Revised question: I would still like to hear Jim’s opinion on how one should address body fat levels while doing this program. In the book and in the posts I’ve read, he seems to always start with the assumption that you are not overly fat, and then implies “Do the conditioning, eat clean, and don’t worry about your physique because you won’t get overly fat”. While I don’t disagree with that sentiment, for those of us trying to get bigger and stronger who are already borderline too-fat, I’d like to know if he suggests dieting down to a more moderate bodyfat percentage before jumping into the program with both feet or not. I am not concerned with getting lean, but would like to at least stay under 20%bf(I am probably like 22 or 23 now).
It would appear to my reading that he almost implies that some level of fat loss will occur for us fatbodies while doing the program (and being in the required caloric surplus to be able to recover and get stronger), but I don’t want to be an asshole who puts words in people’s mouths.
Unless I hear differently, I am going to do the following:
BBB as prescribed in the original book.(4 days/week)
Add conditioning on 2 or 3 of my off days.
When it warms up, I’m going to build myself a prowler, but until then I’m going to do sprints on the treadmill and maybe something else if I find interesting ideas in Forever. My copy should be here in a couple days.
With the exception of reducing my sugar intake a bit (aka returning to normal after the holiday binge), I don’t think I’m going to change much about my diet. I’ve been gaining a little too much fat since I started this program, but I also haven’t been doing any conditioning at all, so with the addition of the conditioning, it should put me about where I need to be. If all I do is stay about as fat as I am now while getting bigger and stronger, then so be it.
I work in the health field for my career (primarily doing health behavior research related to Type 2 Diabetes) and have both an undergraduate Kinesiology degree as well as a Public Health Master’s. I also have a constant influx of information regarding diet, weight, etc for my job.
My issue is, I’ve reached the point in my education (not strictly speaking about academics here) where “the more you know, the more you know you don’t know”. In other words, I find myself with paralysis of the analysis.
I read the original 5/3/1 book about a year ago, and according to the email I got today, my order for the Forever book is on it’s way. I really appreciate your desire to avoid over complicating things.
With regard to me and my goals. In high school I was around 200lbs of pure fat. In the army I was about 150lbs of skinny. Now, at 26 years old, I am 5’8", 205lb and around 22% bodyfat. I squat about 300 (long story but I haven’t been squatting very long), deadlift just shy of 400, bench maybe 245, and press 135. I’ve been doing BBB without a conditioning component for about 2 months (starting to add conditioning now, was just being lazy about it before).
My medium term goal (more than 1 year but less than 10 years) is to Deadlift 500, Squat 400, Bench 300, and Press 200 at a body weight of around 200lb and a BF% in the mid teens.
The issue arises when I attempt to create shorter term targets. I am, to my eyes, too fat, so the temptation is to focus on fat loss for a while. However, if I decide to diet my way to around 13-17%BF, it will take a good bit of time and that’s time I could be using to continue to build my lifts. Not to mention, when I go back to working on the lifts, even with clean eating, I will reverse some of the fat loss anyway. On the other hand, if I just stick with my current trajectory and keep working on building the lifts, best case scenario I will stay about as fat as I am now, which is not ideal as a young single guy trying to date.
Is the simple answer (not easy, but simple) to add the conditioning as programmed, maintain a lift building focus, and just work on cleaning up the diet a little more without specific caloric or macro targets? I eat fairly well, but there is certainly room for further reduction in sugars and simple carbohydrates. My training has rammed it into my head that body re-composition is simply not possible for anyone other than stark novices so I can’t see losing any of my body fat without sacrificing some lift progression to do so.
See what I mean, too much thinking, not enough action.
Any guidance would be appreciated. Looking forward to reading Forever. Thanks Jim.