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Old 02-07-2011, 02:38 PM   #1
Scott Fischbein
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six week strength gain/weight loss programming

Hi all. I'd love to hear some feedback and opinions on the program I should follow for the next six weeks.

Background:
On 3/19/11, I turn 40. I've been working on getting into "the best shape of my life" by then, or at least as close as is reasonably possible. To be more specific, my goal is to attain a higher general level of fitness than I've had previously, as well as to match certain specific fitness benchmarks that I've been able to accomplish in the past. In addition, I'm also looking to set myself up for a good season of road and mountain bike racing. I've been documenting my progress and goals on my blog ( fitteratforty.com - WFS) if anyone is interested in more info.

The two goals I'm most interested in hitting by 3/19 are strength and weight loss related:
  1. Lose 6 more lbs (1 lb/week)
  2. Bench 225 (currently at 205)
  3. Squat 300 (current: 255)
  4. DL 350 (current 325)
  5. Press 150 (current 130)

I've been doing a version of Wendler's 531 up until now, but I think I can handle more of a linear progression, which I haven't tried up until now. My lifts have gone up about 10-20% over the last few months on the 531 program, but I've not been extremely consistent about lifting since I've been focusing on conditioning and weight loss. My recovery has been pretty good on this program (averaging 6 days/week, with 2-3 lifting days and 2-3 conditioning days)

Now I'm thinking of trying something like this:
Lift 3x/week, squatting every workout, alternating DL/Power Clean, alternate Bench/Mil press - so basically a SS program, but with a caloric deficit. Most likely I would do 3-5 sets of 3 for all of these, and aim to add 5 lbs/workout to my Squat/DL and 2.5/workout for Bench/Press.

On non-lifting days, I'll do some conditioning work, CrossFit metcons, rowing, etc. - short, 20-30 minute workouts which are easy to recover from, and I'll continue with about one rest day per week, adding in a second one if necessary.

I'm thinking of at least giving this a go and seeing how long I can keep adding weight (it might not be very long!) If I stall out, I'll first try microloading, and if that doesn't work, come up with a different plan!

As I said, I'd be interested in hearing any thoughts, suggestions, feedback etc.

Thanks,
Scott
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Old 02-07-2011, 02:46 PM   #2
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: six week strength gain/weight loss programming

Starting Strength plus Crossfit, only with a calorie deficit? Doesn't sound very promising to me...

Katherine
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:03 PM   #3
Scott Fischbein
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Re: six week strength gain/weight loss programming

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katherine Derbyshire View Post
Starting Strength plus Crossfit, only with a calorie deficit? Doesn't sound very promising to me...

Katherine
Yeah, I assumed I might get that response, and it might well be completely accurate! However, I'm basing this idea on my last 3-4 months of training, which has involved pretty consistently doing about 6 days a week of lifting and conditioning, with many of the conditioning workouts being far more demanding than a typical CrossFit metcon (ie: rowing or track intervals lasting 30-40 minutes total, or 1 -2 hour long mountain bike rides at a fairly good pace).

So I'll actually be cutting back the metcon/cardio and more or less maintaining the weight training volume-wise, but I'll be attempting a more steady LP than I was with 531. And the nutrition will stay the same. I guess the real question will be how long I'll be able to maintain a LP with this approach... only one way to find out, I suppose!

Thanks,
Scott
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:13 PM   #4
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: six week strength gain/weight loss programming

Starting Strength is quite a bit more demanding than 531: the whole point of 531 is that you work with sub-maximal loads in order to reduce the demand on your system, while SS has you working close to your max most of the time.

Most people who have done Crossfit metcons don't describe them as undemanding or "easy to recover from." YMMV.

*shrug* Good luck.

Katherine
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:21 PM   #5
Scott Fischbein
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Re: six week strength gain/weight loss programming

Thanks Katherine - appreciate the feedback.

I'm working under the assumption that the SS progression WILL be more demanding than 531 - that's why I'm switching to it 531 has seemed a bit on the easy side and hasn't produced the types of gains I would hope to see as a relative novice to periodized weight training. Of course, it's possible that SS will be way too much, but I guess I won't really know that until I try. If I stall out after a week or two, it won't be much time lost!

As for the metcons, coming from a cycling and triathlon background, I generally find the CrossFit metcons relatively non-taxing from a cardio perspective, although the heavier metcons definitely beat me up (hence my desire to get stronger!) - but I'll be avoiding those for the next six weeks. Most likely I'll stick to rowing, running, cycling or bodyweight-centric metcons during that time, since I find that they provide a better metabolic "hit" and will interfere less with the weight training.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts - I'm interested so see if I can handle the SS progression or if it will break me down and spit me out!

Scott
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:33 PM   #6
Seth Spritz
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Re: six week strength gain/weight loss programming

Scott, my prediction is that you'll first notice problems with your squat. Adding weight to your squats will be hard as heck without enough food.

Fat loss and muscle gain simultaneously is the holy grail for many of us. My "workaround" has been to do three months of strength training with "unlimited clean" diet and "light" calorie burning activities followed by one month of maintenance strength training (keeping weights constant) with minimal calorie restriction and continued "light" calorie burning activities.

The goal is for slow, gradual fat loss. The problem is that tolerances are tight both ways in terms of diet, rest and work load. I don't see any way to do it quickly without losing muscle mass in the process.
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:37 PM   #7
Richard Colon
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Re: six week strength gain/weight loss programming

From the movie - The Last Samurai.

"Too many minds".

Mind the Crossfit
Mind the 5/3/1
Mind the Starting Strength
Mind the Weight Loss
Mind the Strength Gain

Think about it..

5/3/1 is by a dude that was a monster (still is). A huge guy, stronger than most humans.

Starting Strength is from a guy that advocates drinking a gallon of whole milk per day.

They are amazing strength programs. Where does where they come from and their philosophy (which surely influenced the design of those programs) lead into calorie deficit and weight loss?

can it be done? sure. Again, take from it what you will, but I think - "too many minds."
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Old 02-07-2011, 05:06 PM   #8
Sean Rooks
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Re: six week strength gain/weight loss programming

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Fischbein View Post
Thanks again for sharing your thoughts - I'm interested so see if I can handle the SS progression or if it will break me down and spit me out!

Scott
You are trying to add 45lbs to your squat, 20lbs to your press, 25lbs to your dead, and 20 to your bench in just over a month, while losing weight?

I can't name a single person that I have seen do that besides a rank beginner. You need to pick a goal and chase it, or you are just going to bang your head against a wall and get nowhere. If you want those numbers, you have to eat to support your training. If you want to be lean, you have to be alright with your lifts not making as much progress.

Last edited by Sean Rooks : 02-07-2011 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 02-07-2011, 05:18 PM   #9
Scott Fischbein
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Re: six week strength gain/weight loss programming

Thanks again for all the responses - I appreciate the feedback.

The overwhelming consensus seems to be that I won't be able to make the strength gains I'm hoping for AND lose weight at the same time. I agree with these predictions, but also have a tendency to think - "Well, I might as well try!" I mean, if I can't maintain the linear progression... then I won't - not the end of the world, right? And I will probably make SOME gains before I stall out...

What I'm wondering now is - does anyone have a better suggestion? Let's assume that the 1lb/week weight loss goal is non-negotiable, and I want to gain as much strength as possible in six weeks given that deficit - is there some other plan that makes more sense than at least TRYING a LP for as long as possible and then considering some other plan if/when I stall?

I completely accept that I almost certainly WILL stall before long, but I have no idea if it will be in a week, or two, or four, and I'm curious to find out.

I'd be very interested to hear any suggestions people might have for an alternative plan that would provide maximum strength gains in six weeks while maintaining a 1lb/week weight loss.

Thanks again,
Scott
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Old 02-07-2011, 05:38 PM   #10
Jason Wallis
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Re: six week strength gain/weight loss programming

A. Take steroids, or
B. Take the advice of the people you asked and pick one goal at a time

Best of luck to you!
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