Need some advice on shaping up.

I have tried to get into shape before and ended up dropping out of the gameplan. This most recent attempt is by far my best effort and I'm probably more fit now that I've ever been in my life. That's not saying much though.

My ultimate goal is to get a general athletic build. I'm not too fussy on the particulars, just that I would like to get rid of the excess fat in some areas and bulk up on muscle in others. I have one of those stupid body types where I look skinny(especially in the upper body) but still have a gut and love handles.

So I did my research and decided that I would seperate my cutting and bulking phases. I chose to cut weight first and started running and created a calorie defficient diet. I'm not sure if I should have gone the bulking route first, but I have definitely lost body fat and I'm quite pleased by how much I've increased my cardio. When I first started about 3 months ago, I had trouble running more than a mile. Now I can run 6 miles a day every day(I force myself to rest 2 days a week now just to avoid injury).

What's weird is that my general athletic output has surpassed many of my friends, and yet they still look a hell of a lot more athletic than me. Is it possible that my genetics simply won't allow me to look any different? Or does bulking muscle(along with the fat) do more for looks than losing fat(along with the muscle)?

diet is huge. if you empty 3 Ben and Jerry's containers a night, you're going to have trouble losing weight, no matter how much you exercise.

marathon runners dont look athletic! at least not like your explaining. You need to hit some weights along with your running.

You have a good idea of seperating it into two phases. but weight training should be included in your fat loss phase also. Its a phalacy that you dont do weights to lose fat.

Here is an idea on your split:

fat loss

-cardio 5 days a week
- weights 2-3 days
- diet is lower in calories and starchy carbs

muscle gain

-cardio 3 times a week, for 30 min
-weights 3 times a week
- diet calorie surplus with high protein and carbs coming from whole grains like brown rice :-) or oatmeal.