T Nation

Starting Strength: Progress, Diet and Questions


#1

Hello everyone, i've been inactive on Tnation for a while now, but have still been lifting consistently; have missed maybe 1-2 days from being sick since September. For the longest time i was trying to blend Muay Thai with weights, with diminishing results on both ends. I got a summer job and decided to part ways with fighting.

Anyways, I started the program in September. I'm happy with my progress, although it's slow...very slow. Anyways when i started Squat-160. Bench-115. Deadlift-185. Overhead press-55. Barbell Row-90.(Switched to Power cleans around mid november) These were not my max lifts at all, but my starting weights.

I'm not sure what my bodyweight was, probably 140-145. Now, since Dec 22 my lifts are Squat-245,3x5. Bench Press-165 3x5 (Stalled 170) Overhead Press-105,3x5 (Stalled 110) Deadlift-300x5, 315x1. Power Clean-135x5x3, 145x1. I'm pretty happy with these lifts. My current bodyweight is 156-160, around there. I have not been tracking because I find it stressful, i've been eating multiple meals a day, and a shake a day. I'm still not gaining weight.

Biggest problem by far is appetite, i don't have a very big one. I can even smoke a few joints and get full from one plate...so annoying. A regular day would be- Breakfast-2-3 eggs, toast, coffee. Snack-Apple, glass of milk. After gym- supper (whatever is cooked, always home cooked meals, meat, veggies, carb etc) then protien shake later on, Pb sandwich, cereal before bed, maybe a yogurt. That is a LOT of food to me, but clearly not enough. I'll have some form videos up soon of my working sets, this is just a progress thread :slight_smile:


#2

Well… you could always add another shake.

For your current shake… you can add peanut butter, or olive oil, or coconut oil. (Or just eat that stuff elsewhere in your diet.)

I personally like using half & half in shakes, since it gives you additional calories, and makes it nice and creamy (but thicker). It’s just easier for me to get down something liquid than something solid.

Also, very nice work increasing your lifts. That’s some great improvement.


#3

I have cheap Vanilla protien, six star nutrition or something, I’m not a big fan of the taste but hey it’s 30g protien. I usually use one scoop, cup of milk, half bananna. I need to try the PB. Thanks a lot man I really try to focus in the gym, i’m posting vids soon because I hope my form is on point. Btw, is there anyway to increase appetite? or just gradually eat more each day. Extra shake seems like the easiest way.


#4

You only listed 2 meals that you are eating? Is that it? I know its hard to adjust but its no secret you need to eat to put on weight, smoking all the weed in the world won’t help you just have to commit to it.


#5

No, thats what I ate on Wednesday. My daily food routine is pretty similar to what I posted though. Usually always have the same breakfast. Only thing that changes is dinner, which is usually 90% “clean” but sometimes it’s frozen pizza etc. Since it’s the Holidays i’ve been eating a lot more these past couple days though, had a few family dinners and ate 3+ plate of turkey, potatoes, salad and so on. I can probably gain a few pounds in the Holidays alone, but i don’t want to “bro bulk” by any means.


#6

[quote]ThyArtisMurder wrote:
My current bodyweight is 156-160, around there.[/quote]
End of Feb, you’re 146 pounds:

Mid-June, you’re “145 pounds with 5% bodyfat”:

End of July, you’re “140-145 pounds”:

You seem to find slow progress less stressful than writing down what you eat, so you have no incentive to change. That’s Human Behavior 101. Tracking what you eat is, for you, actually more important than tracking your workouts. Period. You have a history of little to no weight gain, which means your daily food intake is the number one priority.

Back in that June thread, you were lifting:
“Squat 195 for an average of 2-4 reps
bench press 155 for 1-3
Overhead press only 1-2 reps at 115
deadlift 245 for 1-3 reps”

Now:
“Squat-245,3x5
Bench Press-165 3x5 (Stalled 170)
Overhead Press-105,3x5 (Stalled 110)
Deadlift-300x5, 315x1”

In those six months, you’ve seen strength gains in some lifts but regressed or seen minimal progress in others. Obviously not a good sign. Your bodyweight has finally started to creep up, but I can totally see a backslide in your future if you get frustrated and relax your approach to consistent nutrition.

That’s largely habit. You need to teach your body to handle food at regular intervals. One approach is to gradually increase the size of each meal over the course of days. As simple as adding another egg and an extra slice of toast to breakfast one day, stick with that for a few days and then add two hard-boiled eggs to the afternoon snack, stick with that for a few days and then have an extra scoop of mashed potatoes at dinner or whatever.

The other approach is to use the old “eat by the clock” method, where every 3 hours, you eat something, hungry or not. Definitely takes more willpower, but guys have force fed themselves larger for decades. Dave Tate had his epic oil-drenched pizza battles, John Berardi talked about going through a jar of peanut butter and a sleeve of bagels a day, Dr. Ken Leistner had a kid eat 8 tuna salad sandwiches a day everyday in addition to his meals.

[quote]Breakfast-2-3 eggs, toast, coffee.
Snack-Apple, glass of milk.
After gym- supper (whatever is cooked, always home cooked meals, meat, veggies, carb etc) then protien shake later on,
Pb sandwich,
cereal before bed, maybe a yogurt.
That is a LOT of food to me, but clearly not enough.[/quote]
That’s not an eating plan for a skinny guy trying to gain weight. It’s a small breakfast, a few snacks, and one decent-sized meal.

I still say you need three good meals a day, seven days a week. Sort that out and you’ll magically start seeing gains.


#7

What do you do for conditioning?


#8

I know consistent nutrition is my number one problem, always has been. My upper body lifts stall often, and I haven’t seen too much gains in the mirror, but I have somehow increased some of my lifts. This slow progress is probably a waste of time considering these are noob gains. I dont really mind it because it gave me time to focus on form and not go for consistent PR’s. That’s probably an excuse though…


#9

Nothing for conditioning at the moment. Considering my diet, and recovery at the moment, probably wouldn’t be the best idea. If i did, i have some exercises in mind. Tabata heavy bag rounds, Timed skipping, and prowler. I weighed myself at the gym yesterday and was 160, not sure if it was accurate though. I don’t weight myself often. I’m going to either start up a food log on this site, or my own journal. One or the other. I have a lot more time right now. Not in school, not kickboxing anymore, job hunting soon but unemployed atm so all I’m doing is worrying about lifting. I have another 6 months until June, i dont plan to make minimal gains this time.


#10

[quote]ThyArtisMurder wrote:
Nothing for conditioning at the moment. Considering my diet, and recovery at the moment, probably wouldn’t be the best idea. If i did, i have some exercises in mind. Tabata heavy bag rounds, Timed skipping, and prowler. I weighed myself at the gym yesterday and was 160, not sure if it was accurate though. I don’t weight myself often. I’m going to either start up a food log on this site, or my own journal. One or the other.[/quote]

I feel like you are drawing the wrong conclusion. The reason your appetite is so low is because you are doing very little to stimulate it. SS is very low volume, and with no additional work, you aren’t really pushing yourself to grow. Were I in your situation, I would include something like slam ball slams or Tabata work to get things moving.


#11

Oh i see what you mean. I’m not doing only the main lifts, though. Not sure if it makes a difference but i do 1-2 assistance lifts on Mon/Wed and three on Friday. I do 5 warm up sets per main lift with minimun rest time. I still have interval timer and my 16 oz gloves/bag at my house and bags at the gym. That’s always an option, i just have the feeling i will be really burnt out. I already get doms.


#12

[quote]ThyArtisMurder wrote:
Oh i see what you mean. I’m not doing only the main lifts, though. Not sure if it makes a difference but i do 1-2 assistance lifts on Mon/Wed and three on Friday. I do 5 warm up sets per main lift with minimun rest time. I still have interval timer and my 16 oz gloves/bag at my house and bags at the gym. That’s always an option, i just have the feeling i will be really burnt out. I already get doms.[/quote]

Best of luck with your situation then. It sounds like you have things figured out.


#13

Thanks for commenting :slight_smile:


#14

In my personal experience, volume work with squats and deadlifts drives up my appetite. Earlier it was 20 rep sets, more recently it’s lots and lots of 5 rep sets. Hard interval cardio also drives up my appetite. Steady state cardio generally kills my appetite though.

The problem with both of those is that you’re also expending a lot more energy, both during and after. Appetite might be up, but so is energy expenditure.

Finding ways to force feed yourself (such as what Chris C suggested) and/or focusing on more calorically dense foods (generally just stuff with higher fat content) have been more sustainable approaches that I’ve used. Like, literally, building the discipline to drink a gallon of milk a day, every day, is something that’s worked for me when I’ve needed to use it. Whatever discipline you develop toward lifting can be developed to work toward eating too.


#15

Honestly, it doesn’t sound like you are all that serious about getting stronger.

When you are, you WILL eat enough. Until then, welcome to the world of mediocrity.


#16

[quote]ThyArtisMurder wrote:
I’m not doing only the main lifts, though. Not sure if it makes a difference but i do 1-2 assistance lifts on Mon/Wed and three on Friday.[/quote]
Good to know. So, you’re not doing the Starting Strength program. What exactly does your training look like?

More exercise with your current nutrition will lead to “burn out.” You get DOMS because your recovery is poor… because your nutrition is inadequate.

Fixed.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
SS is very low volume, and with no additional work, you aren’t really pushing yourself to grow. Were I in your situation, I would include something like slam ball slams or Tabata work to get things moving.[/quote]
I don’t mean to be “that guy” who confuses things by contradicting another experienced advice-giver, but I think adding cardio like Tabata is terrible advice. It’s established the dude inconsistently eats ample calories. I understand the idea of stimulating appetite through cardio, but I believe it’s an unnecessary approach when there are other issues to be addressed.

Also, the Starting Strength program does have a track record of building strength and muscular bodyweight when it’s followed to the letter (the training and the calorie surplus). It’s not a cure-all for every beginner, but it definitely can “push someone to grow” when it’s followed properly, even though it’s low volume.


#17

To clarify Chris, I never once told the TC to do cardio to simulate appetite. I simply said what I would do, mainly because it is what I have done to simulate appetite and get bigger. When I want to lose weight, I limit activity. When I want to gain weight, I increase it.

I find an absence of conditioning and a massive fear of overtraining to be common trends among those who have trouble growing.


#18

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
To clarify Chris, I never once told the TC to do cardio to simulate appetite. I simply said what I would do, mainly because it is what I have done to simulate appetite and get bigger.[/quote]
I took “if I were in your situation” to mean actually in his shoes, as a tall and severely-underweight guy doing the training he said he’s doing and eating the way he’s been eating.

Definitely one way to do it, and if it’s worked for you, even better. I know the Doggcrapp training guys often use a lower intensity morning cardio session to boost appetite and serve as “damage control” when bulking. Curiously though, some people do find cardio to be an appetite suppressant instead, probably has to do with individual variables of exercise-related hormones.

I totally agree that too many guys use “don’t wanna overtrain” as an excuse when that’s nowhere near an actual issue.


#19

OP – read this: [[link removed] - article “Powerbuilding: You Donâ??t Grow In The Gym” by Stan Efferding]

The take-home point is that recovery is just as if not MORE important than training stimulus. This means sleep and nutrition.

Multiple people on this thread have already told you what the issue is, and what you need to do to address it. Sometimes you respond as if you already know the answer, or are already doing everything correctly, but given your (lack of optimal) progress, clearly you are not.

People like CC show enormous patience in these forums answering the same questions and responding to the same issues again and again, but what can be frustrating (to someone like me, with less patience) is seeing people not make a genuine effort to heed this advice. Why come here for help, then not accept it when offered?

The entire purpose of the Starting Strength program is to consistently add weight to the bar – 2.5-5 lbs every workout on each lift. If you are not doing this, something is wrong. If you’ve been following the program to the letter, then you know what is wrong – recovery. So address it, with more food and/or more sleep.


#20

Your interpretation of my words was correct. It is what I would do in the TC’s situation. Although I would clarify that I am speaking of conditioning rather than cardio. Something where the goal is to improve work capacity and recovery, not where the goal is to simply increase the heart rate.