Health and fitness

Godmy

Sīmia Illustris
There is a hormone that suppresses muscle growth (myostatin?). If some muscle gets too big, it can endanger your life and daily operation on many frontiers. Google for "hercules gene".

In practice for myself: I know that with a really great effort, I, with my height, can naturally get to about 66-68 Kg of LEAN MASS (fat free mass, not the body weight itself) and I seem to be like in the half now (that is, i had approximately 49kg of lean mass at the beginning - 4 years ago, now I seem to have 59... )
 

Godmy

Sīmia Illustris
If you suppress the hormone and/or if you have the hercules gene (at least partially), you can theoretically grow muscle until you die of it (or die of the PEDs you need to do so)... But just look up the strongman Eddie Hall for more inspiration.
 
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Godmy

Sīmia Illustris
Think of adding body fat, muscle mass, pregnancy like of [controlled?] tumors. Tumors have no limits, until the host cannot bear them anymore from number or reasons. Or viruses, you can produce/replicate as many new viruses as possible often (until you die).

(I mentioned pregnancy since I was inspired by a particular very exotic, very very very ugly, tumor called "Teratoma", that resembles in its internal structure a true pregnancy quite a lot, very scary; but if you google it, don't get PTSD from it :D )
 

Godmy

Sīmia Illustris
I converted it wrong yesterday, I gained 17 lbs of body weight ;- )

Is this something that should only be dictated by time, target weight, etc.?
But if you wish for a second opinion (from me) on when to cut specifically, you shall do this:

1) next morning (while your stomach is absolutely empty after many hours of sleep) -and if you have regular bowl movements in the morning, then after that too, but certainly before any food- you will take a tape measure and you will measure the circumference around your belly thus:
- put the tape measure around yourself and before you do anything, make sure that on the sides the tape measure is in the height of roughly your belly button, you can make sure by touch with your other hand or correct the height so.​
- ideally, you want the tape measure not come over your iliac crest (the bones of your hips that extend to your sides/obliques), the tape measure should be somewhere above it, but that depends on the shape/length of the bone, of course (if it's possible)​
- hold both sides of the tape measure with your left and right hand (so it doesn't slight from the position on the sides​
- now breathe in deeply and then breathe out forcefully - so forcefully that you feel you cannot anymore, you're almost feeling sick.​
- when your lungs are absolutely empty, put both ends of the tape measure around your belly button​
- make sure the tape measure is not squeezing your torso (thus giving you smaller numbers)​
- make sure it's not loose anywhere either!​
- make sure the tape measure hasn't overturned somewhere behind you and you're thus getting wrong numbers (because you're looking at the wrong side of the tape measure accidentally)​
- get the number with the highest possible precision: in metric units that means both centimeters and milimeters, in the imperial units, I don't know, but if you feel that some smaller unit is not represented on your tape measure and should be, then make an educated guess.​
- write the number down​

2) when you've done this, under the same circumstances (morning, empty stomach, etc. etc.: you can drink a bit of water if you feel you should or if you've visited the bathroom before), you will weigh yourself (the same thing applies about as high precision as you can when it comes to some decimal points, if it's possible)
- you write the number down​
3) you will report to me both numbers and your height, I'll feed it to certain formulae (that can be relied on with a degree of accuracy), use some past experience I have & make an educated guess based on your height etc. what would be best for you at this very moment!

(but it all depends how correct numbers you're going to give me, how good the measurement's going to be; for even better numbers one needs to collect these numbers daily and draw conclusions not from the daily measurements, but from the weekly averages and medians, but for now, we will do with a single measurement!)

Ok? :)
 
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R. Seltza

Magnus Oculus

Godmy

Sīmia Illustris
I don't want you to feel somehow pushed into something, @R. Seltza, remember that I want to help you and offer my experience with height/body fat/waist and whether or not you should continue the bulk, I think I have some experience here, so don't take it in the wrong way from me.

I use the formula that was formerly used by this calculator (unfortunately, they use now some really inferior formula that counts it from BMI and BMI itself is an absolutely useless and compromised measurement, which renders the calculator absolutely useless), so now that particular formula I'm after is used by this calculator (although the calculator doesn't allow for decimal points, so I wouldn't use it via the calculator anyway, since it doesn't have that sensitivity) and the formula for the LEAN MASS is:

weight[pounds]*1.082+94.42-waist[inches]*4.15 <- mind you, multiplication and division has preference, so you can as well write it as (weight[pounds]*1.082)+94.42-(waist[inches]*4.15) = lean mass in pounds

Since I use it with centimeters and kilograms, I made just a simple adjusting to the formula:

(weight[kg]*1.082*2.20462+94.42-(waist[cm]/2.54*4.15)) / 2.20462 <- I know it could be shorter, but this adaptation makes it easy to derive the original formula from it by just removing the conversion. = lean mass in kilograms

That gives you the lean mass. By subtracting it from your body weight, you will get your fat mass. If you then do: fat-mass / (body-weight / 100), you get a body fat percentage which you can feed then e.g. to the FFMI formula provided in this calculator https://www.thecalculator.co/health/Fat-Free-Mass-Index-(FFMI)-Calculator-794.html and get your FFMI and Adjusted FFMI

As you might have guessed, I use both formulae outside of the calculators in my own private Excel (LibreOffice Calc) spreadsheet application, where each day (for the given date of the day) I just input my measurements in the morning (weight + belly-waist measured as I described earlier) and and I get automatically my lean mass, fat mass, body fat percantage, [adjsuted] FFMI. Then it automatically counts the averages and medians of all these values at the end of the week and I make decisions and comparisons not with the daily values but with the weekly averages and medians to see a progress, stagnation or regress. I suppose I could share the application if you wanted to.

Why relying on these formulae? Well, body fat is very hard if not impossible to measure with accuracy scientifically. Even the laboratory methods (dexa scan, underwater weighing etc.) have degrees of error and can give ridiculously different values for people that obviously either don't differ or they may differ in the opposite way. The only theoretical absolutely accurate method how to measure fat is to dissect a freshly dead body, cut all the fat away and put it on scales... which is rather uncomfortable :D

Anyway, why this formula: most experienced body builders (e.g. Greg Doucette) have quite a trained eye to tell a body fat percentage by the look. And indeed more bodies you see, longer you are in this area, better instinct you get about this and then this "subjective" measurement method often doesn't seem to yield so different results than what you may get in a lab. Then there are special scales you have at home which by electrical impedance (if you stand there bare footed), give you your body fat, but these results are often less accurate than anything else you may do including the visual measurement I've just talked about (= it may have one advantage I will mention later). Most often, they grossly undermeasure and give ridiculously low percentages.

Therefore if you, as a male (it's not so easy for females), pick one of the formulae that gives you your body fat estimate just by two values (weight and belly-waist <- which is a good measurement of fat for guys just by itself even without ANY formula at all) and if you have a trained eye and know which one of those equations gives both 1) the most believable results and 2) most conservative results (e.g. it doesn't undermeasure your body fat which is very common effect mainly in those special scales) AND 3) if you use the equation daily consistently, then you can both get a belivable result and by comparing the daily and weekly results one with another (by using the same equation all the time) you can see progress, stagnation or regress (this is btw. possible even with the special scales, if they give consitent results on repeated measurements and you use them daily: that's the only reason I would consider using them... to get the relative numbers, not the absolute ones).

So, the formula I recommended, in my view, fulfills all the criteria I mentioned: the absolute numbers it yields are believable when compared visually by someone with a bit of experience and the relative numbers (the comparisons) are useful to track progress daily & weekly, when the formula is used consistently (=just the input variables changes).
____________

As, I said, I think I could share with you the application if you wanted to do the same, but above that, I wanted to know your measures so I can use my own experience of what waist for what weight etc. may be ideal/still good/not yet ideal to give you some advice whether to continue the bulk or not, advice that these formulae don't give you :) (Since novices may often panick and do some rushed/wrong decisions).

I hope this answer is enough for you!
 
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R. Seltza

Magnus Oculus
I converted it wrong yesterday, I gained 17 lbs of body weight ;- )


But if you wish for a second opinion (from me) on when to cut specifically, you shall do this:

1) next morning (while your stomach is absolutely empty after many hours of sleep) -and if you have regular bowl movements in the morning, then after that too, but certainly before any food- you will take a tape measure and you will measure the circumference around your belly thus:
- put the tape measure around yourself and before you do anything, make sure that on the sides the tape measure is in the height of roughly your belly button, you can make sure by touch with your other hand or correct the height so.​
- ideally, you want the tape measure not come over your iliac crest (the bones of your hips that extend to your sides/obliques), the tape measure should be somewhere above it, but that depends on the shape/length of the bone, of course (if it's possible)​
- hold both sides of the tape measure with your left and right hand (so it doesn't slight from the position on the sides​
- now breathe in deeply and then breathe out forcefully - so forcefully that you feel you cannot anymore, you're almost feeling sick.​
- when your lungs are absolutely empty, put both ends of the tape measure around your belly button​
- make sure the tape measure is not squeezing your torso (thus giving you smaller numbers)​
- make sure it's not loose anywhere either!​
- make sure the tape measure hasn't overturned somewhere behind you and you're thus getting wrong numbers (because you're looking at the wrong side of the tape measure accidentally)​
- get the number with the highest possible precision: in metric units that means both centimeters and milimeters, in the imperial units, I don't know, but if you feel that some smaller unit is not represented on your tape measure and should be, then make an educated guess.​
- write the number down​

2) when you've done this, under the same circumstances (morning, empty stomach, etc. etc.: you can drink a bit of water if you feel you should or if you've visited the bathroom before), you will weigh yourself (the same thing applies about as high precision as you can when it comes to some decimal points, if it's possible)
- you write the number down​
3) you will report to me both numbers and your height, I'll feed it to certain formulae (that can be relied on with a degree of accuracy), use some past experience I have & make an educated guess based on your height etc. what would be best for you at this very moment!

(but it all depends how correct numbers you're going to give me, how good the measurement's going to be; for even better numbers one needs to collect these numbers daily and draw conclusions not from the daily measurements, but from the weekly averages and medians, but for now, we will do with a single measurement!)

Ok? :)
Hey Godmius, sorry I've been away for a while.

Here are my numbers:
Waist: 31.25
Weight: 167.6
Height: 5'7.5
 

Godmy

Sīmia Illustris
Thanks very much! Are you sure measured really around the belly button? Cause right now you're getting some totally ridiculous numbers :) If true you could compete in Men's Physique almost right away, but, honestly: do you think you've got that muscle mass and definition already (if you look how those guys in this weight class look)? I put out lots of videos, so you've got some idea how I look, would you say we are comparable atm.?

But a better explanation is (as a natural lifter, right) that you've rather given me the measurements from the narrowest place of the waist, which would btw. make it values totally believable for your [natural] total training/bulk time, your height, and, by proxy, the strength level as well ;)
 

R. Seltza

Magnus Oculus
I measured around the narrowest part of my waist (right at the bellybutton sucking my stomach in as tight as I could). What numbers did the equation give you?

I saw some of your vids & I'd say that we're generally of a similar mass, though you do appear to have some more definition than me.
 

Godmy

Sīmia Illustris
Well, the narrowest part of your waist is not around the belly button. You need, vice versa, to measure almost the thickest part of the waist, the place where most fat is stored (for guys), somewhere around the belly button, but not too low. The tape measure should be at the same height both in the front as it is on the sides.

But yes, the equation doesn't make sense if you give me the narrowest part of the waist.

You can expect as much as 34-35 inches.

(it would be good to get some sensible data through the equation, but alternatively, you could probably also send a photo [without face], but it's always better to get the numbers...)
 

R. Seltza

Magnus Oculus
I remeasured a bit lower. I got 33 inches.
 

Godmy

Sīmia Illustris
I remeasured a bit lower. I got 33 inches.

That still unfortunately gives you somewhat less credible values about your lean mass considering you've been training naturally and eating in a surplus for 5 months or so + also given your probably current maintenance calories - it seems as though 2" could be missing in the belly measurement, still, the photo (shirtless upper body, without face) may probably reveal slightly more, but I quite get that's probably not comfortable for you, so, that's fine.

Anyway I think there are hints already it might be a good time to cut now.

1) switch to your maintenance calories for 3 days e.g.,
and perhaps add 50kcal to what you thought was your maintenance a few months ago, since additional muscle mass increases your basal metabolic rate etc. (my maintenance calories are at 3000kcal now, not 100% sure if not very slightly more)

...so the body (with the maintenance calories) can acclimate and relax a bit (=both stuffing yourself and being hungry is slightly stressful for the body, only maintenance calories give the metabolism a bit of rest), make sure your protein intake doesn't drop too much (it will drop a bit, once you remove e.g. one serving of complex carbs), I would mainly focus on maintaining the same number of grams of protein from animal sources or protein powder.

=> if you have e.g. 5 meals a day, just remove one meal, that should do. But make sure you make up for the potential loss of fruits, vegetables and protein from that meal somehow.

2) after 3 days, switch to deficit. I would recommend 84-85% of your maintenance calories.

2a) So, let's say 2750*0.84 = 2310 kcal (roughly) and stay in it for at least 9-10 weeks. (I strongly advise against going lower than 84%, if you want to keep the gains.)

3) After 5 weeks, take a 7-10 days diet break by switching into maintenance calories again, so your body removes all the adaptations that attempt to slow your caloric expenditure down and affect negatively e.g. the rate of muscle:fat loss (=you will lose a LITTLE bit of muscle, how much depends on how smart you diet... and train). Right away 1-2 pounds can disappear within a few days, since that's the water from the additional carbs that will probably disappear from your diet. (one serving/one meal at least, probably).

3a) when the diet break is over, switch to 2310 again.

4) Keep it high carb, lower fat (e.g. rather remove some peanuts than decrease how many oats you take each morning or the carbs for the lunch or supper), since there is de novo lipogenesis which is a process of turning carbs to body fat: the body HATES doing it and tries to avoid doing it, since its a costly process (unlike when a dietary fat is stored as fat, that is easy, cheap), so you optimize the fat loss + your training will be doable, since you will have renewed your glycogen storages optimally.

5) I already talked about protein, try to keep at least the same amount of grams from animal sources/powder as you had in surplus or maintenance (or at least very close to it), the grams from the plant sources may (will) go down.

6) you can consider taking BCAAs before and after training (one teaspoon), it may optimize how you diet and how much muscle you don't lose. More about it one page earlier in this thread :)

7) when you feel too tired to train (=not necessarily underregenerated for the given body part, but just tired), fight it, take the BCAAs and train anyway, since that is your brain's attempt to minimize your calorie expenditure and also to increase your muscle loss, since now you won't train to grow muscles, you will train to keep those you've built, since the training stimulus will be the only message in this net-catabolic state for your body that says "don't be insane, oh body(!), keep the muscle! The guy clearly needs it to survive each day!"


I've been now in a deficit (2600kcal) for little over one week. Sometimes at evenings I feel slightly tired, but mostly never during the day, without one meal/one serving, I eat almost exactly the same amount of carbs as before, which helps a lot, tons of protein, BCAAs before/after training, it's very good! (you just don't observe strength increase so readily and the regeneration gets slightly worse)
 
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Godmy

Sīmia Illustris
Once the body fat % approaches slowly 20% (but it's different for everyone, for me it's slightly lower than that, but for some guys 20% ... even 25% is still good), the insuline sensitivity gets a tiny little bit worse (it's not like you've got diabetes, very very FAR from it, but the insuline sensitivity moves on a spectrum), which usually exhibits itself for an athlete/body builder by a worse muscle:fat gains ratio (you start gaining a little bit more fat than before, less muscle in new gains), also the testosterone:estrogen level gets a little (just a LITTLE) bit worse (slightly more estrogen, less free testosterone), which all plays into worse gains, not as optimal health as before (=the health is still beyond average, with a good diet, no PEDs, almost daily training, but it was EVEN better at 15% body fat e.g.). And that is why it is generally good and healthy move to start cutting: everything improves form insuline sensitivity, hormones, mood... everything. (Aesthetics too, of course ;) )

For a recreational body builder, around 12% body fat should probably be the lowest they should go (Sean Nalewanyj talks about it here)

.. because a true 12% is much much more ripped and defined than what most people imagine 12% is (me included until recently). 12% means already quite vascular and almost full very recognizable sixpack. 10% then is ALMOST competition ready (at least for the Men's Physique, not necessarily for classical body building), but 10% may not yet be so optimal for hormones (for the whole reproduction system), good thermoregulation etc., very unnecessary for a recreational body builder (and true 10% is much more ripped than what many people think it is). Also, many recereational body builders will just look small/tiny, even though incredibly toned/defined, because they don't have yet so much muscle mass to look big with almost no fat. At 13-15%, only after 1-2 years of good training and diet, you will look physically big! :) And in my experience, guy feels a bit better if they don't need to be half-naked all the time just to look as though they even lift :- D


Anyway, below 12%.. and certainly below 10% (of accurate measuring, not what most people consider 10% is) the health/subjective experience becomes worse, not recommendable for anyone, unless for a competition.
 
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R. Seltza

Magnus Oculus
considering you've been training naturally and eating in a surplus for 5 months or so
I've been training since late July, so it's been a little over 3 months, not 5.

Anyway I think there are hints already it might be a good time to cut now.
I'm not sure about that. There are still some more gains that I'd like to get. I recently changed my regimen from 4 times a week (Lower/Upper/Lower/Upper) to 5 times a week (Lower/Upper/Glutes/Upper/Lower). It seems like my triceps are lagging behind, so I also added DB Skullcrushers to my Upper day routine (which I'm definitely feeling the effects of, my triceps were on fire for days lol).

My current weight is 170.6 lbs. I was thinking that 170 lbs would be a good weight for me, so perhaps cutting downwards to it from a higher weight would better balance things out.

As far as the body fat percentage numbers, I'm thinking that I'll just have one of the reps at my gym use their scanner tool. It's pretty convenient & would probably have some confirmatory value here.
 

Godmy

Sīmia Illustris
I'm not sure about that. There are still some more gains that I'd like to get. ...
Alright, if you feel you want to go on, you can go on! Bookmark this page though, I think the blueprint to cut I gave (in the spoiler) is quite good (I also spent some time typing it down, haha) and it was personalized to your values (more or less), so we would return to it in the future anyway ;)

Personally, for overall health & optimal gains, I would not recommend going over 20% of bf (=for hormones, for insuline senstivity, therefore also for muscle gains..etc.), if you have the choice not to + also not to have a too long cut or a short too radical cut! (try to avoid radical cuts, if you can! ... 84-85% deficit). I think 10 weeks cut is still quite a sane time after a bulk.

Report what the scanner says! But remember, a visual assessment of your body fat by an experienced body builder (although who qualifies can get tricky ;p ) can be JUST as accurate as laboratory or semi-laboratory methods* (and in some rare cases, even more accurate, actually), because this is just incredibly hard to measure accurately, as I said, almost impossible (unless you carefully do it with a freshly dead body through autopsy : D). So, sometimes it's good to have the values from more sources to draw some more truthful picture...

*for example the special scales that measure it by the electrical impedance as you stand on it usually seem to give totally BS values :-/
 
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Godmy

Sīmia Illustris
I'm thinking that I'll just have one of the reps at my gym use their scanner tool.
Anything new in this area you'd like to share?

I will tell you my prediction about your stats and you will see how wrong or right I was:
- You started with around 150 pounds, if I remember correctly. I also assume you were moderately lean for an untrained person, that is not "crazy abs-visible lean" but not fat either (or so I guess, since you didn't mind entering a bulk etc.), which would probably give you credibly around ... 17% body fat on the start, let's say. That made your lean weight 150*(1-0.17) = 124 pounds

- which frankly, is still quite a lot for an untrained person of your size, that would give you quite good genetics regarding the natural muscle hypertrophy (which is different for everyone; that is, how much muscle you naturally [genetically] have as long as you keep eating in a more or less energetic maintenance and do no training, while still moving normally). I would still rather say that even with a quite good genetics (better than I have certainly) you had around 122 pounds of lean mass untrained.

- that would mean 150-122 = 28 pounds of fat. That makes 28/1.5= 18% body fat on the beginning.
(in case you had really 124 pounds of lean mass to start with, that would be 26 pounds of fat, 26/1.5= 17% body fat)
=> both percentages can be considered "lean" for an average untrained person.

- You gained (as you reported over one week ago) 167.6-150 = 17.6 pounds.

- Now, usually, when you're gaining naturally through a caloric surplus, the gains are 50:50 muscle:fat, but if you have a good diet, lots of rest and if you are still a novice, that ratio can be much better, in some cases even 70:30. So, let's say you gained 60:40 muscle:fat. That would mean that you gained additional 17.6*0.4= 7 pounds of new body fat. (10.6 pounds of muscle + a little bit of water from more carbs in a surplus, since 1 gram of carb binds to itself 2 mililiters of water in the body => around 135 pounds of lean mass).

- Now, let's say that you had 28 pounds of fat to start with. 28+7= 35 pounds of body fat; 35/1.676= 21% body fat today (don't worry, that is still far from obese, but, in my view, a very good time to start a smart, carb rich and protein rich, mild cut that will take around 10 weeks, see more in the blueprint I posted the spoiler a few posts earlier)

- In the second, maybe less probable, better case: if you had 26 pounds of fat to start with: 26+7= 33 pounds of bf; 33/1.676 = 19.7 % body fat today <- the conclusion here is pretty much the same as with the 21%, good time for cutting :)


Now, unless you really started this journey with around 20% body fat, which I doubt, you would have known that and probably suggested cutting on the start yourself (I really doubt that), your genetics is already quite good, since, by my best estimate, in the retrospective (I have no exact data from that time), when I started 4 years ago, I started with around 108 pounds of lean mass (not including the fat, of course, fat free mass) with almost the same height as you have. But it is true that my upper body looked really really skinny (all the better muscle genetics went to my legs/glutes, but still). Now (I've been cutting now over two weeks btw.) I should have around 130 pounds of lean mass, which (unless there is some more pronounced height difference, which I don't believe there is, although I may be 1-2 cm shorter) puts me behind you ; ) Although, I still probably have bigger relative strength on all compounds lifts there are, since I've been doing it a bit longer, although I think I started to do things properly only perhaps in the last year or even less. (that is, I had gains and I still trained hard, but I wasn't very smart with it, sometimes I regressed too much, and I wasn't smart with the diet either). Let's just say that on the scale of hard-gainer vs. easy gainer I'm pretty on the left, probably more than you are.

For me personally, higher than 17% body fat wasn't comfortable already, because the fat started to grow disproportionately faster then than muscle - I probably have a lower threshold of good/bad insuline sensitivity and I also didn't feel comfortable with that size in fat generally. But that is my genetics. Since you have probabhly much better genetics, your insuline sensitivity may be really good even at 18% or 20%, still, taking a future cut in consideration etc. etc. etc., I would not willingly go higher than that, if I were in your place. Now, in my cut, I'm around 16% and will go to 13-14% - already feeling much better :- )


Tell me how off I was at least according to your scanner or your initial condition :)
 
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R. Seltza

Magnus Oculus
Godmius, Sorry I've been gone for a while. Life called again...

Anyways, I've used my gym's scanner tool. According to it, my body fat percentage is 16.2% & my BMI is 26.3.

I really want to keep optimizing gains, but I've ended up building a gut... Apparently, that's the only place my body stores fat. Evidently, I've been overdoing the calories. However, for the past (nearly a) week, I've paid extra attention to my caloric intake & made extra sure that I'm only doing a lean bulk, which seems to have helped a bit, so I'll definitely keep bulking until I either reach 20% body fat or 180 lbs.

This made me realize the actual difference between a lean bulk & a dirty bulk. I used to think that "lean" & "dirty" just referred to the types of food you ate to bulk (i.e. bulking on whole foods vs bulking on junk food). Now I realize that it's based purely on caloric intake (i.e. <200+ vs >200+). This is something that dawned on me belatedly, but I'm not sure if I should post this in the "Things That Dawned On You Belatedly" thread since most people on this forum would probably have no idea what any of this means...

You started with around 150 pounds
145 lbs to be exact.

if I remember correctly. I also assume you were moderately lean for an untrained person, that is not "crazy abs-visible lean" but not fat either (or so I guess, since you didn't mind entering a bulk etc.)
Yes, this was true.

which would probably give you credibly around ... 17% body fat on the start, let's say. That made your lean weight 150*(1-0.17) = 124 pounds
According to my gym's scanner tool that I used before I started my fitness journey, my body fat percentage was 12%.
The equation would've been 145*(1-0.12) =127.6 lbs lean body weight.

that would give you quite good genetics regarding the natural muscle hypertrophy (which is different for everyone; that is, how much muscle you naturally [genetically] have as long as you keep eating in a more or less energetic maintenance and do no training, while still moving normally). I would still rather say that even with a quite good genetics (better than I have certainly)
I've always been more of the ecto-mesomorphic type.

- that would mean 150-122 = 28 pounds of fat. That makes 28/1.5= 18% body fat on the beginning.
Just following through with the math: 145-127.6 = 17.4 lbs of fat. 17.4/1.5? Where did you get 1.5 from?

You gained (as you reported over one week ago) 167.6-150 = 17.6 pounds.
I'm now 171.6 lbs, which is 26.6 lbs gained since I've started.

Now, usually, when you're gaining naturally through a caloric surplus, the gains are 50:50 muscle:fat, but if you have a good diet, lots of rest and if you are still a novice, that ratio can be much better, in some cases even 70:30.
What is the best way for me to optimize that ratio? Also, where is the line drawn between a novice & an intermediate lifter? How do we tell the difference?

Although, I still probably have bigger relative strength on all compounds lifts there are, since I've been doing it a bit longer
What are your numbers on those compound movements? My best lift is my hip thrust (of course, glutes are what finally motivated me to pursue fitness & is emphasized to the point where a lot of my leg days are allocated to the glutes; I now even have a day in my routine dedicated to just that). This past week, I hip thrusted 250 lbs.

Let's just say that on the scale of hard-gainer vs. easy gainer I'm pretty on the left, probably more than you are.
I'm sorry to hear that. Being a hard gainer is a cruel trick of nature...
 

Godmy

Sīmia Illustris
Hey, just quickly: thanks for claryfying some things!

1.5 is one percent: 150/100 which was your assumed initial weight (145 now then, hence 1.45). So how much percent is 28 out of 150: 28/(150/100) => 28/1.5

127 initial lean mass is really crazy good if true :) Of course, I mentioned the problem with the measuring devices, right. Anyway, what does the scanner says now?* If the scanner was right, you would have "almost" visible abs (pretty much all sixpack) with around 12.5% of body fat ( 18/1.45 ), now, my conservative estimate is still that the scanner undermeasures the body fat, your lean mass might have been rather around 122 and thus the body fat more conservative for a lean untrained person. You will still most likely be approaching 20% by now slowly, which could be a sign to do a change.

*Edit: sorry, I didn't the notice the beginning of your message at all where you actually mentioned it, I saw only the quotes (the forum scrolled me wrong to your message), I will post one more reply :p

The ratio... you cannot optimize it much. When you are beginner, it's better. When you are advanced, it's worse and worse, although with lots of effort, it should never be worse than 50:50, but with suboptimal effort and bad eating, it can be 40:60 even if you a beginner. Genetics is also a variable. The only things that you can optimize (that can determine whether you're approaching at least those 60:40 ... and perhaps 70:30 is even very rare for good disciplined lifters) is: diet + rest + optimal training... things as usual. If you have good training and bad diet... or good training, diet and subpar rest - all of that will make it worse. The good ratio, the lean muscle is a reward for the best possible physical lifestyle you can lead, pretty much.

How to determine a novice or a beginner (e.g. why I am, was until recently a beginner after 4 years of doing fitness): that is pretty much determined on how much you have taken already from the "newbie gains". Let's say (I will be optimistic) that if an average male has a potential to naturally gain +25 kilograms in his whole life of LEAN MASS, then the initial 10-15kg should be moderately fast (let's say perhaps even within the first 2-3 years of REALLY good training/eating/rest + proper bulk-cut protocol) and that would be the "beginner's gains" (in my mind). Then, once you pass that mark, everything will so ridiculously slow down (=I haven't passed that mark yet, I gained around +10 KG of lean mass since my assumed initial state) that you will soon forget how easy it was on the beginning. It will soon become like +2 pounds of lean mass a year after one or two cycles of bulk&cut and everything done optimally. That is also why many ambitious guys throw their brain out, forget their future, health and everything and start doing PEDs, because - if they are already able to do everything right, PEDs will restart for them that period of "fast growth" they remember from their first years and everything will be "rainbow-awesome" again :D

So, in short, FFMI will be a determiner in some relative sense of whether you are a novice or not.

I don't do hip thrusts. Currently my really-high-rep bulgarian split squat session once a week (with an additional 30-35kg of weight) is both an insane cardio and a booty-builder ;p (insanely really|) 4 sets of 20-30 reps (cardio is usually the biggest limiting factor there: it's quite an achievement to perform it at all). But, I don't say I will never do hip thrusts... maybe I will :) Who knows what my 1RM on hip thrust could be atm. ;P (albeit the brain's not used to the movement)

But a 250lbs on a compound lift is really really good! I have no such number anywhere. (It is may be true that hip thrusts will offer the shortest ROM from the compounds lifts, but still, pretty good!)

But anyway, my compound lifts:

- With one exception, I don't know my one rep max (1RM), since I mostly don't consider it as good way to train or safe for me in any way, so I will make some assumptions.

- deadlift: 82.5 kg for 4-5 sets of usually 8 reps (but I wouldn't say it's to failure, I try to avoid deadlifts to failure as much as I can, if anything starts to fail sometimes, it may be the grip, but that's all); I suppose my one rep max would be at least 100 kg if not slightly more.

- squat: (=rocked over to my back from the ground, which itself is a compound lift like hell :D) 82.5 kg 4-5 sets usually 10 reps, in no way to failure. One rep max probably also 100 kg...

- bench press: well, I didn't do bench press throughout my bulk at all due to various reasons I mentioned earlier I don't want to repeat. But I restarted it and plan on doing it regularly from now on. I do a kind of "pin press" where the bar first rests pretty much in the height of my chest for a moment before I press (=zero stretch reflex/zero momentum) which is a bit harder, there for reps I do currently 56kg, 4 sets for 8 usually to failure. But I tried my one rep max actually two weeks ago or so, because I was curious how weaker I became after not doing it for so long, luckily enough it was the same as what I managed to do about 6 months ago, 80kg 1RM on bench press (=pressed from pretty much the chest height, from the bar at total rest)

- overhead pres - 42 kg, around 4 sets, 6-8 reps to failure

- pull ups / chin ups / commando pull ups: usually I make around 5 reps in a set regardless whether I have 0, 5 or 10 kilograms of added weight on myself :D (=after sufficiently rested and regenerated), 4 or more sets. Althought with 0kg I assume I would do more reps than 5 in a set now: the last time I tried it was the next day after forearm training, which was limiting me and right after deadlifts that hit lats too, so that's why even 0 kg felt similarly difficult as otherwise with plates.
 
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