6 Weeks to Superhero - Nutrition

Dear Coach/All.
After having followed various 5/3/1 programmes and eating a lot more than usual, I have managed to make some fantastic strength gains. However, as I have been eating a lot more, I have also gained both muscle (my legs don’t fit my trousers anymore) and also some fat.

So for next 12 weeks (6 before Xmas, 6 after), I would like to focus on some fat loss (while limiting the decrease in strength).

I am thinking of starting by running the 6 weeks to super-hero programme but wondered about nutrition while on the program. My target is the following (I weigh 84kg / 185# with about 14-15% body fat):

1750 calories total 160g-p; 40g-f; 200g-C (36%-20%-44%).

Breakfast: 50-55 grams protein, 10-20g fat
Lunch: 50-55 grams protein, 10-20 grams fat, 25-50 grams carbs (from fruit and vegetables only, no starch)
Dinner: 50-55 grams protein, 5-10 grams fat, 125-150 grams carbs
Peri-workout nutrition (as normal 80-100g Carb, 60g Protein).

Would this work with the 6 week to super hero plan, or is it too little? I like the idea of restricting calories, so should I consider something like a sprint based programme instead?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Based on my experience of running the program a while back you’re going to need more calories than that. Extremely metabolically taxing program, with that little I’d imagine you’d get run down very quickly.

Thanks for the suggestion. I thought that it would be challenging with such a strong calorific deficit. have however been running 5/3/1 for just over 10 months which is (paraphrasing Dan John) Lifting Big and Eating big. I have put on some great weight, but it feels like I need to ‘clean up’ my diet.

Unfortunately, my lifting experience is limited to Crossfit, Starting Strength and 5/3/1. I’m really not sure where to start with a lifting program with caloric deficit.

I was in a similar boat a few weeks ago. I had went from 185-225lbs in 4 months. A great deal of that was past gains quickly returning, but undoubtedly it was not all muscle.

I’ve been doing Dan John’s 10k KB swing challenge in a deficit and low carbs… about 4k swings in and I don’t think I’m gonna make it through it, haha. It’s pretty hellish. It’s been working though, I’ve only lost 2 or 3 pounds but I have striations on my shoulders which i’ve never had, and went from a 2 pack to about a 4 pack now. Slow and steady.

If you’ve never trained on a deficit before I would suggest just keeping it simple. Start the workout with one of the big 4 compound lifts, then maybe a slightly “lesser” compound lift, then a barbell complex or tabata to finish it off. An HIIT sprint workout once a week and a walk or bike ride or some rope jumping will help things.

Cutting the calories will lose the weight, training will optimize the loss towards fat rather than muscle. Not everyone needs a special fat loss training regimen. And don’t expect it to be quick, if it’s too quick you run the risk of losing muscle.

My two cents.

How old are you? Also, how tall? If you are under 30, I’d not recommend getting away from 5/3/1 - it’s working. I’d make a focused effort to eat clean for two weeks, and see if that helps. I’d then go low carb on 1-2 off days (<100g). If that stops working, add in short HIIT sessions at the end of your lower body workouts.

6-weeks to superhero is a really intense program, and is designed to improve strength and conditioning while losing fat. The two times I ran through it with calorie restriction, I found I had to eat all my carbs peri-workout to avoid bonking hard. Also, if you’ve been doing 5/3/1, I’d do a block or two of a conditioning-focused 5/3/1 before trying superhero. You’ll be so gassed, you won’t really get a lot of the benefits. Also, unless you are Squatting 2xBW, benching 1.5xBW, etc. you won’t get much strength benefit from the program. The 4th and 5th exercises need to be significant’y lighter to be in a different speed zone than the 2nd and 3rd lifts. You have to be strong enough that bodyweight movements like clap pushups and jumps are in the <30% range. That program is a moderate to advanced design, you have to be strong or it’ll turn into a poor-man’s WOD.

Orcrist, Clypher … thanks for the input. For info, I am 32 (33 in December), currently weigh about 84kg (185#) with probably 14-15% body fat ( I can see the top 4 abs, but I have a small muffin top and the bottom 2 are a little ‘fuzzy’).

My lifts are:
Deadlift - 205kg (450#)
Squat - 180kg (395#)
Bench - 135kg (295#)
Press - 77.5kg (170#)

Here is my plan for the next 7 weeks:

4 Day split with 5/3/1.
Upper days - 5/3/1 followed by a barbell complex
Lower days - 5/3/1 followed by 400m sprints (from CT’s Running Man).

I will also add 1-2 additional days. 1 Day will be focussed on a long-slow duration run or bike ride. 1 Day with some mobility/flexibility work (i.e. work on what is tight).

Some questions - If I follow a 5/3/1 scheme on a calorific defecit, should I continue increasing the training max, or just take a couple of steps back and focus on getting more reps at a lighter weight?

Will 4-5 days of ‘work’ be too much on a calorific defecit?

I am waiting for my current supplements run out before ordering 3 months of I3G and Plazma (provided I don’t wimp out … import duty to the UK is more than I normally spend on supplements alone!). Maybe I will pair this up with the 6 Week to superhero.

Any other thoughts/suggestions?

P.S. I did Dan John’s 10k Swing about this time last year. I didn’t know that there were so many different ways to tape your hands :smiley:

Sorry, meant to add that I am 178cm (5’11).

I have been following 5/3/1 (seriously) since Jan this year after lots of casual and unfocussed lifting. I did the 28 week cycle in the beyond book, followed by a 7 week with condition focus, 7 weeks with a focus on Yoke and I have just finished a short 4 week cycle with an additional 5x5 set lower/upper pair (i.e. on 5/3/1 bench day, do 5x5 squats).

Might want to bring this to Wendler’s forum, if anyone can answer questions about 5/3/1 and a deficit, I’m guessing it would be him.

edit: I’m 25, ~220lbs and 5’11", and this is my first “deficit” training, but my workouts have been steadily increasing in intensity and decreasing in time. I’m still focusing on KB swings. My swings are getting much more aggressive, and I can feel my glutes, hamstrings, abs, and lats all working hard in them, but I can’t make it past 20min if I keep the pace up. The first week I did 4 50min workouts but they were pretty much while I was learning to swing properly and was much lazier.

My point is: I don’t think you need to cut back the amount of workouts per week, if anything increase the frequency but decrease the length. I have been working out 5-6 days a week. On the weekends I do two 20min workouts a day, and the weekdays I do one per day. I always take my days off on weekdays because my job is somewhat physically involving and I prefer to rest on those.

My 6 pack is just getting visible and my press has gained strength. Pullups I seem to be worse at but doing them supersetted with swings is a serious disadvantage to the grip and lats, so I’ll chalk it up to that. I have only lost 2 or 3 pounds! Perfect, I can’t have lost muscle at this rate.

Sorry to go off on a tangent.