T Nation

Fat Loss First?


#1

Hi,

I’m a 31 year old opera singer looking to transform my body. I recently ran my first (and probably only, due to ankle injury) marathon, and want something different. I’m reading Starting Strength, and the program appeals to me. I had read somewhere though that beginners on that program may experience more weight gain than fat loss, if the guy was “skinny fat” to start with (edited, sorry about the link before).

If my main goal is recomposition, should I focus on getting lean first via diet and bodyweight exercises, then hit the gym? Any help would be appreciated.

I’m 6’2", 205 lb, body fat probably 20%+ (I’ll have to dig up a tape measure to get an accurate number there, I don’t trust my scale’s built-in estimate).


#2

I’m not sure how well SS is going to serve you if you’re 30+ and looking to drop weight.


#3

I don’t know what numbers you’re lifting, but I’d guess as a beginner that you’ll be able to lose weight and get noticeably stronger at the same time. I certainly did when I started.


#4

Well, that’s the question I’m asking: is there a benefit to focusing on fat loss first, or should I start up SS with the hopes that, as a beginner, I’ll lose fat and gain muscle at the same time.

Note: I’m open to “Shut up and get in the gym already” being an answer.


#5

Starting Strength
weight gain is primarily diet
get in gym
best program is the one you follow with effort and consistancy
get diet in check
adjust as neccessary
this is a long term process
dont quit
learn as you go


#6

[quote]tsantos wrote:
I’m not sure how well SS is going to serve you if you’re 30+ and looking to drop weight.[/quote]
I think the program itself is fairly unimportant at this point as long as you don’t try something crazy like Smolov. Get in the gym, move some weights, then get out and focus on your diet, because that will be the key here. Diet is king in physique goals. I find that more and more true as I age.


#7

I guess I’d have to ask why you think lifting weights and losing body fat are mutually exclusive. My advice would be to “hit the gym” while focusing on improving your diet. Yes, you should probably lose weight. But that does not mean only doing bodyweight exercises. Out of curiosity, where did that idea come from?

So to answer your main question: you should lift weights, do some cardio, eat really well, and lose some (or a lot of) fat.

As for Starting Strength, I don’t feel like that is an ideal program for you given your goals and starting point. I’m always shocked that people on forums seem to forget who the program was written for: underweight high school athletes looking to quickly add mass and strength while continuing to do hours of cardiovascular work (i.e. practices) each week. While it probably has applications outside of that population, I tend to think that the less similar to that “avatar” you are, the less likely you are to be successful on the program.

All that said, if Starting Strength is what really gets you excited to hit the gym, then so be it. There are certainly worse options out there. I’d look around on this site and pick ANY program that gets you excited, and follow it exactly as written for the next 3 months. If that program happens to be Starting Strength, then so be it.


#8

[quote]TrevorLPT wrote:
I guess I’d have to ask why you think lifting weights and losing body fat are mutually exclusive. My advice would be to “hit the gym” while focusing on improving your diet. Yes, you should probably lose weight. But that does not mean only doing bodyweight exercises. Out of curiosity, where did that idea come from?

So to answer your main question: you should lift weights, do some cardio, eat really well, and lose some (or a lot of) fat.

As for Starting Strength, I don’t feel like that is an ideal program for you given your goals and starting point. I’m always shocked that people on forums seem to forget who the program was written for: underweight high school athletes looking to quickly add mass and strength while continuing to do hours of cardiovascular work (i.e. practices) each week. While it probably has applications outside of that population, I tend to think that the less similar to that “avatar” you are, the less likely you are to be successful on the program.

All that said, if Starting Strength is what really gets you excited to hit the gym, then so be it. There are certainly worse options out there. I’d look around on this site and pick ANY program that gets you excited, and follow it exactly as written for the next 3 months. If that program happens to be Starting Strength, then so be it. [/quote]

Starting Strength was recommended to me by a friend who was in a similar situation: beginner lifter, background mostly in cardio, who used that program to put on a lot of muscle and dropped weight. So I got the book, started reading, noticed that Rip scoffs at the notion of dropping weight while getting stronger. Did a little digging online, and found a blog by a guy who said that “skinny-fat” guys shouldn’t do SS as a beginner, as it would make them gain a lot of weight in the beginning, and that you should focus on getting lean first if you were mostly working out for vanity’s sake (I’m doing this so I could go shirtless onstage, not start setting powerlifting PRs).

The blog I found that notion on (I linked to it in my original post, inadvertently breaking a forum rule, my bad) recommended going lean and focusing on bodyweight exercises before starting on a program like SS. While I am, in fact, doing this for vanity’s sake, I want to become stronger in a healthy and balanced way, so the practical nature of SS appeals to me. However, I am a complete noob at lifting, so the appeal of SS may just be that it’s the first program I’ve seriously looked into. I’m totally open to suggestion as to other programs that may get me to my goals faster. I’m not looking for shortcuts, just the most efficient means to my ends.


#9

Like I said, its not like Starting Strength “won’t work” for you. You’ll learn how to squat, bench press, and deadlift, add some weight to those lifts, and – most importantly – get in the habit of lifting weights 3 days per week every week. If I were in your shoes, I’d pick something with more volume and a greater number of movements, but thats just me.

Being able to perform basic bodyweight movements well is a skill and something that I think all people should be able to do. However, there is nothing unique about bodyweight movements that make them better for losing weight than other forms of resistance training.

To reiterate: pick a program, do some cardio, form good eating habits, and get to the gym.


#10

[quote]TrevorLPT wrote:
I guess I’d have to ask why you think lifting weights and losing body fat are mutually exclusive. My advice would be to “hit the gym” while focusing on improving your diet. Yes, you should probably lose weight. But that does not mean only doing bodyweight exercises. Out of curiosity, where did that idea come from?

So to answer your main question: you should lift weights, do some cardio, eat really well, and lose some (or a lot of) fat.

As for Starting Strength, I don’t feel like that is an ideal program for you given your goals and starting point. I’m always shocked that people on forums seem to forget who the program was written for: underweight high school athletes looking to quickly add mass and strength while continuing to do hours of cardiovascular work (i.e. practices) each week. While it probably has applications outside of that population, I tend to think that the less similar to that “avatar” you are, the less likely you are to be successful on the program.

All that said, if Starting Strength is what really gets you excited to hit the gym, then so be it. There are certainly worse options out there. I’d look around on this site and pick ANY program that gets you excited, and follow it exactly as written for the next 3 months. If that program happens to be Starting Strength, then so be it. [/quote]

you’re fast becoming one of my mostest favouritests


#11

[quote]TrevorLPT wrote:
Like I said, its not like Starting Strength “won’t work” for you. You’ll learn how to squat, bench press, and deadlift, add some weight to those lifts, and – most importantly – get in the habit of lifting weights 3 days per week every week. If I were in your shoes, I’d pick something with more volume and a greater number of movements, but thats just me.

Being able to perform basic bodyweight movements well is a skill and something that I think all people should be able to do. However, there is nothing unique about bodyweight movements that make them better for losing weight than other forms of resistance training.

To reiterate: pick a program, do some cardio, form good eating habits, and get to the gym. [/quote]

I agree with this. A simple improvement the OP can make is to add lat pulldowns on press day and some variation of rows on bench press day. These can be done for volume with focus on control, muscle contraction and pump without being very taxing.


#12

A full body template with more volume will lean you out faster/better for ‘recomp’…