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Spinning my wheels

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  • Spinning my wheels

    Hey all, first time long time and all that...

    I'm 34 y/o 5'10" 175 pounds. My most recent waist measurement was right at 35". Weight and waist have been holding steady for ~3 weeks at about 2750 calories a day.

    I guess my issues are two fold.

    1) I have run PB1 and PB2, currently running the 3 day Low ISF (week 4). I have enjoyed the programs and I still enjoy getting in my (home) gym. My issue is I haven't seen much progress over the last couple of years. For reference my SBD is sitting at 295/195/375 and hasn't really seen much movement over the last couple of years. I've found the 3 day programs to fit my schedule better than the 4. I also play rec league ice hockey 2-3 times a week on top of the lifting and conditioning prescribed in the programs, though I will ease up on the conditioning on heavier hockey weeks.

    2) I've also been gaining/losing the same 15-20 pounds in an attempt to add muscle to my relatively small frame. Based on the waist measurement I'm at what you normally advise the cutoff to be for health purposes, but I've not seen much growth outside of my waist and I'm afraid I'll just be shedding the same weight I put on without having seen much actual gains muscle wise. I'm mostly basing this on strength not having improved and other measurements not increasing. My most recent attempt at bulking starting in June 2022 at a 32" waist and 155 pounds lasting until just about February 2023 at 35" waist and 175 pounds. Weight gain was fairly evenly distributed over the course of the bulk.

    My goals moving forward are to see some upward movement on my lifts. I don't necessarily need my SBD to be better as I have no competition plans, but I feel they are a fair representation of the rest of my lifts which also feel like the are stuck in the "intermediate" range. Additionally, I'd like to be able to move a few of those inches from the waist up to the chest, shoulders, and arms region (not literally obviously, but I think you get my meaning).

    So moving forward, I'm not sure where to go. I know my waist is at the cutoff, but I don't know that I want to start cutting weight at this point. I've been at maintenance for nearly a month now and haven't seen much change in anything. I can also say I don't feel particularly beat up or worn down from the workouts or additional physical activity. I've been on a decent stretch of being relatively pain free, although I do need to avoid chin ups or my elbows get cranky.

  • #2

    Thanks for the post. A few follow-ups:
    • What were your e1RM or testing 1RM's 6 months ago and what are they today? I know you said they hadn't changed in years, but that would be pretty unique to not have significant change one way or the other.
    • What is the most important thing that you'd like to achieve from a physical development standpoint?
    • What thing(s) do you love about exercise right now?
    • What thing(s) do you dislike about exercise right now?
    I'll try and ferret out some ideas based on your reply. Have a great weekend.

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


    • #3
      1) Bench
      1x185@8 8/16/22

      3x170@8 8/16/22

      3x165@7 3/15/23

      1x355@8 8/10/22

      3x325@8 8/10/22

      3x290@7 3/10/23

      1x275@8 8/14/23

      3x245@8 8/14/23

      3x255@7 3/13/23

      2) This may be the crux of the entire issue. I have definitely oscillated back and forth on what my focus is, and I could probably use a little more patience in my approach either way. For the foreseeable future though, I’d like to add muscle.

      3) What I love about exercise right now, whether it’s lifting or hockey or biking/rowing/running, is that it’s my outlet for the everyday stresses in life. Nothing too traumatic, but it helps balance working shifts, raising kids, maintaining a house, etc.

      4) My main dislike is the lack of progress I’ve seen and not being able to decide how to best fix that. I know that’s a bit of a cop out answer, but the truth is I don’t really have any other dislikes. As mentioned above I generally enjoy my hour to hour and a half of “me time”. However, it is frustrating to not be seeing much change though.


      • #4
        Looks like bench might be about the same or better, squat is stronger, and deadlift is way down. Not sure if that's just a weirdo result re: deadlift, but I think diving deeper into what your warm-up and weight selection process is would be my next move as a coach, as I'd guess that is a significant player in your progression rate. For example, if you're repeating weights week-to-week pretty frequently, my confidence goes up that this is contributory.

        Programming-wise, I think the low ISF templates are geared more towards strength, though there's a big overlap with hypertrophy of course. My concern with recommending PB III, BB, or a hypertrophy template is I'm not sure what your equipment situation is like. While you can do all of those templates in a home gym with minimal equipment, I prefer people have access to dumbbells, an incline bench (and/or specialty bar), and a few other toys.

        Regarding bodyweight and body comp, I think if you've been maintaining for 3 weeks since a cut then it's probably too early to change course. On the other hand, after a good maintenance period you can definitely add a bit of fuel (100-200 Cal) and see how you do. I would make sure you're doing the conditioning in the template, of course.

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


        • #5
          On the deadlift I suspect I may have overshot RPE in August. The more recent Deadlift was far more crisp, even with the target RPE being lower.

          I do find I'm either repeating weights pretty frequently or trying to force an increase and overshooting RPE as a result.

          Warmup looks like this, using my last bench (3@7) workout as an example:

          I've got what I believe to be a fairly diverse set-up. Rack w/ plate loaded lat tower, flat/incline bench, barbell, 2 power block dumbbells up to 90lbs each, SSB, Trap bar, landmine, and dip bars.

          Just to clarify I bulked up to 175/35" waist and have been on maintenance for 3 weeks now.

          I appreciate you taking the time to talk about this with me.


          • #6
            I think with the bench workout there, you'd realistically be looking to add 2-5lbs if 155 felt like < 6 and you otherwise weren't getting any signals that going up was going to be a bad idea. That said, whether or not you lift 5 more pounds isn't really going to change the adaptations being yielded, though tracking strength without testing 1RMs (or similar) becomes less useful.

            For your workout setup, I'd be cool with any and all templates in that case.

            Re: diet- after 4 weeks maintaining, you can go up a few hundred Cals.
            Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
            ///Book a Consultation/// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///


            • #7
              Thank you for the advice/direction. I'll give this a go and post an update in a few months.


              • #8
                Sounds good. Looking forward to it!
                Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
                ///Book a Consultation/// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///