I've been doing Ripptoes program for the past 2-3 months and have made some pretty good strength gains. Right now I'm 27 years old, 6'4 weigh 220 lbs. So far the most Ive done is benching 225 , Military press 155, squatting 290, and deadlifting 335. My numbers are still going up consistently for squats and deadlifts, and a little slower for the bench and military.
I've gained some muscle and some fat, went from weighing 187 to 220 in a year of off and on training, but I've been consistent lately. The main issue is that I have a huge pot belly and about 25% body fat, and my muscles arent as big as I'd like them to look yet. I know Ripptoes is a strength building program and I've been satisfied so far with the strength gains, but I ultimately want an amazing looking body while also increasing strength and better performance on the basketball court.
What would you recommend I do in the next few months. I'm thinking about sticking to Ripptoes until I stall on the squats and deadlifts, then going on a different routine, but not sure what to do yet. I need to lose this pot belly and get better looking muscles.
I'm in about the exact same position as you and my numbers are almost identical. I'm 5"11, 34, did starting strength. If you want to go a pure strength route, Madcow or the Texas Method is probably your best bet. If you'd rather focus more on size I'd go for a classic body-part split. I personally experience 1x per week per body part at far too infrequent - I'm doing a push day Sun and Wed and a pull day Mon and Thurs and it's working well. I think you'd be crazy to drop starting strength as long as your numbers are going up, and you may consider putting in a full year on strength just to get stupid strong before switching over to a bb cycle. I mean really think about the trajectory you're on - how badass would it be to pull 500, squat 400, bench 300 and press 200 - all of which are realistically doable for you in 12-24 months? Then again, you won't get as big as you could going for pure strength.
I think it's a fantasy to think you're really going to lose the gut without some serious cardio. The general consensus and my personal experience as a fat dude currently losing weight (down from 33% to 25% in 6 months so far) is that steady state low intensity - meaning a 1 hour brisk walk 3-4 times per week is the ticket. High intensity stuff may cut weight faster, but part of that cut will be muscle mass.
I am in my second year of training and I use a 6-7 month cycle of training routines (beginning my 3rd cycle in Jan 2012), first 3 months I will do a basic strength program, than the second 3-4 months I do a bodybuilding split. I came back stronger on my 2nd strength program after the bodybuilding split, so I can't say it doesn't work. Both forms of training I use progression with heavier weights etc.
I think you should get your self on a bodybuilding split and take advantage of your strength gains to maximize your muscle growth. Unless you compete in power lifting, than I would stay on a strength program.
Lets face it, unless you compete, you strength train so you can move more weight when bodybuilding, so if you are getting a bit out of shape (fat stomach for instance), I think its time you use those strength gains to add some mass, than you could go back to strength focused training after you get a better body composition in 3-4 months. I do this because I started very weak, and although I'm much stronger than I was, I have a long way to go before I can hold my own against those I think are strong, for instance my max squat is only 125kg (275 pounds) so I have a long way to go.
Its only my 2 cents, but don't let yourself get out of shape to much as its to hard to get back in shape.
I agree with you about steady state, I think its the best for just fat loss (and walking in particular), but HIIT training won't make you loose muscle if their is sufficient load/resistance. I'm thinking prowler/heavy sled pulls etc, for short intervals or burpees. Its also good for GPP in the weight room.