T Nation

Will 5/3/1 Fit my Lifting Goals?

Anyway, if you are actually going to eat sub maintenance calories, I would only do 5-3-1 for the 2 main exercises, and don’t do any plus reps or assistance exercises. I don’t believe that anyone should do sets of more than 5 or 6 on a sub maintenance diet because the main effect of those sets is to deplete a muscle so that it will rebuild, and its not going to happen on submaintenance calories. The only thing that higher rep (6+) sets will do is insure that you lose the most muscle possible while you are reducing your bodyweight.

The more work you do with submaintenence calories, the more muscle you will lose. I would NOT have a slight reduction below maintenance level calories ever. By maintenence I mean what you need to maintain your ideal bodyweight, and fuel your training and recovery. I would either cut fast from 20 to 15% while doing maintenence strength training ONLY, or eat a high performance diet to add muscle and let your body naturally move from 20 to 15% as it wants to do over time.

If you do the fast cur first and maintain 95% of your strength you will get stronger fast when you bring your calories up. High performance OR fast cut and strength maintence are the only paths that work. The in between path is much less efficient and changing body comp and increasing muscle.

[quote]mertdawg wrote:
Anyway, if you are actually going to eat sub maintenance calories, I would only do 5-3-1 for the 2 main exercises, and don’t do any plus reps or assistance exercises. I don’t believe that anyone should do sets of more than 5 or 6 on a sub maintenance diet because the main effect of those sets is to deplete a muscle so that it will rebuild, and its not going to happen on submaintenance calories. The only thing that higher rep (6+) sets will do is insure that you lose the most muscle possible while you are reducing your bodyweight.

The more work you do with submaintenence calories, the more muscle you will lose. I would NOT have a slight reduction below maintenance level calories ever. By maintenence I mean what you need to maintain your ideal bodyweight, and fuel your training and recovery. I would either cut fast from 20 to 15% while doing maintenence strength training ONLY, or eat a high performance diet to add muscle and let your body naturally move from 20 to 15% as it wants to do over time.

If you do the fast cur first and maintain 95% of your strength you will get stronger fast when you bring your calories up. High performance OR fast cut and strength maintence are the only paths that work. The in between path is much less efficient and changing body comp and increasing muscle. [/quote]

Thanks im getting mixed answers, i have seen people get stronger on 5/3/1 while cutting. Ive also been told in another forum that since i am not even close to my genetic potential i can still gain muscle and lose fat at the same time.

[quote]raptor669 wrote:

[quote]mertdawg wrote:
Anyway, if you are actually going to eat sub maintenance calories, I would only do 5-3-1 for the 2 main exercises, and don’t do any plus reps or assistance exercises. I don’t believe that anyone should do sets of more than 5 or 6 on a sub maintenance diet because the main effect of those sets is to deplete a muscle so that it will rebuild, and its not going to happen on submaintenance calories. The only thing that higher rep (6+) sets will do is insure that you lose the most muscle possible while you are reducing your bodyweight.

The more work you do with submaintenence calories, the more muscle you will lose. I would NOT have a slight reduction below maintenance level calories ever. By maintenence I mean what you need to maintain your ideal bodyweight, and fuel your training and recovery. I would either cut fast from 20 to 15% while doing maintenence strength training ONLY, or eat a high performance diet to add muscle and let your body naturally move from 20 to 15% as it wants to do over time.

If you do the fast cur first and maintain 95% of your strength you will get stronger fast when you bring your calories up. High performance OR fast cut and strength maintence are the only paths that work. The in between path is much less efficient and changing body comp and increasing muscle. [/quote]

Thanks im getting mixed answers, i have seen people get stronger on 5/3/1 while cutting. Ive also been told in another forum that since i am not even close to my genetic potential i can still gain muscle and lose fat at the same time.
[/quote]

That is possible, you can get stronger on a mild cut, and you may even gain muscle if you do it right on, but what I’m telling you is that it is the least efficient way to go in my opinion. Maybe in a year you are at 15% bodyfat and 5% stronger. You can be 15% bodyfat in 3 months though EASY, maintain your strength and then gain 5% in another 3 months if you focus on one goal and then the other. In my opinion. If you are that far from your potential, and you eat a high performance diet and get stronger you also can get stronger and lose 5% without cutting calories.

Again it does not take calorie reduction to get down to 15% bodyfat. It takes a sound diet with the right dose of training. It SEEMS to me (and it would be normal) that you may be secretly hoping to get leaner than your stated goal of 15%.

My basic model is that if you eat the RIGHT number of calories and amount of nutrients, and avoid bad stuff, and you TRAIN, your body will tend to arrive the at optimal body fat percentage for the performance of your training, which for 95% of the population will occur at 10-15%, and probably right around 12%.

I agree with the above quite a bit.

First off, I’m not an expert on this stuff by any means but I typically see two competing theories on forums like this one. On one end you have the bodybuilders, who typically try to figure out the bare minimum amount of food they can subsist on while still pursuing their training goals, and on the other end you have athletes, who at times can struggle to eat enough food.

My personal opinion is that if you train like an athlete (i.e., strength and conditioning) while not eating a ton of garbage you’ll naturally tend to settle into a suitable weight (for me it’s the 12-15% range). IMO counting calories is more of an issue for dudes who want to only lift and not train cardio, or who want to achieve unnatural levels of leanness without simply being skinny.

In fact, if I wanted to sum it up, I think that you might very well go from 20% to 15% bodyfat FASTER by eating the RIGHT amount of calories for your ideal BW than by restricting calories.

[quote]mertdawg wrote:
In fact, if I wanted to sum it up, I think that you might very well go from 20% to 15% bodyfat FASTER by eating the RIGHT amount of calories for your ideal BW than by restricting calories. [/quote]
I concur. Also, in focusing on eating the right foods, you won’t be stressed to count calories. Focus on adequate protein, and on good post-workout nutrition, and the rest will work itself out.

[quote]mertdawg wrote:
In fact, if I wanted to sum it up, I think that you might very well go from 20% to 15% bodyfat FASTER by eating the RIGHT amount of calories for your ideal BW than by restricting calories. [/quote]

So if someone’s main concern at the moment was fat loss, but they wanted to use 5/3/1 because A) they like it and B) it’s pretty simple, would they be better off doing the bare bones of the program on a calorie deficit until they reach their desired weight/bf percentage/etc or eating maintenance calories for their ideal body weight and following 5/3/1+say Simple Strength Solution assistance? Or do both, switching cycle to cycle…like four weeks maintenance strength work and restricting calories then four weeks of maintenance calories and additional assistance work then repeat?

[quote]benos4752 wrote:

[quote]mertdawg wrote:
In fact, if I wanted to sum it up, I think that you might very well go from 20% to 15% bodyfat FASTER by eating the RIGHT amount of calories for your ideal BW than by restricting calories. [/quote]

So if someone’s main concern at the moment was fat loss, but they wanted to use 5/3/1 because A) they like it and B) it’s pretty simple, would they be better off doing the bare bones of the program on a calorie deficit until they reach their desired weight/bf percentage/etc or eating maintenance calories for their ideal body weight and following 5/3/1+say Simple Strength Solution assistance? Or do both, switching cycle to cycle…like four weeks maintenance strength work and restricting calories then four weeks of maintenance calories and additional assistance work then repeat?[/quote]
Focus on eating the right foods, and on recovery, while doing 5/3/1 to get stronger. Body composition will change over time, but in the mean time you will be getting stronger and healthier without undue metabolic damage. People don’t get overweight in a month or so, and should not expect to get lean in the same timeframe.

[quote]Ecchastang wrote:
People don’t get overweight in a month or so, and should not expect to get lean in the same timeframe. [/quote]

Oh, yeah. I’ve lost 60 pounds over the last year, ~. Just need to focus on the last 30 or so. Done it via a mix of different programs (just coming off of a 5x5, 3 day-a-week program and plan to return to 5/3/1 tomorrow, was planning on using SSS) and calorie restriction, focusing on clean eating + carb cycling the last couple months.

Just wondering opinions since I saw both a fat loss blitz and the eat maintenance (and clean) for goal and train hard and just let it happen in this thread and just thinking about which one I should do.

Ecchastang: “Focus on eating the right foods, and on recovery, while doing 5/3/1 to get stronger. Body composition will change over time, but in the mean time you will be getting stronger and healthier without undue metabolic damage. People don’t get overweight in a month or so, and should not expect to get lean in the same timeframe.”

I agree with this first and if you are not eating the right foods, as well as excluding the main wrong ones then nothing else really matters yet, BUT it you do want to do a short run of cutting 500-700 cals a day then I believe you should train bare bones low reps (1-5) with the 2 main, and 2-3 assistance (on a 3x or 4x program), but the assistance should still be a maximum of 3 work sets, 5 reps per set. NO muscle catabolism allowed, just quick strength stimulation. So you could do something like Triumvirate with main exercise 5-3-1 and 3 x 3 to 3 x 5 of the others. If you do plus reps of 5-3-1, I would not go above 5.

The reason I am saying that you can go on a short stretch of cuttng 500-700 a day (3-5 weeks) is that when you go back to the high performance maintence+training+growth level nutrition you are likely to find that you gain back pounds but your bodyfat percentages drop at the same time. I think that IF you eat the right foods, in the long run your bodyfat% will drop just as fast on a maintence+training+growth level as on a 500-700 cal cut, except for that short 3-5 week window, but also that the short cut can spark fat free muscle gain and also IF the 3-5 weeks is just low reps so you don’t lose strength.

Cutting cals and upping reps during the same period of time doesn’t make any sense. On a submaintence cal diet, reps over about 5 are going to come at the cost of muscle catabolism, and your not eating enough to restore it.

[quote]mertdawg wrote:
Ecchastang: “Focus on eating the right foods, and on recovery, while doing 5/3/1 to get stronger. Body composition will change over time, but in the mean time you will be getting stronger and healthier without undue metabolic damage. People don’t get overweight in a month or so, and should not expect to get lean in the same timeframe.”

I agree with this first and if you are not eating the right foods, as well as excluding the main wrong ones then nothing else really matters yet, BUT it you do want to do a short run of cutting 500-700 cals a day then I believe you should train bare bones low reps (1-5) with the 2 main, and 2-3 assistance (on a 3x or 4x program), but the assistance should still be a maximum of 3 work sets, 5 reps per set. NO muscle catabolism allowed, just quick strength stimulation. So you could do something like Triumvirate with main exercise 5-3-1 and 3 x 3 to 3 x 5 of the others. If you do plus reps of 5-3-1, I would not go above 5.

The reason I am saying that you can go on a short stretch of cuttng 500-700 a day (3-5 weeks) is that when you go back to the high performance maintence+training+growth level nutrition you are likely to find that you gain back pounds but your bodyfat percentages drop at the same time. I think that IF you eat the right foods, in the long run your bodyfat% will drop just as fast on a maintence+training+growth level as on a 500-700 cal cut, except for that short 3-5 week window, but also that the short cut can spark fat free muscle gain and also IF the 3-5 weeks is just low reps so you don’t lose strength.

Cutting cals and upping reps during the same period of time doesn’t make any sense. On a submaintence cal diet, reps over about 5 are going to come at the cost of muscle catabolism, and your not eating enough to restore it.[/quote]

Hmm. I’ll give it a try; jack my calories up to maintenance with good, clean food and train for strength + keep my daily walks. Give it a go for a couple of cycles and see what happens. As long as the scale doesn’t start to go up, don’t see why it shouldn’t work…plus, if I’m not as close to where I want to be after a couple cycles, still have time to strip the program and drop calories before summer really kicks in. Thanks.

To be clear, your diet has to include the basic fat soluble nutrients, and eliminate the most toxic foods.

Do eat: 2-3 egg yolks per day on average, 2000-4000 IU vitamin D, up to 2 pounds of fish, and vitamin A-and it may benefit you to eat a serving of beef liver per week, and a tablespoon of red palm oil a day. Most hunger issues arise from a deficiency in one of these fat soluble nutrients. If you eat them you will typically eat the right amount of calories naturally. Also get greens and berries.

Don’t eat MUCH: wheat, added sugar except post workout, omega-6 rich oils, and too much beans, as well as possibly corn and oats. Omega 6 fats will keep your body from using fat stores for energy. Beans wheat and oats are mainly a problem if they cause inflammatory cycles or if you don’t sleep well through the night. Potatoes and rice don’t mess me up. One piece (100 cal) of bread in the morning is OK on occasion.

[quote]mertdawg wrote:
To be clear, your diet has to include the basic fat soluble nutrients, and eliminate the most toxic foods.

Do eat: 2-3 egg yolks per day on average, 2000-4000 IU vitamin D, up to 2 pounds of fish, and vitamin A-and it may benefit you to eat a serving of beef liver per week, and a tablespoon of red palm oil a day. Most hunger issues arise from a deficiency in one of these fat soluble nutrients. If you eat them you will typically eat the right amount of calories naturally. Also get greens and berries.

Don’t eat MUCH: wheat, added sugar except post workout, omega-6 rich oils, and too much beans, as well as possibly corn and oats. Omega 6 fats will keep your body from using fat stores for energy. Beans wheat and oats are mainly a problem if they cause inflammatory cycles or if you don’t sleep well through the night. Potatoes and rice don’t mess me up. One piece (100 cal) of bread in the morning is OK on occasion.

[/quote]

Oh, I’ve been following a primal/paleo style of eating pretty strictly over the last year, which is how I lost the first 60 pounds. Aside from X-Mas, my birthday, and one cheat meal every other week at most, my diet has been…

lots of eggs, chicken, and ground beef. A ground mix that contains meat, liver, and kidney. Steak when I have the extra dough, along with salmon and shrimp. Some cheese (1-2 ounces a day at most). Avocado. 1-2 pieces of fruit a day or frozen berries. Tons of veggies or simple (no added sugar, no industrial ingredients, etc) tomato sauce or pico de gallo a day. I love burgers and will have one maybe once a month, but that’s it for bread. Started adding in rice and sweet potatoes a few months ago on my hardest lifting days, but besides that, all my carbs come from fruits and veggies.

[quote]benos4752 wrote:

[quote]mertdawg wrote:
To be clear, your diet has to include the basic fat soluble nutrients, and eliminate the most toxic foods.

Do eat: 2-3 egg yolks per day on average, 2000-4000 IU vitamin D, up to 2 pounds of fish, and vitamin A-and it may benefit you to eat a serving of beef liver per week, and a tablespoon of red palm oil a day. Most hunger issues arise from a deficiency in one of these fat soluble nutrients. If you eat them you will typically eat the right amount of calories naturally. Also get greens and berries.

Don’t eat MUCH: wheat, added sugar except post workout, omega-6 rich oils, and too much beans, as well as possibly corn and oats. Omega 6 fats will keep your body from using fat stores for energy. Beans wheat and oats are mainly a problem if they cause inflammatory cycles or if you don’t sleep well through the night. Potatoes and rice don’t mess me up. One piece (100 cal) of bread in the morning is OK on occasion.

[/quote]

Oh, I’ve been following a primal/paleo style of eating pretty strictly over the last year, which is how I lost the first 60 pounds. Aside from X-Mas, my birthday, and one cheat meal every other week at most, my diet has been…

lots of eggs, chicken, and ground beef. A ground mix that contains meat, liver, and kidney. Steak when I have the extra dough, along with salmon and shrimp. Some cheese (1-2 ounces a day at most). Avocado. 1-2 pieces of fruit a day or frozen berries. Tons of veggies or simple (no added sugar, no industrial ingredients, etc) tomato sauce or pico de gallo a day. I love burgers and will have one maybe once a month, but that’s it for bread. Started adding in rice and sweet potatoes a few months ago on my hardest lifting days, but besides that, all my carbs come from fruits and veggies.[/quote]

Great, so that’s how I was eating, and then I found that even eating at a high performance, maintenence-plus level my BF% kept dropping. By maintenance plus I basically mean your normal daily needs, plus post workout carbs of about 75 grams per hour of training, and an extra 25-50 grams of protein on training days.

If you are on a calorie reduced diet right now, you should add the extra cals up to maintenence NOT mostly from carbs, but from fat-fattier cuts or meat, or the other acceptable oils and butters. I started adding 2 tablespoons of coconut butter to my coffee. Then add carbs post workout.

You should still try to stay under 200 grams of carbs on non workout days, and then 50-75 grams per hour of training.

[quote]mertdawg wrote:
To be clear, your diet has to include the basic fat soluble nutrients, and eliminate the most toxic foods.

Do eat: 2-3 egg yolks per day on average, 2000-4000 IU vitamin D, up to 2 pounds of fish, and vitamin A-and it may benefit you to eat a serving of beef liver per week, and a tablespoon of red palm oil a day. Most hunger issues arise from a deficiency in one of these fat soluble nutrients. If you eat them you will typically eat the right amount of calories naturally. Also get greens and berries.

Don’t eat MUCH: wheat, added sugar except post workout, omega-6 rich oils, and too much beans, as well as possibly corn and oats. Omega 6 fats will keep your body from using fat stores for energy. Beans wheat and oats are mainly a problem if they cause inflammatory cycles or if you don’t sleep well through the night. Potatoes and rice don’t mess me up. One piece (100 cal) of bread in the morning is OK on occasion.

[/quote]
That is pretty solid nutritional advice.

[quote]Ecchastang wrote:

[quote]mertdawg wrote:
To be clear, your diet has to include the basic fat soluble nutrients, and eliminate the most toxic foods.

Do eat: 2-3 egg yolks per day on average, 2000-4000 IU vitamin D, up to 2 pounds of fish, and vitamin A-and it may benefit you to eat a serving of beef liver per week, and a tablespoon of red palm oil a day. Most hunger issues arise from a deficiency in one of these fat soluble nutrients. If you eat them you will typically eat the right amount of calories naturally. Also get greens and berries.

Don’t eat MUCH: wheat, added sugar except post workout, omega-6 rich oils, and too much beans, as well as possibly corn and oats. Omega 6 fats will keep your body from using fat stores for energy. Beans wheat and oats are mainly a problem if they cause inflammatory cycles or if you don’t sleep well through the night. Potatoes and rice don’t mess me up. One piece (100 cal) of bread in the morning is OK on occasion.

[/quote]
That is pretty solid nutritional advice. [/quote]

Thanks, I noticed that I put up to 2 pounds of fish, that should be per week. Omega-3s above that level start to be just as bad as Omega-6s. I also think that if you take fish oil you should eat some real fish too.

I am currently running 5/3/1 with BBB accessory work under a caloric deficit (carb cycling, which can be used to cut or bulk) and the cut is working (6 lb of mostly water lost in first week, 4 lb lost in the next 3 weeks and currently losing 1 lb a week).

My upper body strength has not budged (no gain or loss of strength in 2 cycles) while my DL has improved ~15 lb and Squat has improved ~5 lb. I do have a predisposition to lower body mass and strength than upper body though, so you may experienced completely different results.

Why don’t you have one goal and focus on that? Seems better to succeed at one thing than fail at two. I discuss this phenomenon in the Beyond book.

[quote]raptor669 wrote:
I am wondering if 5/3/1 can help me reach these goals?[/quote]
Marvin, I’m kind of sorry for “calling you out” in this thread too, but it’s a serious shame you’ve gone this far with it.

You asked the same thing here three months ago under your other account, got pretty much the same answers, and you did nothing with it.

For your best interest, and to avoid wasting more peoples’ time (including Jim, who’s replied to you personally twice now), just sack up and do it. I truly have no idea what your problem is with putting it off any longer.

[quote]Ecchastang wrote:

[quote]mertdawg wrote:
To be clear, your diet has to include the basic fat soluble nutrients, and eliminate the most toxic foods.

Do eat: 2-3 egg yolks per day on average, 2000-4000 IU vitamin D, up to 2 pounds of fish, and vitamin A-and it may benefit you to eat a serving of beef liver per week, and a tablespoon of red palm oil a day. Most hunger issues arise from a deficiency in one of these fat soluble nutrients. If you eat them you will typically eat the right amount of calories naturally. Also get greens and berries.

Don’t eat MUCH: wheat, added sugar except post workout, omega-6 rich oils, and too much beans, as well as possibly corn and oats. Omega 6 fats will keep your body from using fat stores for energy. Beans wheat and oats are mainly a problem if they cause inflammatory cycles or if you don’t sleep well through the night. Potatoes and rice don’t mess me up. One piece (100 cal) of bread in the morning is OK on occasion.

[/quote]
That is pretty solid nutritional advice. [/quote]

Absolutely