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Hi there,


Sorry if this is in the wrong place. I joined this forum a while ago but this is my first time posting here.


I'm a 5'9", 29 year old guy and currently weigh 56kg/8 st 12 lbs.


In the past few weeks I've been thinking of getting more into weight training and powerlifting. I'm not looking to compete or anything but I want to get stronger and build a bit more muscle. I'm not completely new to lifting weights as I had been doing bodypump classes twice a week. Whilst this helped me get lean I'm not seeing the results I'd like.


I stumbled across the Stronglifts 5x5 program. This week I took the plunge and switched gyms from the small gym in my local leisure centre to a gym with a dedicated weight training and functional strength training areas.


I am genuinely enjoying the Stronglifts program but I do have a few concerns about how much food to eat and how low the workout frequency is. Everything I read about building muscle states that you need to eat a lot. The Stronglifts program also suggests only working out 3 times a week with little to no cardio.


About 8-9 years ago I used to weigh 89kg/14 st. I was really unhappy and had no self confidence. Between changing my diet and doing a lot of cardio (at one point I was cycling 13 miles a day) I started losing weight and managed to get down to a healthy 67kg/10 st 10 lbs for my wedding day. I maintained this weight until I joined the gym at my local leisure centre last year and reached my current weight.


My worry is that by eating more and doing less cardio the weight will just go back on to my stomach and face. Is this worry completely unfounded? Everything I've read suggests that as long as I eat right (whole foods, high protein, etc) that I won't regain the fat I had before but instead will go to fuelling muscle growth.


In the days between heavy weight sessions should I do any cardio? Currently I'm going on 4-5 mile runs but I'm not sure if this is too much.


Thanks for taking the time to read this. Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated.



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If you like the running, run.  It will slow down muscle growth, but its up to you to do what you like.


as to eating.  You have to eat to gain.   You can do it w/o adding significant bodyfat...but it is challenging to get the balance just right.  If you have OCD tendencies...probably best not to try.  Most powerlifters do a bulk-gain/cut-maintain cycle.  Ie, lift really heavy and eat a lot for x months.  You'll gain muscle and body fat.  Then lift to maintain and eat at a slight deficit for x months to trim back down.  From observation, it usually takes several years to figure out how to do it, though it sounds like you may have a leg up on that due to your previous work. 


The big part for many is the mind game.  Fear of going back to "whatever I didn't like" either on the gain side (don't want to be fat again) or the cut side (don't want to lose all my gains).  

Warriors don't count reps and sets. They count tons.

My psychologist weighs 45 pounds, has an iron soul and sits on the end of a bar

Tally Sheet for 2019

Encouragement for older members: Chronologically Blessed Group;

Encouragement for newbie lifters: When we were weaker


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^^ Agree with wildross. You need to eat if you want to gain muscle.


FWIW (my personal opinion with no intent to offend) your weight seems light right now and adding weight even up to what you considered a healthy 67kg would probably be good. Especially since you are considering gaining muscle. For reference, I am 3 inches shorter and approximately 70kg and have a "healthy" bodyfat percentage as a female.


Ramp up slowly. Add 200 calories a day for a week or so, see how you feel, look, perform, etc Then slowly add more each week or two. I would venture you aren't eating enough as is.


For cardio: do whatever makes you happy.

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Thanks for your replies, they've been really helpful.


I've started to keep a food diary to work out exactly how many calories I'm currently getting a day and will look at increase this over time.  


I have also booked a session with a personal trainer at the gym to construct an effective program and double check my form. As it was pointed out to me this morning I've started to round my shoulders during the barbell row so I'm reducing the weight to work on maintaining correct form. The issue seems to have arisen from trying to lift too heavy too quickly.


I'm playing cardio by ear at the moment. I do like running but have recently started taking advantage of the pool at the gym and doing half an hour swimming instead.

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Not to dis the trainer...but the "most effective" program is the one that you will do consistently, with correct form and a good attitude. 


To quote Ronnie Coleman


“Everybody wants to be a bodybuilder, but nobody wants to lift no heavy-ass weights.”



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Warriors don't count reps and sets. They count tons.

My psychologist weighs 45 pounds, has an iron soul and sits on the end of a bar

Tally Sheet for 2019

Encouragement for older members: Chronologically Blessed Group;

Encouragement for newbie lifters: When we were weaker


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wildross has it right with this one. I have never met a trainer who thought StrongLifts was a good idea, but I'm now stronger than all of those trainers, primarily because of the foundation I built doing StrongLifts. If you aren't happy with it, then by all means, switch to a program that will keep you motivated and coming back to the gym consistently. But as a relative newbie to the strength game, there will always be a level of grind and repetitiveness to what you're doing.

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Dwarf Warrior
I am today what I made myself yesterday, I will be tomorrow what I make of myself today.

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Listen to all three of these vets. I agree with Marissa in that you seem a little light for your height. I'm 5'9 as well, probably more like 5'8 and I train at 86kg and "compete" at 82kg. You don't need to get as big as that again but putting on some kgs wouldn't hurt.

And yeah, I don't see the typical PT loving SL5x5, the best and most boring times is being a beginner lifter, the gainz are bountiful but the work is tedious.

Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

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