T Nation

Advice for a Repeat Beginner

I’ll try to be concise. I worked out a lot in college (stength and size for 2 years then moved into crossfit type-I’m in the military) but once I starting flight school I let my workouts go to the wayside :/. Right now, I’ve been doing Crossfit with cardio on paleo in order to slim up a bit and get ready for our upcoming physical fitness test-figured losing 15 lbs would help a lot in pullups and the 3 mile run.

Anyway, my strength has definitely dropped, and my long term goal is “crossfit physique”. I’m currently 158lbs around 14-15% BF and would like to be 170-180lbs with functional strength being the focus not only size. I know crossfit claims “strength built in a void isn’t useful outside the void” but the fact is MOST really successful crossfitters have some good size to go with their strength.

And just do to the fact that I’ve lost so much, I figure after I slim up I need to take a long while to focus on strength (and the size required to go with it) before working it into crossfit workouts.

I HAVE read a lot of threads here and wanted to get advice on which programs to run, and if I should use any periodization with Hypertrophy and strength. I’m planning to do Starting Strength first but also am intrigued by Texas Method, Wendler 5/3/1, Reg Park 5x5, Bill Starr Mad Cow 5x5, Juggernaut Method, MaxOT (done this before with decent results), and Anti Body Building Hypertrophy.

I guess I’m asking in what order should someone like me, who has lifting experience but has just lost a lot of strength, do these programs or which ones are so similar that I should just eliminate. Starting strength is great for starters (Max OT is a very beginner workout as well) but as for all the others, I’m having trouble discerning which ones are more intermediate or advanced.

If I wanted to just do every program eventually, what order would you guys recommend. After I hit that goal weight with strength I’ll be transitioning to Crossfit Football and the like. Thanks in advance guys.

I’m not sure what crossfit physique is, but I would think you would do crossfit to get it.

Otherwise, a lot of them are set up as a progression
SS to Texas Method
Stonglifts (or is it mad cow?) goes something like 5x5 > 5 x 3 > 5 x 1 or something like that
I think sheiko has some sort of progression system, but I think you need to be pretty strong of the bat.

Also, because they’ll ask anyway, how tall are you and what are your current maxes?

69 inches. Honestly dont know my maxes since I really just started lifting again, with a crossfit gym, all I know is I’m weak. Can only do 7-8 strict form pullups. 115 on power cleans. 95 on overhead squat. Deadlift is at 185. As I said, eventually I do want to get to where I’m just doing crossfit, as they don’t do met cons every day but actually spend days where they’re just lifting strength (always a powerlifting or olympic type compound movement). And many crossfitters just build strength that way, but right now I can’t even complete the workouts with the “required” weights.

I guess a main question I have is: If you had to order the above workouts from beginner to intermediate to advanced, what order would they be in. And do any of them have periodization built into it. I thought it might do well to do 6 weeks Hypertrophy, 6 weeks Strength, and 6 weeks crossfit and repeat but I just don’t know.

I’m 5’9" and the only maxes I know of now (only been back lifting for 3 weeks and it’s been crossfit) are 115# overhead squat. 115# power clean. 215# deadlift and I can only do 7-8 strict form pullups. As for “crossfit physique” it’s rather broad but as I said I’m looking to gain strength primary and any muscle that comes with it up to about 170-175#s lean. I want a high “strength to bodyweight ratio” aka I don’t want to be one of those jacked guys that can’t lift shit for weight (that’s by no means meant as a stereotype, there are just a few of them out there).
And yes eventually I will just do crossfit/crossfit football but I decided I need a solid time of just focusing on getting my strength back first.

I guess the main question I have is, among the above workout programs, in what order would you rank them from beginner->intermediate->advanced? Thanks.

Crossfit physique meaning super mega ripped with hawt abz?

Thats what comes to mind for me at least. Shirt off, doing some sloppy cleans, and dropping the bar from overhead disrespecting every piece of equipment within 15 miles.

[quote]sexyxe wrote:
Crossfit physique meaning super mega ripped with hawt abz?

Thats what comes to mind for me at least. Shirt off, doing some sloppy cleans, and dropping the bar from overhead disrespecting every piece of equipment within 15 miles.


I think he refers to the Crossfit Games Competitors = basically a fitness model body.

OP, it is generally accepted that the people who do really well in crossfit have built a decent amount of strength and size first. So, do the following…

Do starting strength first. Do it for several months at least and eat well (don’T turn into a fatty but DON’T obsess about hawt abzz either. At your weight, you should eat about 2900 calories/day to gain. People will give you different macro recommendations - I like a 20% protein 50 % carbs 30% fats split. Keep in mind that your on a homepage sponsored by a protein powder manufacturer so you might wanna take certain ideas with a grain of salt.

After you’ve repeatedly run into a brick wall with your lifts (and I mean ‘reset your squat about three or four times’ brick wall), rest for a week and then do Madcow 5x5 or the Texas Method. They’re actually quite similar. Once you can’t progress with these, do 5/3/1 or WSFSB.

A few pointers:

  • Don’t just track your weight, take body measurements every 14 days. If you’re gaining weight but your waist circumference is expanding like crazy, eat less. If you’re not gaining, eat more. Your shoulder and thigh circumference are the most important indicators of your progress.
  • use perfect form and try to feel the tension, especially on upper body lifts. For some reason it’s easier to maintain tension on squats - probably the good old survival instinct kicking in.
  • get enough sleep.
  • don’t think about it more often than once a month. Lifting is simple - get stronger, most importantly on compounds, eat a bit more a than you need to maintain - but it’s not always easy.

(This, btw, also applies to me once my gym opens again and my bjj tournaments are over)

Thanks for the reply Nighthawkz! Exactly what I needed!