T Nation

Which Direction is Best?


Earlier this year I began the War Room Strategies to Maximize Fat Loss. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get it together to stay on a diet and my visits to the gym decreased (I rationalized that school and work took up too much of my time - but i guess it's always easy to find excuses). Long story short, I managed to build up my strength a bit and GAIN weight.

I recently moved and started at the new gym. I didn't bother to continue with that specific program. What I do instead is:

3x a week

squats 3x5reps (currently at 265)
bench press 3x5 (currently at 225)
deadlifts 3x5 (currently at 190)
and 1 other exercise at random (military press, bent-over rows, etc)

The current weight I lift has increased since starting anew (1.5 months ago) by 20-45lbs.

Two weeks ago I began yet another diet (and have kept up with it so far). Being a poor graduate student, I opted for simple and cheap:

Breakfast: 3 eggs, 1 can of Tuna, 1 slice of butter
Lunch: 2 chicken breasts, 1 can of greenbeens, 1 slice of butter
Dinner: 2 cans of Tuna, 3tbsp of mayonnaise
Snacks are usually flower-seeds, and protein shakes.
I drink about 1 gallon of water and 2 cans of diet coke or diet dr pepper and usually have a low-carb energy drink.

*My problem is:
At looking at this forum again, articles I've seen say that I need to concentrate on either weight-loss or building muscle.

Since I'm 330lbs I want to lose weight; however, I like my increase strength and would like to continue increasing it. What can I change to best accomplish both (with a priority over weight loss)? Or should I simply work with high rep, low weights and work on my diet more?

Any advice is greatly appreciated.


Nice job on getting started on a solid weight training program and attempting dieting. At your point, I wouldn't worry about counting calories or any type of dieting at all.

Just focus on eating clean foods. Primarily meat, vegetables, and healthy fats w/ carbs maybe in the morning and after your workout. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. Cut out all calorie containing beverages and just focus on eating clean and healthy.

Keep lifting, and look for the starting strength thread on this forum. It is pretty similar to what you are doing now.

Right now I would focus on eating more, as it looks like you are barely getting 2000kcal a day, which is pretty extreme for a guy your size. Eat more vegetables to fill up w/ and eat some clean carbs after your workout.

At 330 lbs you have a long road ahead of you for fat loss. Develop your diet to the point where you could eat that way consistently for the rest of your life, w/o being tempted by any sugar, junk food, or other assorted crap.

Keep lifting and eating healthy, don't worry about dieting or bulking or any of it, and you will get stronger and lose fat.

Backsliding is possible and will probably occur, if you miss workouts or end up eating something you shouldn't have just get back on your plan as soon as possible after it happens. It sounds like you already experienced it once and are back for more, so thats a good sign. Try not to let it happen too often though.

Starting Strength:


research a bit in addition to posting. there is a wealth of knowledge on this site and on these forums, and elsewhere in the world as well

First 12 sets 3x a week is not going to get you very far. Considering you are doing but 5 reps an exercise, youre basically stalled a few feet form the starting line. time for a reevaluation
of training.

So youre training the three big lifts consistently. Your deadlift is pitiful compared to the others. your deadlift should be somewhere around your squat

to me, this suggests you arent going deep enough on your squats


if you want hypertrophy (muscle growth) you need to increase volume significantly, probably by twice as much as you are now. that means sets, but reps as well. something like this

SQUAT 4x10,10,8,6

DEADLIFT 4x10,8, 8,6

BENCHPRESS 4x10, 8, 8, 6

MILITARY PRESS 4x 10, 8, 8, 6

SEATED ROW 4x 10, 8, 8, 6

That is not necessarily optimal, because you will be exhausted after doing a higher volume of squats and deads in the same workout. consider a split. consider it

BUT if you look that program is not unreasonable. 20 sets with 170 reps (thats not that crazy) but expect to drop your weight and lose some stamina. like i said, your stalled man, need to move forward

PM me for more. I have to run


I do find myself hungry, and I'm guessing that my sluggishness during the day is a byproduct, which is why I down the energy drinks.

I am worried about not dieting (having set meal plans) because I feel I need the structure.

I read up on a few diets and thought of the Anabolic Diet before I started my current one. However, when I actually calculated the food total (cal = bodyweight in lbs X 18 with 60%fat/ 40%protein) and tried it for 3 days and found that even I couldn't handle the food intake so I lowered the intake - it seems I lowered it too dramatically.

Taking my need for such structure into consideration I'll try to re-work this out for higher calorie intake unless you have some more specific suggestions. Thanks.


Well 330 x 18 = is like 6000 kcal. That is overkill and getting that much food in on a daily basis is harder than most workouts.

I was on thib's war room strategies plan not too long ago and I like the structure too, both when trying to lose weight and gain weight.

For more specific recommendations, since you are a student and probably don't have the luxury of a fridge to store daily meals, your lunch looks ok. Dinner should be a better meal, work on upping your veggie intake. Eat more meat, chicken, lean beef, fish, for dinner where you can prepare it beforehand and leave it sitting in the fridge and add a couple servings of brocolli/green beans/cucumbers/or salad w/ olive oil and vinegar. Save the cans of tuna for snacks during the day.

Poetikaal, has a point on your squat and deadlift ratio. I would double check your form and depth on the squat and your form on the deadlift. There are resources all over so I'll leave you to your own means to figure it out. If your belly gets in the way of a proper conventional deadlift setup, try pulling sumo.