T Nation

New and Fat, Right Track?

I’m 35 yrs old, 304lb probably between 30-35% body fat. Been a big guy all my life. Lifted off and on but never really got serious until a couple years ago and hit the gym pretty good for a solid 4 months. I was able to get my lifts up to doing 375 squats, 405 deadlift, 275 bench and 160 OH press all for 3 sets of 5 on Ripptoe’s starting strength program.

At the time I was going through a program to get my license from the nuclear regulatory commission and fell off the wagon lifting wise due to time investment required for passing my exams.

I started back up about a month ago and have lost 16 pounds (320 at start)and started again with a variation of starting strength. My current goals are to slim down to 250lb and get my lifts up to 4 plates for SQUAT/DL, 3 for bench and 2 plates for OH press all for reps.

I’ve been eating a ketogenic/low carb lifestyle for a month at about a 500 calorie deficit. This approach seemed the best for a guy who has been husky all his life due to reading Coach Thibaudeau’s articles on nutrition for newbies 1 and 2 . It’s working from what I can tell hence the 16lb weight loss in a month (I know first 5-6 pounds were prob water/glyc).

Program is as follows

current weight use in parenthesis


SQUAT 3x5 (205lb)
BENCH 3x5 (145lb)
BB ROW 3x5 (110lb)
Dips 3x8 (bodyweight with feet elevated)
Abs 3x15


SQUAT 3x5 (205lb)
OH PRESS 3x5 (110lb)
DEADLIFT 1x5 (225lb)
LAT PULLDOWN 3x8 (100lb will switch to chin/pullups once able to perform)
Abs 3x15

Increasing 5lb each workout for everything but DL which I increase by 10lb, this is the same approach I used when I was doing this 2 years ago. My math says I should be able to meet my lift goals in about 16 weeks depending on if I need to lower the weight increments as I get closer or not.

There are days I feel like the workout was great and then there are days where I feel like I didn’t really work that hard. I have thought of increasing the size of my weight increments but am skeptical because I don’t want to go to fast and end up stalling faster.

The Keto diet is working great for me I have tons of energy and don’t feel dead during workouts. The only time I actively seek carbs besides what I’m getting in veggies is I take 33grams (dextrose) in my protein/creatine PWO shake.

I understand that to keep progressing in a 5 rep strength program a calorie surplus is usually required, however my assumption was that since my bodyfat percentage is so high (305 x .35 = 100lb of fat) and doing keto a 500 calorie deficit shouldn’t cause an issue until my fat percentage drops lower.

I would probably say that I’m 50/50 on what’s currently more important getting stronger or losing the weight.

Just looking for confirmation form others with more knowledge and experience that I’m on the right track.

i’d do more reps on everything and lighten the weights a bit. do more volume, like 6-10 reps. I’d start off with volume and if you want to work towards strength do it once your BF% is closer to 13%. sometimes a unskilled lifter can hurt themselves when working with weight that is too heavy for their form. volume work will help lay the track work for getting solid form and keep your injuries to a minimum.

i’d also stay away from crunches… do a ab machine for higher reps or weighted kneeling abs with a rope with 8-12 reps.

i like that youre doing all complex movements. i applaud you for that. keep up the hard work :slight_smile:

twojarslave is in a similar position to you, and has been an exemplary model of “what to do as a fat guy new-ish to lifting that’s trying to slim down while getting strong” - see his log here:

You look like you’re on a similar road. Keep working. I’ll agree that you should be fine in a slight caloric deficit for awhile. Let some of that poundage melt off you. Your lifts ought to go up at least for a bit yet, although eventually you’ll have to fight a little harder for the gains. Good luck!