T Nation

Optimizing My Strength Training

Hello everybody,

First, I would like to introduce myself. I am 27, and like maybe some of you here were, a 155 lbs / 5’9" weakling. I have thin waist, body fat around the belly / ass region (something like 15% bodyweight) and would say that my chest is longer than average and my legs a bit shorter. Shoulders are a bit developped (probably due to sport practice younger, don’t know).

And I am here because I want to start strength training, get back in shape and build my body and strength. I read a loooot on this website. A lot on Anthony Mychal website too as I believe I may be a “skinny fat”. However I have some questions. They are a bit ego-centric, I know, but I would like to have some advice / feedback !

1/ I have absolutely no strength. My 1RMs (and don’t you dare laugh, I am a good shooter in spite of strength ;D )

  • Bench : 120 lbs
  • Squat : 180 lbs
  • Deadlift : 180 lbs (i was ab it worried about my form so I probably did not push at max)
  • OHP : 70 lbs

I guess starting with 5/3/1 is a good idea, no ? But what should I chose as support exercises ? Bodyweight ? Some isolation work?

2/ My diet, is a total mess. I currently eat 3 times a day, something like 2600 Kcal. My nutritionist said that 2600 Kcal was my maintenance level (he measured my body comp).

He said that lifting and eating a bit more proteins will easily build muscle.

However, I don’t know what to do. Should I first shred and body recomp with something like carb cycling + IF or should I eat the same ? It s really difficult with my work to eat 5 times+ a day.

3/ How long should I do a strength program before going to a BB routine ? Are there any numbers I should aim for ?

4/ Do you have any good read for motivation & focus ? Or tips ? Or supps ? Brain Candy ? ;D

Thank you all

  1. Your lifts aren’t great but it doesn’t matter; you’re just starting out. Take it easy; nobody cares how much you lift now; we WILL care about how much you can lift in twelve months.
  2. I would advise you to do something like stronglifts 5x5 before you do 5/3/1 since at this point, you can make good progress with linear, high frequency programs.
  3. You don’t have to eat 6x/day; forget that bodybuilding myth. 3x/day or even 2x or 1x works just as well; in the end, calories and macros are more important than portion size.

I would never, ever, ever advise a beginner to eat less than 3x a day. Crappy fat american eating habits already have everybody skipping breakfast and only eating 1x or 2x a day. I don’t like the idea of mentioning low frequency eating because it is a bad habit for 90% of the people out there. Bad habits–he needs to change them fundamentally before he can work on doing any sort of I.F. or other stuff. Fundamentals = sound base for figuring out the complex stuff later.

You don’t need to eat 6x a day, but you need to make sure you get in the breakfast, lunch, and dinner minimum along with peri-workout. It DOES help with fat loss and muscle gain. Don’t eat one meal a day.

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
I would never, ever, ever advise a beginner to eat less than 3x a day. Crappy fat american eating habits already have everybody skipping breakfast and only eating 1x or 2x a day. I don’t like the idea of mentioning low frequency eating because it is a bad habit for 90% of the people out there. Bad habits–he needs to change them fundamentally before he can work on doing any sort of I.F. or other stuff. Fundamentals = sound base for figuring out the complex stuff later.

You don’t need to eat 6x a day, but you need to make sure you get in the breakfast, lunch, and dinner minimum along with peri-workout. It DOES help with fat loss and muscle gain. Don’t eat one meal a day.[/quote]

I didn’t tell him to eat once a day. I told him to focus on calories and macros instead of meal frequency. Eating pop tarts 6x/day is definitely worse than eating eggs, potatoes and vegetables once a day. I know that’s not what you meant, but just read through some of Nate Miyaki’s stuff (to mention a tnation author); frequency is not the real issue.

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
I would never, ever, ever advise a beginner to eat less than 3x a day. Crappy fat american eating habits already have everybody skipping breakfast and only eating 1x or 2x a day. I don’t like the idea of mentioning low frequency eating because it is a bad habit for 90% of the people out there. Bad habits–he needs to change them fundamentally before he can work on doing any sort of I.F. or other stuff. Fundamentals = sound base for figuring out the complex stuff later.

You don’t need to eat 6x a day, but you need to make sure you get in the breakfast, lunch, and dinner minimum along with peri-workout. It DOES help with fat loss and muscle gain. Don’t eat one meal a day.[/quote]

I didn’t tell him to eat once a day. I told him to focus on calories and macros instead of meal frequency. Eating pop tarts 6x/day is definitely worse than eating eggs, potatoes and vegetables once a day. I know that’s not what you meant, but just read through some of Nate Miyaki’s stuff (to mention a tnation author); frequency is not the real issue.
[/quote]

I agree with you and have read Nate’s stuff. I was saying that it is not necessarily a good idea to MENTION eating only 1 or 2x a day to a beginner, because it gives leeway for misunderstanding and allowing them to think that it is ok to do, which it is NOT for the vast majority of people. Perhaps I worded it poorly above, but basically I have found that if you mention to the majority of people in passing something like that, many will use it to rationalize and justify crappy habits. It doesn’t have to be actual advice and it doesn’t have to be an explicit “ok”. Many people take the mention as an implicit “ok”. I’m not saying the OP will do that at all either. Just that it is something you have to bear in mind when giving advice to newbs.

[quote]Aragorn wrote:

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
I would never, ever, ever advise a beginner to eat less than 3x a day. Crappy fat american eating habits already have everybody skipping breakfast and only eating 1x or 2x a day. I don’t like the idea of mentioning low frequency eating because it is a bad habit for 90% of the people out there. Bad habits–he needs to change them fundamentally before he can work on doing any sort of I.F. or other stuff. Fundamentals = sound base for figuring out the complex stuff later.

You don’t need to eat 6x a day, but you need to make sure you get in the breakfast, lunch, and dinner minimum along with peri-workout. It DOES help with fat loss and muscle gain. Don’t eat one meal a day.[/quote]

I didn’t tell him to eat once a day. I told him to focus on calories and macros instead of meal frequency. Eating pop tarts 6x/day is definitely worse than eating eggs, potatoes and vegetables once a day. I know that’s not what you meant, but just read through some of Nate Miyaki’s stuff (to mention a tnation author); frequency is not the real issue.
[/quote]

I agree with you and have read Nate’s stuff. I was saying that it is not necessarily a good idea to MENTION eating only 1 or 2x a day to a beginner, because it gives leeway for misunderstanding and allowing them to think that it is ok to do, which it is NOT for the vast majority of people. Perhaps I worded it poorly above, but basically I have found that if you mention to the majority of people in passing something like that, many will use it to rationalize and justify crappy habits. It doesn’t have to be actual advice and it doesn’t have to be an explicit “ok”. Many people take the mention as an implicit “ok”. I’m not saying the OP will do that at all either. Just that it is something you have to bear in mind when giving advice to newbs. [/quote]

Your best best would probably be starting strength 5x5 a far as a beginner program. Stick with that for at least six months, try to get your numbers up some still with good form, probably with a little basic cardio. Your doctor is correct, gains will come fairly easy to you of you eat right and get enough protein since you are a beginner. I’d say 2600 to 3000 calories is probably appropriate once you start working out. Use the search function on this site for any questions you have. Keep it simple you know what’s healthy what’s not. As far as supplements worry about them later unless you need a basic protein powder to get enough protein every day.

Thanks for your answers, great advice

I read some posts talking about “beyond brawn”. Bought the book and seems awesome at the moment too. I am definately going to start a strength program. I feel like SL 5x5 is the simplest for the beginning. Sounds good.

Trouble right now according to the doc is my body comp. I don’t have “too much fat”, but I m lacking 2 kgs of muscle at least.

Well, sounds like I just have to go get it :wink: