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Muscle Building and leaness?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 24, 2012 at 7:34 AM

Hi everyone, I do crossfit 4-5 times a week. I follow paleo with the exception of whey protein. I have been stuck around 15%-16% body fat that I can't seem change, and I have hit a plateau on a lot of my lifts. I'm at a crossroads regarding nutrition- I want to ramp up my muscle building via eating more carbs, but my fat is kinda hit so I dont wanna pack on more weight. What would you guys recommend?

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 25, 2012
at 02:13 PM

Where are you at on your squat and DL? You are adding a whole lot of assistance work to your quads (front squat, lunges). Heavy squats are more than enough. I would focus more on upper back (strict pull-ups/BB rows). I also mentioned the press above. Power cleans, Press, Pull-ups, Dips are included in the Starting Strength Program.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 25, 2012
at 02:09 PM

@Wes, the big three are good but prioritize the press ahead of bench press. Press requires you use your entire body to stabilize, works both 'sides' of your shoulders so as not to cause imbalances (ever see those big guys with big benches but have their shoulders hunched forward?) which leads to injury (dreaded mumford? surgery). Do a program as well. I recommend Starting Strength but Stronglifts 5X5 is good too. If you like CF, keep at it but stay away from things that put pressure on your shoulders. You are stressing them enough with strength training (heavy lifts 3X a week).

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 25, 2012
at 01:21 PM

Carrots, Asparagus, Squash, Parsnips, Onions, Cabbage, Berries, Bananas, etc. I don't do sweet potatoes/ potatoes/ rice but some do. They are certainly safer starches and if you are depleting your muscles, they probably wont hurt in small doses.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on July 25, 2012
at 10:39 AM

Www.leangains.com a guy named Martin has an insanely edfective system. Do a google image search for leangains and you'll see the results. Int. fast 16 hrs, eat in an 8 hr window. Train at the end of the fast (fasted training), with 10g BCAA pre-workout, 3-4x per week. Lift big and low rep (5ish), cardio unnecessary. Calorie cycling; eat more more on training days, restrict on rest days. Macro nutrient cycling; eat high carb (I mean HIGH), low fat, and very lean protein on training days, eat low carb, high fat, and same amount of protein on rest days.

E7565a4b49a6baa5849bfb97203d4ef6

(1)

on July 25, 2012
at 07:57 AM

The 5x5 program is something I already employ. Besides bench, squat and deadlift, would you recommend any other lifts for 5x5? I also do front squat, weighted lunges, and Power cleans for 5x5

E7565a4b49a6baa5849bfb97203d4ef6

(1)

on July 25, 2012
at 07:55 AM

What would you clasify as a "good carb"? I know that the fructose in fruit make some wary, and that some also consider "safe starches" (ie sweet potatoes) an oxymoron.

E7565a4b49a6baa5849bfb97203d4ef6

(1)

on July 25, 2012
at 07:54 AM

To clarify, I usually focus on the "big three" (Back Squat, Deadlift, and Bench) primarily every week. If we don't do it in the Crossfit Box, I do it at my local 24 hour fitness. I get a lot of good conditioning at crossfit, but I do strength building after 2-3 times a week. There's no doubt that body fat is a vanity issue more or less, but I am a SoCal native, so shirtlessness is often standard operating procedure. Could somebody clarify what "leangains" are? I haven't heard this before...

Medium avatar

(2417)

on July 24, 2012
at 09:58 PM

Cross fit is conditioning. Personally I prefer kettlebells for that, and they build strength too. If you want muscle, deadlift, squat, bench, pullup, dips, all with big weights for sets of 5, 3x a week.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 24, 2012
at 06:46 PM

Good link. I am a Starting Strength follower myself but same program essentially. Hard to go wrong with 5X5 or SS.

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5 Answers

3
81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 24, 2012
at 12:50 PM

Consider dumping CF and do strength training. No they are not the same. CF HQ is metabolic conditioning, essentially muscular endurance work. After the initial 'novice effect', an exerciser will not see strength gains from a CF program. You must start programming regular strength training to increase strength. If CF is your be all end all, look up CF Football to see how one intelligently programs strength training with met cons.

Gaining muscle and losing body fat is the holy grail. Easy for someone to achieve with excessive BF% but you are at 15%. The optimal path to strength gains will put unwanted BF%, even if eating clean. For this reason, conventional wisdom suggests that you gain your strength first then go on a cut while maintaining your strength.

We are coming up on the Fall/Winter seasons, perfect time to go through a bulking phase then start your cutting phase towards the end of Winter/start of Spring. You are at 15% BF and healthy so losing BF% is a vanity issue...how many people are going to see you with your shirt off in the next 4-6 months?

If you are bound and determined to attempt strength gains while losing BF%, then the lean gains protocol has a good reputation. I have no personal experience with it.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on July 24, 2012
at 09:58 PM

Cross fit is conditioning. Personally I prefer kettlebells for that, and they build strength too. If you want muscle, deadlift, squat, bench, pullup, dips, all with big weights for sets of 5, 3x a week.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on July 25, 2012
at 10:39 AM

Www.leangains.com a guy named Martin has an insanely edfective system. Do a google image search for leangains and you'll see the results. Int. fast 16 hrs, eat in an 8 hr window. Train at the end of the fast (fasted training), with 10g BCAA pre-workout, 3-4x per week. Lift big and low rep (5ish), cardio unnecessary. Calorie cycling; eat more more on training days, restrict on rest days. Macro nutrient cycling; eat high carb (I mean HIGH), low fat, and very lean protein on training days, eat low carb, high fat, and same amount of protein on rest days.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 25, 2012
at 02:09 PM

@Wes, the big three are good but prioritize the press ahead of bench press. Press requires you use your entire body to stabilize, works both 'sides' of your shoulders so as not to cause imbalances (ever see those big guys with big benches but have their shoulders hunched forward?) which leads to injury (dreaded mumford? surgery). Do a program as well. I recommend Starting Strength but Stronglifts 5X5 is good too. If you like CF, keep at it but stay away from things that put pressure on your shoulders. You are stressing them enough with strength training (heavy lifts 3X a week).

E7565a4b49a6baa5849bfb97203d4ef6

(1)

on July 25, 2012
at 07:54 AM

To clarify, I usually focus on the "big three" (Back Squat, Deadlift, and Bench) primarily every week. If we don't do it in the Crossfit Box, I do it at my local 24 hour fitness. I get a lot of good conditioning at crossfit, but I do strength building after 2-3 times a week. There's no doubt that body fat is a vanity issue more or less, but I am a SoCal native, so shirtlessness is often standard operating procedure. Could somebody clarify what "leangains" are? I haven't heard this before...

3
Medium avatar

on July 24, 2012
at 08:34 AM

Leangains. With the same calories average per week as before, I set 4 new personal records in three weeks and am leaner in the middle than I've ever been.

My leangains diet:

Rest days -40% TDEE calories, fatty red meat no carbs high fat.

Training days -10% TDEE calories, very lean top round red meat, sweet taters or white rice, very low fat.

Fish oil both days. Greens too.

2
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 24, 2012
at 12:22 PM

Wes, don't be scared of carbs. As long as they are good, natural carbs you should be ok. I typically eat around 150 g/day. It will not stunt your weight loss, and it will improve your performance.

E7565a4b49a6baa5849bfb97203d4ef6

(1)

on July 25, 2012
at 07:55 AM

What would you clasify as a "good carb"? I know that the fructose in fruit make some wary, and that some also consider "safe starches" (ie sweet potatoes) an oxymoron.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 25, 2012
at 01:21 PM

Carrots, Asparagus, Squash, Parsnips, Onions, Cabbage, Berries, Bananas, etc. I don't do sweet potatoes/ potatoes/ rice but some do. They are certainly safer starches and if you are depleting your muscles, they probably wont hurt in small doses.

1
1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

on July 24, 2012
at 01:45 PM

At your current fitness and BF level - You can (gasp) easily lose 1lb of fat a week and gain 1lb a week of muscle by doing leagains and doing stronglifts 5x5.

www.leangains.com http://www.lundswingtsun.se/pdfwce/stronglifts5x5.pdf

There you go.

It really is that simple.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 24, 2012
at 06:46 PM

Good link. I am a Starting Strength follower myself but same program essentially. Hard to go wrong with 5X5 or SS.

E7565a4b49a6baa5849bfb97203d4ef6

(1)

on July 25, 2012
at 07:57 AM

The 5x5 program is something I already employ. Besides bench, squat and deadlift, would you recommend any other lifts for 5x5? I also do front squat, weighted lunges, and Power cleans for 5x5

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 25, 2012
at 02:13 PM

Where are you at on your squat and DL? You are adding a whole lot of assistance work to your quads (front squat, lunges). Heavy squats are more than enough. I would focus more on upper back (strict pull-ups/BB rows). I also mentioned the press above. Power cleans, Press, Pull-ups, Dips are included in the Starting Strength Program.

1
Ba09704971e33481f5716c4790648966

(1794)

on July 24, 2012
at 12:24 PM

Is crossfit working for you?

If not, I would try something else.

Something that you can control better.

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