T Nation

Starting Strength: Progress, Diet and Questions


#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.


#21

I’m not trying to ignore all of your advice by any means. I do Starting Strength the way it’s written, Squats, Bench, Dead. Squat, press, clean. Dips/chins etc, I do keep in mind that I should be pushing for pr’s way more frequently then what i was, i focused on form form for a while instead of 2.5lbs per workout which was a mistake. Recovery is my focus now instead of all the minor details i’ve been stressing.


#22

Eating is 1/2 of recovery.


#23

Yeah I see this now. I can’t out-train a poor diet, especially at 156 pounds. I’m sorry if i came off as ignorant. I don’t want to be that new guy who thinks he knows all the answers, and ignore good advice;that’s not me. I just recently got 4 months of gym membership, protien, supplements and a lot of free time. No school or kickboxing to worry about. I have a couple of noob questions that you guys probably answered 1000 times. I know that 3 meals a day with some shakes is a good way to start, as many of you recommend. Weigh myself 1-3 times a week and track every detail. Whats a good/healthy weight to shoot for? 1-3 pounds per week? I’m not too sure. 6 foot, 156 pounds is not how I want to look for the next years. I plan on running Starting Strength until considerable strength gains are made.


#24

Weigh yourself once a week, in the morning on an empty stomach. Try to be consistent about which day of the week this is. Aim to add about 1 lb of bodyweight each week.

Starting Strength with enough food to gain 1lb / week is a solid plan. Good luck!


#25

Get 200g protein a day. I don’t care where you get it from.

Eat your meals and have the shake AFTER. If you are doing SS; 4k calories is the floor. Adjust up if you aren’t recovering fast enough. Adding weight to the bar every work out is hard, but possible (for n00bs) and you are gonna need all the recovery help you can get.


#26

4000 calories a day? I don’t doubt your advice but is that really needed? I struggle eating 3000 a day…and 200g of protien, damn lol. I always heard 1g per bodyweight is good, but I could be wrong. I’m definitely keeping a food journal, with my morning weight on one of the days. “Noob gains” I have heard this term before but don’t really understand, does it mean it’s possible for the novice to put on size faster, or just have an easier time adding weight to the bar? either way I want to make the most of these Noob Gains. My short/mid term goal is 200 Bench, 300 Squat, 350 Deadlift.


#27

[quote]ThyArtisMurder wrote:
4000 calories a day? I don’t doubt your advice but is that really needed? I struggle eating 3000 a day…and 200g of protien, damn lol. I always heard 1g per bodyweight is good, but I could be wrong.[/quote]
And that’s kind of the point.

You really need to learn how to do it, no questions asked. You need to figure out whatever tips, tricks and techniques it takes to get 4000 calories and 200g protein a day.

Personally, I think those numbers are a bit high… but you still need to develop the discipline to force yourself to do it, day in, day out, without excuses.


#28

I understand. I don’t have to eat that much to make progress,but rather attempt to hit those to build discipline, increase appetite, and just basically know what it feels like to actually eat a lot lol. I’m going to track my meals when I get home, currently at my aunts, they have huge home cooked meals so I’ll just eat 3 plates with everything piled on for the meantime. 3 square meals a day, with a shake will be my staple.

I’ll record everything in my journal, and weigh myself every Saturday when I wake up, if i’m not gaining 1lb per week i’ll increase the portions, add snacks, another shake etc. I think i have the basics down for now, add weight to the bar, use good form and EAT. I’ll post my progress on this thread. I’ll have some form videos up soon as soon as my gym partner stops slacking.

I’m pretty confident with Bench Press, OHP and Squat. I feel i could make some adjustments on my Power Clean and Deadlift. Thanks for the help, i’m sure all you veterans have had enough repeating the same advice to all the noobs like me, so I promise i won’t be arrogant aha. Cheers, and happy Holidays everyone. 2015 is the year of gains :slight_smile:


#29

[quote]ThyArtisMurder wrote:
“Noob gains” I have heard this term before but don’t really understand, does it mean it’s possible for the novice to put on size faster, or just have an easier time adding weight to the bar? [/quote]

Both. But you have to eat enough to grow, which you have not been doing.


#30

[quote]ThyArtisMurder wrote:
4000 calories a day? I don’t doubt your advice but is that really needed? I struggle eating 3000 a day…and 200g of protien, damn lol. I always heard 1g per bodyweight is good, but I could be wrong. I’m definitely keeping a food journal, with my morning weight on one of the days. “Noob gains” I have heard this term before but don’t really understand, does it mean it’s possible for the novice to put on size faster, or just have an easier time adding weight to the bar? either way I want to make the most of these Noob Gains. My short/mid term goal is 200 Bench, 300 Squat, 350 Deadlift. [/quote]

N00b gains are when you are untrained. Since you are untrained (a n00b), the amount of weight you can lift simply cannot do enough damage that your body won’t recover in 1-2 days (IF YOU ARE EATING ENOUGH).

This means you can add weight to the bar each and every time you do your training. In programs like SS (and most other 5x5 types), you are training 3 times a week. Increasing weights each time. That’s possible AS A N00B.

Eventually, the weight you can lift will do enough damage (due to your increased strength allowing you to lift heavier weight) that your body can NOT recover in 1-2 days (even WITH eating enough). You will fail to make reps on the weight. When that happens and a reset (dropping back 10% and continuing the program) isn’t enough to get you passed failed reps… then you are now DONE with SS type programs. Your strength is enough that you are now intermediate level.

This means programming has to change since you can no longer add weight every training session when the training sessions are 2 days apart. Now you will be looking at other ways to train. Programs that change the number of sessions per week, the weight increase scheme, adjusted nutrition etc.

Programs like SS are not meant to be run longer than 3-6 months. That’s why you need to eat like you mean it. It’s demanding on your body, especially when increasing strength at such a rapid pace. Later, strength gains do not come quickly. The more advanced you are, the slower these gains will be.

There will never come a time when you should be eating less than 200g of protein if you are a serious lifter. As for the total calories, those will change depending on where you are and what your goals are. Most lifters will adjust total calories by dumping carbs. Never protein.


#31

Knew a guy who swore by that mass gainer ‘Russian Bear 5000’. But he added only a third of the serving recommended to a homemade shake consisting of 2% milk, 1/2 cup oats, half a banana and some flax seed. I tried it and it definitely did add some weight to my frame… Not trying to throw another brand product out there, but using it as a reference. I think the same principles used tho but with MAG-10 And using whole milk as opposed to a nutrient drained one would help… Hell, dip that frozen pizza in ranch dressing(or your choice). Calories right there… Followed by a belly that’s softer which isn’t any of our goals.

A user named Sloh on here can help ya just read his thread which I can’t recall off top of my head, but I believe it was under ‘bodybuilding’ in the forums. Or of course there is the prodigy in my opinion, Aaron Clark. Which can be found here…


#32

Hey man,

I think the easiest thing you can do is add a cup of whole milk or a protein shake with every meal. You could (very very) slowly increase the portions of your meals. Like add another egg in the morning or put another slab of butter on your sandwich…But it already seems like you are gaining weight. You gained 10 lbs already. Keep in mind man, muscle takes a very long time to build muscle man.

Do not try that gain a “1 lb a week” bro science bullshit. That will get you fat (52 lbs a yr, you think all that will be muscle?). Just try to slowly eat more and more or add more shakes and milk to your meals. Weight might have stalled, but if your eating correctly and hitting the gym hard you going to see results man. Just keep at it ;).


#33

Thanks for all the advice everyone, there is a lot of informative posts here, and I really appreciate that. I’m slowly increasing my meals, and expect to make much better progress now.