67 Comments

  1. Hi there Andy. I have a small dilemma. I originally used one of those body weight/body fat scales to get a baseline for choosing a program I should start on and it read ~9% body fat so I chose the skinny program (bulking). However, I checked myself again at the gym I attend on one of their super fancy machines which tell you body fat, muscle mass, where in your body those are etc and it told me ~15% body fat which would put me in the skinny fat category. Supposedly this machine is much more accurate than my body fat scale at home, but I really am not familiar with that technology. I am in my second week of skinny routine (bulking). In your opinion, should I switch to the skinny-fat recomp, or stick with my bulk?

    Thanks for your time.

    1. Hi Avery, this guide is for men. The body fat percentages in this guide will be much higher for women, 7-10%. Even so, I haven’t written this guide with women in mind as I don’t have that experience, so the categories aren’t as relevant.

      Those machines you’ve used – both are going to have their inaccuracies and I’d suggest you avoid using them.

    2. Andy, apologies but I should have mentioned that I am male. What is the best way to estimate body fat, so that I may choose between the skinny and skinny-fat programs? It was mentioned in your diet section (https://rippedbody.com/complete-diet-nutrition-set-up-guide/) that you can use a BIA to get a body fat estimation baseline for calculating the macros. Does this type of machine also work for a baseline estimation for figuring which program to start with, or is there a better way Andy?

      Thanks!

    3. Ah, right, sorry about that.
      As mentioned there, you can use them for initial guesses but they are inconsistent so shouldn’t be used to track progress. As you’ve also seen, there are large differences between the results given by two machines.
      My guess is that you’re not 9%, cause if you were you’d know it. (Either the abs would be clearly visible, or you’d just look very skinny due to having too little muscle mass to really show any ab definition at a low body fat range.) So unless either of these descriptions ring true I’d go with the guess of the higher machine as your start point.

    4. No worries Andy, I appreciate that advice. I will switch my routine to the recomp then as I would tend to believe the 15% number (can’t see my abs). Cheers!

  2. Hello andy,oustanding post.After a long way come to the conclusion that I should gain weight because I am a skinny guy (132 lbs, and 5ft 9in) .I would know if the amount of carbs and calories for a bulk would vary or be invariant in days of training and rest for an skinny guy.
    I would appreciate your advice Andy.
    Greetings from Chile for everyone.

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  5. Hey Andy,

    Thanks for your help on the finding maintenance calories post; I’m loving the extra calories with no fat gain yet.:-)..

    On this post – for a slow bulk I wanted to check my understanding of the surplus calorie requirements when shredded (clear, defined abs) and I consider myself an ‘intermediate trainer’:

    1) For maximal hypertrophy you suggest going for 50% – 100% extra to the figures in your table (i.e. Intermediate / 1-2lbs (muscle gain) / ~100-200kCal). So I take this as a daily surplus range of 150Cal to 400Cal and a theoretical 1.5lb to 4lb gain per month (some fat some muscle); is this your thinking?

    2) Assuming I have the right idea above, being a shorter guy (5′ 6″) I was going to aim for a 250Cal surplus per day and keep an eye on the fat gain. Is this a bit too cautious?

    Clearly you putt a huge amount of work into this site; it’s appreciated..

    Alan

    1. Hi Geordie, my next article is actually covering exactly this, but here are your answers till then:
      1. Yes.
      2. Set calories like that, aim for the lower end of that weight gain range, then adjust based on how your weight actually changes.

  6. Hi Andy, I finished training with you about a month back and continued my cut. I’ve found I’ve stalled a bit (despite 2 diet breaks over the period). While not being 100% happy with my abs not showing through I thought I would start the slow bulk process anyway as I’ve been cutting for so long, and then cut again in 3 months. I’m happy about getting stronger (my lifts are quite modest) and the idea of recharging my metabolism after essentially being on a cut for 6 months. I was just about to jump into that when I looked back over the website and wondered should I do a Body Recomp first/instead? If so I couldn’t find what those macros would look like for me. It would be great to hear your thoughts so I can be at peace for the next 3 months with whatever plan I’m on. Cheers.

    1. Bulk Jon. Don’t make the mistake of trying to chase both at this point. Increase your macros steadily as per the guide I sent in the parting guidance e-mail. “How to Manipulate Your Macros” is the key phrase to search for to make that easier for you.

  7. How can you adjust your diet around a specific training. Let’s say a competitive swimmer or someone who wants to become a competitive powerlifter, both are as lean as they want to but they need to train harder (or aerobically in the swimmer’s case) but want to keep their shredded look?

    1. Hi Sergio. The principles remain the same, but you just have to be a little more detailed in places.
      Calorie expenditure for the athlete will be higher, so carb intake will be significantly higher. If they are doing two-a-days then carb type and meal timing will become more important. You can read more on this here:

      The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance – #4 Meal Timing & Frequency, Calorie & Macro Cycling

      When it comes to keeping the shredded look, there may be compromises to be made. This all depends on the sport.

      – A swimmer will be better with more fat (than what I would consider shredded) for buoyancy purposes. – If you’ve ever been scuba diving then you’ve experienced this – shredded people need no extra weight added to their belts – the fattest person on the boat may need a huge amount of added weight to keep them neutral, but that makes it tough for them to climb back onto the boat after the dive.

      – A powerlifter generally wants to be as lean as they can to make their weight class, but no leaner so that they don’t lose any mechanical advantage of being fatter.

      – In contact sports, a layer of fat is beneficial for protection.

      You get what I mean here right? Obviously it comes down to what people’s priorities truly are:
      -The amateur will put their physique first and they’ll still enjoy their sport.
      -The pro needs to think about what is optimal rather than what looks best.


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