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Seeking Advice, Opinions, and General Direction on Training

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  • Seeking Advice, Opinions, and General Direction on Training


    Goals, starting with most desired:

    1) Overall, long-term health
    2) As “aesthetic” as possible
    3) As strong as possible given aesthetic constraints
    4) Participate in powerlifting competitions (time range TBD)

    Current Stats:

    - 26 y/o Male, 5’9”, 170 lb, waist ~37”
    - Body fat per the US Navy Calculator: ~20% to 21%
    - Squat: 1x5 – 255 lb
    - Bench: 1x5 – 205 lb
    - Deadlift: 1x5 – 300 lb
    - OHP: 1x5: 95 lb (not my forte)
    - Barbell Row: 1x5 – 160 lb
    - Cardio: lol... I play soccer occasionally? And hike when I can.

    Available Equipment:

    - Schwinn Airdyne Bike
    - Squat rack & bench, with Stainless Steel Ohio Power Bar (obvious humblebrag)
    - Free weights (duh)


    - Can I achieve my goals without surgery? (See section with * at beginning and end for context)
    - Is it possible for me to pack on enough muscle to eventually fill in space left due to loose skin?
    - Am I approaching consultation territory?
    - Given my stats, am I better cutting or recomping?
    - What route is most optimal for reaching my goals?

    I’ll try to keep this post brief and to the point, so please do excuse any ramblings.

    Virtually my entire life, I have carried more body fat than I would like. My weight has fluctuated a lot over the years. In fourth or fifth grade I was overweight, and was through most of grade school. At 17 years old, I was about 5’8” and 230 lb at one point. I dropped that and finished high school in the 180 lb range. I have always carried most of my fat around my waist, seems to be genetic, too.

    Through college, my weight went up and down, but for the past 4-5 years I have not gone over the 185 lb mark.

    I have always had the ideal body in mind, yet have not achieved what I wanted. I am well aware of what I see in my head, may never be reality and am at peace with that.

    My overall goals are to get as close to the body I have always desired, given my constraints.

    Due to such weight gain/fluctuations, I definitely have some loose skin. When I was 24, I got down to about 145 lb, thinking I could lose my way to skinny. I was definitely skinny, but more skinny fat than anything. My waist at this point measured about 32”.

    While I was skinny, I was far from “ripped”. No six pack, major definition. In fact, I looked and was unhealthy.

    Here I am at 26, a bit wiser and more capable than ever. So, it’s finally more viable than it ever has been for me to get as close as possible to where I want to be. And more importantly, where I need to be.

    I know the number one thing I need is guidance, and I have never found fitness professionals that I can trust more or respect more than Jordan Feigenbaum and Austin Baraki. That’s why this post, one that has been a long time coming, is aimed at you two. Although, I certainly do respect and am open to input from other BBM staff and forum members. Not blowing smoke, very fortunate to have heard the gospel of BBM now rather than later.

    Having typed all this out, for simplicity's sake, I can say that I want to be healthy and strong, and look healthy and strong. I feel giving so many "goals" can muddle the true point of my post and been seen as trying to take on too much at once, and don't want this to be the perception when someone reads this.

    *I have included some photos of myself in the past and present so that your input can be given on my questions above*

    (sorry for the dirty mirror)

    - Me at 145 lb, 24 y/o:

    - Me today, 170 lb, 26 y/o:

    - Me today, 170 lb, 26 y/o, waist photo:

    If you have made it this far reading my post, thank you for your time. Feel free to leave any feedback, advice, questions, requests for additional info, etc. and I will address anything as I have the time.

  • #2
    I’m a bit confused as far as what surgery you think you need? You can most definitely get stronger, and lose fat st the same time. Seeing as you’re most likely still a novice you can run the bridge post LP.


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply.

      The surgery I'm talking about would be something to remove excess skin. From the pecs and stomach area. See the album @ 145 lb. I am very skinny, but have noticeable "flab". But I am hopeful that packing on muscle over a long period of time could, for lack of a better term, fill in the void.

      So I'm currently debating whether I should be in a deficit, to cut weight/waist size, or if I should eat at maintenance to try a recomp approach. I just completed StrongLifts MadCow 5x5 and was going to start running The Bridge, but I think I have more strength to gain running an LP.

      Based on what you see, would you recommend I cut or maintain weight?


      • #4
        Originally posted by GoBlues82 View Post
        I have always had the ideal body in mind, yet have not achieved what I wanted. I am well aware of what I see in my head, may never be reality and am at peace with that.
        The idealized magazine cover aesthetic is something that for us mere mortals takes huge amounts of effort and training alongside quality coaching/advice (which ain't free) so you don't waste effort. Even then it is highly transient for all who achieve it except maybe some genetic freaks. Even those can have variability.

        Surgery: I know people who have had the type of surgery you are referring to. In my estimation you have no such significant excess skin, and such a drastic intervention would not only be unwarranted, but likely involve scaring that would in itself be aesthetically unpleasing to you.

        As for your short term path forward: That depends on what you want most which is a personal decision.

        On the one hand I feel you at not being happy with a 37" waist. I wasn't pleased with my waist when it was 36" but I was happy with the direction my lifts were going, so I kept at about that measurement for around a year. Eventually, I decided to prioritize aesthetics for my wife's sake (and to look good on our anniversary cruise) But dropping down to 32" cost me in the strength department.

        On the other hand, you have quite a ways to go before you get to the weight and strength I was at before I made that decision. (I'm not a particularly strong guy, although I am historically better off on the waist/overweight issue)

        Pressed to give advice, I'd say you should run The Bridge at relative maintenance calories. Keep an eye on the waist and work not to let it get any bigger, but if you like the gains you are getting in strength, DO NOT lose weight. Someday down the road, you'll be pushing much bigger weights (And will probably weigh more than you do now) and life events may change your priorities so that you want to look good at the beach or something instead of getting stronger. When that day comes, you may decide you want to drop the waist measurement fast at the cost of strength and muscle mass. Alternately you may choose to go slooooow but maintain all that hard earned strength, possibly even keeping an upward trend.

        For now, though you’ve got a lot of strength gains you could make, and you’re relatively underweight. To steal/paraphrase one of my favorite lines from Jordan, don’t sacrifice your strength gains by losing weight so early in the game unless you’re getting paid to. Either in cash or sex.