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What is a Beginner in Starting Strength?


I have searched around and read numerous articles and FAQs from Rippetoe himself, but I am still not quite certain about what constitutes a beginner for his program. I have never lifted for more than a year continuously, and I have currently been lifting for 16 weeks or so. I began with some NROL Fat Loss and then just finished about 8 weeks of Meltdown Training. (Which, by the way, kicked my ass for all 8 weeks. Amazing program.)

I wanted to try something a little different and found his program while searching through some threads. Am I still "new" enough to take advantage of this program? After doing the first day, it seemed too easy when compared to Meltdown. Further, I know that losing fat and building muscle at once is a debatable topic, but at 20% bf, would this program still be effective if my eating is clean? Rippetoe said that "chubbies" can do this workout if they manage their intake well and eat clean. It is just a harder balance. Any thoughts?


Short answer. If you have to ask, you are.


If you're at 20% bodyfat now, what were you before your 16 week fat loss stint?


I am not really sure. I didn't get it checked. While I was doing those programs, I didn't change my eating habits so I probably didn't lose much.

Before anyone says anything, I know, I know, diet is the most important thing. I am trying to get better and doing it slowly.


I know a lot of people don't like the V-Diet suggestion, but I tried it purely off Dan John saying "fat loss should be an all out war" vs a long term thing where you tend to fall back into the bad habit.

While I can't comment on long term yet, it did actually change my cravings and tastes for foods I never liked the least bit. Just a thought :slight_smile:


I wouldn't recommend starting strength for you for the reasons you mentioned in your OP. I would look into a basic program for sure, but one with more emphasis on intensity and volume. You have to develop some better eating practices along the way.

Can you share you strength stats at the moment?


Thanks for the suggestion. I have actually looked at it, but it would run me $575.00 and I honestly don't have that kind of money to drop. I suppose since I wouldn't be eating I wouldn't need groceries so that would be part of it, but it still seems high. If it were $300.00 or so I would certainly give it some more thought.


My 1RM are something like:
Bench: 240
Squat: 330
Deadlift: 325

Today I did:

Squats 3x5 @ 245lbs
Bench 3x5 @ 190lbs
Deadlift 1x5 @ 245

Relative to my weight of 250, I do not think I have that much strength. I feel like I should be deadlifting and squatting closer to 450 and benching in the 300s. Correct me if I am wrong.

Also, if you have any program in mind, please let me know! I am open to all suggestions!


if you looked at the book...

a beginner (from the perspective of 'starting strength' is anyone who hasn't taken a linear progression program (adding a little bit of weight each week) as far as they can before stalling out. i don't see what would be wrong with your doing starting strength. you probably don't want the gallon of milk each day since you aren't a skinny kid, but i don't see what would be wrong with your doing the program. i don't think there is any point doing anything more complicated than a linear progression program when there are still linear gains to be made.

i suppose you could do a program more geared towards fat burning... but, really, lifting heavy weights burns calories and if you eat up your protein and persist with linear progression then your body will need to build some muscle to prevent you getting buried. are you getting enough protein? if you make just one dietary change it should be to make sure you get enough protein to fuel muscle gains.


Sorry, I didn't have the book on hand and no bookstore carries it. I just read the SS article on here and Googled all the information I could find. Thanks for answering that question though. I believe I am still a beginner or pretty close to it.

I think my diet goals right now will be to only drink water, except for a glass of milk with my protein shakes, eat 200+ grams of protein per day, take a multivitamin, and fish oil. I feel like if I try to drop everything at once, I will fail. Or maybe I am being a pu**y.