Cdep89's Training Log - Growth in his 30s

Hey guys, been meaning to start one of these for a while now. This community seems great and it will be good for me to start checking myself when it comes to training rather than letting my ego get in the way and making all the usual mistakes.

A quick bit of background info about me. I’m 32, wasted most of my 20s drinking heavily. Severe digestion problems, severely underweight and just drifting through life. Eventually I’d had enough and before I mentally sank even lower I made a commitment to myself to aim higher. I first started off by doing all I could to put weight on. When I started my journey I was anywhere between 118-125lbs (@ 5ft 10). I’d always go through short-lived efforts to put weight on but nothing would stick. I learned all i could about calories, better foods and managed to get myself up to around 140lbs. It was at that point I joined the gym and started strength training. Varying amounts of consistencies over the past 5 years and of course the lockdowns causing a bunch of gyms closing but I can safely say I am fully consistent now and fully embedded into the space. I could not function without the gym now, it is part of me. I thrive to learn and progress as much as I can.

Although I have never properly tested maxes (they usually came after several heavy sets before), these are my best ever lifts:
105kg Bench Press
65kg OHP
205kg High bar trap-bar deadlift without straps (i hit a 175-180kg conventional 8 weeks before this before deciding it wasn’t worth it to continue conventional for me)

My squat number I can’t really say conclusively as I had a lot of problems down below and squats would flare it up. I got up to 140kg for 5 reps but 100% was not going anywhere near low enough so don’t think i should count it. I backed off to try and correct my form and started right at the beginning going super deep and built up to ~105kg for 3. I found going low made it easier to tolerate down below and contributed to my healing. I have since changed again to competition depth and hit 95kg for 5x5 just a few days ago.

I have bulked up to 204lbs and i’m just over a week into my first ever cut. (just hit 198lb). Right now my training plan is just doing close to the exact workout i did before i started my cut. This is so I can measure if I’m losing any strength or not.

Squat 5x5 @ 95kg
Bench 5x5@ 92.5kg
Cable rows 5x10 95kg
3x15 cable flies
Face-pulls 2x15-20, don’t think about the weight much just get them done
2x15-20 Tricep extensions
2x15-20 Tricep pulldowns

HB Trap Bar Deadlift 3x5 @ 165kg
OHP 4x4 @ 54kg
Lat pulldowns 5x10 70kg
2-3sets of 10-12 of lat raises or something rear delt-y
2x15 ezbar curls
2x15 cable rope hammer curls
40-50 reps on ab crunch machine

Squat 5x5 @ around 10-15kg less of what i did Monday
Bench 5x5 @ 10kg less of what I did Monday
Cable row 5x10 at 70kg-ish
Cable flies 3x15
Facepulls 2x10-15

Low-bar trap bar deadlift 3-4x5 @ 70% of what I did with high bar
OHP 5x5 @ 70-75%
Lat pulldowns 5x10 70kg
2x15 ezbar curls
2x15 cable rope hammer curls
2x15-20 Tricep extensions
2x15-20 Tricep pulldowns
Then maybe something quick for a part of my shoulders
3x Until my grip gives out of farmers carries. varying weights and distances.

So far I don’t think i’ve lost any strength on my cut except maybe a little on OHP.

I hope someone reads this and i look forward to posting here regularly.

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Overall I’d be vary of some elbow tendonitis flaring up from your triceps with this weekly routine as you are never not extending at the elbow. But if you’ve been doing it thus far maybe you’ll be good.

I’ve done the triceps rotating with biceps, both on Saturday thing for a long time now and my exercise choices, for the most part, are very similar to when I started - luckily it’s never been an issue but I’ll keep it in mind for if it ever does when the weights get heavier. The only problem I’ve ever had in a similar vein to that is slight bicep tendonitis whenever I switched lat pulldowns out for chin-ups but I learned from my mistakes. If I ever do chin-ups I do less bicep work that day.

What happened to this dude?

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It’s still going to happen as soon as I finish my cut (maybe 3 weeks away). I was just wary of dropping so far away from the volume and intensity I’m currently at whilst losing weight. I’m trying to keep that strength signal as high as possible. At the end then I can test my maxes and start 5/3/1. Is that not a good plan?

It’s not what I would do

I was under the impression I must keep up the intensity to maintain as much as I can whilst cutting? It goes against the stuff I’ve absorbed but I’m here to learn.

I’m happy to start 5/3/1 now (well, Monday) - I was just anxious about losing muscle during my first ever cut.

To recover from that volume and intensity you needed a certain amount of calories. Now that your calories are lower and what you fear is muscle loss you’ll want your training to be less catabolic which usually means dialing back on volume while keeping intensity high.

An AMRAP set at a submaximal weight is still high intensity.

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Intensity and volume are two different variables. I definitely up the intensity when my calories are low. My volume drops, because my calories are low.

But in that regard, how much muscle do you believe you can lose in 3 weeks?

Reading both of your replies, I get now is as perfect a time as any then. So I didn’t need to be doing so much volume on my cut as long as I kept the intensity high? For example i could have just been doing 1x5 of my 165kg TB deadlifts, or just a max set on my bench instead of the 5x5?

Damn guys, I really have been messing up then. I don’t know how much i could expect to lose in 3 weeks, being formerly skinny i just had the fear in me of losing any at all.

Decisions made out of fear tend to be poor ones. There are many warfighting doctrines and manuals explicitly built around the idea of creating fear in the enemy so that they make poor decisions that can be capitalized on. On a micro level, Mike Tyson was able to utilize fear to defeat many of his opponents before they even stepped in the ring.

All this to say: until you can overcome this fear, you will make poor decisions. These poor decisions will become a self-fulfilling prophecy, as instead of doing the things that will best set you up for success, you will instead do the things that best assuage your fear, which often are not very effective strategies for getting bigger and stronger.

Figure out an answer to how much muscle you can lose in 3 weeks. You will most likely find that it is measurable in terms of grams.

Gotcha. Thanks.

I intend to start Monday. The good thing is I somehow ended up structuring my training to where Friday and Saturday are quite low on the intensity (you can see in my original post). I think the big movements end up at around 5x5 @ 80%. I assume this could mean I won’t have to deload or anything and can jump straight into 5/3/1 on Monday? I don’t feel worn out or anything and maybe the lower weights in the first couple of cycles combined with the volume/intensity i’ve been working at - i’ll be okay to start without hesitation?

I’m thinking maybe 5/3//1 with 5x5 80% would be a good place for me to start? It wasn’t that long ago I was putting the BBB 5x10s into my own training at 70+% so I think I’ll be okay to start there?

Up until now i’ve always paired Squat with Bench and Deadlift with OHP, hopefully that won’t be a problem but maybe i should switch to Upper/Lower. I used to hate Squatting and deadlifting on the same day but i’m not sure if it’ll be so bad now that i enjoy the trap bar so much. Doing each lift on the same day doesn’t seem feasible as in the small gym I attend I can’t really be hogging the equipment for that long.

Gym buddy has to skip today due to kid being off school. I’m thinking I do the same, have a quick low volume/low intensity of all the main lifts tomorrow, and then hop on a new program based around 5/3/1 on Monday.

I can’t comment yes/no. But just to fuel your train of thought further here’s my initial reaction:

On the face of it, that appears to me as if you’d be cutting both intensity and volume. Depending on your rest period, if you can do 5x5 at a given weight then it is the final sets that are more intense as you’ve accumulated fatigue from the earlier sets.

You could always do a TM test week.

Fair enough. All my learning has been about bulking ever since i started so my knowledge on cutting is non-existent.

I considered a TM test week but I tested my maxes at Christmas before the gym was closing for 4 days. Since then I’ve just maintained that with the same workouts as I was doing leading up to it.

2 weeks down, started at 204-205lb, currently at 197-198lb. Pleased so far although i understand a lot may be due to water weight/less carbs etc.

I’m hitting it hard on the heavy sets and don’t think I’ve lost any strength as of yet. As I do the supplementals of the compounds on different days I am finding them super light at the moment. On OHP I felt like I could have done over double the reps. @ 65-70%. I think it just feels a bit strange as in the past I trained far too intensely on my medium/lighter days, often going to within 1 of failure… This should instill good habits for me in the future and allow me to be better equipped to be fully recovered for the heavier days.

Bad cold/terrible sore throat and no energy at all yesterday. Only managed about 1000 calories and 100g protein, probably not ideal after a heavy squat and bench session the day before.

Do feel like I’m improving rapidly today but my appetite is still low and of course, have to skip the gym today. Hopefully won’t have too many negative effects and will try my best to get at least the necessary protein in today!

First day back the gym later today. Feeling better just low on energy having barely moved since Wendesday! 4 full rest days. Not sure what to expect and probably hasn’t helped my cut out at all!

I continued to eat around 2000 calories a day. Close to my targeted deficit calories but mostly because it’s all I could manage.

Will be interesting to see if I’ve gotten much weaker. OHP and Deadlifts today. Just gonna aim for a top set of 5 on each.

I’m 8-10lbs down from where I started and that illness surely sped up the process (maybe i’ll find myself putting a quick pound or two back on now i’m recovered). I do feel a bit weaker though. I’ve kept the weight on the bar the same these past couple of weeks but i’ve climbed down from 5x5 to 3x5. I don’t how weak that means I’m getting but it’s steering me towards the right direction of lower intense sets that 5/3/1 and many other intermediate style programs ask for.