Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Great article at t-nation on bodyfat levels related to mass gain

Really solid article from Shelby Starnes on your bodyfat and mass gaining cycles.  I think a lot of what he says will sound very familiar if you read here often.


  • Don't bulk when you're fat (over 15%).
  • When you get over 15%, diet down to 10% or less and then start eating
  • You have to eat big to get big.
  • Don't rush it, getting big is a marathon not a sprint.  
  • Hold your new bodyweight for a long time so that it becomes a "set point" and somewhat normal for your body. 
This last point really hits home with me.  When I used to diet down to an acceptable level I'd almost always end up at like 200-205 pounds.  Well my highest "bulking" point generally took me to 245 during that time.  When I finally bulked up to 270-280 and stayed there for about 2 years, I dieted back down and ended up (at various times) between 225 and 235 (where I am now).  

I only need to gain maybe 7-10 more pounds of LEAN mass to be where I have been trying to get to for a decade now (242-245 at sub 10%).  So when I run my next gaining phase I will train my ass off, and be smart with my diet.  Not get stupid and eat 42 MacDonalds hamburgers a day (although I did enjoy that shit, I won't lie, and I spelled it MACDonalds on purpose BTW).  

For those that bought my programs, I will be running THAT diet, and following THAT training routine, or very close to it.  I'm actually looking very forward to getting back into a ballz out training mode for a while.  It's time to make some fucking progress.  I have some real goals in mind that I am going to hit in the next 18 months and it's time to start really working towards them.  

Anyway here's the article......


  1. How do you get your fat level tested?

  2. Zac. Calipers can be pretty inaccurate. In some ways it doesn't matter as long as its consistent. You're just tracking changes.

    But if you live in a place with a major university they may have a bod-pod or dunk tank. Those are the gold standards of BF% measurement. And they will frequently let non-students be measured. For a fee of course.

    I get mine done once or twice year here in Indianapolis at the NIFS center connected to IUPUI. The cost is 40 dollars.

    Pretty cheap for the level of accuracy you get.

    Check out your local university and see if they offer something similar. If they do, get it done.

    Then you'll have a solid no lie reference for any caliper work you have done.

  3. How exactly it's different from what Lyle McDonald says years ago?

  4. I'm sure a lot of people have said. It doesn't mean it's not worth pointing out again.

  5. I agree with "pointing out again" part

    BTW: I enjoy to read your blog very much

  6. what do you think about the Omron Body Fat Analyzer? it has two handles, you have to input height and weight? Is this thing bunk? I seem to range between 17-19% on it. If I switch back to calipers how hard do you squeeze the fat?

  7. Get a qualified person to do it for you. That's the best thing to do.

    The handle things I would say are bunk. There's no way it even gets ballpark IMO, just like the scale one.

  8. Im a short guy, bout 165 and 20. I'm around 15%, give a little. Paul, should I go for broke and not give two shits about bodyfat till I'm at 200 or actually look like I lift weights?

  9. Read the article. Stay within that 10-15% range while gaining weight.

    You should get your bodyfat measured too. The majority of guys don't know what they really are. You could be more or less. Point is, don't exceed 15% during a gaining phase. There is no reason to.