T Nation

How Do I Reach My Goals?

Goals: single digit body fat. 1 rm 6 plate dl, 4 plate sq, 3 plate bench. current 1 rm 485-315-248

How do I reach my goals?
How much should I be eating per day? How should the macros be set? What is the best strength training program for a beginner/novice?

on first cycle of 5/3/1 bbb variant 3 day split. did sl 5x5 from Nov 2015 until April 2016 no other strength training experience. I walk and cycle a total of 15 miles per week. I competed in a powerlifting meet last month. Training for that meet made it easier to stick to making it to the gym.

Male, 43. Started at 345lbs. Ate at a deficit to 285lbs w/ no exercise. Now 240lbs. 25% body fat. Currently eating 2000-2300 calories per day 200g of protein, 170g of carbs, 70g of fat. For supplements I take fish oil, creatine, and a multi vitamin each day. I drink 150 ounces of water each day.

You’ve made some awesome progress for just a few months of lifting. Congratulations on that. Those are big numbers for half a year’s lifting, especially considering the weight drop.

What makes you want to change what’s been working VERY well for you?

Getting down in the single digit bodyfat will be a task…and honestly not necessary to look half way decent. Regardless great progress…

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I haven’t lost any weight in 7 weeks. I’ve been on 5/3/1 for one month. On SL 5x5 I knew I was getting stronger I was adding weight every time I went to train. Today I have no clue if I can bench more or not.

I know at some points adjustments are necessary. How do you know when you are at that point?

How and when do you test 1rm’s

I want to dial in my efforts for the second half of this year.

You need to accept that your progress from here on out will not proceed at the pace it has. You can definitely continue to lean out but those PR’s may not come like they used to, but that’s no reason not to continue training hard and trying to set them. Hell, maybe you can keep that pace of progress up a little bit longer.

I’ve dropped a fair amount of fat since November while mostly MAINTAINING the strength I had. I’m setting some minor PR’s, but I doubt I’m adding any muscle mass. And I’m VERY happy with that outcome, but I had to learn how to “let go” of this notion that I needed a 600 DL or a 550 squat more than I needed to shed my excess fat. That can be mentally difficult when you’re used to getting stronger almost every time you step into the gym.

I can’t advise you on how to get to single digit bodyfat, as I’m nowhere near that mark. I can tell you that leaning out at the big boy stages we are both at is primarily a result of what you shove down your craw, or more specifically, what you don’t. If you haven’t been losing measurable fat, either on the scale or in the mirror/how your clothes fit, well, you’re just consuming too much. Simple as that.

It took me a little over a year for the lesson to really sink home, but you may need to choose your master. Is fat loss or strength/muscle gains more important to you? With your phenomenal rate of progress - let that sink in, because it is - I would simply adjust your calories down and continue lifting hard, be it on 5x5 or 5/3/1. If you keep getting stronger, great. If not, well, who cares if you’re dropping fat and not getting significantly weaker?

If you haven’t already, cut out any sort of crap. Alcohol, soda, candy, chips, etc. These are the no-brainer adjustments.

You said it yourself, dial it in man.

Thanks for taking the time to reply.

My take away is that those goals require different tactics. Pick one goal work toward that.

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You’re welcome. Beginner gains are awesome, but they don’t last forever. Whether you’re shooting for strength/muscle, dropping fat or doing both at the same time, progress is still progress. Settle into the grind and keep making it one way or another.

Others might chime in with more and better insight, as there are many on these boards and on O35 who have achieved some pretty remarkable things.

Today I started my 5th cycle of 5/3/1 bbb. I Upped the bbb from 40% to 50%.

I still weigh 240. Still tracking all food and drink. Upped calories to 2500-2800. I feel leaner than the same 240 I was when I made this post in May.

Squat is up to 365, 1rm. Have not tested the other lifts.

On track to hit my goal of s/b/d 4/3/5 plates by xmas 2016.

I quit the Y. Bought a rack, bench, bar and 428 pounds in weights. Training at home now.



Squatted 405 for a single. Deadlifted 500 for a single. Benched 280 for a single. Have until xmas to add 35 pounds to my bench to reach my goals.

Still weigh 240. Still running 5/3/1 bbb. Calories 2500-2800.

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Didn’t make it. Bench max stuck at 310.

Eating 1800 next 12 weeks. Want to go from 239 to 225. While maintaining current strength levels.

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I would not suggest going that low on calories myself…are you doing any type of extra conditioning work?

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I only take a 30 minute walk 3 times per week. No other conditioning work.

As i stated I would not suggest at this point you should go as low as you suggested. I personal would suggest that you not go below 10cals per pound of body weight. Especially if your still doing the Boring but Big template of 5/3/1. You might run the risk if you go too low of hampering you ability to recover. You might considering upping your condition work while not dropping your current calorie intake.

you could invest in a weight vest and wear it during your walks.

or if you walk on a treadmill you could try this


Up your calories to maintenance and do a higher volume template like these…

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October 2020 PR’s BW 258

Bench 315x7, 300x20
Squat 350x11, 280x20
OHP 155x21, 145x25
Deadlift 350x28, 310x41
Walked 137 miles

cutting to 200 lbs. averaging 1800 calories per day.

In one set?

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yes t-n-g trap bar with straps

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Why? I would put more on the bar for lower reps.

it was the amrap set.

I guess if it’s working for you that’s great, but I personally would reset my TM.