T Nation

Fat Loss Plan w/ 531


#1

Hey all,

So I am in my third week of my 2nd cycle of the 5/3/1 program and I am seeing much progress.
Now I have been putting on a little too much weight over the past 6 months and I’m just trying to lose it. Not get all ripped up but just lose the fat.

My goal is just to be big and strong, not all ripped up, that doesn’t matter to me.
I am wondering what everyone on here would think would be a good approach to losing fat while in the 5/3/1 program. My concern is that I won’t have enough energy to throw around heavy weight during the 3rd week of each program cycle.

Happy holidays everyone.


#2

You don’t have to ditch 5/3/1 on a fat loss protocol, but as I believe Jim himself has said in so many words before, don’t expect to chase two masters at once, i.e., fat loss and strength/size gains are essentially mutually exclusive goals, beginner gains aside.

I’ve found this protocol to work fine personally:

  1. Maintain quality conditioning as stipulated in the book. There is no room for slacking here, as this is an integral part of fat loss, among other benefits that don’t need more elaboration.
  2. Figure out what your daily maintenance calories are. You may need to get meticulous with tracking macros for awhile if you’re not getting results.
  3. Eat at maintenance on training days. Eat in a deficit of 250-500 calories on off days, depending on how fast of a rate of fat loss you’re looking to achieve (note: I do just fine with a 500 calorie deficit). I always keep protein constant at approximately 1 g/lb of body weight. Carbs are approximately 1g/lb of body weight only on training days, and 0.5 g/lb of body weight on off days. Fat is kept at 0.45 g/lb of body weight on training days, and 0.4 g/lb of body weight on off days.
  4. You should aim to consume 80%+ of your weekly calories from whole, minimally processed foods, e.g., fruits, veggies, oats, lentils, and unprocessed meats of your choosing (chicken, fish, beef, pork, etc.). There’s room for the occasional beer, cake at your kid’s birthday party, or lunch at McDonald’s with the rest of the work crew, no need to be a social cretin, but you should seek to ensure that those types of food choices are not dietary staples and that they fit within your daily macros.
  5. Pick a variation of 5/3/1 that offers some additional volume. Personally, I chose the 5/3/1 and Bodybuilding template, and added FSL work on the main lifts. I also supersetted the assistance exercises. I find it helps to keep heart rate elevated more during the workout, and the extra volume on the main sets MAY have an added fat loss benefit, though I agree with the contemporary consensus that fat loss is, generally speaking, most heavily influenced by the dietary component.

I never had any energy issues when training with 5/3/1, eating like this for fat loss, and you’ll lose 1-2 lbs/week. You can manipulate carb and fat numbers as you so desire if you prefer more or less carbs vs. more or less fat, but I’d keep protein intake high and be sure to keep your daily caloric intake within the targeted range.


#3

[quote]JR249 wrote:
You don’t have to ditch 5/3/1 on a fat loss protocol, but as I believe Jim himself has said in so many words before, don’t expect to chase two masters at once, i.e., fat loss and strength/size gains are essentially mutually exclusive goals, beginner gains aside.

I’ve found this protocol to work fine personally:

  1. Maintain quality conditioning as stipulated in the book. There is no room for slacking here, as this is an integral part of fat loss, among other benefits that don’t need more elaboration.
  2. Figure out what your daily maintenance calories are. You may need to get meticulous with tracking macros for awhile if you’re not getting results.
  3. Eat at maintenance on training days. Eat in a deficit of 250-500 calories on off days, depending on how fast of a rate of fat loss you’re looking to achieve (note: I do just fine with a 500 calorie deficit). I always keep protein constant at approximately 1 g/lb of body weight. Carbs are approximately 1g/lb of body weight only on training days, and 0.5 g/lb of body weight on off days. Fat is kept at 0.45 g/lb of body weight on training days, and 0.4 g/lb of body weight on off days.
  4. You should aim to consume 80%+ of your weekly calories from whole, minimally processed foods, e.g., fruits, veggies, oats, lentils, and unprocessed meats of your choosing (chicken, fish, beef, pork, etc.). There’s room for the occasional beer, cake at your kid’s birthday party, or lunch at McDonald’s with the rest of the work crew, no need to be a social cretin, but you should seek to ensure that those types of food choices are not dietary staples and that they fit within your daily macros.
  5. Pick a variation of 5/3/1 that offers some additional volume. Personally, I chose the 5/3/1 and Bodybuilding template, and added FSL work on the main lifts. I also supersetted the assistance exercises. I find it helps to keep heart rate elevated more during the workout, and the extra volume on the main sets MAY have an added fat loss benefit, though I agree with the contemporary consensus that fat loss is, generally speaking, most heavily influenced by the dietary component.

I never had any energy issues when training with 5/3/1, eating like this for fat loss, and you’ll lose 1-2 lbs/week. You can manipulate carb and fat numbers as you so desire if you prefer more or less carbs vs. more or less fat, but I’d keep protein intake high and be sure to keep your daily caloric intake within the targeted range.[/quote]

I’ve ‘lost weight’ (I’d like to think mostly fat, but probably not) running 531 and I agree with most of what you say, except maybe #5

Something I’ve picked up on this site, is that fat loss is ‘easier’ with lower volume. The idea being that additional volume generally means that you’re doing more work and this will be hungry. Since fat loss is mostly diet, cut the volume and you can consume less calories and not feel hungry all the time.

With 531 I did this by using a low TM (80-85%) and starting a new 5/3 cycle (weights are lighter). Hit your main lifts and maybe a couple FSL sets. The goal is to maintain strength. Now you can focus more on conditioning.

I liked doing the 2/2/2 program.

  • Lifted 2 days a week (SQ/Bench;DL/OHP - 531 (5pro) then maybe 3x5 FSL with some lat and abs as supplemental)
  • 2 days of conditioning. battle ropes, BB complexes, sprints, walking with heavy shit, etc).
  • 2 days mobility
  • lots of (vest) walking throughout the week.

But yeah, diet is going to be super-important here.


#4

I have a very simple approach to weightloss while training 5/3/1, which has worked well for me, and has allowed me to stay in good shape, and is also fairly simple.

Stage 1: cut out sugar and alcohol six days a week.

For me I only cut out sweets like chocolate cakes and deserts. I don’t find it necessary to worry about the sugar in bread and fruit, or other stuff like that. When I first started losing weight this was the only change I made, and the weight dropped like mad!

Stage 2: steady state cardio.

For me this was walking for 30 minutes, three times a week. I am very aware that this will be a controversial suggestion to anyone who trains 5/3/1 and believes in staying NOV. However I feel that this is a good way to add in more activity and burn more fat, while minimising the effects on your recovery.

Training

I personally choose to use boring but big for this protocol. I know that the template is not designed as a weight loss training program, but I decided to use it for two reasons. It is a lot of activity, and i enjoy using it!

One thing to remember when losing weight is that it is very unlikely that you will gain strength unless you are new to training, and i found that I lost strength to begin with. Mostly my amrap sets went down by 1 or 2 reps on all lifts except the press, which stayed the same for some reason.


#5

You need to establish some good habits.

Namely, eat a good variety of food (I split my plate into 3 - half protein, quarter vegetables, quarter potato/rice/pasta/etc, fat over the veggies)

Eat regularly (ie. 2, 3, 4, whatever times per day, just don’t skip meals)

Plan your food, you shouldn’t be thinking about what’s for lunch 5 minutes before

Don’t overdo alcohol regularly

Eat and appreciate your food instead of inhaling it in front of the tv/phone

Eat until you’re just about full.

Drink water

When you sort all that out, you’ll be fine. Folks tend to want more prescriptive stuff though (eat 2500kcals for example)


#6

You gotta give more info for real advice.
I have been doing 5-3-1 exclusively since 2008.
I am 47 so it is getting harder to lose fat

I have lost 20 pounds in the last 6 weeks - I have 7-8 more to go.

Here’s how I am doing it - two things:

  1. I condition my ass off. I am fortunate enough to have an 80 lb vest, a sled, and a steep ass hill near my house. My gym also has prowlers. I do a day every week in the “spirit” of Jim’s “viking day” where I do it all back 2 back 2 back. It is brutal.
    I say “spirit” because I condition 3-4 other days a week too - I rotate these days and only do 1 kind.

  2. Here’s the thing - 3-4 weeks ago I started getting worn down so I dropped ALL assistance except for some variation of FSL and ab/low back. That has allowed me to keep conditioning. I have set PRs since I dropped assistance. I imagine I will have to drop FSL too as the prowler and sled get significantly heavier - which they are doing. That, I believe, is what he means by not "serving two masters. But my 5-3-1 sets are going great.

  3. For my diet - I throw a ton of green shit (romaine, spinach, avocado, cucumber, boiled egg etc.) onto a cutting board and chop it real small. Then I add meat, (like flank, scallops, etc.) and eat it. It does not need shit dressing because the avocado and water let off and blood from the meat from the chopping make it soggy and good. I eat ridiculous amounts of this shit - and I feel great. No other b.s.
    Once in a while I treat myself to pizza, but that is it.

Now, I had a lot of weight to lose - that is why I say you must give more info to get specific help - or do a search on this site.

Jim I believe has written stuff on eating and 5-3-1.


#7

[quote]Rave2.0 wrote:
2. For my diet - I throw a ton of green shit (romaine, spinach, avocado, cucumber, boiled egg etc.) onto a cutting board and chop it real small. Then I add meat, (like flank, scallops, etc.) and eat it. It does not need shit dressing because the avocado and water let off and blood from the meat from the chopping make it soggy and good. I eat ridiculous amounts of this shit - and I feel great.

[/quote]

How do you cook this… thing? You do cook it right? :stuck_out_tongue:


#8

Just a “chopped” salad - google it. I cook the eggs (boiled) the flank steak (seared in a pan or broiled) and the scallops (in a pan) But the the rest of it I just dump it out on a cutting board and start chopping. And after I have cooked the protein I throw that in to. It is just a great big mash of stuff that tastes unbelievable and not even like salad really.

You can throw any meat you want in with it really. Chicken breast, ground beef, whatever. But the key is to chop it all up real small. That’s what gets he juices of everything out and they become like a salad dressing - so you do not need the shit dressing. This is especially true if you throw a couple of ripe avocados in. They get all mushy - awesome man