T Nation

My fat vs muscles gains


#1

I started lifting weights in August 2014. This was my original post back then: http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_beginner/start_bulk_at_19_bodyfat

I was 140 lbs and now I'm up to 155 lbs. My lifts are as follows:
Overhead press: 115lbs x 5
Bench: 135lbs x 5
Deadlift: 265lbs x 5

Unfortunately, I resorted to hack squat machine and leg presses for leg work. I still need to develop hip flexibility to do proper squats. I do other lifts like pullups, curls, skulls, etc. but I won't bother listing those. I also do rows on the machine, but recently started doing barbell rows.

Some of my issues are that my bench isn't that great. My 1 rep max on the bench is just my body weight. I seem to struggle most with my bench. Also, I'm concerned that I've put on a bit more fat than I'd like. It's nothing insane, but I have more stomach fat now. The dilemma is whether I should ease off on the eating a bit, but I'm afraid my lifts will suffer. At the same time, I don't want to gain more fat than I already have.

Is it wise to do a mini-cut for maybe 5 lbs and then get back to a surplus and adding weight?


#2

Photo of me back in August 2014:


#3

Photo of me now:


#4

You really need to not BS around and squat. I think that will help you most. You gained a little weight but I think you look fine honestly. I cant say what your specific numbers should be, but I think your deadlift and bench press are low for having almost trained 1 year. You aren’t strong enough for 5/3/1 so you could probably still do a 5x5 routine. In my personal experience 5x5 did not work for improving my bench press and overhead press. I had to do more volume to get them up, but once I did holy shit my numbers climbed. It took me some time to figure out what was working and what wasn’t.


#5

I went through a period of like a month or two where I wasn’t gaining much in my lifts, because I was afraid to eat more. So, that might explain why my numbers aren’t a bit better, but I feel like it’s been like 7 months of lifting. I also would only increase my deadlifts by 5 lbs rather than 10 lbs, which might explain why it’s a bit less than usual.

I agree with the squatting. I think that’s what’s holding me back now.


#6

[quote]Aero51 wrote:
You really need to not BS around and squat. I think that will help you most. You gained a little weight but I think you look fine honestly. I cant say what your specific numbers should be, but I think your deadlift and bench press are low for having almost trained 1 year. You aren’t strong enough for 5/3/1 so you could probably still do a 5x5 routine. In my personal experience 5x5 did not work for improving my bench press and overhead press. I had to do more volume to get them up, but once I did holy shit my numbers climbed. It took me some time to figure out what was working and what wasn’t. [/quote]

Can you explain how you’ve come to these conclusions? I do almost nothing but squatting for my legs, and it works for me, but I don’t see a definitive reason why someone who has limited mobility HAS to squat. It depends on one’s goals, right? I think the hack squat machine is actually pretty fantastic for leg development.

Also, why is he not strong enough for 5/3/1? What, specifically, does he need to be able to lift for 5/3/1 to be appropriate? Actually, I’ll go ahead and answer this. It’s garbage. Complete non-sense. Read what Wendler wrote about how he developed 5/3/1. He developed it when he was OHP’ing 135, following injuries. Which means a 135 max is a fine starting point on any lift to utilize the 5/3/1 template.

I can’t figure you out, man. You say things like ‘holy shit my numbers climbed,’ and yet your numbers now aren’t even very good. Particularly in relation to your bodyweight. You talk about what works for you and what doesn’t, and yet you’ve achieved very little. It’s great that you’ve been making progress recently in your own training, but I think your advice is often fairly myopic.


#7

5/3/1 is great for everyone. When people at the gym I work at ask me what they should do, I will always tell them to google 5/3/1. There is a beginner template so it should not be problem.

As far as squating goes. I don’t have a probably with not back squating. I actually like people to box squat. Its amazing how much more depth people can do with the box squat than back squating and there is a big carry over in weight between the two lifts.

Most of Joe Defranco workouts, consist of 1 leg exercises and box squating and his athletes are strong as bulls. You do not have to squat.


#8

Just based on my own experience and very modest achievements look more at how you eat and your training intensity and volume and what you spend your training time on. I’ve had the most results in terms of simultaneous strength gain and bodyfat loss focusing on the big three and using other compounds as assistance work while not being too picky about my diet (no fast food and minimal processed stuff, but other than that pretty normal food) and doing a couple of 12 hours fasts a week on rest days.

To that end, I’d go with flipcollar and jtamez17 and say 5/3/1 would probably be good for you. As far as programs go its got one of the best records I know of in terms of giving good results to pretty much anyone as long as they follow it.

With the whole hip mobility thing, if you can’t squat yet you can’t squat yet and thats fine. It happens. Use something as close to a squat as you safely can until your mobility lets you squat. Hell, you could replace squats with high box squats and gradually reduce the box height until you’re squatting to depth.

Don’t worry too much about your bench. Your arms are reasonably long, you aren’t barrell chested and the bench tends to progress quite slowly anyway. I’ve had similar issues and what helped me was really working on my technique and benching more. Its still slow to grow though. Just for example, at 196 lbs my max squat is 462 lbs, DL 501 lbs but bench 253 lbs. Most guys at my weight who can squat and DL around what I can bench a fair bit more than I. I don’t have any shoulder injuries or anything as an excuse for such a low bench, its just the lift I have to work the hardest to improve because of my proportions.


#9

A lot of you are suggesting I do 5/3/1, but I’m actually leaning towards giving Greyskull LP a try. After looking over the program it seems like something I’d like. What do you think? Is 5/3/1 really that much better than something like Greyskull?

I was considering something like this:

Workout 1:
Barbell Bench/ or Press (A/B) 2x 5, 1 x 5+
Curl 2x 10-15 (Bench Day)/Weighted Chin-ups (Press Day)
Front Squat 2x 5, 1x 5+

Workout 2:
Barbell Bench/ or Press 2x5, 1x 5+
Curl 2x 10-15 (Bench Days)/Weighted Chin-ups (Press Day)
Deadlift 1x 5+

Workout 3:
Dumbbell Bench/ or Dumbbell Press (A/B) 2x 5, 1 x 5+
Curl 2x 10-15 (Bench Days) /Weighted Chin-ups (Press Day)
Hack Squat Machine 2x 5, 1x 5+


#10

If it seems like something you’d like, go for it. Buying into the program you’re following is going to be a big help. If you work consistently you’ll get results, and liking and buying into what you’re doing makes it more likely you’ll stick to it consistently.

I’m a trifle confused you’ve put down front squats when you say your hip mobility stops you from squatting, but if you can front squat already squats can’t be too far behind. Hell, if you can front squat I’d suggest at least thinking about ditching the hack squats and front squatting twice a week, or replacing them with box squats to a height that works for you and gradually reducing the height. But, if you really like what you set out, do that. It looks pretty decent and Greyskull LP is a good program as far as I’m aware.


#11

I’m too freaked out by the size of your hands to comment (Greyskull is a superb program - you won’t be disappointed)


#12

I don’t have big hands…I’m a small guy at 5’6". Maybe the photo makes it look big. I still don’t understand how 5/3/1 works, but I don’t own the book. Greyskulls make sense to me and it seems to have a good mix of strength and size mixed together. After Greyskulls I’ll move onto 5/3/1.

So, no one thinks I put on too much fat? I guess I’ll keep going as is.


#13

Nope, you’re fine. As far as I understand it gaining size almost always comes with at least a little fat. As long as you get stronger/gain muscle you’re cheering.

Good call on doing Greyskull and then moving on to 5/3/1 and keeping going as is. I wouldn’t be surprised if down the track the fat just seems to disappear.


#14

Should I do the neck harness workout if I do GSLP? Frankly, I don’t really care about neck strength.


#15

[quote]DiddlySquat wrote:
Should I do the neck harness workout if I do GSLP? Frankly, I don’t really care about neck strength.[/quote]
What do you think will happen if you don’t do the neck harness work?


#16

[quote]LoRez wrote:

[quote]DiddlySquat wrote:
Should I do the neck harness workout if I do GSLP? Frankly, I don’t really care about neck strength.[/quote]
What do you think will happen if you don’t do the neck harness work?[/quote]

His head might fall off.


#17

[quote]flipcollar wrote:

[quote]LoRez wrote:

[quote]DiddlySquat wrote:
Should I do the neck harness workout if I do GSLP? Frankly, I don’t really care about neck strength.[/quote]
What do you think will happen if you don’t do the neck harness work?[/quote]

His head might fall off.[/quote]

Haha!

All accessory work is optional in Greyskull, including the neck harness. Even curls are optional!


#18

I guess a better question is “why” would they ask you to do the neck harness workout? It seems like a very highly specialized workout that would only be useful to a few people. After some research it seems like part of the reason is that a thick neck gives you the appearance of being bigger. Other than that, seems like something that would be useful to fighters, etc. I guess I’ll opt out of the neck harness workout.

Is GSLP designed to create a certain aesthetic result? Is the idea to create a body with big neck, arms, etc.


#19

[quote]DiddlySquat wrote:
I guess a better question is “why” would they ask you to do the neck harness workout? It seems like a very highly specialized workout that would only be useful to a few people. After some research it seems like part of the reason is that a thick neck gives you the appearance of being bigger. Other than that, seems like something that would be useful to fighters, etc. I guess I’ll opt out of the neck harness workout.

Is GSLP designed to create a certain aesthetic result? Is the idea to create a body with big neck, arms, etc.[/quote]

A good approach to analyze the results of a lifting program is to understand that the muscles that get trained from lifting weights will get bigger and stronger. Whatever muscles this program trains will receive that effect.


#20

[quote]DiddlySquat wrote:
I guess a better question is “why” would they ask you to do the neck harness workout? It seems like a very highly specialized workout that would only be useful to a few people. After some research it seems like part of the reason is that a thick neck gives you the appearance of being bigger. Other than that, seems like something that would be useful to fighters, etc. I guess I’ll opt out of the neck harness workout.

Is GSLP designed to create a certain aesthetic result? Is the idea to create a body with big neck, arms, etc.[/quote]

The neck harness work is part of the original “add ins” or what JP calls “layers.” And it was to create a certain look.

Have you read the GLSP ebook? There are many, many templates and a lot of explanation for how to choose your accessories, conditioning, and set up a baseline diet. If you’re going to run the program, do yourself a favor and read the source material.