T Nation

Losing My Mind, Some Solid Advice?


#1

Guys, I'm losing it.

I'm 26 years old and I really want to get the body I've always wanted. I feel like my time is really running out so I want to do this, but I don't want to start off wrong.

My goals: I want to look really good when I take my shirt off. Lowish body fat, nice abs.. Full chest.

My stats:
6 foot 2
225 pounds
23% body fat (calipers)
Bench - 225 1rm
Squat - 275 1rm
DL - 225 1rm (felt I could do more but didnt)

Diet wise I'm have researched and got down. I know i have to lose the fat to look good. I am on a deficit but ill need a program for when i bulk. I just want a good routine for building mass and looking good.

Something that has been proven to work and I can use for the aesthetics I am looking for.

Everyone keeps shuving SS in my face and to be honest I'm fucking sick of it, being strong is a side effect of my main goal not my main goal.

Thanks guys...


#2
  1. Chill out. Looking good is, in the grand scheme of things, not of paramount importance for your life - it just seems that way because you’re focusing on it so much. The irony is that not obsessing over it will give you better results. Be disciplined about your training and diet, but never ever let it dictate your life.

  2. Chances are that cutting - or even better, recomping - will be the fastest way to look better right now.

  3. Forget about ‘bulking’. There won’t be a way for you to just train hard, eat a ton and gain 30 pounds of lean mass ASAP. Hypertrophy is a slow process. Be patient.

  4. Starting Strength would be a good idea since getting stronger will probably also make you look better. But I won’t advise you to do a program you hate. So pick one that is focused on progression with the big barbell lifts, but also on enough volume and high-rep stuff. Some of Wendler’s 531 templates would be good, but so would Paul Carter’s recent article.

  5. People will debate this, but again: the first thing you should do is to get below 15% bodyfat. Maybe below 12%. You will look and feel better and your system will be more anabolic. From there, you can start adding mass slowly and sensibly.


#3

Any one of the millions of 5/3/1 templates would be a great choice.


#4

Thank you both for the replies, it does mean a great deal to me.

My concern with the 531 programs is that they are low rep and high weight which would be more geared towards strength rather than aesthetics. That is my biggest concern with SS too


#5

[quote]konzine wrote:
Thank you both for the replies, it does mean a great deal to me.

My concern with the 531 programs is that they are low rep and high weight which would be more geared towards strength rather than aesthetics. That is my biggest concern with SS too[/quote]

Which 5/3/1 program in particular are you saying is low rep/high weight? I never experienced that when I ran the program, but we may be looking at different templates.


#6

I’m twice your age, so no more of this nonsense about ‘time running out.’

Your goals are the same as mine–aesthetics. I could care less about getting stronger; I just want to LOOK stronger. Not disparaging strength as a goal or those who pursue it; just saying it isn’t my goal.

If you want to look better ASAP, you need to focus on diet. Given your strength level, you surely carry enough muscle to where you would have a very appealing physique once your BF levels drop enough. But fair warning–you are going to have to drop a LOT of weight to look like you want to. I’m an inch taller than you and substantially stronger, and I weigh ~185# in my avi. I don’t care what your calipers say; you will likely have to drop into the 170s to achieve a really lean look.

As far as training for hypertrophy/aesthetics in concerned, I think the type of programming espoused by John Meadows is ideal. Search TN for his training articles.

Best of luck.


#7

Cosgrove complexes are great to shed fat fast.

If you’re serious about getting lean you have to learn how to eat. I learned a lot from eating super plain meals for a couple weeks. Egg whites and oats for breakfast. Chicken, turkey, or lean beef with sweet potatoes or brown rice for 1st lunch, 2nd lunch, and dinner. Cottage cheese for desert. I made some great progress even while doing a crappy bb.com routine.

I now eat way tastier foods that still match my goals but it opened my eyes to how foods of the muscle building world are totally different from what everyone else is eating.


#8

[quote]konzine wrote:
I’m 26 years old and I really want to get the body I’ve always wanted. I feel like my time is really running out
[/quote]
Time isn’t running out, but the task is getting harder every year.

That’s a good long term goal, but be aware this is likely to take a long time. Set yourself some measurable short term goals that will help move you towards your long term goal.

Something seems wrong here. I think your calipers are lying to you.

Your deadlift seams way too low to me. Barely bodyweight deadlift is way out of line with the rest of your lifts.

I can pretty much guarantee that you haven’t got your diet down, and this will be key to your success, what exactly did you eat yesterday?

Do you want to cut or bulk? You seem confused. Pick a short term goal (For the record, I think it should be losing 20lbs+) and ask for advice specifically for that goal.


#9

lose 20 lbs, then focus on maintaining that weight while bringing up your leg strength and pumping the bro muscles, then cut another 20.

I’m also guessing you don’t squat deep enough.


#10

[quote]konzine wrote:
Thank you both for the replies, it does mean a great deal to me.

My concern with the 531 programs is that they are low rep and high weight which would be more geared towards strength rather than aesthetics. That is my biggest concern with SS too[/quote]

Do the 5/3/1 BBB 3-Month Challenge. If your focus is size and aesthetics then you can keep the intensity down for the heavy work and save your energy to do the higher volume assistance work. I guarantee you will see change if you eat and rest accordingly. It was hard for you to see progress with Starting Strength because the volume was low. You need to increase it but that also means you can’t just run yourself down to the ground with volume. Quality volume is like potential for strength/size gains but you need the recovery to match it in order to make progress. You can even go backwards if you don’t prioritize recovery. A gradual increase in volume over time is needed to continually adapt to stress and you definitely don’t need to make major increases when making progress. Run that exactly as specified before figuring out what accessory work you need to bring up certain parts of your body.

On another note, don’t think of training as either specifically for strength or specifically for size. There is always a balance. Powerlifters train for strength but they still have to grow new muscle fibers before training those fibers for maximal strength. Bodybuilders train for size but they can increase their overall volume work if they’re stronger. When you’re starting off, don’t lean all the way towards one end of the spectrum because you need to build the foundation with a balance of both. It would make sense to do the extreme if you were in the highest level of competition, probably world stage, and trying to squeeze out the last bit of performance or putting on the finishing touches of physique but it’s extremely rare to fully reach human potential.

Edit: If you eat right and have recovery in check, you can put on muscle while losing fat since the volume is demanding. Just do it and learn how your body reacts to this type of program so you can tailor it to your needs later on. You won’t regret it.


#11

The reason everyone is telling you to do Starting Strength is because it’s a small investment to make compared to the benefits you get down the road. If you did it for a few months and plateau at a deadlift of say 315+, that means you’ll reap the benefits by being able to do a lot more volume (to change your physique) because you’re stronger. Another program might take awhile longer to add 90 lbs to your deadlift. Depends if you want to reach a short term goal with less potential or a long term goal with more potential.

Same thing with technique since the numbers don’t look right. Get technique down in a few months to make faster gains down the road or constantly undo bad habits and imbalances.


#12

[quote]konzine wrote:
My concern with the 531 programs is that they are low rep and high weight which would be more geared towards strength rather than aesthetics. That is my biggest concern with SS too[/quote]

Do the 5/3/1 BBB template or the BBB challenge if you’re up to it.

If that isn’t enough volume for you, then something is wrong.


#13

If you want to change quickly it’s not going to happen, the more caught up you are in the here and now the more likely you are to cause yourself to make mistakes which will cost you in the long run. A great article was posted on this the other day. Choose the rep range for your goal which seems to be hypertrophy, so you’re looking at a 9-12 range.

read up on different routines. Honestly people talk about the big lifts being the most important and every Year I train the more I come to see the truth in that and rely on them. Don’t focus on the weight just become comfortable with the movements through continued practice and the weight, strength and size will come. Allow yourself a year of training to see real transformation don’t get flustered when it doesn’t come all at once. Write up your program and post asking what people would switch out or whether they feel it’s balanced.

Work on moving up in weight within the given rep range, maintaining intake of clean foods, and focusing on muscular contraction (feel it in the desired muscles).

Above all don’t give up. The only way you will fail to succeed in your desired goal is if you stop pursuing it!


#14

[quote]YouDefineSuccess wrote:
Above all don’t give up.
[/quote]

This is key. Trust me, I gave up (In my case I got distracted by drinking and girls) and woke up 8 years later fat and weak. It’s a long, long road back, full of “what if’s” and regrets.


#15

[quote]1 Man Island wrote:

I’m also guessing you don’t squat deep enough.[/quote]

I was thinking the same thing. Reed pointed this out to someone else recently with a disproportionate squat to DL


#16

[quote]Sheed3K wrote:

[quote]1 Man Island wrote:

I’m also guessing you don’t squat deep enough.[/quote]

I was thinking the same thing. Reed pointed this out to someone else recently with a disproportionate squat to DL [/quote]

Yeah, the longer you are around lifting in general- you learn to recognize how the big lifts should be relative to each other. The DL should always be the highest as it uses the most muscles. So when a squat is listed as higher, that’s almost always down to the 1/4 squat syndrome.

For OP: Do 5/3/1 BBB. Toss in 1 accessory exercise with it, for whatever muscle group you are working that day. You’ll get plenty of volume, some hypertrophy, and plenty of soreness all while NOT sacrificing some strength gains (thanks to doing the main lift as 5/3/1+) along the way.


#17

[quote]SevenDragons wrote:
Yeah, the longer you are around lifting in general- you learn to recognize how the big lifts should be relative to each other. The DL should always be the highest as it uses the most muscles. [/quote]

I have not found this to be the case in raw powerlifting when it comes to people carrying a lot of fat. Generally, the squat is higher because they’re able to take advantage of their stomach smashing against their thighs to generate a lot of pressure/rebound, whereas trying to reach the bar for the deadlift is a struggle. Even with lighter guys, I’ve seen folks that were built to squat and, in turn, NOT built to deadlift and were usually lucky if they could match their squat with their dead.


#18

Hence the “in general” part.

There are always exceptions and outliers. So for those 5% of guys shaped to squat or DL-- there you go. The rest of the field, no. Which is why when you see a squat much higher than their dead, it’s because they squat high.


#19

I suppose we will have to agree to disagree. I assumed your “in general” applied to people generally learning these things, rather than these things in general being truths, based on the sentence structure.


#20

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
I suppose we will have to agree to disagree. I assumed your “in general” applied to people generally learning these things, rather than these things in general being truths, based on the sentence structure. [/quote]

Name the movie
"I was making a broad generalization"

“You were making a generalization about broads”