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Barbell Program Suggestions for Me?

TheEnthusiast90

Level 5 Valued Member
Hey everyone,

I'm looking for input from the crowd over here.

I currently weigh 198 lb., I have been training seriously for the better part of 3 years.

Deadlift: 385 x 9 ()
Squat: 335 x 9 ()
Bench: 225 x 4
Press: 155 x 9

Lately, I've been losing a lot of weight. Since July, I dropped from weighing 215-220 to 198. As I've been slowly tapering off a medication since then, I'm finding it tough to force down enough food to see consistent strength progression without puking. I'm currently running my third cycle of 5/3/1, before 5/3/1 I ran PTTP for months with a lot of success. I was doing well with the weight loss/strength gains for about 3 months, but I've found myself burning out recently and I know I need to change something up.

My diet is very restrictive for health reasons and my stomach can only tolerate ground beef, potatoes, rice, vegetables, avocados, and occasionally pork. I can't eat eggs, I can't drink milk, I can't consume whey protein, I can't eat chicken, and I absolutely can't have wheat, gluten, or oats. As you can imagine, this makes eating for strength gains/slow weight loss very hard to do unless I feel like shoving a pound of ground beef and buckwheat down my throat every day.

Now that I've rambled on for a few paragraphs, I can ask my question.

I would just go back to PTTP, but I want to include squat/press/deadlift + direct ab work and other assistance movements in my program. I'm looking for a program that allows me to hit my prescribed numbers for the day, do my assistance work, and never miss a lift on my spreadsheet.

Going for rep PRs was fun for a little while but now that I'm moving heavier weights, the rep PRs are getting harder to recover from and causing me to miss out on consistent strength gains in the long run. Not being able to consistently supplement my workouts with adequate nutrition is becoming a problem as well.

With all of that being said, do you guys have any suggestions for me? I'm primarily focused on getting stronger but wouldn't mind becoming more aesthetic as a result of gaining strength.

Thanks in advance for reading.
 

Andi-in-BKK

Level 4 Valued Member
I’m interested in the replies on this as well.

I’ve got a suggestion for protein supplementation though. They make a “carnivore protein” that is from beef sources. If you tolerate ground beef, that’s a possible option. I haven’t tried it personally and I likewise have digestive issues that makes consuming whole milk an absolute gut bomb which really screws me up when I’ve got multiple sessions in one day, but whey is fine.
 

TheEnthusiast90

Level 5 Valued Member
I’m interested in the replies on this as well.

I’ve got a suggestion for protein supplementation though. They make a “carnivore protein” that is from beef sources. If you tolerate ground beef, that’s a possible option. I haven’t tried it personally and I likewise have digestive issues that makes consuming whole milk an absolute gut bomb which really screws me up when I’ve got multiple sessions in one day, but whey is fine.
There is a bone broth protein powder I've taken with success in the past, but it's ridiculously expensive ($70 a tub for like 15 servings).
 

william bad butt

Level 6 Valued Member
I've been following the 10 20 Life program 100% of the time since 2019 and prior to that part time from 2016-2017. Note in 2018 I took a year off from barbells due to lots of stress (move, New house, New job, etc...) and focused on double Kbells.

It is no longer the program I am doing but the way I train. I recommend it.

Regards,

Eric
 

Andi-in-BKK

Level 4 Valued Member
There is a bone broth protein powder I've taken with success in the past, but it's ridiculously expensive ($70 a tub for like 15 servings).
Yeah that’s getting into a rib-eye every other day kind of money, which is totally an option in itself (I currently eat ribeye 2-3 times a week and I’ve noticed an absolute massive difference in mental health and have had decent hypertrophy and strength gains since doing so). It’s just a money thing, do you really want to spend $200-300/mo on meat? I know I do, lol.
 

Coyotl

Level 6 Valued Member
Hey everyone,

I'm looking for input from the crowd over here.

I currently weigh 198 lb., I have been training seriously for the better part of 3 years.

Deadlift: 385 x 9 ()
Squat: 335 x 9 ()
Bench: 225 x 4
Press: 155 x 9

Lately, I've been losing a lot of weight. Since July, I dropped from weighing 215-220 to 198. As I've been slowly tapering off a medication since then, I'm finding it tough to force down enough food to see consistent strength progression without puking. I'm currently running my third cycle of 5/3/1, before 5/3/1 I ran PTTP for months with a lot of success. I was doing well with the weight loss/strength gains for about 3 months, but I've found myself burning out recently and I know I need to change something up.

My diet is very restrictive for health reasons and my stomach can only tolerate ground beef, potatoes, rice, vegetables, avocados, and occasionally pork. I can't eat eggs, I can't drink milk, I can't consume whey protein, I can't eat chicken, and I absolutely can't have wheat, gluten, or oats. As you can imagine, this makes eating for strength gains/slow weight loss very hard to do unless I feel like shoving a pound of ground beef and buckwheat down my throat every day.

Now that I've rambled on for a few paragraphs, I can ask my question.

I would just go back to PTTP, but I want to include squat/press/deadlift + direct ab work and other assistance movements in my program. I'm looking for a program that allows me to hit my prescribed numbers for the day, do my assistance work, and never miss a lift on my spreadsheet.

Going for rep PRs was fun for a little while but now that I'm moving heavier weights, the rep PRs are getting harder to recover from and causing me to miss out on consistent strength gains in the long run. Not being able to consistently supplement my workouts with adequate nutrition is becoming a problem as well.

With all of that being said, do you guys have any suggestions for me? I'm primarily focused on getting stronger but wouldn't mind becoming more aesthetic as a result of gaining strength.

Thanks in advance for reading.
Why're you looking at changing from 5/3/1? From what you've said, it seems to be a mix of 1) not eating enough to continue to make progress and 2) mental challenge of the PR set. Is that accurate?
 

Tarzan

Level 6 Valued Member
How do you tolerate collagen powder & creatine?
After asking that, I'd suggest that while you're tapering off a medication that you're in a transitory phase and maybe your expectations are bit high while your body is adjusting. I'd suggest to not even test for a 1rm until you've weaned yourself off the medication or have got it down the point you're satisfied with. Sometimes it's good to just train for fun & come away from every session feeling fresh and energised.
When you hit your goal with the medication then start looking for a monthly PR or 1rm test, by that time some of those dietary issues may have resolved themselves and you might have a few more options.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
First let me complement you on your deadlift and squat form. Very good and super solid.

I'm guessing the videos are your 5/3/1 AMRAP sets, and most of your other sets are 5 reps or less? I did 5/3/1 for about 12 weeks back in 2017 so I remember those. I don't think I'd do the deadlift set the way you did; i.e., I wouldn't call that a set. My thought is, keep hands on bar and keep lifting... when you're done, you're done. If you stop and re-set and lift again with minimal rest, many muscles are fatigued and although you can lift it, it's asking for trouble, and not doing much to build strength.

Lots of options for programming... You said you're primarily focused on getting stronger. Do you have a sense for your ideal bodyweight? Are you trying to train and eat in order to put on more lean mass. or just eat to support training and get stronger, and let lean mass be where it needs to be to support that? I wasn't sure if you're trying to get back up to 215-220, stay at your current 198, or something else.

As for diet,

my stomach can only tolerate ground beef, potatoes, rice, vegetables, avocados, and occasionally pork
Those are solid components to work with. I'd do a lot of stir-fry type things. Rice and sausage, rice and beef, potatoes and beef. Maybe soup or stew. Can you eat fruit? I'd throw in a lot of fruit for meals and snacks, if you can. And avocados are great. What about beans?
 

TheEnthusiast90

Level 5 Valued Member
@william bad butt thank you for your suggestion, I will definitely look into that program.

@Andi-in-BKK I'm not sure I want to drop that kind of money on a protein source, but if push comes to shove I'll be purchasing the bone broth powder with a heavy heart.

@Coyotl Yes, definitely a mixture of both. The physical stress of the PR sets every week are inhibiting my ability to recover from my workouts more-so than the mental stress, especially because of the nutrition factor.

@Tarzan I'm pretty sure collagen powder and creatine are fine, although I currently don't take either one. I'd have to test it out.

I have about 7-8 weeks of this taper left before I'm off it completely, as I'm taking it very slow to avoid health complications. I haven't gone for a 1RM since I've been training, I've exclusively tested my top-end strength with heavy triples and worked off those.

I'm definitely not looking to establish a true personal record within the next two months, but being able to hit some prescribed numbers consistently would be ideal. I did like PTTP because it wasn't overly taxing on my body every day and I was able to recover from my workouts with limited nutrition and some willpower. I know I'm dealing with some external variables here, so things might not go according to plan for a little while.

@Anna C thank you for the compliment, I appreciate it sincerely.

Those videos are from my AMRAP sets. You guessed it right, my warm-ups go from 3-5 reps per set and then I send it on my top set. On deload weeks, I hit my Training Max for an easy single and call it.


Deadlifts are a bit tricky because I never know when enough is enough. I usually blast out the first 4-6 reps within 30 seconds, run out of breath, have to adjust my belt because it's falling off my ribcage, straighten the bar out, get my stance, and pull again. Because my belt no longer suits me for deadlifting, I'm inclined to get rid of the belt and save it for squats.

I'd also love to find a program where I won't be asked to pull for more than 5-7 reps on a top-set, because I think that lowering my rep range on DLs will be beneficial towards me recovering easier and gaining more top-end strength. I'd almost rather save the volume for squats and work on other back/hamstring exercises that will build my deadlift aside from the conventional deadlift.

I know I'm not risking injury with my form, but I don't know when to call a set if I feel like I can do more reps. Having a program that calls for "405 x 5" or "375 x 7" on a heavy day would be easier to go by. Also ditching the belt for DL will help me get my form more in tune.

Lots of options for programming... You said you're primarily focused on getting stronger. Do you have a sense for your ideal bodyweight? Are you trying to train and eat in order to put on more lean mass. or just eat to support training and get stronger, and let lean mass be where it needs to be to support that? I wasn't sure if you're trying to get back up to 215-220, stay at your current 198, or something else.

Ideally I'd like to weigh anywhere from 185-190 pounds consistently. I'm only 5'9", so 215-220 is a bit too heavy for me to be comfortable with. I'm primarily focused on eating to support my training and get stronger over time without stuffing my face every day. I know that my food selections will have to be on point for me to get stronger while not gaining weight.

Getting rid of the incredible trap/lat/abdominal muscle soreness is also going to feel great. As for my diet that is my current approach - stir-fry everything. I'm just getting very very sick of eating the same foods with no variation, as I've been following my current diet for over 7 months and ground beef now triggers my gag reflex if I don't spice it up properly. I also include strawberries, grapes, apples, oranges, etc. with my breakfast.
 
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Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
I'd also love to find a program where I won't be asked to pull for more than 5-7 reps on a top-set, because I think that lowering my rep range on DLs will be beneficial towards me recovering easier and gaining more top-end strength. I'd almost rather save the volume for squats and work on other back/hamstring exercises that will build my deadlift aside from the conventional deadlift.
That makes sense to me. I also like your idea of ditching the belt for deadlifts (although, I'd work into it with lower weights). Then just do a top set that is beltless and whatever you can pull with no pauses or adjustments, and call it done. You'll get the good out of it and it won't create that additional non-productive fatigue.

I know I'm not risking injury with my form, but I don't know when to call a set if I feel like I can do more reps. Having a program that calls for "405 x 5" or "375 x 7" on a heavy day would be easier to go by. Also ditching the belt for DL will help me get my form more in tune.
Are you familiar with Barbell Medicine? They have templates that use "RPE" rating of perceived exertion, or reps in reserve, and rarely have you going to 9 or 10 (with 1 or 0 reps that you could have done after your last rep). Most top sets are to an 8, or where you could have done 2 more reps. If you find them on Instagram there are some details on Friday specials going on today. So I bring that up as a possible option for a training program, but also as a general approach you can use for any program. They talk in a recent podcast about how they have learned to stay away from near-failure most of the time, and it seems to provide for better training overall.

Sounds like you're on the right track with diet. Sticking with that plus a few new ideas from others will probably keep you in the right ballpark for your goals. An Instant Pot type pressure cooker is awesome for meat and many other things.
 

Coyotl

Level 6 Valued Member
@Coyotl Yes, definitely a mixture of both. The physical stress of the PR sets every week are inhibiting my ability to recover from my workouts more-so than the mental stress, especially because of the nutrition factor.
If you want to stay on 5/3/1, check out his book 5/3/1 Forever - he talks about organizing training into blocks where you go harder and blocks where you don't (he calls them Anchor and Leader templates). He also talks about making sure your TM is always 85-90% - so if you're not getting at least 5 reps on your "plus set" you need to adjust down.

If you're NOT interested in staying on 5/3/1, I would really suggest looking at two things - first, watch the video I posted here. It might provide a framework for what you're looking for. The second is to search "Heavy Light Medium Andy Baker" and read the pages that pop up. Set up a 4-day split. I'm happy to help if that's the route you want to go, but you'll also have all the tools to "roll your own."

I know you didn't really ask for ideas for eating, but just thought I'd throw out a couple tasty ideas, in case something works with your limits and piques your interest:
- chimichurri sauce (olive oil - or whatever oil you can handle, garlic, cilantro, salt, oregano, parsley) - slather that on rice and your beef.
- homemade hamburger helper - there's a lot to leave out, but you could sub in potatoes for noodles, focus on the spices (paprika, garlic, Italian seasoning) and not the cheese and sauce. Make a gluten/dairy free roux to bind it all together.
- beef shawarma (cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, cayenne pepper - normally olive oil and onions too), serve that with rice...
 

Adachi

Level 6 Valued Member
As you can imagine, this makes eating for strength gains/slow weight loss very hard to do unless I feel like shoving a pound of ground beef and buckwheat down my throat every day.
by choice I'm approximately carnivore. And I've been so for years. I've worked myself up to being able to eat 1-3lbs a day , 1-2 lbs in a sitting without any problem.

My daily meals are 1 lbs ground beef broken up into crumbles, season with 1 tsp powdered chicken broth, drain, sprinkle cheese , add Sriracha. Scoop onto pork rinds. 1 layer nachos, I call em.

There was a time , early on, when naturally, my appetite tanked and eating large amounts was effectively not an option. I just wasn't hungry.

One thing that's made eating easier on me, was increasing my stomach size via carbonated mineral water. I just regularly had some carbonated water or diet soda and overtime it helped my stomach size to stretch. Now it only takes me a few minutes to clear my plate.

I hope that might help.

now I can regularly take 2lbs beef /day which has about 5 g Creatine and ≈ 150g Protein. Keeps me feeling strong and fresh and allowed me to go from 225 to 245lbs when I was taking a 9 week barbell cycle.
 
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q.Hung

Level 6 Valued Member
I just read Base Building of Paul Carter and it hasn't mentioned about AMAP like other provend programs (5/3/1, JM...) It's mainly focus on getting enough volume at sub-maximum weight with good speed, plus strong at more than 3 lifts (Paul mentioned a lot about Row). I think it can suit your need.
Hope your condition is better.
 

Gypsyplumber

Level 5 Valued Member
Hey everyone,

I'm looking for input from the crowd over here.

I currently weigh 198 lb., I have been training seriously for the better part of 3 years.

Deadlift: 385 x 9 ()
Squat: 335 x 9 ()
Bench: 225 x 4
Press: 155 x 9

Lately, I've been losing a lot of weight. Since July, I dropped from weighing 215-220 to 198. As I've been slowly tapering off a medication since then, I'm finding it tough to force down enough food to see consistent strength progression without puking. I'm currently running my third cycle of 5/3/1, before 5/3/1 I ran PTTP for months with a lot of success. I was doing well with the weight loss/strength gains for about 3 months, but I've found myself burning out recently and I know I need to change something up.

My diet is very restrictive for health reasons and my stomach can only tolerate ground beef, potatoes, rice, vegetables, avocados, and occasionally pork. I can't eat eggs, I can't drink milk, I can't consume whey protein, I can't eat chicken, and I absolutely can't have wheat, gluten, or oats. As you can imagine, this makes eating for strength gains/slow weight loss very hard to do unless I feel like shoving a pound of ground beef and buckwheat down my throat every day.

Now that I've rambled on for a few paragraphs, I can ask my question.

I would just go back to PTTP, but I want to include squat/press/deadlift + direct ab work and other assistance movements in my program. I'm looking for a program that allows me to hit my prescribed numbers for the day, do my assistance work, and never miss a lift on my spreadsheet.

Going for rep PRs was fun for a little while but now that I'm moving heavier weights, the rep PRs are getting harder to recover from and causing me to miss out on consistent strength gains in the long run. Not being able to consistently supplement my workouts with adequate nutrition is becoming a problem as well.

With all of that being said, do you guys have any suggestions for me? I'm primarily focused on getting stronger but wouldn't mind becoming more aesthetic as a result of gaining strength.

Thanks in advance for reading.
I’m right there with you. I have celiacs and cannot eat any gluten. But I really struggle with most grains. My diet looks much like yours. I eat mostly meat, potatoes, eggs, avocados, squash, bananas, and some nut butters. It’s odd you cannot eat chicken though, are you sure it’s not just grain fed chickens? And grain fed chicken eggs? Obviously it won’t make you huge but I drink beef bone broth instead of powder shakes. 2 cups is around 20g of protein. And bone broth is the most gut healing thing you can consume the collagen is amazing for the gut. I’m not telling you to eat raw meats, but I will tell you there are many people in your boat who have gone to a raw all natural animal based diet and healed themselves. It sounds extreme, but I know your pain in having a horrible gut and there are people who have healed themselves eating all organic locally raised raw animal products from milks to butters to meat. I wish you well and feel your pain.
 

TheEnthusiast90

Level 5 Valued Member
@Mark Limbaga I actually did choose to go with that, so thank you for bringing it to my attention. I will have to create a new thread for my training log to detail my experience with it.

@Anna C thank you again for taking the time to respond to me here.

@Coyotl those all sound like delicious recipes, I'll have to experiment in the kitchen to see what I can meal prep and enjoy once I'm finished cooking it.

@Adachi that's an interesting tip. I hate diet soda and soda in general, but I love seltzer water and will begin drinking it more often in hopes of stretching my stomach. Also I need to beat the 20 minute food wall.

@q.Hung 100%, I'll keep that program in my arsenal for future use.

@Gypsyplumber I took an allergy test and chicken came up on the list of things I can't eat, so I've stayed away from it for quite some time.
I also have Celiac and it does suck not to make progress nearly as fast as some of my similarly aged friends on other forums who aren't so limited in their energy and food choices. I will honestly incorporate beef bone broth into my diet as it can be something easy + nutritious that repairs my gut over time.

When I have a little bit more money to spare, I think I will jump ship to full carnivore. I've heard wonderful things about it and did it for about 6 months a few years back. At the time I was suffering with the complications of a parasite + Lyme, so every time I ate anything it would exit my system 5-10 minutes later.

I appreciate all the replies and thoughtful discourse in here!
 

Coach Louie

Level 1 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Hey everyone,

I'm looking for input from the crowd over here.

I currently weigh 198 lb., I have been training seriously for the better part of 3 years.

Deadlift: 385 x 9 ()
Squat: 335 x 9 ()
Bench: 225 x 4
Press: 155 x 9

Lately, I've been losing a lot of weight. Since July, I dropped from weighing 215-220 to 198. As I've been slowly tapering off a medication since then, I'm finding it tough to force down enough food to see consistent strength progression without puking. I'm currently running my third cycle of 5/3/1, before 5/3/1 I ran PTTP for months with a lot of success. I was doing well with the weight loss/strength gains for about 3 months, but I've found myself burning out recently and I know I need to change something up.

My diet is very restrictive for health reasons and my stomach can only tolerate ground beef, potatoes, rice, vegetables, avocados, and occasionally pork. I can't eat eggs, I can't drink milk, I can't consume whey protein, I can't eat chicken, and I absolutely can't have wheat, gluten, or oats. As you can imagine, this makes eating for strength gains/slow weight loss very hard to do unless I feel like shoving a pound of ground beef and buckwheat down my throat every day.

Now that I've rambled on for a few paragraphs, I can ask my question.

I would just go back to PTTP, but I want to include squat/press/deadlift + direct ab work and other assistance movements in my program. I'm looking for a program that allows me to hit my prescribed numbers for the day, do my assistance work, and never miss a lift on my spreadsheet.

Going for rep PRs was fun for a little while but now that I'm moving heavier weights, the rep PRs are getting harder to recover from and causing me to miss out on consistent strength gains in the long run. Not being able to consistently supplement my workouts with adequate nutrition is becoming a problem as well.

With all of that being said, do you guys have any suggestions for me? I'm primarily focused on getting stronger but wouldn't mind becoming more aesthetic as a result of gaining strength.

Thanks in advance for reading.
Consider getting a plan strong cycle on the website. It is an amazing program.
 

solarbear

Level 5 Valued Member
I was on 531 for a long time and wanted a change.

I can't comment on the Plan Strong Programs as I have not used them (they are a bit expensive and you have to 'attend' a workshop - I live in Australia) but they sound fantastic.

What have I tried? I really like the different set and rep schemes in Neupert's Barbell Bolt On. Coming from 531 these were exactly what I was looking for, heavier and lots of volume. I would suggest maybe picking it up and running Option 1 for Upper Body Lifts and Option 2 for Lower.

Tactical Barbell also has some similar set and rep schemes in the basic book you can buy.

You haven't really said what days you want to work out or what equipment you want to use or have available. Or if you want to hit each exercise once per week or multiple times. So it is a bit hard to recommend anything but a couple of set and rep schemes.
 
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bluejeff

Level 6 Valued Member
I’m surprised no one has said any of this yet…so I guess I get to be “that guy…”

I mean this very well-intentioned:

If you are tapering off a medication and your stomach can’t handle what you’d like to ask of it….AND you want strength/size…. see where this is going?

My well-meaning two cents is to put the barbell progression into maintenance until you’re off the meds, and then re-evaluate.

Perhaps I missed it if you said it, but do you know if the meds are interfering with your digestion or gut health? Are they antibiotics or known to disrupt the microbiome ? Are you taking a PRObiotic? Has the digestion been an issue before the meds, or since taking them? All the diet recommendations out there won’t mean much if that’s an issue.

For the time being my two cents is to do something akin to the “40-day” easy strength template.


It’s low stress, hits all the areas you listed, and you should see strength gains.

If your body is dealing with the meds and whatever is making to you have to take meds in the first place, placing the stress of strength training (and possibly hypertrophy?) seems counterintuitive to me. I’d try and heal up first, then focus on building up.

Good luck to you!
 

Coach Louie

Level 1 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I was on 531 for a long time and wanted a change.

I can't comment on the Plan Strong Programs as I have not used them (they are a bit expensive and you have to 'attend' a workshop - I live in Australia) but they sound fantastic.

What have I tried? I really like the different set and rep schemes in Neupert's Barbell Bolt On. Coming from 531 these were exactly what I was looking for, heavier and lots of volume. I would suggest maybe picking it up and running Option 1 for Upper Body Lifts and Option 2 for Lower.

Tactical Barbell also has some similar set and rep schemes in the basic book you can buy.

You haven't really said what days you want to work out or what equipment you want to use or have available. Or if you want to hit each exercise once per week or multiple times. So it is a bit hard to recommend anything but a couple of set and rep schemes.
You dont have to attend to purchase a plan. They are $100 usd per lift. Steve Justa singles are a nice change of pace. Or there is Fabio Zonin’s Reload for just a few dollars on Amazon. He basically writes out how to set up a 5x5 program.
 
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