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Completely undertrained, overweight -- what to expect while losing weight

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  • Completely undertrained, overweight -- what to expect while losing weight

    I'm currently completely untrained. I've trained on and off for several years, on a particularly good 6 month streak (although I realize not very successful compared to most lifters I see posting), I got to the following at 85kg bodyweight (height 188cm, age 28):

    Squat: 102kg x 1
    1ct paused bench: 80kg x 1
    Deadlift: 115kg x 1
    Press: 45kg x 1

    I'm now about 100kg, probably 25% BF or so, and I'm looking to slim down from 38 inch pants to around 36 inches. I restarted training last week, I haven't maxed out, I've just been trying to start on the low end and LP up to build some momentum, but it's safe to say that I've lost a lot of strength over the past year and a half.

    I'm looking to gain strength in the powerlifting movements + press, but this time, I'm also trying to focus on more auxiliary lifts (rows, curls, and variations of the main movements at higher rep ranges) so I don't look like such a dyel. I don't want to aim just for bodybuilding, but I also would like to procreate at some point and being bald and fat (or skinny, as I was before) is not helping with that.

    First, is it reasonable to think that in my untrained and moderately overweight state that I could put on some muscle while slimming down and losing weight? I've seen some of your content and forum posts about how losing weight and gaining muscle is only really possible if untrained, severely overweight, or with high training response (which I don't have, I think my response is relatively low), but to what extent can I expect this to happen? And for someone who is not undertrained, is the only solution for putting on significant muscle to bulk/cut? If so, how much weight should be gained / lost during each, and over what period to maximize muscle? Tbh I hate the idea of having to keep a wardrobe with multiple sizes, I spend a good amount of money on clothes and it sucks to outgrow or outshrink things constantly.

    Second, does my general plan make sense for improving my physique while still working on strength in the 4 movements, and do you have other recommendations of things I should do? I have your Powerlifting I template, is that the best thing to start with after my LP, or do you have other recommended templates that would help achieve my goals?

    Third, if you don't mind saying, what is your height, weight, waist size, and chest size? I realize that's a personal question, but you look good in your videos, I'm trying to figure out roughly what dimensions in waist and chest I should aim for in the long term to look built.


  • #2

    Thanks for the post. Getting started (or restarted in this case) is more than half the battle. Happy you're back in the gym and getting after it.

    As far body composition goes, I expect most who are new to training to increase muscle mass and lose fat mass when beginning a resistance training program. This includes you, though there's a lot of inter-individual variation in response. Strength increases are also likely. I also wouldn't expect you to be able to discern if you are a low or high responder to training, as you have not really been exposed to much (consistently) training at this point. Training-wise, I would 10/10 skip the LP due to its numerous shortcomings. The Beginner Prescription or Template would be my recommendation here given its attention to strength, hypertrophy, and conditioning. Much of your results here will stem from the dietary pattern and consistency therein.

    As far as mating prospects go, I don't want to over-analyze your post and miss a good self-deprecating joke, but I am picking up some poor body image and low self-esteem vibes here. While these can be motivating to initiate- and in some cases sustain- behavior change, I think the overall quality of life tends to be pretty low in addition to not really fixing the body image and self-esteem. There's more to this, but not really the preferred medium.

    Finally, I'm 5'11, 205 to 210lbs, 31" waist, and I don't know my chest size. For reference, I've been training consistently for > 15-years and do not think my results/measurements are typical.

    Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
    ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///


    • #3
      Thanks for the response, very helpful! You correctly identified that I do have some self-esteem issues that I need to work through but I recently ended a long relationship and I've found dating to be difficult, and anything I can do to improve that (or, have the perception that I'm working to improve that) has helped my mood considerably, so there's a combination of low self-esteem (bad) and optimism (good) that's fueling my desire to lift at the moment.

      One more thing I was wondering... I currently have a pretty stress-free job and equipment to train at home. I'm recovering from alcoholism and too much time on my hands and not being sufficiently tired out makes it harder for me to get through the day. Training the past couple weeks has done miracles for my mental health, especially the days I train. I've heard your stance on overtraining, and that almost all individuals could use more training not less, but I've heard you mostly talk about this in the context of intermediate lifters. For a novice such as myself, am I shooting myself in the foot by training more, or does the same logic apply that more train = more gain? I've been looking at the beginner program you mentioned and have been contemplating doubling it up with variations -- eg Monday doing Day 1 as is (squat, bench, deadlift), Tuesday doing the Day 3 lifts but as variations (deadlift, bench, squat variations), Wednesday doing Day 2 as is, Thursday doing Day 1 lift variations, Friday doing Day 3 as is, Saturday doing Day 2 lift variations, and Sunday just fucking around or something. Is this likely to get me better, worse, or similar results to just doing the program for 3 days as prescribed? I realize I'll be sore as hell for a couple weeks and my lift numbers may suffer due to worse performance on any given day, but will the overall strength adaptation and hypertrophy be any better/worse after 12 weeks? I'd be primarily doing it for the mental benefits I feel on any given day, but I would also hope it would speed up my progress to some degree.


      • #4
        Yea I don't think I'd do anymore lifting, but I do think that you can occupy a good chunk of time by resistance training 3x/wk and doing some conditioning daily (or 5 to 6x/wk). I also think engaging in activities (not just physical) outside the home is very important and this is what I'd recommend doing with your spare time.
        Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
        ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///