T Nation

Need Help on SS


#1

Hello,

I have never worked out in my life until 4 months ago. I decided to do SS but am getting stuck. My current lifts are pathetic. I am 28 male 246lbs 6'3 about 23%bf. My work sets are:
Squat-200
Bench-185
Overhead press-105
Deads-285

My main goal is to lose weight right now as i'm a fat fuck. I am on a 600cal deficit. Everyone keeps saying I need to get my lifts up a lot more and I agree. The problem with that is I need to eat more. If I eat more though, I will gain more fat.
I need some advice on what to do. Please help.


#2

Pathetic is the correct word here
Find a coach


#3

Just eat properly.


#4

Welcome to the club of Fat Men Who Lift. I have been a member for almost a year, and you are welcome to have my $0.02 on your situation.

  1. Do not quit. You have chosen a good program. Stick with it.

  2. Spend a little time getting stronger (assuming you are in good immediate health). If you eat well and eat big while lifting with intensity and consistency you will get stronger without packing on too much fat. You may even lean out some at your stage. Getting stronger can do wonders for your confidence and can help you build some momentum with the process of changing your body composition. Make sure you get enough rest too.

  3. Be patient. You are on a good path, but it can take time. Keep working to improve in the weight room and in the kitchen. You will have slip-ups. Own them, hold yourself accountable and be honest with yourself while striving for continuous improvement. You will amaze yourself with what you can do with consistent effort over time.

  4. Do not quit. Ever. This bears repeating.


#5

Agreed. We all get frustrated and stall at times. Just stay committed and consistency is the key. Stick with it and keep working at it. If you really feel like you’re not progressing hire a good coach or trainer.


#6

[quote]Zoomy wrote:
I have never worked out in my life until 4 months ago. I decided to do SS but am getting stuck.

My main goal is to lose weight right now[/quote]
Starting Strength is not the ideal program when fat loss is the main goal. It’s using a hammer to put a screw into the wall. You get more efficient results aligning your nutrition and training towards maximum fat loss.

There are plenty of programs that would fit the bill better. Something like this is just one idea:

More details on your nutrition?


#7

Thanks for the replies guys. I was out of the country and wasn’t able to respond. I actually just set up a appointment with a SS coach in my area to help give pointers and to see if form is at fault. I doubt it is because I had it checked before through video online but who knows.

I understand it takes time but again, I have been training for 4 months and granted my lifts went up a lot, they are still pathetic. What I am squatting now is what my girlfriends brother did his first time working out. I haven’t went up in anything in 1 month. I deloaded several times as well.


#8

[quote]Zoomy wrote:
Thanks for the replies guys. I was out of the country and wasn’t able to respond. I actually just set up a appointment with a SS coach in my area to help give pointers and to see if form is at fault. I doubt it is because I had it checked before through video online but who knows.

I understand it takes time but again, I have been training for 4 months and granted my lifts went up a lot, they are still pathetic. What I am squatting now is what my girlfriends brother did his first time working out. I haven’t went up in anything in 1 month. I deloaded several times as well.[/quote]

When you reset, how much weight are you taking off, how many workouts does it take you to get back to your previous weight, and how many lbs do your work sets increase before you have to reset again??


#9

Its normal to stall on SS, move on to Texas method or 5/3/1


#10

[quote]RampantBadger wrote:
Its normal to stall on SS, move on to Texas method or 5/3/1[/quote]

Yeah, but I guy his size should have been able to get much more out of it than that if he ran it correctly. I figure his “stall” is a combination of incorrect application more-so than a legitimate stall.


#11

[quote]jbpick86 wrote:

[quote]Zoomy wrote:
Thanks for the replies guys. I was out of the country and wasn’t able to respond. I actually just set up a appointment with a SS coach in my area to help give pointers and to see if form is at fault. I doubt it is because I had it checked before through video online but who knows.

I understand it takes time but again, I have been training for 4 months and granted my lifts went up a lot, they are still pathetic. What I am squatting now is what my girlfriends brother did his first time working out. I haven’t went up in anything in 1 month. I deloaded several times as well.[/quote]

When you reset, how much weight are you taking off, how many workouts does it take you to get back to your previous weight, and how many lbs do your work sets increase before you have to reset again??
[/quote]
I take 10% of the work set off. It will take anywhere from 4-8 workouts to get back to the previous weight. With the bench and press, I will deload and go up in 2.5lb increments. Dead and squat will be 5lb increments.


#12

Oh, so far the last deload, I haven’t increased passed where I failed the previous time. So no progress, deloading this last time.


#13

[quote]Zoomy wrote:
Oh, so far the last deload, I haven’t increased passed where I failed the previous time. So no progress, deloading this last time.[/quote]

So you reset, then when you worked back up you were forced to reset at the same weight? If this is the case its probably time for the Texas Method, 5/3/1, or MadCow.

Edit: or you just aren’t doing what you need to do to recover, in which case changing the program may help or you could continue starting strength and address the other issues (Sleep and food)


#14

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]Zoomy wrote:
I am on a 600cal deficit.[/quote]
More details on your nutrition?[/quote]
I’m still hung up on this.

If the main goal is fat loss, like you said, then A - we need more info about your current diet. And B - I still believe you’re using the wrong tool (training method) for the job.

Two things working against you: It’s difficult enough to increase strength on a calorie deficit and trying to lose fat without doing cardio (and while doing low volume lifting 3 days a week) is another level of difficulty.


#15

[quote]Zoomy wrote:

I am on a 600cal deficit.
Everyone keeps saying I need to get my lifts up a lot more and I agree.[/quote]

You’re on a 600cal deficit and you’re not getting stronger, this shouldn’t be a surprise. Pick fat loss or strength gain and go for it 100%.


#16

[quote]jbpick86 wrote:

[quote]Zoomy wrote:
Oh, so far the last deload, I haven’t increased passed where I failed the previous time. So no progress, deloading this last time.[/quote]

So you reset, then when you worked back up you were forced to reset at the same weight? If this is the case its probably time for the Texas Method, 5/3/1, or MadCow.

Edit: or you just aren’t doing what you need to do to recover, in which case changing the program may help or you could continue starting strength and address the other issues (Sleep and food)[/quote]

I thought those methods are for intermediate trainers? I have only been training for 4 months and my work sets are really low. I thought they needed to be higher to advance.
As far as food, everyone’s saying people can’t lose weight on a strength program because you need to eat a lot, yet, I have seen pictures and videos online of people who posted success stories that they were able to do it.
Whats the truth about this?


#17

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]Zoomy wrote:
I am on a 600cal deficit.[/quote]
More details on your nutrition?[/quote]
I’m still hung up on this.

If the main goal is fat loss, like you said, then A - we need more info about your current diet. And B - I still believe you’re using the wrong tool (training method) for the job.

Two things working against you: It’s difficult enough to increase strength on a calorie deficit and trying to lose fat without doing cardio (and while doing low volume lifting 3 days a week) is another level of difficulty.[/quote]

I am hesitant about posting my diet for a reason. No matter what, different people on different forums have something to say wrong about it. I had one put together on one forum and when people from another forum askedwhat my diet is like and I posted it, they said it was wrong. It was to plain and to use a IIFYM type diet. Timings were wrong, blah blah blah.

When I listened to them and had it “perfected” people on ANOTHER forum said THAT was wrong. Because of this, I am telling people I am eating clean (mostly whole foods) at 3000 cals a day. I just upped the calories because of the lack of strength gains. I stalled on fat loss and weight going up on the bar when I was eating 2400cals.

Which tool would you use or do you think I should be doing? What type of program?
The reason I haven’t been doing cardio, aside from people saying you don’t need cardio to lose weight (see the aggravation here with different people telling you different things?), the program doesn’t call for it basicaly because you need the recovery on the off days and your legs are shot after the workout.

Thanks


#18

[quote]Zoomy wrote:
As far as food, everyone’s saying people can’t lose weight on a strength program because you need to eat a lot, yet, I have seen pictures and videos online of people who posted success stories that they were able to do it.
Whats the truth about this? [/quote]
The thing is, all methods work… for a while. I’m sure some people have lost fat on Starting Strength just like I’m sure some people have gained strength on Mike Mentzer’s once-a-week training plan, but getting X results from Y program isn’t the same as getting X results from Specifically-Designed-For-X program. (Did that make sense?)

First, this is the problem with getting input from multiple sources. Everyone’s got an opinion. If you ask Rippetoe, you can lose fat by training Starting Strength and watching calories and carbs. If you ask Dan John, you can lose fat by going full throttle on a fat loss program for 4-6 weeks. If you ask Thib, you can lose fat by lifting hard, doing hard conditioning, and eating plenty. Neither of them is “wrong”, but it can be confusing.

Second, if a plan is working (providing visible and consistent results), anyone who says its “wrong” is half a doofus. But with that said, “effective” isn’t the same as “efficient”. If you’re not seeing the results you’re after, something needs to be tweaked, regardless of how “perfect” you think your diet is.

Thirdly, you asked us for advice here, and your nutrition is absolutely relevant. Not feeling like (re)posting it is kind of a copout, even if you weren’t happy with replies you’ve gotten elsewhere. Saying you eat 3,000 clean calories of mostly whole foods. Is vague and doesn’t give us much to work with. Carb intake, protein quality, actual “clean vs cheat” foods, timing, all sorts of variables are at work when it comes to fat loss.

The program I linked to, lifting three days a week with three other days of cardio, is one suggestion. In general, something with 3-5 days of lifting and 3-5 cardio sessions per week is a place to start. Basically any program where the focus isn’t to lift more weight week after week. Even some versions of 5/3/1 can be good for fat loss, but those would be the ones where you’re not going balls out on the PR set and instead push hard on the conditioning/cardio.

This is one of the problems with trying to use Starting Strength for fat loss. You don’t “need” cardio work to burn fat, but when used appropriately, it sure can help.


#19

I think Chris has put some excellent food for thought out there and I will share with you my observations of this fat man’s year with a barbell.

First, the lifting. I’ve been running something similar to Starting Strength. For discussion purposes, let’s just call it that. Almost all compounds with 3 top sets of 5. A strength program. I’m very consistent and I lift with intensity.

The beginning is sweet. I lost fat and got stronger without making too many radical diet changes. Win/win.

That gravy train petered out. I started weighing food and logging intake. I lost fat but my lifts stalled, so I wasn’t “running” the program, which was designed with progression in mind, but rather doing the movements prescribed by the program with the goal of maintaining strength. It worked fine, when my diet was in check.

Summer rolled around and I started eating more and drinking more empty calories. Still running the same program, I got stronger, gained a few pounds but saw little change in body composition or how I’ve looked in the mirror. I’ve learned that you can’t out-exercise a calorie surplus, but dammit I sure as hell tried to. But hey, strength gains have kept me engaged in the process of improvement by keeping it fun for me. So that’s a plus.

So what’s my point? I have three.

  1. Chris is right. My past year is an affirmation of his above post.

  2. Diet is the most important element of fat loss. Program A or program B will matter very little if your diet is not in order.

  3. The merits of program A vs program B do not matter unless you actually get out and lift. To paraphrase Serge’s advice in another thread, pretty much everything “works” for beginners. Find a way to lift that you really enjoy that keeps you in the weight room. My results have been far from optimal, but I’ve found a way to really enjoy a positive lifestyle change. I’ve weathered a summer of less-than-perfect diet choices and I’m still on a trajectory to be some combination of stronger, leaner and healthier than I was last year.

I’d just be fatter and weaker if I didn’t find a way to lift that I enjoy enough to do consistently day-in, day-out.

I’m now at a point where I’m taking a close look at my own training, I’m doing my homework and a change will be coming soon. But I don’t regret running this strength program for the last year. Not one bit. It has taught me a lot about my own body and it has gotten me a lot stronger and I’m still about 40 pounds down from my starting weight. Could I be 80 pounds down if I did things better? Definitely. But I’m still MUCH better off than I was before, any way you measure it.

I’m also still chugging along with no thoughts of giving up on the process. Not quitting is very important.

So, back to my first post in this thread, spending some time getting strong may not be the “best” thing you can do. But if you feel like you WANT to get stronger, just go do it. You may lose fat and get stronger at your stage. Or you may get stronger without losing fat. Only one way to find out what happens.

If you really don’t care about how much iron you are moving then you should absolutely try a different style of training more suited to your priority of fat loss.

Whatever you do, don’t let the search for the perfect program or perfect diet get in the way of making a good improvement.

And never, ever quit.


#20

[quote]The thing is, all methods work… for a while. I’m sure some people have lost fat on Starting Strength just like I’m sure some people have gained strength on Mike Mentzer’s once-a-week training plan, but getting X results from Y program isn’t the same as getting X results from Specifically-Designed-For-X program. (Did that make sense?)[/Quote]
Yes, sort of

Something “tweaked” as in my diet or training regimen?

Here is an example:

Breakfast
Kirkland Signature (Costco) - Egg Whites - 100% Liquid Egg Whites (Old - Delete), 15 Tbsp ( 46g) 125 0g 0g 25g 0mg 375mg 0g 0g
Bob’s Red Mill - Organic Whole Grain Steel Cut Oats, 44 g 170 29g 3g 7g 0mg 2mg 0g 5g
Chiqui - Banana, 171 g 149 41g 0g 1g 0mg 0mg 26g 4g
Optimum Nutrition - Gold Standard 100% Whey - Chocolate Malt, 1 scoop (31g) 120 3g 1g 24g 40mg 140mg 2g 0g
Udo’s Choice - Udo’s Oil 3.6.9 Blend, 1 Tbsp (15 ml) 120 0g 14g 0g 0mg 0mg 0g 0g
A.M Snack
Fage - Total 0% In Grams, 227 g 130 9g 0g 23g 0mg 85mg 9g 0g
Townsend Farms - Organic Mixed Berries (Rasperries, Blueberries, Strawberries and Blackberries), 1 cup 93 20g 0g 3g 0mg 0mg 8g 8g
Kirkland Signature - Almonds - Supreme Whole - 3 lbs, 1 oz (appx 25) 160 6g 14g 6g 0mg 0mg 1g 3g
Lunch
Cooked Chicken Breast - 1 Ounce Cooked, 6 ounce 258 0g 6g 48g 0mg 126mg 0g 0g
Success - Success Whole Grain Brown Rice (Boil-In-Bag), 1 cup cooked (0.5 cup uncooked) 150 33g 1g 4g 0mg 0mg 0g 2g
Kirkland Signature (Costco) - Normandy-style Vegetable Blend, 2 cup (122g) 80 14g 0g 6g 0mg 80mg 6g 8g
Plum - Plum, 100 g 46 11g 0g 1g 0mg 0mg 10g 1g
P.M. Snack-Post Workout
Optimum Nutrition - Gold Standard 100% Whey - Chocolate Malt, 2 scoop (31g) 240 6g 2g 48g 80mg 280mg 4g 0g
Chiqui - Banana, 171 g 149 41g 0g 1g 0mg 0mg 26g 4g
Trader Joes - Organic White Quinoa, 1/4 Cup (42g) 160 30g 3g 6g 0mg 0mg 3g 3g
Bread - Ezekiel Bread, 1 Slice 80 15g 1g 4g 0mg 75mg 0g 3g
Dinner
Kirkland Signature (Costco) - Normandy-style Vegetable Blend, 2 cup (122g) 80 14g 0g 6g 0mg 80mg 6g 8g
Ezikiel - Bread, 1 Slce = 34g 80 15g 1g 4g 0mg 80mg 0g 3g
Trader Joe’s - Grilled Balsamic Vinegar & Rosemary Chicken Breast, 5 oz. 183 5g 7g 33g 117mg 333mg 3g 0g
Late Night Snack
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard - 100% Casein Protein Blueberries and Cream, 2 scoop 240 6g 2g 48g 20mg 100mg 0g 2g
Udo’s Choice - Udo’s Oil 3.6.9 Blend, 1 Tbsp (15 ml) 120 0g 14g 0g 0mg 0mg 0g 0g
TOTAL: 2,933 298g 69g 298g 257mg 1,756mg 104g 54g

So basically a program for hypertrophy? Beggars can’t be choosers but I don’t fancy that program you linked at all. Do you have others?

I appreciate you taking the time out to help man. Thanks.