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Lose Fat Without Losing Muscle?
I am originally from New Orleans and being that you are from La. I thought you might help a brotha out with some diet info. I am 6'0", 206 pounds and about 12% bf. I am an ectomorph but I built some pretty good mass. What I want to do is lean out but not lose precious muscle. I competed twice before. I get ripped but I always lose too much muscle and come in flat and thin looking.
I have a fast metabolism but I'm trying to accomplish that conditioning that most bodybuilders have around 9% in the off-season. My question is how should I go about that. I am an SSgt in the Marines and I have the time to get to the gym but I need some help with fine-tuning my diet.
I would appreciate it if you could find it in your heart to help a stranger. If not, wish you luck in the Mr. New Orleans show.
Your goal of wanting to lean out without losing any muscle is pretty common. I mean every guy usually has this goal. Except of course the guys that are in competition shape. These guys usually want more muscle. Anyway, it sounds like you have no problem getting shredded. That is a gift. You should cherish it. As far as losing the muscle... I have to wonder if you were eating your protein. I know that you were protein, but were you eating enough? A guy your size is feeding about 180-185 pounds of muscle. I would be consuming 400 grams of protein each day even when cutting up for a show. Especially if you know that you lose muscle. I might even try 500 grams each day. If I were not losing enough fat then I would start to cut back on the protein. My guess is that 450 grams each day would fit you well. This will allow you to keep the healthy muscles that you have worked years for.
Something else dose come to mind as a reason for your dilemma. I wonder if you are carbing up enough. Many bodybuilders can appear flat and stringy if they have not carbed up enough. Sometimes they are afraid to eat a whole lot of carbohydrates close to a show. This is natural and it happens to me too. They do not listen to their nutritionist and they come in flat. You may want to try carbing up more when you are in competition shape. Experiment with this a couple of weeks before the show so you can see the results before trying it at an event.
You know what puzzles me about all of this? The fact that you claim to be an ectomorph sounds fishy too. You are at 12% body fat! True ectomorphs are like 7% year round. You must be housing some kilocalories to stay that heavy. If you are eating like a horse to keep your weight up, you really are a lucky man. To get to your desired 9% off-season weight just cut the carbs back in the PM hours and remember to keep the protein intake up assuring muscle maintenance.
Now I realize that you are actually close to being 9% at the moment. If you do not wish to change your diet just incorporate cardiovascular training into your regimen. Doing a little cardio in the off-season will not kill you. I imagine that you may have mandatory physical training (PT) in the Army. This is good! If not then I would begin to do some. Cardio is good for your body no matter what way you look at it. Most of the guys that say they do not have to do cardio are either really gifted and should not be teasing us that do, rely on drugs, never really get into contest shape, or just say that as an excuse not to do it. From my experience there are some lazy people out there. Do not let the naysayers tell you that cardio will not allow you to gain mass. This is false! I could write you up a diet that would allow you to get fat while doing 2 hours of cardio each day. Try these theories out. I think that this is your ticket. Good Luck!