T Nation

Transitioning from SS to a Cut


I have been on Starting Strength(the Practical Programming version so no power cleans) for the past 5 months and I am extremely satisfied with the progress I've made. It isn't super-freaky amazing but I've never had anything resembling strength before in my life and I feel awesome with my gains.

That having been said, I know I still have a lot of room to improve with linear progression if I kept going with the program but I want to take some time and lose some weight since I've gone from 175->200#. And when I say weight, I really mean fat of course. For reference here are my current lifts:

Squat 250# 3x5
Press 115# 3x5
Bench 145# 3x5
Deadlift 315# 1x5

As you can see, I'm still pretty "weak" over all and definitely still a beginner. However, Starting Strength at this point still requires a pretty big calorie surplus to maintain gains at this rate and I would feel more comfortable cutting down to 180# or so before upping my calories.

I don't think I'll lose a significant amount of strength doing this since I'm sure a lot of the excess weight is fat anyways. I'me probably around 20-25% bf now, and even when I was 175# I wasn't less than 18%. I'm sure if I cut sensibly now I can get lower since I have very obviously added muscle mass.

All that crazy ass intro to say I'm looking at two programs right now for my cut: Greyskull LP or 5/3/1. They both still allow me to gain strength if possible, and they both incorporate an AMRAP set which I like. I think given my low strength levels, I can make some progress even when on a low level cut(aiming for .5-1lb a week loss).

One additional criteria I'm considering is I would like to get a bit of hypertrophy-inducing training. This is making me think that 5/3/1 with it's larger(relatively) amount of volume and assistance exercises is my preferred choice. I know I won't make much if any strength progress with just 2-3 cycles of 5/3/1 but that's ok if it can help me maintain my strength during the cut.

Sorry for the huge post for a stupidly simple question, but I have a bad tendency to overexplain things. Does this all sound reasonable or is there something better I should look into?

Also, once I'm satisfied with my weight, I'm going to go back to a program with linear progression and keep my calorie surplus to only a couple of hundred calories and use light cardio to regulate my BF%.


Keep doing SS, it's working.

Fat loss = diet for the most part. Start decreasing your calories slowly, mainly taking away carbs. If you want to drop 1lb a week, you need to have a deficit of about 500 cals a day. Keep dropping 200-300 cals a week until you get to the proper level. Eat the bulk of your carbs AROUND training where they'll benefit muscle growth and recovery, but won't be around to be turned into fat at other times. You can also limit calories further on non-training days as your expenditure won't be as high.

Add in some cardio on off days. Fasted cardio (before eating anything at morning) is a popular option because it'll basically burn only fat.

You're still in a position where you should be able to at least maintain strength while shedding fat. I'd at least give it a shot before jumping to another program. If you hit the wall and stop gaining strength, lift as heavy as you can and keep doing the cardio and reduced cals.

If you want a program that's more targeted toward fat loss, circuit training and/or complexes with compound movements are the way to go (Thibs superhero program for example).