59 Years Old/Young, Just Started Working Out

I’ve just started going to the gym regularly (about 5 times a week) and am doing five3one app. Having a buddy as a trainer, never heard of the 531 program until he showed me the app. (icon looks like a red CD with 531 in white numbers). I’ve been at for about 2 months, been doing Keto diet as well, lost 20lbs, from 274 to 254. Now that I’ve been doing this for awhile with some success, I want to verify what I’m doing is correct and learn some of the this lingo.

I started out doing one exercise of just core like over head press one day, wait a day then do squats, wait a day, then bench press. Now I’m doing up to 3 exercises a day including accessory routine’s i.e. joker sets, boring but big sets etc. I’ve also included cardio on the same days as my workouts. (couch to 5k). I’m run/walking about 30 mins after my workout. Did that 5 days in a row last week. Took a couple of days off to rest and ready to do it all over again.

At this point, I’m not sure if what I’m doing is optimal. My objective is to get to my optimal weight, and get a little cut in the mean time and of course get strong. Hello and thanks, Dave

First of all, that’s a very impressive weight loss in such a short space of time, you should be proud of that.

In terms of the actual programming, I find it pretty tricky to figure out what you’re actually doing, sets and reps (and weights). I would recommend you invest in the e-book to learn the lingo and philosophy behind it. The fact you haven’t mentioned weights or two PR’s tells me you’ve probably missed some key points.

Just a few other things that jump out at me: a few months is not “a while”, although I appreciate it may feel like it sometimes. It’s likely some posters will jump down your throat at the word “optimal”. Your training will never be optimal. Forget optimal, aim for progress.


Congratulations on your progress. Easiest way to learn here is to start a log and write down each of your workouts and ask questions along the way. There are plenty of knowledgeable people here that are willing to help.

1 Like

Dave - great work on the weight loss.

Just get walking. Jogging is bad for your knees at the best of time.

1 Like
  1. Forget the word optimal. Not a dig at you, but people get caught up in optimizing everything and make no progress.

  2. How “keto” is your diet? Are we just talking low carb, or are we talking the fairly low (~20%) protein intake that many keto traditionalists subscribe to? If the latter is the case, and we’re talking any sort of optimization, it would be that you can and should get more protein than that on a strength program, and it will not only not inhibit your continued fat loss, it will contribute towards it by building you more muscle. Not that much more, and building muscle is slow either way, but that is my opinion.

  3. The kindle of 5/3/1 2nd edition is like 10 bucks, or less. Get it before you burn yourself out. You’re doing a sort of progression, which is a good instinct, but the creator of 5/3/1 has a better understanding of how to progress.


x2 do another form of cardio/bike etc -if 250lbs and over 35 let alone 55 then jogging is no bueno for knees. (fine to run in future when get weight right down)

forget these,Jim now says he regrets mentioning jokers and 90% of trainees should never do them

for accesory work, try these -giant sets are fantastic for fatloss and can get a lot out of very light weight:

Ok got the book, haven’t read it yet, just got it, but quick question as I head out to the gym: the splits, does that mean I work on one muscle group a day? Dangers of working more than one?

Do you know your 1 rep max?

Good luck squatting, benching, deadlifting, or overhead pressing with only one muscle group.

1 Like

If a giant set is a tri-set, does that make a superset a bi-set? If so, is a person who trains supersets a bi-setsual?


Not sure what you mean. Are you poking fun? I’m trying to learn something here. Thanks for the input.

It was tongue-in-cheek, with no malice at all. The movements you’re doing all involve all muscle groups in a sense.

Ok, so I did some reading, getting some understanding. I’ll have some questions for my buddy who is training me. I don’t know my 1 rep max. That’s something I’ll ask, he set up my 531 program. Now that I’m understanding it a bit more, like I said, I have some questions.

1 Like

Thanks, I just feel a bit ignorant about this whole venture, it’s a bit frustrating, but I see the addiction as well. I feel guilty when I don’t go. Really want to make this work.

1 Like

More often than not, the “buddy who trains me” ends up not being qualified to train anyone. You should know your 1RM, and your TM (and whether that Tm is 85 or 90%), and you should know whats coming next every workout.


This is a pretty big part of Jim’s philosophy, that you are responsible for your own training. I don’t know how big/strong your mate is, but making a clear effort to take control of your own training and decisions is never going to be a bad thing.

1 Like

I would just like to point out, that here is a gentleman who was given a ripoff of 531, kind of understood it; then got the actual 531 and gets a good portion of it and asks intelligent questions about the parts he doesn’t.

@grumpy_one you sir have done what very few seem to manage. Good work.

Also forget jokers. They’re terrible.


So from what I’ve read, and what my buddy has helped me accomplish, some of what he’s done is starting to make sense. He would set up some weights and see how many reps I was able to get in. When I got to the fail point within 8 or so reps, he plugged in the numbers. To be honest, I don’t know my 1 RM. I just know when I’m doing the last set to fail, it’s about 3 reps past what’s called out in the 531. I forget what it’s called. The app I’m using automatically bumps the weight amounts and tells the me the bar weight I need, pretty simple. I’m progressing and understanding the splits more. I’ve read some of the book and the app is making more sense. I tend to finish the book today. And I’m taking the joker set out but leaving the “big but boring” sets in. I do know my TM, and I do know what reps are coming up. Like I said, I’m learning, through my buddy, and through reading the book, and you good people. Thanks for the help so far.

1 Like

Oh and as far as my buddy not being qualified, ya he’s not a professional trainer, but from what I’ve seen and how well I know him, he’s gotten me into the gym 4-5 times a week and so far so good. I haven’t injured myself, I’m not competing, his wife is and he’s trained her and she’s won some competitions, he’s well known in the club and seems to be well respected, and so I’ve put my trust in him. He’s bettering my life, getting me healthy through workout and dieting, and doing it out of good will. Our sons grew up together and have played ball together since they were old enough to through a ball. So at this point, I trust him.