T Nation

Leaving Private Gym, Back to Solo


Due to full time school and full time job plus a family, I'm having to leave the private west-side method gym I've been lifting at for 6 months. I got up to a 450 Deadlift, 280 Bench, and 500 Squat, but I simply just didn't have time for the stress of everything I was expected to do outside of the gym, plus, I need control over the exact times I lift.

Trying to refocus on what I'm going to do next. I don't think I'll go back to the Wendler 5/3/1 I was doing before, as I've come to realize that it's a modest program for modest results.

While my goals are to become stronger, I no longer feel the need or pressure to compete anywhere. My ultimate goal is now hypertrophy, and cutting the 30 pounds I gained while at this gym, hopefully back down to something like 12-15% bf at 200 lbs down from 225 @ 18% bf or so in the next 5 months.

What sounds like a good option for me to accomplish these goals? Workout routine? Possibly start a west-side variant like Cube or something that doesn't require the wide array of equipment stocked in my old gym...

Which commercial gyms are probably best for what I'd like to accomplish?


Hey buddy. Recently I've had some similar thoughts about 5/3/1. My strategy for picking a new program was simple: I thought about what I need to get bigger and stronger, and it's incredibly straightforward.

1) I need to do the big movements, really heavy

2) I need to do the big movements for a lot of lighter reps with beautiful technique and speed

3) I need to do assistance movements to build up my big movements

4) I need to do some conditioning.

Those are pretty much the only things that matter, when it comes right down to it. So, I came up with this really simple plan

Heavy lower body (or max effort, same thing really)
Heavy upper body
Conditioning/whatever else
Rep lower body
Rep upper body
Conditioning/whatever else.

After each main lift, just do whatever assistance you need to. It's a pretty basic plan, but you can utilize a lot of the westside stuff you've been doing, and place more emphasis on conditioning if you really want to take off some pounds. And simple is almost always better.


Great: basically what I've been thinking. Other than doing 110% Max Effort x1 with people screaming in my face to make it, no reason I can't do 90% of it on my own.

Biggest change for me will probably be no more squatting in briefs, there's zero reason to use those anymore if I'm not training for meets, correct?


5/3/1 is great for school, you can spend a lot of time with it or very little time and still get all the work in.


What gym were you at?


5/3/1 would actually be a good fit, due to how incredibly adjustable the program is. I don't think you're quite at a point now to call a program modest.


No...have quite a ways to go. But my strength increase doing west-side were significantly more than what I did doing 5/3/1.


Won't say, but out of 4 people, the weakest had a 1700 total, and strongest was over 2400. I just have way too much work to do on my own than to deal with the stress of bridging that kind of gap any time soon.

I'll also say that these guys talked alot of shit about 5/3/1, basically it was a good beginner program, good for guys rolling out to the club, etc.

Maybe I should forget about all that talk...


Don't avoid 5/3/1 cause a lot of people talked shit about it haha. If you genuinely feel like you have made and will make better progress on a Conjugate style program, then go for that. But 5/3/1 is a great program and is absolutely worth considering. But, as you said, it has it;s limitations as well - it can be slower moving. Sometimes slow and steady wins the race, and sometimes a lifter might benefit from pushing harder and heavier, more often. Like I said, right now I'm loving the changes I made to my own training - but I made great gains from 5/3/1 and slight variations of 5/3/1 for a long while. Only time will tell which method works better for me in the long run. Experimentation is a huge part of the strength game.

Also, as for your comment about briefs... I don't know much about geared lifting, but I have heard that squatting in briefs with the straps down can be great for squatting up heavy even when your hips are a little beat up. So, if you're training hard and feeling a little beat up, you could still throw on the briefs every now and then. If you're not competing, there's no reason to do or not to do anything haha. Just have fun, do what you want, work hard. If you like squatting in briefs, then by all means use them every now and then.