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Is This Bad Performance?

Hey, I recently dieted down from 150 lbs (my weight back in January) to my current weight 135 lbs, which is my current weight roughly.

Each time I’ve built muscle in the past I’ve gotten really fat and eventually discouraged and stopped. I don’t think the big bulk/cut is a good approach for me…maybe it works for some.

Anyway, I’ve been on this forum a long time and still don’t have much to show for it in terms of success in the gym.

Still, if some of you would humour me and provide some advice I’d appreciate it. I just wanted to describe a scenario and I was hoping you could tell me whether this is a sign of shitty performance or not.

So at 135 lbs I benched 120 lbs last week @ 4x6 (with so-so form…not always going to chest). This week I did 7 reps on my first two sets with better form. Basically going to chest on all reps…except for one or two that were slightly above. But yeah, so this week my ROM was better but I ended up doing 7,7,5,5…so the last two sets I could only do 5. To me that seems like a stall…even though 7 is better than 6.

First, is it lame that I’m struggling with 120 lbs like this for 7 reps at my weight? Is it something I should be handling much more easily? Or is this perfectly normal? I just feel at this rate it will take me forever to increase my bench and its one of those lifts I’ve always struggled with.

Please keep in mind, I’m still trying to lean out more too…my calories are more maintenance level-ish…maybe small deficit due to cardio. Still, I feel like I should still be able to build some muscle since I still have some body fat to spare.

How tall are you? Seems to me you need to forget about leaning out and get into a 300 calorie surplus. You need to “bulk” slowly to not gain a bunch of fat.

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5’6" and 39 years old.

How tall are you? And I hate to be that guy, but are you male or female?

My 2c is that 7,7,5,5 is progress from 4 x 6, albeit marginally. It’s also just one workout, and as a rule I don’t use single workouts as signs of progress or regress because it’s just one workout, you need to be watching for patterns.

5’6" male 39

Form was better…so progress there too.

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Just curious when other people were at 135 lbs did they blow past lifts like 120 lbs like it was nothing?

I’d still recommend eating at a very slight surplus. Start with 300 calories per day.

There is a lot more to form than touching your chest on the bench. That goes for any of the compound lifts.

You need to have your back right, shoulder blades pulled back and flat on the bench. Abs tight. Feet flat to the floor. Proper leg drive. Elbows at 45 degrees

Take any progress you can get. In my experience, bench responds poorly to weight loss. I don’t know why, but it seems to take the biggest hit everytime I lose weight.

And to answer your question: I don’t remember ever being 135lbs. I assume I probably was at one point, but i don’t remember it.


What does your training and nutrition look like?

Today I am consuming about 126 g protein, 219 g carbs and 63 g fat. Total calories around 1874.

This is the program I’ve been doing: The New Body 28 (TNB-28) Workout

BTW my goal is to put on between 6-8 lbs of muscle in one year.

What does that look like in terms of real food? I’m not a fan of judging diets by macros, it makes it too easy to hide a lot of sins.

While you wait for the big strong guys to weigh in and reccomend 531 (and Deep Water), my thoughts are that if you’re getting fat on a slight surplus there’s 3 things that could be happening:

  1. You’re setting too high a standard for “lean” for yourself and its hampering your progress.
  2. Your diet is poor when bulking
  3. You aren’t training with enough intensity.

Then being in a calorie deficit is counter productive to your goals.

Well done for setting a concrete goal. Just keep the goal the goal.

How long have you been training seriously? What are your other lifts like?

OK, here is what I roughly will eat today.

Breakfast - Mushroom Omelete:
1/3 cup egg whites + whole egg
1 slice monterey jack
1 small slice toast (75 cal)
Cremini mushrooms for omelete

Lunch - Protein Smoothie:
2 cups Kale
1 cup frozen berries
1 scoop of protein (vegan blend)

small dessert square (~200 cal)
some homemade protein ice cream

Dinner - Tofu Brussel Sprout Stir-Fry
Peanut sauce
150 g brussel sprouts
133 g extra firm tofu (I know people hate soy here with a passion, but I really doubt this is my problem)
1 cup white rice

IMO, you need more food.

Do you eat meat?

Yeah, I eat meat…mostly fish…tuna/sardines.

I sort of want to drop about 2-3 more pounds before I add 300 calories.

I mostly avoid junk food.

I would say you know how to lose fat successfully. It seems to be the gaining muscle bit you struggle with. Is your food quality similar when you’re bulking?

I know my calories are low, etc. I mean, I’ve been dropping weight since January. I just wonder whether I should still be able to progress a bit at 135 lbs with a weight like 120 lb bench. I’m trying to assess whether this reflects poor performance, etc.

Bulking would be the same type of diet/food choices…I’d just add 300 calories.

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You need to lift with perfect form. If you can’t get into perfect form because the weight is too heavy, then you need to drop the weight. If it’s because you’re not used to the exercise, then you need to practice form With a light weight and without increasing it until your form is perfect.