T Nation

Where Should I Go From Here?

Paths diverged, need help !

Hey guys, seeking some wisdom here. Long time lurker. But first time posting !

Some stats/background info.

*37 yo. 6’1’
*Always been fat/skinny fat. Ex long distance runner.
*Started weight training four months ago - mainly madcow 5x5 with some 3x8 accessory work. Last time I weight trained was a year earlier.
*Eating mostly with a slight deficit, trying to get at least 200 g protein a day.
*supplements are creatine mono and whey concentrate.
*body weight kept the same across the four months “around 220” but I can visually tell my composition has improved.
*current 1RMs are DL:396, Bench Press: 247, Military press: 148.5, BB row 308. I do not currently squat due to a couple of slipped discs + bad hip mobility. I haven’t plateaued across any lifts yet, but I think I’ll have to put DLs on the back burner for a while, starting to take a toll on my back/spinal erectors as my lack of hip mobility is putting most of the work on my lower back.

I hope you can check latest progress pics and give me some advice on the path I should take from now forward

Q1- Should I still maintain a deficit and keep on lifting, hoping to hit maybe a single digit body fat, then eat with a surplus and bulk from there ? I just did an inbody analysis, and it tells me I’m @ 14.3% BF, have no idea how accurate it is!”

Q2- I know I have underdeveloped musculature in many areas. Should I abandon 5x5 and maybe move into something of a higher volume. Like a 6day Push/pull ? Would the answer differ if I’m cutting or bulking ? Do you recommend based on my current condition more emphasis on certain muscle groups ?

Q3- doing zero cardio now, would it help in any way to incorporate while I’m on a deficit or would it hurt ?

My goal is to reach my natural bodybuilding potential. I’m not in a hurry but need to see some sort of constant progress to stay motivated !

Hey, welcome to the board :slightly_smiling_face:

Current plan sounds solid & you don’t look fat/skinnyfat. Don’t try to rush things, you’ve been consistent for just 4months & look better than most after 4mo in a 5x5. The best programs are the ones that you will stick to & attack with effort.

It’s a long term game. You won’t reach your bodybuilding potential for at least 3years, most likely longer due to age & adult responsibilities. Don’t worry about imbalances now. Lift hard.

Advice - figure out a way to safely program a squat movement pattern into your training. If back squats give you trouble, try front squats, goblet squats, hip-belt squats, etc… Consider keeping a log here or in the training log section to keep yourself motivated & accountable.

You are off to a great start!

Edit TLDR
Q1. Keep doing what you are doing.
Q2. Do whatever you want, just do it consistently & with sweaty grunts
Q3. Go walking outside. Nature is pretty awesome

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Well appreciated brother ! Solid advice. I’m currently experimenting with hip belt squats. Looks like the only form that goes well with my mobility level.

Just opinions:

  1. Keep doing what you’re doing for diet. If it’s working, stick with it. Especially if you plan to make changes to your lifting/exercise plan.

  2. If you want to look more like a bodybuilder you can totally move to a more BB or “split” style routine. Especially if you have trouble with squats and deads. Something with more work for individual body parts. I think 6 days per week is a little much, and 3-4 is a little more realistic.

  3. For health and just the general feeling of being “fit” I would consider doing Something for cardio/conditioning. Being out of breathe isn’t cool.

But it you really, really want to be a Body Builder you might save the serious, structured cardio workouts, specifically for burning calories, for the future. Like focus on continuing to build muscle and improve composition now and save the cardio fat burning for the future, when progress slows down.

Just in general, there are lots of lifts and exercises for legs/lower body that aren’t squats (or deadlifts). Many of them can make you stronger which improves mobility.

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Thanks brother. I do not want to be a bodybuilder as much as I want to see how deep the rabbit hole goes for my body. Probably will start throwing in a few short treadmill HITs around.

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