Appropriateness of 5x5 protocol

For the last two years I ate myself out of a psychological abyss and into a round, fat abdomen region. Currently, I am 6’1", 291 lbs., and 22.4% bodyfat; while my bodyfat hovers embarassingly high, my rather wide shoulders (60 suit coat) and linebacker frame (19.5" neck) cloaked my disgusting belly until recently (approximately the last two months.) The only region I store fat predominately is my stomach and obliques but it is finally creeping into my thighs, chest, and upper back. I discovered T-mag 9 months ago and drastically increased the effectiveness of my resistance training routines but have yet to discipline myself with respect to soda and pizza; but now, I have devised a dietary and training plan to reverse my mistakes:

Diet: 3200 Kcal; 30% fat; 20% cho; 50% protein. I will eat predominately JMB recommendations with the exception of the occasional apple for lunch (I train late at night.) Prior personal empirical knowledge indicates that I function well on moderate carbs/moderate fat/high protein. If I need more carbs because of anaerobic intervals, I can always increase it slightly. I digest protein very well (in fact, if I put any weight on, then I always add some lbm no matter how poor I have been eating.) Two days a week I will use 20g BCAA/20g Glutamine post-workout and the other two I will use Surge. I plan on using md6. My food sources will consist of flax oil, fish oil, low-glycemic fruits, vegetables, lean red meat (my favorite), chicken, fish, occasional eggs, whey, and cottage cheese. Comments?

Training: Joel Marion: I know you advise meltdown routines for people as fat as me, but I tried meltdown 1 and it did nothing but make me weaker. In fact, I grow from neural/hypertrophy (3-6 reps range) training the best. I felt horrible on meltdown and ended up using 25% of 1RM for sets because I fatigued too quickly. Therefore, would you suggest 5x5 for me considering my past inadequacies with meltdown? If I undergoe 5x5 training, I plan on using Jason Norcross'5x5 version of 4 days/2 exercises per day/approximately 10-15 sets instead since I respond much better to long rest periods (~3-4 minutes) and fewer sets (10-15 total sets). Any suggestions?

With respect to cardio training, I plan on following JMB's winning formula prescriptions but with a gradual increase of the times from 20 minutes to 30 minutes. I have arthritis in my knees (it sucks at 22 years old) so I plan on cycling for anaerobic intervals and using the ellipitical for aerobic sessions. The 3rd day of HIIT may be exchanged for 10-15 sets of 15 seconds of tractor tire flipping. Comments and/or suggestions?

Lastly, are there any other UW Badgers roaming the T-Mag forum? Or any other Big Ten students? If so, let me know.

Thanks to any one who supplies any feedback
-Michael Schroeder


Absolutely go with the 5x5. Some people do well on Meltdown, and >12% would be the time to utilize such a program. If, however, lactic acid/growth hormone training regimens leave you feeling fatigued and overtrained, then even at high levels of bodyfat, the program is not for you.

The only thing I would add is I worked out for four months without losing a pound. Although I kept a strict food diary I was just consuming too many calories. I was using John Berardi’s “Appetite For Construction” recommendations and they were way too high for me. The following are Joel Marions recommendations using LBM as a basis for caloric consumption and this formula is changing my physique!

Protein: 1.35 x 141(lbm) = 190 grams X 4 = 760 CALORIES = 44%

Carbs: 1 x 141(lbm) = 141 grams X 4 = 564 CALORIES = 33%

Fat: .3 x 141(lbm) = 42 grams X 9 = 378 CALORIES = 23%

Good Luck, KraigY

Joel Marion,
Thanks for the response and congratulations on your article. I hope it is the beginning of further articles from you.

-Michael Schroeder

No problem Mike! If you ever have a question, feel free to contact me either here or via the email address at the end of the article.

Send some feedback to T-mag and let them know you liked the article!


Kraig Y,
Thanks for the feedback-I lower the Kcals to approximately 2700-2800 if I fail to experience a reduction in bodyfat.
-Michael Schroeder