T Nation

Becoming Strong and Lean

Hey guys I am a 30 year old who has been an on/off lifter for far too long. Two Decembers ago I started to do crossfit and cut a decent amount of fat and got stronger. Recently I rejoined a more traditional gym and have been doing the Starting Strength program and left crossfit behind. I still have a few questions regarding the program. Here are some stats and goals to help put things into perspective. I am 5"9 200lbs and don’t know what my bf% is but high enough I am still flabby in areas (abdomen, tits. love handles). I haven’t done my 1RM in awhile so these are my 3x5 numbers from SS

Back squat - 245
Bench Press - 170
Deadlift - 255 (this could be higher easily as my max was 355 a few months ago)
Strict Press - 115
Pull ups - 10 strict unbroken
BB Bent over Row - 125 (without breaking form)

So goals are to eventually be really strong and be relatively lean. I’ve always been overweight and it would seem that I’m good at it. I have been increasing my numbers by 5lbs each workout and have only stalled on the strict press and the bench press.

How do I get these lifts lifts to bump up? I tried the chocolate milk thing to help put on some size but I was just starting to get fat. Is this program right for me given my age and not being a total beginner? I have also been doings 20mins at an inline of 12 and a walking pace of 3km/hr to finish my workouts. I have weak hip flexors and partially tore my groin last year and my hips haven’t returned to full strength yet (just as additional info)

If this isn’t the right program for me could someone suggest one that they have been successful with. Thanks guys, appreciate the input.

Are your presses completely stalled or are they just going up slower? How long have you been doing Starting Strength?

Presses were increasing 5lbs per workout until I hit 120lbs then I wasn’t able to complete the 5 reps. I was only able to bang out 3s. Been doing SS for about a month.

How much has your body weight increased? You may just need to be eating more. I wouldn’t drink chocolate milk. Bulking doesn’t require you to eat garbage, just additional calories so that you can grow.

If everything else is going up I wouldn’t really worry much about it. OHP and Bench will increase slower than D/L and squat.

I spiked about 15lbs over a 3 week trial of milk and bigger meals then freaked a bit and realized it wasn’t for me and went back to a more paleo approach. I should focus on one goal instead of both and it should probably be to get lean first. In that case should I consider switching programs?

It sounds like you over ate. Realistically, you’re going to put on at most 2-3 pounds of muscle per month. Ideally, you’ll want to only be putting on 1 pound of fat per muslce or less. I’d be shooting for a gain of 3-5 lbs/month at most.

If you want to lean out first, do that. Your lifts probably won’t go up, but you need to lift heavy to maintain them. I’ve dropped from 240 to 220 and have managed to maintain within at least 95% of all my 1 rep maxes at 240 by lifting heaving throughout the cut.

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I will continue the course of action and see how everything plays out. I really enjoy doing compound lifts and take my time to do proper warm up sets and felt like I was progressing, but the fat gain was too much, like you said I probably just overate thinking that was the way to bulk up. More clean calories from here on out and I am thinking of taking Miyaki’s approach to calories/in out on 2 big meals/day and see how it goes.

[quote]Tyler123 wrote:
Is this program right for me given my age and not being a total beginner?[/quote]

I’m 35. I recently finished 3 months of SS and rode it to a 375 squat, 200 bench, 355 deadlift and 145 press. I started at 197lbs, peaked at 209 and finished at 204lbs. I drank around a half gallon of whole milk a day and my calorie count averaged around 4500/day.

My squat and deadlift never stalled but my bench and press went up and down like a roller-coaster. Deloads are part of the process. Learn to love them.

I’d suggest doing the program until you reach your goals and then worry about your bodyweight. IMO, weight training will increase muscle mass and improve your metabolism, which will assist you when you do decide to cut. Additionally, Starting Strength is designed around a large caloric surplus. It’s designed to increase strength fast, but it requires you to maximize your recovery through adequate food and rest.

I’d suggest that if the scale scares you that you stop weighing yourself and start using your mirror. Starting Strength is a pretty intense program. It causes a lot of damage to the muscles which is what causes them to grow stronger. You’re going to suffer from swelling and you’re going to retain water. You could weigh yourself one day and be up 5 lbs and feeling bloated, then a week later you’ll piss like a race horse and come back down.

[quote]some_dude wrote:

I’m 35. I recently finished 3 months of SS and rode it to a 375 squat, 200 bench, 355 deadlift and 145 press. I started at 197lbs, peaked at 209 and finished at 204lbs. I drank around a half gallon of whole milk a day and my calorie count averaged around 4500/day.
[/quote]

That’s pretty good. I’m a few years younger and quite a bit heavier, and I only got it up to 305 squat, 195 bench, 160 OHP for my working sets. Granted, I never gained any weight the entire time, I really wanted 315 on the squat!

As far as the getting leaner bit goes;
you are drinking way, way, way too much milk.
Milk makes you fat.

Getting leaner is all about good nutrition.

As far as your program goes I hope you are training arms and calfs. If you aren’t you will regret it.

Only reason to isolate arms or calves is for aesthetics.