind? By the way, reach out to me on Instagram, if you find this, if you find this episode helpful to you, it's very unscripted as you can tell. And I'm almost like cringing in my own skin right now with the lack of detailed notes I have and doing this, but maybe you appreciate where I'm coming from. Right? What I have found is that when you've done it, the first time you do this is the hardest. The second time is still hard, but a little bit less so. And then it should get easier from there. Now, you may have a different experience, this is what I found. I do have a client I can think of in particular who went through a building phase, and then a fat loss phase, she got leaner than she's ever been. And was kind of on the fence about like wanting to lose more versus gain more and was worried about gaining that extra weight back. And we got to a point after mapping out like what are the micro goals for her lifts? Exactly what programming is going to be best for her because she was kind of program hopping for a very short while they're trying to hit other goals that weren't necessarily string focused. So what is the exact program that's going to get you there in the next six months? How can we go at a rate of gain where the end weight on the scale doesn't really sound scary, but it's big enough to push you to gain muscle? Right. And once you have all that in place, once you have a plan and goals and numbers to go after and objective measures, and you're tracking your data and all that, it really does take a lot of that stress off, right. And so there's there's an element of patience, there's elements of no element of knowing yourself, and knowing yourself better. And by that, I mean, once you've gone through it, you will know yourself better, you'll know what works and what doesn't. And what's the worst that's going to happen, the worst that's going to happen is you're going to gain a little bit extra fat than you want it. And you're going to take an extra week or two in the fat loss phase to get it up. Think about that. If you know how to build muscle and you know how to lose fat. What's, what's the big deal of this whole thing anyway, if I'm if I am going to give you a flippant response that sums it all up is what does it matter anyway, you know, you know it's gonna happen now you may not have the confidence because you haven't gone through this before. And I get that. And that's, that's a lot of the people I'm speaking to is if you've never gone through before, you're just not sure. And you're scared. I get it. And that's why I'm that's why I'm putting together this episode just to say that I go, I have the same fear. Like as I sit here, you know, I can grab my belly fat, and I'm like, Okay, I still I'm trying to gain about five more pounds during this building phase. And then I'm gonna do fat last week. But you know what, I've gone through a fat loss phase like three or four times before, and I know it works. And because I know it works. I don't have to be scared about where I am now. Alright, so I'm not sure I covered all the possible things that are in your mind about this topic. And if I didn't, again, I want you to reach out to me on IG at Wits& Weights, where you can email me Philip with one L at wits & weights.com. For a conversation like CRC just say, Hey, I listened to your episode. What about this, like you didn't cover this, let me know, hopefully, I covered most of the big issues. I think that embracing the power belly, or the power hips, or whatever it is, is a positive way to contribute to your strength, your health, your well being because muscle is medicine muscle is primary muscle is the thing that is going to help you live longer, be stronger, eat more food, make fat loss easier, have even more food freedom, right be able to be there for your grandkids, your great grandkids be deadlifting until you're 95 muscle is super powerful. And if that can overwhelm any self doubts about a little bit of fat gain, then embrace it. If you're struggling with similar issues, as I've talked about today, if you're struggling with what it feels like to gain a little bit, a little bit of fat along for the ride, focus on the long term progress over the short term, look in aesthetics. But you can do it by focusing on short term performance focused goals, I can override those doubts about your appearance. So I hope that all makes sense. It wasn't too rambley. And again, if you you know, if you enjoy the episode of the story resonated with you in any way, if you want to chat about your experience your fears, goals, or strategy. If you have a question, you can always send me a message on Instagram at Wits & Weights, or an email Philip at wits & weights.com. Actually, I also have an ability for you to send me a voicemail, which would be really awesome. I don't get a lot of those. I don't know if if folks are afraid to use that or what? Because I get a lot of questions via text, you know, written questions, but you can go to the link in my show notes. I think it's the very last link at the bottom to leave an audio message and I will play that message on the show and answer the question for you. Or even if it's just, you know, not a message without a question. I'll play it on the show. I always love to hear from listeners, even if you just want to say hello. And as I said before, today's episode was a little more than scripted. So that's that's it. That's it for today. 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.

Emotions and Challenges of Gaining Muscle
Getting Fluffy Before Getting Jacked
Bulking for Muscle Building
Embracing Performance and Mental Aspects
Addressing Body Image and Building Muscle

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