Skinny man stalling too early part 79586 Skinny man stalling too early part 79586

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Thread: Skinny man stalling too early part 79586

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    Default Skinny man stalling too early part 79586

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    Hello,
    I am new to the forum so please forgive me if I'm posting this on the wrong board. Also I'm European so forgive me for using the SI.

    I'm 27yo, 6'1" (186cm) and I weigh 176 pounds (80 kg). I started SS 6 weeks and a half ago at 167 pounds (76 kg).
    I have NO sports or gym background prior to the age of 24 when I started some kind of hybrid bodybuilding-strength split (ugh), when I weighted around 152 pounds (69 kg).
    I've tried some badly interpreted versions of the linear progression intermittently over the last two years but was always disappointed by the super early stalls and the incapability of holding up to the increments in weight (I think my best squat was 156 for 5).

    I told myself it was the lack of food, meticulous sleep, and training intensity and that this time around would have been different because I've read the book, listened to podcasts, went through the important articles.
    It turns out that my progression crashed pretty quickly, for example on the squat:
    I started at 132 pounds (60 kg) for 5 and until 154 pounds it was hard but sustainable. That's over the course of 5 workouts with around 5.5 pounds increment, and my gym doesn't really have smaller plates to go any lower on the Olympic bars.

    After that everything went down. I started progressing every other workout (159x5x3, then 164 with failed sets, then 164x5x3... you get the idea) and I just now reset the squat from 176 (80 kg) to 160 (72 kg) after failing 3 workouts in a row, but it was never smooth as you can tell.

    I warm up with two sets of empty barbell, then 45% x5, 65% x3, 85% x2. No less than 3-4 mins of rest between the hard sets.

    Also I noticed I can never really go past my bodyweight. I was squatting 70 kg when I was 70 kg and now I'm failing 80 kg at 80 kg bodyweight, which really made me think that maybe it's not only the food (more on that soon) but other factors that I'm not managing well.

    I should mention that I work full time on a very tight schedule and managing to get to the gym 3x week is a hard task itself, I workout at night right before closing time (which is 22:30).
    I should also mention that I've been dealing with clinical anxiety for the last 3 years so one workout my focus could be through the roof and just do it, and the other I might feel like the warmup sets are enough for the day because I just can't take the stress any longer. The more I fail sets over the course of weeks the more often the second option happens.
    All of this is cascading into less quality of sleep, waking up in the middle of the night for no reason, and so you get how everything just becomes worse.

    About food: I eat around 3100-3200 kcal per day with 175 g of protein, which is way less than Mark prescribes in the book, but even with this amount I'm gaining around 1.4 - 1.5 pounds per week which I would not like to exceed because:
    1) I worked to 3500 kcal for a couple of weeks and that was absolutely horrible, I had no appetite, I always felt bloated, it made eating a very stressful challenge rather than a moment to enjoy
    2) Gaining any more weight, if I'm missing something more important, is probably just getting on my belly without any significant improvement and I'd rather stay away from that.

    I've been really invested in studying SS over the last months and I really believe it works if done under the supervision of a professional, however I'm finding myself in a very stressful situation where I just keep failing my expectations.
    Also, I started gym as an healthy addition to my life, and this way it's just taking away too much energy and resources.

    What would be the things to look at, in order of importance? Should I settle for some easier, slower modifications of the program if I really can't fix the things I'm missing?
    I get it that of the "three questions" the only thing off would be the calories, but that's really a path I'd keep as easy as possible because it's very stressful and expensive as it is now (especially if you consider that in the fitness community almost everyone agrees that 500-700 cals per day of surplus should be enough for novice gains and I'm already past that).

    I hope I can get some insights on the process.
    Thank you

  2. #2
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    If it's something you really want you'll find ways to make it work instead of excuses why it won't:

    1) check your form it's probably not good post videos to the technique forum or find a coach in person or online
    2) if you aren't going to eat to fuel your progress you're going to have to find other ways to make slower progress or be content with the lack thereof
    3) if you can't train 3 days a week then you train when you can
    4) calm down it's only training
    5) etc.

  3. #3
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    Ray Gillenwater is offline Administrator, Starting Strength Gyms
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jord View Post
    Hello,
    I'm 27yo, 6'1" (186cm) and I weigh 176 pounds (80 kg).
    Before I met Rip, I was 6'2" and 168lbs (at my lightest) and in my 20s as well. I'm now 250, at just over 20% BFP - I don't think anyone would describe me as fat. One of the first and most helpful pieces of advice that Rip gave me is advice that applies to any underweight ectomorph in their 20s. And you've already identified the problem. You NEED TO EAT so that you can gain weight so that you can become big and strong - it's really is as simple as that, provided you're doing the program. Eat everything. Walk around the house with a gallon of whole milk in your hand and sip at it until it's gone. If people aren't commenting in awe (or disgust) at the quantity and pace of your food consumption, you're not doing what's necessary to grow. If you want to be big and strong, you need substrate to build tissue - there is no way around this.

    If you follow the program - and I think you should get an online coach to make sure that you don't subject it to your preferences - then eating big will not make you fat. Not at your weight, age, or body type.

    Gallon of milk a day is for you. Steaks and shakes are for you. Don't think of this as a chore, think of this as the most fun period of your life. Go eat a whole meat lovers pizza. And then have ice cream for dessert.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jord View Post
    2) Gaining any more weight, if I'm missing something more important, is probably just getting on my belly without any significant improvement and I'd rather stay away from that.
    If you don't change your mind about this, you will not be able to successfully complete your linear progression. Few things are certain in life - this is as close as it gets. Prove it to yourself. Set a weight gain goal of ten pounds. Hit it and decide if you want to try ten more. I've done this around eight times and wish I had pulled my head out of my ass sooner.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jord View Post
    I've been really invested in studying SS over the last months and I really believe it works if done under the supervision of a professional, however I'm finding myself in a very stressful situation where I just keep failing my expectations.
    Also, I started gym as an healthy addition to my life, and this way it's just taking away too much energy and resources.
    I don't think this is going to work for you unless you decide that a) being strong is critically important b) Starting Strength is the best way to get strong and c) you will do WHATEVER IT TAKES to get strong (which means following the program). You've built narratives in your head about what constitutes appropriate eating, what weights are at your limit, and whether or not this lifestyle is for you. Make it simple: Decide if you want to be big and strong. If so, hire an online coach and do exactly what he tells you to do. If not, there are plenty of things you can do in the gym without having to eat, follow the program, or do anything that causes you discomfort.

    Here's my coach if you need a referral.

    You're going to get some heat for this post - the members of this community might be frustrated with you for admitting that you're not doing the program and then wondering why the program isn't working for you. These are all personal and psychological matters you need to sort out for yourself. I'm taking the time to write a reply because I have a very similar body type and it's painful to watch a young man set a goal and then make excuses as to why he can't achieve that goal - especially when I know that it can be achieved, because I've done it myself. I can tell you unequivocally that being big and strong is better in nearly every facet of life versus being frail and weak. When you're 37, 47, 57, and beyond - what do you want to be capable of? Make a decision and go all in. If you learn to do this with strength training, you may learn to do it in life and in business - and then you'll be able to get out of your own way and achieve your potential. That's what this is all about.

  4. #4
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    "No less than 3-4 mins of rest between the hard sets."

    Somehow I think you missed the first of the "first three questions." Double that rest interval and see what happens.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wiigelec View Post
    If it's something you really want you'll find ways to make it work instead of excuses why it won't:

    1) check your form it's probably not good post videos to the technique forum or find a coach in person or online
    2) if you aren't going to eat to fuel your progress you're going to have to find other ways to make slower progress or be content with the lack thereof
    3) if you can't train 3 days a week then you train when you can
    4) calm down it's only training
    5) etc.
    Thanks. As for point number 4, unfortunately I have experienced (and sometimes still experience) panic attacks quite often and it's not enough to just tell yourself to "calm down" but I get your point.



    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Gillenwater View Post
    And you've already identified the problem. You NEED TO EAT so that you can gain weight so that you can become big and strong - it's really is as simple as that, provided you're doing the program. Eat everything.
    I get it, it's just the rate that seems extremely high and even unhealthy (even if Mark himself says, it's not forever, it's only for a short period of time).
    Maybe a wrong mindset, but my logical thinking was: if I need 4000 kcal just for squatting 178 what happens at 220 if it's already hard to eat that much? I was just making sure I'm not missing something very obvious besides food.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Gillenwater View Post
    I don't think this is going to work for you unless you decide that a) being strong is critically important b) Starting Strength is the best way to get strong and c) you will do WHATEVER IT TAKES to get strong (which means following the program). You've built narratives in your head about what constitutes appropriate eating, what weights are at your limit, and whether or not this lifestyle is for you. Make it simple: Decide if you want to be big and strong. If so, hire an online coach and do exactly what he tells you to do. If not, there are plenty of things you can do in the gym without having to eat, follow the program, or do anything that causes you discomfort.
    Stupid question, but why having a coach is so much superior to doing this on your own? I mean, the program is pretty straight forward so it's not like there are some variations you can apply, right? Even the smallest deviation constitutes a "you're not doing the program" apparently.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Gillenwater View Post
    You're going to get some heat for this post - the members of this community might be frustrated with you for admitting that you're not doing the program and then wondering why the program isn't working for you. These are all personal and psychological matters you need to sort out for yourself.
    I don't care for the heat if it's for good, rather than for ridiculing. I was just hoping for an answer that was not "just eat more, duh" because to be honest I'm doing all of this alone and it gets to a point when you just question everything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Gillenwater View Post
    I'm taking the time to write a reply because I have a very similar body type and it's painful to watch a young man set a goal and then make excuses as to why he can't achieve that goal - especially when I know that it can be achieved, because I've done it myself.
    I really appreciated your reply, believe me. I took my time as well to study the program, creating myself the right time to go to the gym, eating much more than I'd like to, and finally expressing publicly that I'm failing myself even when it's supposed to be the easier part, I really care about this.



    Quote Originally Posted by Matt James View Post
    "No less than 3-4 mins of rest between the hard sets."

    Somehow I think you missed the first of the "first three questions." Double that rest interval and see what happens.
    I will try this for sure, thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jord View Post
    Stupid question, but why having a coach is so much superior to doing this on your own? I mean, the program is pretty straight forward so it's not like there are some variations you can apply, right? Even the smallest deviation constitutes a "you're not doing the program" apparently.

    I don't care for the heat if it's for good, rather than for ridiculing. I was just hoping for an answer that was not "just eat more, duh" because to be honest I'm doing all of this alone and it gets to a point when you just question everything.
    Asked and answered.

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    Damn, Ray. That was an incredible reply. Motivational as fuck, man.

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    I dunno your personal circumstances, but you should definitely take to eating more. Try to space it out to at least 5 meals (decently large protein shakes can count as meals). It's not gonna be easy. The eating is probably gonna be even harder than the training in a lot of ways. It's gonna take some figuring out and planning to get the food you need all across the day. If you find any one meal is filling you up too much, check to make sure it's nutrient-dense enough. Your stomach has limited real estate, make sure it's being occupied by what you need. I've found adding some maltodextrin into my protein shakes helps bring the carbs up without having to add more into my other meals.

    You single out the squat as not progressing like you'd hope. As someone who's never received coaching and been at this for a few months, get one if at all possible. I probably would've finished my LP entirely by now had I started under a coach from the get go. The program can still absolutely work for someone who doesn't have a coach, but probably not as well or as quickly. The squat is probably the hardest of the exercises in the program to master, even though it's not the one that uses the most weight (for most people). I suspect it's part of the reason why most people seem to end up starting out with it lower than their bench press, but then end up with it closing in on and sometimes exceeding their deadlift when they finish out. As you approach bodyweight, I've found that's when you start really having to pay attention to back tightness and the security of the bar on your shoulders. If you're not gonna get coached, try and familiarize yourself with all the common problems with the squat. Much like whenever a piece of hardware goes wrong, you will probably find something somewhere that addresses your own problems. But with anxiety issues, I think a coach is a very, very good idea. They can provide the sort of calming certainty that just working on the routine inside your own head all alone cannot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    Asked and answered.
    I get it, so it's more of "don't deviate from the thing" rather than "help me customize the thing".

    Thanks everyone, I'll go eat more and see what happens.

  10. #10
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    starting strength coach development program
    Speaking as a 6í2Ē guy who used to weigh 155 and now weighs 212, I actually take issue with some of this advice. Strength training 3 days a week is generally a highlight of my day, but if this is ruling your life to the extent that itís provoking anxiety attacks, I think allowing yourself to Not Do The Program is ok. You will get zero help with that here! But if you keep adding pounds to your body at the rate youíre going, itís actually not going to take you that long, in the grand scheme of your life, to get big enough to make improvements. If that means your squat goes up more slowly during that time, or not at all, thatís actually fine. Youíll have more time once you get bigger to get bigger lifts, and strength training is a lifelong endeavor.

    That said, rather than obsessively eating more and more, Iíd suggest putting that energy into training three days a week instead of two. Again, the point is not to be so unforgiving of yourself that you panic if you miss a session, but if youíre getting stuck at a squat less than your body weight, youíre not doing yourself any favors by lowering your weekly volume. Get to the gym three days a week, eat your protein and have enough of a caloric surplus that you gain weight over time. If you have to take a light day on Wednesday or whatever, do it. Youíre the one whoís training, who knows whatís going on in your life, and who knows what factors you need to balance in addition to your train; itís up to you what you do. And man, if it takes a few months before youíre able to make serious gainzzz I honestly donít see the problem with that.

    Without a doubt you will add weight to the bar faster if you gain weight faster. But thereís more to life than strength training, and sacrificing your mental health just so you get to squat 300 in 3 months instead of 6 months or a year is hardly worth it, in my estimation.

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