T Nation

Stronger and Leaner - How?


I don't think that you can necessarily serve two masters so this isn't a thread about becoming 6 percent bodyfat and squatting 1000 lbs. But from a practical perspective how do you maintain some level of leanness while getting stronger?

I guess when I was younger this wasn't really a big issue but now that I'm a bit older I find it tougher and especially making sure I've got the energy to get through all of my training sessions.

So, how do you all do it? How do you build your strength up while staying on the lean side of things? Is it something you cycle or is it just done really slowly? I'm very interested in hearing from anyone who is a competitor.




Use strongman stuff for cardio.

Tires.hammers.sleds. kegs. Farmers walks


As I have gotten older I do believe my weight is leading to slowler recovery especially with the programming I am on now. The one guy I would talk to is HARA, he is on g+ he has gotten consistently stronger and leaner.


Thanks Matty. I do follow Hara's training and he's certainly a beast. I will definitely pick his brain and I'll even ask if he wouldn't mind posting up in this thread.



I don't compete or shoot for strength but I do talk and follow a couple that stick to same weight class and gains strength. Diet needs to be followed pretty closely as well as training. Carb cycling works well. As long as you aren't cutting far into the singles and not doing too fast of a cut towards the meet I think you should be able to gain strength just by watching diet and making sure training volume is managed. Hopefully some of plers like Dez can comment


There is one alternative...get your T levels checked.

I just did about 2 months ago and although my results were in the "normal" range for someone my age (54), I was in the lower end of the spectrum.

On a scale of 1-10 i'd say I was about a 2.5 at best.

Since then, and only 5 injections later, progress has been astounding !

Stronger,leaner,improved recovery rates,improved sleep quality,improved mood and libido.

You could check with your own conventional doctor although I didn't. I looked up a doctor specializing in intergrative medicine in my area. They specialize in bio-identical hormone replacement. Had a comprehensive blood analysis and was on my way with the protocol as follows,

.8 ml testosterone cypinonate (200mg/ml) self-injected once weely
1 mg tabs anastrozole taken 3 times per week
60 mg pregnenelone daily
25 mg DHEA daily

At our age, progression is difficult to come by even if doing everything right.

I've been killing it with my nutrition and training the last 2-3 years with little or no results other than maintenance. This was the last piece of the puzzle and it has been quite remarkable to say the least !!

Improve your hormonal profile !


Hey Guys,

I can only speak to what's worked for me.

About 3 years ago I felt "overweight" at 200lbs. I was moving decent weight but just felt fat (38 waist pants at 5'8). I decided to commit 12 weeks to lose weight through carb cycling and fasted cardio on off days. At the end of the 12 weeks I weighed 185lbs with a 33 waist. I was doing 5/3/1 before the diet and decided sticking with it but doing body weight work as accessory movements.

So weighing 185lbs I decided to test my main lifts...I pushed the same exact weights while weighing 15 lbs less. This is when the light bulb went off in my head. I was not optimizing my body weight. My diet mindset became more Olympic lifter vs Powerlifter. I eat clean 98% of the time and always do conditioning on non-lifting days. I consume 150-200 grams of protein every day and eat 3 solid and 3 liquid meals a day. Eating this way keeps me around 200lbs but it's a fairly lean 200lbs...I still wear 34 pants.

In regards to strength gains, all my lifts have gone up significantly because of 3 changes I made. 1) Technique 2) Programming 3) Mental toughness.

Technique: I sought out elite lifters to help me in person and at seminars (Adam Hires, Laura Phelps, Jim Wendler, Matt Rhodes, Vinny Dizenzo).

Programming: I've done 5/3/1, HTS training, Cube, 5x5, and Block Periodization. They all work and got me stronger in their own way. Block Periodization is my latest obsession. I love the volume / intensity cycling.

Mental toughness: When I overcame my fear of squatting heavy weight everything clicked for me. I went from being a 365lb parallel squatter to a 460 deep squatter. I train alone at home most of the time so this takes lots of focus and self generated intensity.

There was some mention of test levels above. I'm 43 with a 250 Test level. No symptoms of low test but I'm sure my diet and lifestyle is working in my favor.

In the end I don't see it as serving two masters. If you're optimizing as much of your body weight as possible within your weight class you will be leaner and healthier than those who don't.

Hope this is helpful.


I just started a PHAT training program with 8 weeks left of my cut for this same reason. Ill tune back in and let you know if my lift numbers go up while the scale goes down.


Good thread James, however I do not think it will progress very far.


Agreed Derek. Because other than Matty and HARA, most are not at a level to give any advice and it shows so far. In fact, that goes for the majority of threads here but especially this one. If youre training is or hasnt been in the past, geared towards strength goals(Pl, Strongman, Weightlifting) then you have no need to comment. Its something that takes time and experience to grasp.


Can..Can I add my two cents in :cry:


Why do you have no need to comment if your training has not been geared towards strongmen or powerlifting? I thought this was about staying strong or getting stronger while cutting some BF? No offense, but I would put my numbers against quite a few here and I don't train for strongman or powerlifting and I retain most if not all of my strength while some lifts go up while dropping BF.

Guess I will keep my advice to myself then, since I don't train for strongman competitions.


EAT HIM! Seriously glad someone called out that stupid post.


Well sonofabitch. First off I could of made my point alittle better but it still stands. First of when I say most, I meant the ones who already posted. Not everyone on this damn site. And congrats on your numbers and accomplishments. But sit down and think about what I wrote and if it applies to you. ATypical has different goals than alot of the guys posting in BSF. There are done things he's willing to sacrifice for strength that others here wouldn't (definition,size,etc) because he is a powerlifter.

Since his primary goal is strength, he has to approach cutting a different way. Since he is older and at a different level, I don't think everyone here has a valid answer. Now I know some may be trying to help but they need to realize when to listen/read and when to give advice. Does that make sense to you?


And sorry about the typing. It's hard to type here with an Iphone


Sir I really dont think that was he was saying, he also listed weightlifting in general.

If anything you were one of the ones he would include not exclude.

He is a Packers fan and sometimes they are unable to articulate things like they should. :slightly_smiling:


I'm guessing I would be one of those poster and as I said its from knowing some good plers and following what they do

And as to cutting differently I disagree any cut if some in a smart matter will allow you to lose bf and maintain or gain strength.


Lol thanks Derek. And he's right Bauber. There are other bbers on here that are well accomplished/experienced enough to give advice. I should of said it better
but you know as well as I do that there are those who post often that would be better off learning instead of posting.


You're right, you were one of the ones I was referring to but just know it wasn't meant as a ridicule or disrespect. Just different goals. And for the most part yes, the diet side is quite similar. There might be some differences but overall the same. Obviously training may change with changed goals and that's an area he may need advice from that others may not have the knowledge to give him


I'm certainly no "competitor" nor ever have been, but, in this regard ^^^...quite experienced.

For all you younger guys who are making progress, i'm happy for you.
But, once you reach 40-45-50 years of age, as is atypical at 44, things start to slow down and progression becomes excrutiatingly slow, if at all.

I've been in this position for the past couple of years but recently found an answer and it has turned things all around for me.

I shared my story earlier in this thread. So, for the OP, check it out for yourself.
What do you have to lose ?