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Am I Eating Enough?

Hello all, first I’d like to say thanks to everyone on here. I’ve been reading through the post for a while now and the information is very helpful. Secondly thanks for taking the time to read this post. I apologize for such a long winded post.

A little background on me:

I’m 36 years old. I started my fitness journey last fall and have come a long way since. I went from approx 375lbs a year ago to 277lbs today. Last November I decided to start strength training in the hopes of doing a few Strongman shows which has always been something I wanted to do. I had no levels of strength at the time and 135lb bench for 8 reps was very difficult. Today my accomplished lifts are:

Squat: 320lbs x 3
Bench: 225lbs x 3
OHP (strict): 170lbs x1
Deadlift: 405lbs x 3

During the entire time i have been strength training I have been in a caloric deficit. Currently I am eating 2100 calories a day. My macros are:

Carbs: 131g
Protein: 210g
Fat: 82g

The formula I used to calculate my BMR was 9.99 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 4.99 x age (years) + 5. I then multiplied that by a factor of 1.2 to get my daily caloric needs. If my math is correct this puts me at 2668.26 total calories. I have then reduced this by 500 calories a day getting to me to 2100 calories a day.

My program is is currently 531 where I bench on monday, squat tuesday, OHP on thursday and deadlift friday. Also either saturday or sunday depending on when I am free I do a few hours of strongman training. (Log press, stones, circus dumbell, etc.). I also do cardio every day. 20 minutes on a treadmill with the largest incline.

Lately I have been failing at my lifts. Some of these lifts I have hit before. One example is a my bench from this monday. I was supposed to hit 215lbs x 5 but was only able to press it twice. On 5/15 I did the same weight for 5 reps. I have had this with other weights and other lifts except squats. Squats seem to be progressing nicely.

I decided that I wanted to go back to Stronglifts 5x5 or madcow and drop some weight and progress slowly instead of focusing on PRs the way I have been lately.

My current goals are to continue to gain strength but I do not want to gain any more weight which is why i restrict my calories. does my daily caloric intake make sense? I just want to make sure I am fueling my workouts properly so I can maximize strength gains.

Are you doing the deloads as prescribed?

Missing lifts could be sleep, stress or any number of things. 2100 seems super low for a guy at 277. I’m hitting 2000 to cut at 220.

What is your goal weight?

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First, congrats, you’ve made some really great progress.

Second, I would not go back to StrongLifts or Madcow. I do not believe that will be more productive than sticking with 5/3/1, and I don’t see how SL’s linear progression will be easier to sustain than 5/3/1. I might consider Texas Method (similar-ish to Madcow), but I don’t think that is an essential change.

One thing that I’ll point out is this: although you can get stronger and lose weight at the same time, it’s hard. Really hard. As you shed fat, your leverages change (especially on the bench press, somewhat on the squat; the deadlift is probably the least affected) and you just don’t have as much sheer mass as you did before.

My advice is basically “trust the process” and “accept that you may not be able to progress as quickly as you did as a noob.” Some days you will miss lifts. A few weeks after I deadlifted 500 for the first time, I missed a pull at 475. I worried briefly, but it wasn’t some crisis or issue with programming; I just had an off day, waited to rest and recover a little bit…and nailed 505 a few weeks after that. I’m at 550 now. At a certain point your progress is no longer linear.

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@Basement_Gainz My goal weight is 180lbs. :laughing: In all seriousness. I don’t really have a goal weight. I just don’t want to gain weight. Ideally id like to be between 255lbs and 265lbs and strong. I get between 6-7 hours of sleep each night but its not constant sleep. I am up periodically throught he night always have been. I will typically train at 5am. Up at 4:15 am get ready, eat a banana and some peanut butter and off to the gym. You sound like my wife lol. She is constantly telling me that I am not eating enough to which I reply thats what the math works out to I suppose my formula may be wrong. I just want to ensure that I do not get fat again.

I guess I am going to have to up my food just have to find that balance

@ActivitiesGuy I know my goals are somewhat conflicting. Just don’t want to go back to being fat.

As far as the program, I like 5/3/1 just wasn’t sure since i am still considered a beginner (this is solely based off an extremely scientific site I found :laughing: ) I may benefit more progressing weekly as opposed to monthly.

Great work so far by the way. You are 277lbs and your sleep sucks. If I had to make an internet guess I’d say that you have sleep apnea. Get that corrected any way possible. That shit can kill you.

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Oh, I totally understand. I just meant that if you’re trying to gain strength while losing fat, you may occasionally miss a lift or progress a bit slower than you might hope. Some days you might miss a bench that you hit a few weeks before. That’s OK. Look at the long-term trend line, don’t overreact to a single workout.


That’s exactly why I think you should stick with 5/3/1 rather than going back to a weekly LP. You’re strong enough now, and you’ve lost a lot of weight, that it will be really hard to just add 5-10 pounds every single week and do it again. That’s why 5/3/1 progression is a good way to go right now.


My thoughts were to reduce the weight and start the 5x5. I found the rep scheme for Madcow interesting. I started out doing 5x5 and honestly I probably could’ve stayed on longer. I never had to deload before switching to 5/3/1. projecting the different programs out even though its not that simple it seems like a weekly progression may be doable for the next 12 weeks if I start out lighter and progress back up. Mad cow has you matching your current PRs in 4 weeks and progressing from there increasing your 5 rep max weekly. Just don’t want to leave any strength gains on the table.

Stick with 5/3/1 and reset your TMs. I’d go

Squat 300 lbs
Bench 200 lbs
OHP 150 lbs
DL 350 lbs

Try 5s pro with FSL.

That’s very low for a guy your size. Try

Protein 275 g (1100 cal)
Carbs 275 g (1100 cal)
Fat 85 g (765 cal)

That’s 2965 cal/day, while your lowest estimated maintenance by bodyweight is 3800 cal/day. You won’t get fat again.

Great work so far.

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Stick with 5/3/1 and reset your TMs. I’d go

Squat 300 lbs
Bench 200 lbs
OHP 150 lbs
DL 350 lbs

Try 5s pro with FSL.

What is 5s pro with DSL?

@MarkKO how did you come up with 3800 calories for maintenance? Just p it of curiosity. Even when I enter the data into a calculator like iifym tdee I get 3000. I have a sedentary job, sit behind a desk most of the day except for a walk I take each day. That’s why I make sure to be in the gym each morning

Easy: bodyweight in lbs multiplied by 14. Maintenance is usually somewhere between bodyweight in lbs times 14 and 17. The whole tdee thing I’m very sceptical of.

Out of interest what do you do on your non-5/3/1 days in the gym?

5s pro with FSL is s 5/3/1 template. Instead of having a fives, threes and 5/3/1 week with plus sets you just do sets of five every week - but the percentages are the usual 5/3/1 percentages. FSL stands for First Set Last. After your 5/3/1 sets you do three to five sets of five to eight reps with the weight of your first work set.

I usually train Monday Tuesday Thursday Friday 5/3/1. In between that I walk on the treadmill for 20 min 3.5mph at 13-18% incline depending on how I feel that day. Yay keep it at 18%. I also train for strongman either Saturday or Sunday depending on my schedule.

I guess I’m going to have to get beyond 5/3/1 and check that out

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are you ever taking diet breaks? I don’t mean when you slip up, I mean breaks that you actually plan that last a while?

I haven’t taken a break. I’ve been at a deficit since September. I’m going to up my calories for a few weeks and see how it goes

2 weeks eating at maintenance and reassess

I agree. I eat 2100 (most days) on a cut and I’m 170.

That’s a low number for a guy well over 200 pounds.