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Advice on next strategy please :)


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Long story short:

Down 80ish lbs since summer 2013

Started stronglifts in February, but only did about a month.

Moved onto bodyweight progressions

Started back with stronglifts again mid-September

 

Current situation:

 

Male (actually thats been the situation my entire life)

Bodyweight: 83kg (183lb)

Bodyfat: 21-23% based on bio-impedence and tape measure (although i think i look a tad higher maybe, last progress pic below)

2014 09 28

 
Current lifts:
Deadlift: 95kg (209lb) (repeatedly failing)
Squat: 77.5kg (170lb) (still good)
Barbell row: 52.5kg  (115lb) (still ok)
Overhead press: 37.5kg (82lb) (still ok)
Bench: 60kg (132lb) (repeatedly failing)
 
 
Like a lot of peeps on here i still want to lose the fat (especially around my belly where most of it seems to be, but i also want to get stronger. At the moment i seem to be doing neither :( I eat about 1800-200 cals on non-workout days and 2200-2400 on workout days. I workout 3 times a week.
 
 
If you were me, based on that picture, what would you do:

1 - continue as i am
2 - go on a hard cut, forget worrying about progressing the lifts for now
3 - start a bulk/cut cycle with the aim of being leaner at the end of each cut.
4 - something else
 
For me each has issues....
1 - no results happening
2 - willpower is massively waning after so long "cutting". Seem to have plateaued
3 - i don't think i'm anywhere near lean enough to bulk as cleanly as i would like (been repeatedly reading Waldo's bulking guide)

 

 

Suggestions gratefully received.

 

Thanks

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You're not moving anywhere because you're pretty much eating maintenance!  Not enough to bulk, too much to lose much fat.  If I were you, I'd keep cutting until around 15% BF (probably about 12lbs of fat loss) and then do the traditional bulk/cut thing.  With a 500 calorie deficit each day, you'd probably get there in 3 months or so.  At 1,000 calorie deficit per day, 1.5 months.  I'd start by keeping calories around 1800-1900 for now and seeing how things go over time, adjusting as necessary.  Keep lifting heavy and getting enough protein to keep your muscle fibers around through the cut.

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You're not moving anywhere because you're pretty much eating maintenance!  Not enough to bulk, too much to lose much fat.  If I were you, I'd keep cutting until around 15% BF (probably about 12lbs of fat loss) and then do the traditional bulk/cut thing.  With a 500 calorie deficit each day, you'd probably get there in 3 months or so.  At 1,000 calorie deficit per day, 1.5 months.  I'd start by keeping calories around 1800-1900 for now and seeing how things go over time, adjusting as necessary.  Keep lifting heavy and getting enough protein to keep your muscle fibers around through the cut.

 

Tbh, that is what i thought the answer would be, and it would be the one i went straight for if the willpower/discipline hadn't gone. Must try and rediscover it.

So if i can't progress my lifts during that time what should i do? Should i just keep plugging away at the same weights, trying to add reps maybe? Repeatedly deload and reload?

 

I actually think what i'm eating is slightly under maintenance though, but it isn't by that much. If you take the middle figures of 1900x4 and 2300x3 you get 14500cals/week. Thats 2071cals a day on average. I'd estimate each workout to be about 400cals which would make my TDEE 1900. Seems a bit low for a 183lbs, 5'9 male. I'd be expecting to lose about 1/2lb a week on what i'm eating.

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Well that's the problem - there's too much variation in the averages.  For calorie counting to be successful, it NEEDS to be exact.  Otherwise, you can wind up wondering why there hasn't been progress because you underestimated the effect of the "outliers."  You've done a VERY good job getting to this point - 80lbs of loss since last summer clearly shows you're a discipline person.  However, you're now at a stage where you need to get even more exact to see further improvement.  It's a good problem to have!

 

Your TDEE is much greater than 1900 calories a day - that's closer to your BMR alone.  Your TDEE is probably somewhere around 2400-2600 calories a day.  That's why I'm thinking if you start eating 1,900 calories a day, you'll be in a ~500 calorie deficit and on your way to shedding the fat pounds.  Keep in mind, all these numbers are just estimates.  You'll try them for a couple weeks, measure, and adjust!

 

As for the lifting, you might still be a bit of a beginner.  As such, you might continue to increase your strength even without the surplus calories.  Regardless, you should try to do everything the same as you're doing now.  It's okay if your sessions begin to stall at a certain point.  The key is to keep the weights the same, even if the reps slip.  To keep muscle around through a cut, you need intensity (high weight) and protein.

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My tracking is pretty exact on a day to day basis. When i say 2200-2400 i mean that one training day i might have 2200 and another i might have 2400, i'm not eyeballing anything (well, as little as is possible within reason). But i hear what you mean.

 

I've got 3 full weeks starting monday until my next trip to the states, thats not long to endure, I'll see how i get on til then, hopefully i can shift 3lbs by hitting 1900cals/day and reducing carbs a bit (i increased them a bit trying to improve lifts).

 

I pretty much knew the answers, i just needed someone to tell me and reinforce me i think.

Thanks

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My other thought is are you getting enough protein during your cut?  Have you done a form check on your Deadlift and bench lately either?

 

I am currently cutting and am still able to increase the weight on my Deadlift/other lifts using a 5/3/1 cycle (230lbs Deadlift for 5'4" female). I just have to make sure I pay close attention to the protein/fat/carbs I am getting.

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Are you weighing everything to the gramme? And how are you tracking things? 

 

Everything that i'm able to yes. I use myfitnesspal. Admittedly there have been more "eat outs" over the last few weeks due to moving house but they've pretty much all been things where calorie info was available. That doesn't mean they are as accurate as DIY meals though

 

 

My other thought is are you getting enough protein during your cut?  Have you done a form check on your Deadlift and bench lately either?

 

I am currently cutting and am still able to increase the weight on my Deadlift/other lifts using a 5/3/1 cycle (230lbs Deadlift for 5'4" female). I just have to make sure I pay close attention to the protein/fat/carbs I am getting.

 

I normally get about 140g of protein. Thats about 1x lean mass which i think is fine. Sometimes i can get up to 180-200g but 140g is more common. Rarely do i drop below 120g. 112g would be 0.8x lean mass.

Oh and don't get me wrong, my lifts have all gone up while i've been cutting, its just they seem to be plateauing now, and not at particularly high weights either (imo)

 

 

I've basically got my answer, which deep down i knew, re-tighten up the tracking. Its not an answer i liked but its the right one unfortunately. Its just so hard after this long :(

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Today i just got frustrated i think. I looked in the mirror and i have visible veins across my shoulders and down my forearms, yet i've got this jiggly mass hanging on the front, lol. Which based on my measurements this morning has just gotten bigger. BOOOO

 

I'll get over it, onwards and upwards

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