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Thread: Big Fella Training Log

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2019
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    9

    Default Big Fella Training Log

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    I'm a 31 year old male, 6'3", and weighed around 335lbs when I started doing the Starting Strength Novice Program.

    In high school, I spent a good deal of time at the gym running on the treadmill, screwing around on the weight machine circuit, and getting a whole lot of nothing done fitness-wise other than wearing myself out. In college, I would occasionally go to the campus gym and try to act out the dumb gym-bro wisdom I picked up by osmosis, doing sets of 10 for no particular reason (other than that's what people did), doing as many sets as I could without dying, and being generally disappointed with my total lack of progress. This was the extent of my weight training experience.

    Last February, I weighed 370lbs. I decided it was time to do something about it. I stuck to a rowing regimen from March to December last year and lost around 40lbs, but plateaued and couldn't break past the 330lb mark. I gave up on any sort of workout for a couple of months, gained some weight over the holidays, and then decided in March of this year to do the Starting Strength Novice Program. I put together a home gym and did my first workout March 28th. I've been using the Strong app for Apple Watch to track my workouts. I measure body weight and body fat (approximately) using a resistance-measuring scale at the same time each morning. My body weight started at 336lbs on March 28th and increased to around 345lbs by May 1st, but has held steady since then. My body fat averaged 44.7% in the month of March, and averaged 43.23% in the month of May. I may look into finding a way to do more accurate body fat measurements periodically.

    I was able to add 10lbs to my squat and deadlift each workout for the first several workouts, but I overzealously did one too many 10lb jumps on my squat and had to reset after a failed set. I got one 10lb jump on my bench and press, and switched to 5lb jumps after that. I'm probably going to have to move to 2.5lb jumps now, as I failed the last rep on my last set doing bench. My deadlift has progressed steadily, outpacing my squat. I just added the power clean. I plan to check in and update my latest numbers every week or so. I might go back and add my whole workout history later.

    I'm attempting to eat 1gram of protein per pound of lean body mass (roughly 200lbs), but it's tough some days.

    My ultimate goal is to keep getting stronger while gradually losing fat mass. If gradual fat loss proves to be difficult to manage, then I plan to squeeze everything I can out of my novice phase and worry about the fat loss after that.

    Initial

    Squat: 135lbs
    Press: 75lbs
    Bench: 85lbs
    Deadlift: 135lbs


    ...


    May 28

    Squat: 225lbs
    Press: 110lbs
    Power Clean: 105lbs


    May 30

    Squat: 230lbs
    Bench: 165lbs
    Deadlift: 280lbs

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Walled Lake, Michigan
    Posts
    5,715

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    Welcome. You made some good gains. That's a good marker for you. You don't indicate where you live but if you can find a Starting Strength coach for guidance and tips. If you can't afford a weekly visit go every month or so. Believe me your gains will be consistent and mostly or totally injury free. He/she may also be able to give you nutrition advice. Also, check the nutrition section of this forum. If you have the possibility you may also video your lifts and post them on the technique section. Do you wear proper shoes and have a lifting belt?

    Best wishes to you. I'll look in on you from time to time.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Toronto, ON, CA
    Posts
    654

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    Nice stuff so far!

    As Carson said, even if coaching isn't an option, you should definitely hit up Santana in the nutrition forum. At +40% body fat, you should be able to lose fat and get stronger simultaneously for a while. That protein number is really important. Are you drinking shakes? 200g of solid food is a chore. Do you know what your carbs and fat are like?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    23

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    Hi. I'm in a similar situation as you. Not yet as strong, but fat and I've always been fat. I hope you haven't given up. I really think this program can help me, and if it can help me it can help you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Walled Lake, Michigan
    Posts
    5,715

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    Where did you go?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    9

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    I realized it's been a while, so I figured I'd check in.

    It's been a somewhat unproductive summer, though I'm still making progress. Work schedule, chores, vacation, the stress of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, etc. have conspired to force a couple layoffs, some missed workouts, and overall reduced progress. My press was stalled, and I figured out it was all form problems - I wasn't getting the bar back far enough at the top of the movement, and my grip width wasn't wide enough. So the bar was too far forward at both the bottom and the top of the movement, and my arms were basically getting totally worn out just from that extra moment arm, which manifested as failed reps/sets. I've corrected that, and now it feels great.

    Latest figures as of last week:

    Squat: 280lbs
    Press: 110lbs
    Bench: 185lbs
    Deadlift: 330lbs

    I went on a week-long vacation in June, and the only equipment available was a weight machine circuit. So I did my best to substitute machine exercises for barbell lifts, just to maintain and not de-train; leg press and back extensions to sub for deadlift and squat, seated bench machine to sub for bench, seated vertical press machine to sub for press, etc. I also did some dumbbell deadlifts, which were probably pretty useless since the heaviest dumbbells they had were 50s - I wore myself out doing several sets of 10 reps at 100lbs with dumbbell deadlifts. Probably didn't accomplish much. Unfortunately, I tweaked my knee using the leg press machine and had some pain squatting for another week or so after getting back. In hindsight, I should've just stayed away from the machines and settled for de-training that week. Or done bodyweight squats or something. I dunno.

    Being a Blues fan, the Stanley Cup Finals basically made for two weeks of no sleep and difficulty eating, so I made limited progress. But it was totally worth it. I'll take that trade anytime.

    Over the past month or so, I've been doing increments of 2.5lbs on squat and deadlift (and have been making slow but steady progress that way), but I discovered this past week that that is considered microloading and isn't recommended for squat or deadlift. So I'm moving on to Phase 3 starting today, and will go back to 5lb jumps, but introduce the mid-week light squat day, decrease deadlift frequency, add chin-ups, etc.

    I can't do a bodyweight chin-up yet, so I'll be alternating between resistance-band-assisted chin-ups and negatives, as I've seen recommended on the main site. The bodyweight chin-up is a milestone I'm excited to conquer. I know it'll take a while to get there, but I'm really motivated to hit that.

    I also discovered that I dyslexicly misread the schedule for power cleans and was attempting 3 sets of 5 when I should have been doing 5 sets of 3. I've also been struggling to get my form right with the power clean, so I reset the weight and have been steadily working back up. My biggest problem is my large gut, which has a tendency to hit the bar if I pull the bar close to my body like proper form dictates. As soon as my gut hits the bar, it scuttles the whole thing and I have to bail out. I also have a long torso, so even with a wide grip, by the time the bar reaches my mid-thigh, it feels like I have zero "spring" left to explode upward with. My natural tendency is to want to explode when the bar is at or just below my kneecaps, because this is where I feel like I still have some power left in my hips. But this hasn't worked out well, because the bar wants to shoot out away from me, which then screws up the rack, and I end up trying to manhandle the bar back in with arm strength near the top instead of just catching it on my shoulders. I'm going to keep at it and see if I can figure out the right grip width and "jump" position for my suboptimal anatomy. I'll try and get my wife to shoot a form check video for me and I'll post it here.

    The limiting factor on my deadlift now is definitely my grip, followed by my core. I can feel the deadlift most in my obliques. I'm using liquid chalk, but I think I might need to start using straps on warm-up sets - my grip seems to fatigue by the end of my work set. I bought an Inzer lever belt, but I can't get it to fit right. When it's set for fitting right in the bottom of the deadlift, it's too loose at the top and wants to pop open. And when it's set right for the top of the deadlift, it's painfully tight at the bottom. I fear I may have to hold off on using it until I shave some fat off my stomach. Any fellow chubbies out there have tips on a belt brand or belt position that works?

    Two deadlift sessions ago, I was able to squeak out a set of 5 at 330lbs, but I didn't feel like my back was straight enough, and the bar started rolling out of my fingers midway through the last rep.

    Then, last deadlift session, I loaded up 335lbs, and I couldn't get the bar off the ground. I don't know if it was a combination of having worn out my back doing chores (yard work, bent over fixing vehicles, etc.) or lack of calories/sleep or what, but I couldn't move 335lbs after two attempts, and I couldn't move 330lbs after one attempt. Then I hurled obscenities at the world and dropped it to 300lbs and cranked out a set of 5 out of anger. I'm hoping this was a fluke related to fatigue from other activites. I'm going to do a small reset to 315lbs today and see how that feels. Also, I'm moving to phase 3, so hopefully that helps with my deadlift recovery.

    Should I add in some assistance exercises for grip strength? I'm concerned that whatever I could be doing for grip strength is also going to sap my back and legs.

    My squat feels good, but heavy. I haven't failed a rep in a long time, but the last rep is consistently a bit of a grind. I do feel lightheaded now after racking the bar after each work set. I understand this is related to blood pressure changes from loading/unloading the body.

    Despite the hiccups and roadblocks, I feel great in general. My bench press and press feel like I've got a lot of linear progress left if I just keep at it. My squat and deadlift both feel close to the end of linear progress. I guess I'll wait and see how things go with adding the light squat day and decreasing deadlift frequency.

    Finally, my bodyweight has held steady at 345lbs through all of this. I can see some visible changes, too. My stomach is a bit slimmer at the bottom, but my abs have seemingly grown a little; I have more definition in my arms and shoulders, and I can tell that there's a lot more muscle mass in my thighs underneath the layers of fat. My body composition scale hasn't detected any changes in bodyfat percentage, though (the average has been holding steady at 42% for months). Of course, bioelectrical impedance measurements through just the feet aren't particularly accurate, and I carry a good chunk of bodyfat in my torso (which isn't measured by the scale). I suppose I could dig out a tape measure to check the old fashioned way.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2019
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    9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dillon Spencer View Post
    Nice stuff so far!

    As Carson said, even if coaching isn't an option, you should definitely hit up Santana in the nutrition forum. At +40% body fat, you should be able to lose fat and get stronger simultaneously for a while. That protein number is really important. Are you drinking shakes? 200g of solid food is a chore. Do you know what your carbs and fat are like?
    Yes, I've been drinking whole milk with hydrolyzed whey to supplement protein (12oz milk with a scoop of whey, about 40g per "shake") - one in the morning, one in the evening or just after my workout.

    I aim for 3200-3500 calories total per day. Although, I just calculated my BMR again, and I think that 3500 might be a little too light. I see that my BMR is around 3100, and I should theoretically need around 3500 calories per day if I'm exercising 3 times per week. I don't want protein intake to be completely consumed for energy, though. Is this a matter of ensuring I'm eating at a slight calorie surplus? Or is this better addressed by spreading out protein intake throughout the day?

    Breakfast is usually some breakfast casserole that consists of eggs, sausage, cheese, potatoes, bell peppers, etc. Lunch is usually a lunchmeat sandwich, cheese cubes, some fruit (apples, grapes, raisins), nuts, a bag of chips or pretzels. I usually have an afternoon snack of some jerky, nuts, cheese, or something. Dinner varies, but is usually centered around beef, chicken, pork, or fish, sometimes with starchy carbs (rice or potatoes), sometimes with just vegetables, depending. We sometimes get fast food, and then I avoid getting fries or tots and instead opt for chicken strips, chicken nuggets, a hot dog, etc. in place of potatoes.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    9

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    Quote Originally Posted by dyinglight View Post
    Hi. I'm in a similar situation as you. Not yet as strong, but fat and I've always been fat. I hope you haven't given up. I really think this program can help me, and if it can help me it can help you.
    Nope, haven't given up. Just radio silent.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Toronto, ON, CA
    Posts
    654

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    Quote Originally Posted by dr_funk View Post
    Yes, I've been drinking whole milk with hydrolyzed whey to supplement protein (12oz milk with a scoop of whey, about 40g per "shake") - one in the morning, one in the evening or just after my workout.

    I aim for 3200-3500 calories total per day. Although, I just calculated my BMR again, and I think that 3500 might be a little too light. I see that my BMR is around 3100, and I should theoretically need around 3500 calories per day if I'm exercising 3 times per week. I don't want protein intake to be completely consumed for energy, though. Is this a matter of ensuring I'm eating at a slight calorie surplus? Or is this better addressed by spreading out protein intake throughout the day?

    Breakfast is usually some breakfast casserole that consists of eggs, sausage, cheese, potatoes, bell peppers, etc. Lunch is usually a lunchmeat sandwich, cheese cubes, some fruit (apples, grapes, raisins), nuts, a bag of chips or pretzels. I usually have an afternoon snack of some jerky, nuts, cheese, or something. Dinner varies, but is usually centered around beef, chicken, pork, or fish, sometimes with starchy carbs (rice or potatoes), sometimes with just vegetables, depending. We sometimes get fast food, and then I avoid getting fries or tots and instead opt for chicken strips, chicken nuggets, a hot dog, etc. in place of potatoes.
    Hey man! Glad you're still at it and making progress! I'm certainly no expert on the matter of nutrition, but have at least some knowledge. I'd still encourage you to check in with Santana if you haven't already.

    That being said, it looks like you're making pretty decent food choices. You're not the typical trainee, in that your BF% is pretty high. As such, you've already "created the conditions for growth" as Rip would say. You can probably eat at maintenance or even a slight deficit and let your body cannibalize fat stores for the extra energy it needs. I probably wouldn't even be messing with whole milk, as you're not an underweight teenager. Lower fat milk options have all the protein and carbs with less calorie dense fat. You can go even further by focusing the majority of your carb intake in the morning, when you've been fasting all night and will have all day to burn them off, and right before, during, and after your workouts. Whatever you do keep that protein high! If memory serves there's even a section in the blue book that talks about diet for the overweight trainee. It's right after the section where he says LITERALLY EVERYONE PERSON IN THE WORLD (but actually only underweight teenagers) MUST DRINK A GALLON OF MILK A DAY. If you start missing lifts obviously something will have to change, but guys with body fat to burn can usually get away with fewer calories for longer.

    What has your body weight been doing? Up? Down? The same? What about your waist?

    That's my $0.02 at least! Again, I'd encourage you to enlist Santana for more expert advice. He's a great resource, and a lot of what I'm saying here is just regurgitating shit I've read from him in the nutrition forum. Might as well go to the source!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    9

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    starting strength nutrition camp
    Bodyweight has been essentially holding dead steady at 345lbs, with a periodic +/- 3lb deviation depending on where I am in the week. But it always returns to 345. Beltline has been about the same (it increased slightly in the first month or so of the program, but has held steady since). Waist seems to have gotten a bit smaller, but I haven't been measuring. I suppose I should.

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