T Nation

What should I do?

I am currently doing the T-dawg diet and meltdown training. I have shed about 10 pounds but have gained some LBM. I have not tested body fat but I am assuming most of this loss was body fat because I have been on the diet for just under four weeks and I have been able to increase my reps or weights on every exercise every workout. Also by looking in the mirror I can tell the difference. My dilemma now is that I will be done meltdown in a week and a half. I am not ready to go on a bulking phase yet as I still want to shed around ten more pounds. What I really want to do is build a little more functional strength for my judo class I am taking at school. Question is, can I build functional strength while on below maintenance calories? Or should I eat maintenance? Or do I have to eat a surplus if I really want to gain any functional strength? Also, other than renegade training, what programs have people had the best results with for functional strength? Thanks for the help guys.
:slight_smile: Groove

Try Meltdown II at maintenance or slightly below. It incorporates olympic lifting and plyometrics, so it should carry over very well to your judo training.

Building functional strength is mostly a “nose-to-the-grindstone” kinda thing. Willpower is mostly needed. I would think that maintenance calories (or even some excess) make it easier to build strength, but strength isn’t always the same as muscle (which usually needs above maintenance to build). “Willpower” is tough to build, and using too much of it can cause burnout.

I find that increasing the complex carbs post-workout (having good carbs and protein in your system) for about 6 hours is the best way to prevent “overtraining” while still bumping up the volume.

Joel’s program “Ripped, Rugged, Dense and Strong” is based on maintaining strength and sub-maintenance calories.

I would do a search on wrestling in the forum - people like to post suggestions on wrestling topics, and it’s very much associated with “functional” strength and maintaining bodyweight.

If you still have a fair amount of fat to lose, you could probably go with Meltdown II as previously suggestion. If you’re getting fairly lean and are simply not read to go on a bulking phase, I would go with a strength based program like 5x5.

To answer your other questions, a caloric surplus is not necessary to build strength, functional or otherwise. Even while in a negative energy balance, it is quite possible to increase strength.

If you are eating maintenance or slightly below, it is very likely that you will see great strength gains, along with excellent retention of LBM. However, the rate at which you lose fat will probably be slower than you experienced with Meltdown.

As long as your caloric deficit isn't too severe, your strength levels should increase at a fairly steady rate. Hope this helps.

Thanks for the suggestions guys. One questions for the guy who suggested 5X5 training. What number of exercises do you usually do per body part and what kind of split do you use?
:slight_smile: Groove

You can use almost any type of split you want, really. I happen to feel that a four day split worked best for me. Here was my breakdown:

M - Chest/Biceps

T - Legs/Back Extensors

W - Off

Th - Trisceps/Shoulders

F - Back/Forearm (grip)

On that split, I was using 2 movements for large muscle groups, and only 1 for smaller ones.

I recently switched to a hybrid Strength/Hypertrophy program to prioritize certain body parts. I use a 5 day split, which looks like this:

M - Chest/Back

T - Legs (quad dominant)/Shoulders

W - Traps/Forearms

Th - Back/Triceps

F - Legs (hip dom)/Biceps

On this split, I normally use a compound and isolation movement for each body part.

Hope this helps.

Thanks John. This information is usefull but I still can;t decide wether to do 5X5 or Meldown 2. Have you tried meltdow 2? Any thoughts on it, how did it work for you?

Actually, I have never done Meltdown II, but I have read through the program several times, and I like it.

I've done Meltdown I, and I got good results from it; I maintained most of my mass while dieting from 11% to 8-9% body fat. I used the program for about 3 weeks with minimal cardio and only a slight caloric deficit. All in all a good program.

As far as what you should do; I think that is dependent on your goals and your current body fat percent. If you're already pretty lean and are just trying to focus in getting stronger (with loss of fat being a positive side effect) then 5x5 is the way to go.

Hope this helps.

Hey John what exactley do you mean by back extensors(excuse the stupid question) Can you give me some exercises I could do for this. Thanks
:slight_smile: Groove

I have done Meltdown II some weeks ago and it helped to maintain muscle mass/strength while dieting. But keep in mind you’ll have to go to the gym twice per day. Also, if you’re not familiar with the Olympic lifts, I wouldn’t recommend it for you as it use them heavily.

Hope this helps!

Not a problem at all. By back extensors I mean the erector spinae group of the lower back.

These are hit with almost every variation of the dead lift, as well as good mornings, squats, etc. You shouldn’t have to worry too much about it, as they’re getting hit anyway.

If you would like to prioritize them, you could try a seated good morning; sit on a bench and lean forward until the chest hits the knees. I find I have to use less weight because my hamstrngs do not come into play nearly as much. Hope this helps.

Thanks alot John. I really appreciate your help. I am so happy with my progress so far. I have gone from 197.5(estimated 17-20% BF) to 188.5(estimated 12-15%BF) Thanks to you guys on the forum and of course all the T-mag articles My diet is in order, my training is intense and on a side note 3 chicks asked me out this week.hehehe(Most important???) I know it would be alot to ask but can you maybe give me a 5X5 program you used with lots of success.(Exercises etc…) That would be awesome. If you don;t have time that is ok too, as you have already helped me so much. Hope I can help you out in the future as I learn more.
:slight_smile: Groove


Sorry I’m getting to this so late, I must have missed it earlier. I can absolutely post my routine.

M - Chest/Biceps

A1) Flat Barbell Bench Press

A2) Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

B1) Barbell Curl

B2) Dumbbell Hammer Curl

T - Legs/Back Extensors

A1) Wide Stance Squat ("rock bottom")

A2) Still Legged Deadlift

B1) Hamstring Curl

B2) Standing Calf Raise w/ 2 sec. pause

Th - Shoulders/Triceps

A1) Dumbbell Overhead Press

A2) Bent Arm Lateral Raise *

B1) Upright Dip

B2) California Press

* just a note that although this is an extreme isolation movement, I included it because I was trying to increase the strength in my medial delts for the specific purpose of hypertrophy when I later swtiched trainingm methods.

F - Back/Forearms

A1) Weighted Pull Up (alternating grips

A2) T-Bar Row (alternatiing grips)

B1) EZ Bar Reverse Curl

B2) Wrist Curl/Extension

Finisher - Farmers Walk

This was my 4 day split, and I had good success with it. I adapted it from recommendations made by Joel Marion and changed it slightly to suit my needs. I encourage your to change it to suit yours.

Either way, I strongly encourage you to read Joel's "Ripped, Rugged, and Dense" article, and it will give you a great understanding about 5x5 training.

After that, if you have any questions, I am more than happy to help, or you can e-mail Joel at the address found at the bottom of his article. Hope this helps.

Once again, I realy appreciate the help John. You live in New York right? I live in Ottawa for the summers when I am off school. I have been meaning to take a trip down to New York for quite a while now. I think I will do so this summer. If I am going down maybe we could hook up for a training session or something T related. Let me know what you think. Also I posted another message for you on the T2 thread from a couple days ago. I am telling you here just incase you miss it or it gets deprioritized(is this a word?) on the site.
:slight_smile: Groove

Again, I am more than happy to help. Also, I’d be more than happy to get together with you; always happy to meet any of my T-Brothers.

Hopefully, but that time, the guys at T-Mag will have devised a way for those of us on the forum to communicate with each other. If not, we'll figure something out.

If we're lucky, Monkeyboy Eric will join us; he happens to know all of NYCs great little spots. Keep in tough.

Yah I hope they set up a way to communicate soon. That would be cool. Do you live in NY city? I have always wanted to go there. I am going to borrow a digital camera from the school communications centre so I can take some before and after pics. I am pretty excited to start using methoxy and 4 AD EC. Hopefully we’ll see some results!! We’ll deffinately keep in touch through the forum for now. I am sure I’ll have more questions for you in the future lol
:slight_smile: Groove