T Nation

Trim Wants to Be Lean


Brief dynamic warmup
A1) Back squat (a few ramp up sets), 185lbsx5, 212.5lbsx3-(relaxed at bottom on rep 3- the fuck am I doin’??), 237.5 lbsx2 (5 min rest between sets- took my sweet ass time)
B1) Leg press machine: 370lbs x15, x15, x10, x10 (1-2 min rest)
C1) Prone leg curl machine: 90lbs x10, x10, x10
D1) Smith machine standing calf raises off step 135lbs x10, x10, x10

Kept tight with no lifting belt except on one stupid rep where I wasn’t as focused. Looking at the yoga-pants’ed ass on the treadmill in front of me. Need to work at the power rack facing the wall next time. Oh, dirty thoughts while squatting…


A1) Barbell standing overhead press: (several warm up sets) 105 lbsx3, 120 lbsx3, 135lbs x5
B1) Dips (Bodyweight) with upright torso: x8, x6, x5, x5, x3
C1) Pullups (Bodyweight) with neutral grip: x8, x5, x5, x4
D1) Standing biceps curl with straight bar/medium grip: 65lbs x10, x10, x10,x10

Calories 3000-3200 over the last two days, way above target. This is my near max week in the cycle and I’m hitting my numbers nicely. Upping the whey protein, lowering the cals today. Overloading at night because I’m dead tired after work and sometimes Chinese is there on the table. Fuck


PM workout

A1) Barbell Deadlift (warm up sets), 192.5lbs x5, 220lbsx3, 244lbs x5 (tried to hold breath in the entire rep and re-set at the bottom; I tend to exhale at the top without thinking; extended thoracic spine hard and kept hips from dropping)
B1) Incline 45 degree leg raise x15, x12, x12, x10, x8
C1) Back extension 45 degree x15, x12, x12, x10


Quickie birthday workout
AM Workout

Some band work, face pulls, horizontal abduction
A1) Barbell bench press: (warmup): 135 lbsx3, 160 lbs x3, 185 lbs x4, x1
B1) Incline dumbbell bench press with rotation 45’s x15, x10, x10
C1) Supported dumbbell rows: 55’s x10, x10, x10

Just working on my form and feeling these movements because they are sub-max, and I’m not doing a ton of volume with 5/3/1. I’m feeling leaner with less DOMS 48 hours after these workouts than with the volume I typically did last year.

I hit 40 today and the weather sucks as usual (-20 with wind-chill may be worse than usual), but I’m enjoying life and even the grind so far. I feel good about where I want to take strength building to eventually lean out by summer without overdoing calories this part of the year. More plans and updates to follow…



Bodyweight: 215lbs

Neck circumference (widest): 16 inches
Arm circumference (widest lateral head of tri): 15 inches
Shoulders: (widest): 49.5 inches
Fat belly circumference (widest): 40.5 inches
Quadriceps (2" above patella): 17 inches
Calf circumference (widest): 16 inches


Currently doing 5/3/1 with plans for at least two cycles/two months, and then will transition to another program. Here’s my rough outline for the year, transitioning points for programs. First phase: Gain as much strength as possible without gaining bodyfat focusing on barbell/compound lift (5/3/1 then Starting Strength until May), Second phase: increase volume and variety of exercise to include more explosive/athletic movements, while reducing bodyfat to sub 10%, with bodyweight probably 180-190lbs based on my height, including sprints, jumps, tennis and basketball; Third phase: Adjust programs for hypertrophy and decreased bodyfat based on where I’m at.


Deload week

Brief dynamic warmup
A1) Back squat (a few ramp up sets), 95lbs x5, 135lbs x5, 160lbs x5
B1) Leg press machine: 370lbs x15, x15 (1-2 min rest)
C1) Prone leg curl machine: 90lbs x10, x10, x10
D1) Smith machine standing calf raises off step 135lbs x15, x15, x10, x10


Bodyweight 214lbs
AM Workout Deload

A1) Barbell standing overhead press: (warm up sets) 85 lbsx5, 98 lbsx5, 115 lbs x5
B1) Dips (Bodyweight) with upright torso: x9, x6, x4
C1) Pullups (Bodyweight) with neutral grip: x9, x6, x5
D1) Standing biceps curl with straight bar/medium grip: 65lbs x10, x10, x10

Great pump in the arms today. With these weak ass weights for the barbell OH I felt the accessory work was harder today. Guess it shows how used to higher volume with lower resistance I have been used to.


Hey Trim, just binged through your log (I’m on night shift this week, and the wife is still asleep), and I have a few thoughts/suggestions for you, if you don’t mind taking unsolicited input from an internet stranger.

  • First, your consistency in getting the gym every week is a big strength, don’t lose it. You’re a lot more consistent than I am - ref: 4 month layoff in the beginning of 2018, and 2.5 month layoff at the end of 2018 in my log.

  • Program hopping and inconsistent diet are your banes.

  • Don’t do 5/3/1 for 2 cycles, and then switch to Starting Strength! 1) 5/3/1 is a program that can be tailored for beginner, intermediate or advanced lifters, and it takes more than 2 cycles to really start to see results. 2) Starting Strength is a beginner program that’s built for someone who is totally untrained, only works when run at an extreme caloric surplus, and will add fat as well as muscle, which is counter to your goals. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Rippetoe hater, I have Starting Strength and I love it for the detailed information on lifting mechanics, but SS is not a program built for your goals.

  • I’m a big proponent of 5/3/1 in all its variations, but there are plenty of other sustainable programs out there if you decide you don’t like it. As long as it focuses on multi-joint compound exercises, with some assistance and conditioning, some mechanism to let you see progress (ex: AMRAP sets in 5/3/1) and you can keep at it, it will work. My suggestion would be to give a single variation of 5/3/1 a 6-month run, and then switch to a different 5/3/1 template, maybe one of the challenges here on T-nation.

  • Don’t try to fix everything all at once, especially your diet. I see several times in your log where you jump into an unsustainable diet with great intentions, keep it up for a little while, and then totally fall off the wagon. You don’t have to cut out all alcohol or junk food, just learn to make small, moderate changes over time. Deprivation can lead to cravings which can lead to bingeing. You can’t out work a completely crappy diet, but I’ve proven than you can totally outwork a mostly decent diet with a little crap thrown in for variety. Aim for 80% clean to start, and adjust from there. I’m totally new to trying to cut weight, but I was able to build a fairly strong physique eating at a surplus with mostly good food, and working my ass off in the gym. Not lean by any means, but strong and I looked it.

  • It helps to have a goal to work toward. “Gain as much strength as possible” is a goal, but is somewhat vague. “I’m going to compete in a strongman competition in 5 months where I have to do a max rep deadlift, a max effort log press, farmer’s carries, and a yoke carry” provides clarity like nothing else. I’m not saying to compete in strongman, but pick something that’s tough but achieveable, and work toward it single-mindedly for a few months. Body weight and body fat goals are fine, but you get those in the kitchen, not the gym.

Of course, I’m a random stranger on the internet, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. I’m stronger and fitter in my 50’s than I’ve ever been, though, so I like to think that my thoughts have a little bit of value. :stuck_out_tongue:


Hey Trim in for the log here, looks like you’ve started being very consistent.
Didn’t read all your log, but you’ve come a long way from the photo on the start of the log and until now.

Listen to @OTHSteve I’m all in there with him.

I’m very much a Wendler fan boy, I’ve strayed a bit from 531 but I love it.
Stick with it for a year, start with a low TM and keep grinding.
The important thing is getting to the gym.

DO NOT diet, eat a little less, Start by reducing (not remove it) sugars like pasta, bread, rice and potatoes.
Eat fairly clean on an everyday basis, if reducing sugars, you can eat a bit more meat.
Then you have room to have some wine, beer and good food in the weekends but don’t binge.

Goals are as important as well, if you don’t compete you could look at your 1, 3 or 5 rep strength.
You did test 1RM by the end of 2018, so that could be a goal, lots of us have that as a goal.
Look back at those numbers and pick some new ones work toward it. But don’t test every week or month you could test after 3 or 4 cycles of 531.

As Steve said I hope you don’t mind me chiming in as well.
Good luck and keep grinding.

I Like this post, you know what you’re doing and know what you want.

I won’t say give up the popping abs, but be realistic about it. Start with a simple goal, drop down to maybe 205 or just under 200 because well it’s under 200. Then stay at that weight for a while. Let the body get used to that weight, then decide what to do.


Thank you so much for the advice! A little secret…(ok, maybe it’s not a secret based on my log), I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. I think I have a suitable program, the novelty of it gets me excited, only to find out I get bored with it because I expect quicker results.

Also- I’m just following the basic articles of 5/3/1. I didn’t buy the e-book, or the Starting Strength book for that matter, but I thought I could just get the gist of both programs if I read articles on the internet for free and some training logs. You say don’t do Starting Strength, I’m all ears. You seem to know better than me from experience (which is what I’m doing by fucking up, btw).

So the decision will be keep doing 5/3/1 and it’s variations until at least July. More than strength, my ultimate goal is still being low body fat, but I always worry about uncovering puny muscles under the fat. Hence the indecision and multiple goals at once (I should and do know better). Would you call that anxiety or impatience? IDK.

For the strength goals by then, I will increase my 3 rep max for Squat to 300lbs, Deadlift to 355lbs, Bench to 245lbs, and Overhead Press to 180lbs. I just pulled those numbers out my ass without actually doing the math for progression from now. Sound good?


Thanks. If you’ve done the programs and had success, I’m all for advice or criticism.


A1) Barbell Deadlift (warm up sets), 162lbs x5, 185lbsx3, 205lbs x5 (tried to hold breath in the entire rep and re-set at the bottom; I tend to exhale at the top without thinking; extended thoracic spine hard and kept hips from dropping)
B1) Incline 45 degree leg raise x15, x12, x12
C1) Farmer’s walks 70’s in each hand x100 feet x4 rounds


Program hopping is an easy trap to fall into, especially with as many neat, shiny programs as get posted on the main page here at T-nation. Just remember that any (non-stupid) program will work if you commit to it and work hard at it. There are like a half-dozen different 5/3/1 challenges here on this site, and there’s a lot of information available on-line that gets you in the right direction. I would recommend getting one of the 5/3/1 books just for the motivational writing, and for help understanding the bases behind the programs. Also, you’d be throwing a few dollars in the direction of the guy who designed the program, which is always a good thing.

You seem to have a pretty good program going right now, though, and you’re making gains, so I see no reason to change anything at the moment. One thing I don’t see you doing is any conditioning, though. Wendler recommends prowler pushing or hill sprints, or even walking (with a weighted vest or a backpack full of something heavy if you can). I do a ~20 min. conditioning workout at the end of my training days right now, but whatever works for you, just do conditioning at least 2x/week.

I think your target numbers are aggressive, especially since you’re going to be operating in a caloric deficit. Not impossible if you were eating for gains, at least to hit a single at those numbers, if not a triple. Pretty much all of my strength gains have been while eating at a fairly substantial surplus, and the challenge I’m doing right now is my first experience with working at a deficit. I’d say keep doing 5/3/1 cycles, and bump up your training maxxes by 5/10# each cycle, and see what your AMRAP sets do. Keep your focus on your primary goal, which is to drop weight. As long as you’re getting enough protein, you should keep getting stronger, and the muscle you uncover will be solid.


Thanks again. For conditioning I’ve been doing around 4 laps of farmer’s carry’s on DL day, tennis (indoor doubles) once per week, and the occasional TM walk or shoveling snow. I intend to increase it. Wanted to see how I felt with work and increasing lifting days from 3 to 4x week. So far so good.

My targets are aggressive? Nah… Only if I cut enough calories to shrink myself into a bean pole :slight_smile:


Your 1RMs by the start of the year.

I would say as Steve your goals are a bit aggressive, but if you put all into it, and really want the numbers, yes by the end of the year if not all then a few of them would fall.

For weight loss, I’ve found that walking around 13 - 16.000 steps a day is pretty good, especially if you’re in a very slight deficit.

I’ll sit here on the sideline cheering mate.


Aggressive isn’t the same thing as impossible, for sure. Your training and diet will have to be on point in order to hit those lifting goals while still meeting your primary goal of weight loss, though.

If you’re able to go through 5 cycles of 5/3/1 without having to reset your training maxxes, which is what you can get done by the beginning of July, that will be 25# added to your training max for upper body, and 50# added to your lower body maxxes. Your true 1RM may progress faster or slower than that, but you’ll be able to judge that by how many reps you get on your AMRAP sets. I’ve gone 10 cycles of 5/3/1 without resetting, but that was with a substantial caloric surpus to fuel things, and I wasn’t eating clean. You can probably do it with the right diet, if you really commit and fine-tune as you go.

Don’t hesitate to reset your training max down once you start missing reps on the AMRAP sets. A lower training max doesn’t mean you’re not getting stronger. If I were to guess based on my personal experience, overhead press is the first thing that will have to reset, because that lift just does not want to go up like the other ones.


Fairly proud of sticking to the calories at our below suggested level (2300) as well as macros. I routinely hover at 30-40% fat intake (primarily mono- or unsaturated) with protein never below 30%. I have at least 3 scoops of Metabolic drive per day (usually lunch) with Flax seed to fill in some gaps, and my post-workout is two scoops of Surge Recovery and 3 scoops of Mag-10 an hour after that with lots of water.

Dropped a pound, down to 213 today.

Last deload day of my first cycle of 5/3/1 (whoo-hoo!)

A1) Barbell bench press: (warm up) 115 lbs x5, 135lbs x10, 158 lbs x5
B1) Incline dumbbell bench press (semi-supinated) 60’s x15, x15
C1) One arm dumbbell row 60’s x15, x10
D1) Bent over dumbbell fly 15’s x15, x15

Conditioning: Battle ropes with mini-squat stance, 90 sec on (different wave moves), 90 seconds off, 3 rounds- holy fuck nuts arm pump…


Battle ropes can wreck your shit! We have some at my gym at work, but I haven’t played with any since back when I was doing Crossfit. Maybe I need to break them out sometime and take a break from the elliptical for my at-work conditioning.


2/10/19 PM Workout

A1) Back squat (ramp up sets x4), 170lbsx5, 195x5, 220x3-racked it, 220x3, 205x5 (joker set?)
B1) 45 Degree seated leg press: 385lbs x8, x8, x8, x8
C1) Prone hamstring curl: 90lbs x10, x10, x10
D1) Smith machine standing calf raise off step: 135lbsx15, x12, x12, x10

So I wimped-out on my AMRAP set, just racked it and felt I couldn’t get it after the third rep. I was using the standing supports and no spotter, because every time I squat now the gym’s one power rack with safety pins is being taken up for an hour (God I hope they get a second soon). I don’t know if my legs felt shakey or what, but my brain told me to bail. Probably coulda got 4 though.

Today’s meals

Breakfast: 5 whole egg omlette, seasoning rub, 2 tbsp of EVOO, one cup of cooked Irish oatmeal with one pint of fresh blackberries, coffee with cream

Peri-workout: 2 scoops of Surge Recovery with water post, followed by 3 scoops of Mag-10 w/lemon flavoring

Dinner: Reverse pan seared ribeye (look it up) 12 oz with olive oil, red swiss chard steamed

Baby asprin, Curcumin, Vit D

Snow again in Northwest Indiana; kinda grown to hate this time of year. It’s good if you like snowmobiling, ice fishing, drinking, and Netflix. I only enjoy two of the four.