Gained Strength, Size and Fat Too

I have put on some serious muscle and increases in my 1RM doing high volume training since early/mid February and now my gains are finally plateauing. At the same time, I went from about 220lbs to about 240-250 at 5’9". I would like to compete at some point in time (next year hopefully, not quite strong enough yet) and I would seriously need to drop at least 1 weight class to stand a chance haha.

The good news is that I had blood work done recently and everything came back ok. The bad news is that I take a medication, Seroquel, at low doses for sleep and one of its most complained about side effects is an increase in appetite (and thus weight). I don’t know if it is affecting me, but I do know that I love to eat :slight_smile:

I have improved my diet slightly, but I still think it needs work. I started eating breakfast (which I eat after I exercise and therefore doubles as my post workout) and noticed a decrease in my appetite overall. Generally, for breakfast I eat: 4 eggs, a potato and a sausage patty or 2, with Snapple. This is usually consumed around 8am. For dinner, I just eat whatever, usually a big burger or sandwich. I have a really bad habit of not eating before I workout, though.

Because I am plateauing on my high volume work I need to do something else (lower volume higher intensity). I was also thinking of supplementing my strength training with some cardio. The cardio would be weighted carries based since everything else is boring for me lol.

This is what I was thinking:
Mornings:
3 Day Split with low volume, high intensity
(3 warm up sets then work up to 5x5 at 90% current 1RM)

Afternoons:
(not sure how many day splits)
Farmers Runs (not sure what they are really called, but I basically pick up a 45lb plate in each hand and run with it for a fixed metric)

I really want to do the cardio outside since I am stuck in an office all day with some of the most boring people in the world. I swear to god almost everyone acts like they have just been neutered.

This is probably a common concern - I really, really dont want to back track all the progress I have made. I have estimated that I need to lose 30 lbs, so the strength vs weight loss goals are clearly at contention with each other.

As an aside:
I have in the past counted calories and done very well (was 185 at my smallest, which looking at old pictures of me I was kinda weak looking), but now for some reason whenever I start doing it now I get very anxious and end up abandoning the pursuit. I keep having these shitty false starts because of this, so if anyone can direct me towards a different strategy that would be great.

I’ve cut a lot of weight (50+ lbs) using different methods, more than once, so I do know some of what I’m talking about.

So, your goal is 30 lbs with no strength loss. To minimize muscle loss, you’re looking at about 30 weeks of weightloss… or 7-8 months. You can go faster, but even at 2 lbs/week, which you will likely backtrack some, you’re looking at about 4 months of your cut, minimum. I’m telling you this so you are prepared for what lies ahead.

If you haven’t baselined at this higher weight yet, you can probably err on the faster side. However, your body will also lose some of the gains, so you’ll have to be prepared for that.

Aside from that… nutrition will be everything. Since you’ve had luck with counting in the past, I would do that first. You don’t need to adjust anything, just start counting for a week or so to get an idea of where you’re at. Next, I’d just clean up the diet; once again, no need to cut anything, just eat cleaner. I think just eating cleaner will knock off 5 lbs with no loss of strength or hunger. Then, depending on where your macros are at, cut carbs 10-20g every time you stall. I wouldn’t add any cardio for a month or more, and even then, bare minimum (20 min, 1x/week)… adding only as you stall.

Just my input.

[quote]Aero51 wrote:
I have put on some serious muscle and increases in my 1RM doing high volume training since early/mid February and now my gains are finally plateauing. At the same time, I went from about 220lbs to about 240-250 at 5’9". I would like to compete at some point in time (next year hopefully, not quite strong enough yet) and I would seriously need to drop at least 1 weight class to stand a chance haha.
[/quote]

I can’t speak to the diet, but really, if your goal is to compete, don’t wait until you are “strong enough”. You will never be strong enough, and this is honestly the mentality typically seen with people that want to cherry pick competitions because they can’t handle not winning their first time out.

Start competing now so you can get some competition experience. It’s going to be even more disappointing when you finally are strong enough and you end up getting red lighted because you jumped the judges “rack” command due to first meet jitters, versus getting all that out of the way while you are just breaking yourself in and not concerned with winning.

Unless you plan on setting records, don’t sweat weight classes. Compete for you.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
I can’t speak to the diet, but really, if your goal is to compete, don’t wait until you are “strong enough”.[/quote]
x2. Someone once asked Dave Tate what numbers they should hit before they enter their first meet. His answer, “45 pound squat, 45 pound bench, 45 pound deadlift.”

[quote]Aero51 wrote:
I went from about 220lbs to about 240-250

I have estimated that I need to lose 30 lbs[/quote]
First of all, gaining 20-30 pounds in four months is a metric shit-ton, especially for someone your height and weight. Not sure of your starting bodyfat, but I’m guessing it wasn’t all too low, abs showing and whatnot.

Secondly, from a fat loss/muscle building point of view, these last four months were pretty much a waste of time, since you seem to need to drop everything that you’ve gained. That’s the impression I’m getting. You had a thread about six weeks ago talking about wanting to drop some fat. How’s that going so far?

Farmer’s walks, not runs. And generally it’s done with a fairly heavy weight. If you’re just using a 45-plate in each hand, I’d use a set time or distance and, each session, go farther in the same time or cover the same distance in less time.

100 Gram Carb Cure:

Instead of counting calories, pretty much all you need to do is monitor total daily carbs.

Green Faces Diet:
http://www.T-Nation.com/testosterone-magazine-635#green-faces-diet
No counting, just eat meat and green veg.

This is 28 day step-by-step plan. Some tracking’s involved, but it’s gradual and builds day to day:

Or, like 1 Man said, you know that when you do track things, it works for you. Staying focused on your priority should alleviate some of the anxiety, since you’re doing it for a purpose, so consider getting back to work tracking your meals. As was said, after a while, you should be able to reasonably eyeball things and maintain progress.

Your proposed training 90% for 5 sets of 5 no way… If your using 90% for 5 sets of 5 then your max is higher than you believe. Seriously say your max is 300 pounds on the bench press no way in hell your taking 270 for 5x5 just saying.

How strong did you get in between that 20-30lb gain and 4ish months?

I really hate saying this because I know my diet isn’t anything to brag about, but the weight gain did start when I began taking Seroquel (February). Just Google “Seroquel weight gain” and you will see some horror stories.

As far as strength gains go since Feb:
I went from squatting 275lb squatting at bench (how high is a standard exercise bench?) depth to over 315lb (don’t know my true max for safety reasons) with a 12" box

Before my bench press max was around 215lb. The last max effort-type bench press I did 8 sets at 205lbs with a 1:30 seconds between sets.

I dont remember my OH press max before I started my program, but last week I put up 135 5 times without much trouble. My shoulders by far progressed the least. Today I single arm OH pressed with a short, but slightly thicker barbell about 75lbs.

Before I had not done much barbell rowing in months, when I got my max recently I rowed 185lbs.

Keep in mind that I stopped working out for about three weeks from mid April until after the first week of may because I obtained a new job and had to move. I also didn’t finalize my program until mid February, I initially was going to do 5/3/1 but I wanted to experiment with high volume training instead.

As far a diet:
I have started eating a healthy breakfast: eggs and potatoes, with iced tea. I did notice it decreased my appetite overall, but once in awhile I get this random serious sugar cravings. The thing that boggles my mind about gaining so much weight is that my diet has not changed since probably October and I remained constant at 220 until February. Not to mention my training volume significantly increased since then.

Today for example, I ate
Breakfast: 4 eggs with a potato and 2 turkey sausages
Snacks: 2 Three Musketeers bars (sugar craving this morning around 10) and small bag of chips
Lunch: small cup of Ramen soup for lunch
Dinner:Calf Liver with kidney beans and onions and leftover lemonade

This morning my exercises were:
One Arm Barbell OH Press (7 sets increasing weight each set)
Neutral grip (using triceps bar) overhead press (3 sets by AMAP)
Lat pulldown (7 sets increasing weight each set - I also kneel on the floor instead of sit on the seat when I do these)

Oh and in the second week of May I twisted my ankle pretty bad and I couldnt squat or do any serious leg work for 2 weeks. It is still a little swollen but I am back to squatting.

Is your recent weight gain mostly water retention due to the sleep aid?

Aside from that, i suggest you post a pic for an objective assessment because, seriously no offense, but your strength levels vs bodyweight makee me worry a little about your actual bodyfat levels. Again, i am not deliberately intending to be insulting.

Fatloss aside… that diet is horrible, even for a dirty bulk. That’s like what? 80g of protein?

If you know that the medication makes it easier to gain weight, that’s all the more reason to be more careful with your diet.

I have been tracking my calories the last few days, and the troubling thing is that I am not eating more than 3000kcal/day. This is also the largest I have ever been even though I am exercising more and am much stronger than I ever have been.

Out of that 3000, how does it break down? How many grams protein, carbs, fat? Not that I have any insight into what that would mean, but it gives you something to work with to make changes from.

Are you doing any kind of cardio during this time period? I saw you said “proposed” routine so I’m curious what you’ve actually been doing.

I would venture a guess that somehow the seroquel has downregulated your metabolism by whatever means so now 3k calories is actually quite a bit above “maintenance”, at least compared to before. I’d say it really doesn’t matter too much “why” as long as you adjust your diet accordingly.