T Nation

Training for a while, But Never Got Decent Strength Gains

How’s your day going?

Some stats:
Start BW ( at 17) 125 Pounds
Current BW (at 24) 195 Pounds (probably 18-20% BF, Some upper ab definition, everything else is well defined.)
Current Bench: 225
Current Squat: 275
Current Deadlift: 405
BW pullups: 20-23 (depends on how I feel)
BW Chest dips: 30

I am currently 24, I have been “working-out” since I was 17. I started training using the programs in this book: https://www.amazon.com/Mens-Health-Power-Training-Performance-Based-ebook/dp/B001EHE22A
It worked pretty well and i gained about 10 pounds, don’t remember how much strength but it was a lot more than it was. I was doing a ton of running on top of that because I wanted to join the military.

I went to college instead and in the first semester gained 20 pounds, it was suprisingly clean I still had abs. All I did that semester was this: 3 sets of max BW chest dips, followed by 3 sets of max BW pullups, followed by an ab circuit or some arm pump stuff depending on the day. I did that three times a week, it was short but I pushed myself until my muscles would almost burst, I worked hard on those 6 sets. I gained 20 pounds doing only that and in a massive calorie surplus. That college cafeteria food, amirite? I proceeded to keep that weight (155) until my sophomore year when I went to Europe for a few months.

The first month me and two friends recklessly went to Europe a month early before our study abroad semester with no money and we were homeless for a month backpacking, it was a great time and saw some cool shit, we were hangry but it was cool. The food was crap at the campus in Rome so I lost back down to 140. That summer I had an easy job and I ran a variant of the program I’m going to share in a moment. I gained up to 170 (pretty clean). My strength actually went up a decent amount, bench 235, Squat 300, dead 375.

I was still interested in the military so I signed up for USMC OCS, which is like bootcamp for Marine Officers. I trained up for that my Junior year and went the summer before my senior year. It was all running and weightlifting once a week. OCS itself was pretty horrible, very fast runs and hikes that were like speedwalking with 80-90 pounds on your back. The pace of the runs were about 7 minute mile pace for atleast 3 miles a run. We did gut busting physical training every day. The worst were probably the runs, I was good at calisthenics so those were easy but the running sucked. I made it through and at the end I was back down to 140. (Yeah, I lost 30 pounds in 10 weeks, it kicked my ass.) Senior year I gained back to about 175-180ish. I didn’t consistently stay on a program from then till I graduated college. The summer after I graduated I was waiting on going to TBS (which is a finishing school for Marine officers, it teaches Infantry tactics and skills, and generally introduces you to the chaos of warfare, in my opinion it was harder than OCS.)

That summer I was depressed out of my mind for personal reasons and I got soft. TBS was hard when I got there due to my lack of preparedness and its utter difficulty. We did a ton of hiking, and by hiking I mean speedwalking on crappy terrain carrying 60-90 pounds plus a flak jacket. Hard to get used to but we did it so much that adaptions occured and I was a master at it by the end. I probably went to the gym about 3 times, there wasn’t much time for it and I was gaining weight by literally doing cardio (hiking). By the end of it I weighed 190, my arms had grown huge for unknown reasons and I still had abs. The only thing I could do though (physically) was hike. I hadn’t done any lifting for 6 months straight. That brings me to now. Now I am going to the gym every day and it has been difficult re-establishing the mind-muscle connection to even my pecs and lats, not to mention my arms or any small muscles. My nutrition isn’t great given I have no kitchen and I cook literally everything in a crock pot.

Sorry about the autobio but I think it is important context for the advice I need.
My question is: How to I increase my strength on my big lifts while maintaining and increasing my cardio(runnung) capacity without loosing too much weight?

My current program is this:

Sorry about the formatting.
What I mean by sled work is I get a sled and put 90 pounds on it and just go to town and push it around until I feel like I’m going to vomit or I can’t walk.

by lifting weights and also running. And eating enough to support your goals. The idea that you can’t be muscular and still run is such nonsense. Have you ever seen an nfl running back? Or an olympic sprinter?

Cardio should not ever hinder muscle gains. It just doesn’t work like that. If you’re eating enough carbs and protein to support muscle growth, the cardio will only help you, because you’ll also be in better condition to push through difficult lifting sessions.

As for your lifting… That’s poor progress for as much weight as you’ve gained. I’m sorry to put it so bluntly, but it is what it is. Mind muscle connection has nothing to do with your lack of results.

Nutrition is likely your biggest problem, considering you said it sucks. And unfortunately, there is no program that will overcome shitty nutrition.

But that being said, why does your nutrition suck if you have a crock pot? A crock pot is awesome, man. There’s so much you can cook that would be VERY conducive to supporting your goals with that. It’s probably the best cooking apparatus there is for people who are serious about weightlifting goals and improving their nutrition. You need to spend some time on the internet reading crock pot recipes. Start that immediately.

What in the world is this ‘justice program’? Who wrote it? I don’t like it at all, especially for someone with your lifts. It looks like a specialized powerlifting program for peaking for a meet, kinda. I’d find something else. 5/3/1 is a good program. Really, anything with higher volume in general. Even a more traditional bodybuilding program would likely suit you better at your strength levels. Specialization in low reps will have you plateaued indefinitely.

The CrockPot is the GOD for cookware for lifters. Honestly I have 2 and I attribute my good eatings habits to this.

In one pot make a stew. In the other pot make a chili. Literally all your food for the week is ready to go.

Just do @isdatnutty’s beginner program.

I can’t believe he didn’t shamelessly plug that here after writing it out in his training log.

But seriously, it’ll work.

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Haha thanks man! Don’t want to try to market it and become the next Stronglifts lol. Figure serious lifters or curious lifters will find it here if they look!


IDK man, I wish I stumbled across your program instead of SL when I started lifting.

Thanks man, I wish I would have done a lot of things differently from the beginning lol. Wish I would have done more assistance and more conditioning for sure!

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