Where To Go Next?


New Member
I'll try to keep this fairly short but I'd like recommendations for HST vs continuing what I'm doing as well as to cut vs bulk.

About 3 yrs ago I was 40 yo, 5'10", 252 lbs, eating crap and doing no exercise. Went on weight watchers, started running and ended up at 170lb but still "skinny fat." Later had golf related back problems, steroids, physical therapy and started working out about 6 months ago at a "big gym" with a trainer. I have made gains but don't like the programs they recommend there (crazy number of isolation exercises, "need to change workout every 4 weeks, etc). Now have home gym and working out at home.

Started doing a 5x5 program on my own about 4-5 weeks ago and have maintained my weight of around 180 lbs with strength gains (in calorie deficit) but I am now at the stage where I need to eat more to gain mass or restrict to lose fat. I have made significant gains in my lifts but I'm starting to struggle with going up 5lb per lift each workout and it's likely due to I'm eating only around 1850 cal per day. Protein is 180-200g/day, 50-60g fat/d and around 130-140g carbs.

I really don't care how much weight I lift but would like to continue to strengthen my back/core and overall look more muscular and fit. I don't know exactly what my body fat % is. The gym has a hand held analyzer which was 20% with this picture 1 month ago 9-30-15:

After one month of the 5x5 I am about the same weight 180.5lb and when I used calipers (3 point measurement) I get 16% body fat but I expect it is not correct. Here I am on 10-28-15 (leaner but still with love handles):

I really like the setup of the HST program and really don't care how strong I actually am. My questions are should I continue with my current as I am making progress, when should I consider change to something like HST?

Big question, continue calorie deficit until down to 10% BF or so or go ahead and increase calories to add some muscle. I know from multiple searches that the cut vs bulk is a loaded question and gets lots of opinions but I'd ideally like to stay in the 10-15% BF while adding muscle. Thanks
Ed Coan, the most successful powerlifter in history and who stopped competing twenty years (just think about all of that for a minute), has always said that if you making progress, then don't change what you are doing.