Hey everyone, finally jumping in with both feet primally, and want some advice for a strength training program. I'd like to lose weight first, though. Should I do bodyweight w/ sprints/burpees/etc. for the first 2 or 3 months to get my weight down, then begin a formal strength training routine since SS is about linear progression and eating big??
Any advice would be helpful, and thanks in advance!! - Rhyno
Strength gains do not require you to be eating a lot (at least not to start with). My advice would be to start on a strength training regime whilst still maintaining a slight calorie deficit. This will allow you to increase strength and lose fat simultaneously. The key is that we are talking strength here, not muscle mass (which might increase a bit, but not significantly for most people).
There will obviously be a stage where you will stop making strength gains this way, as your current muscle mass reaches optimal efficiency/strength. Hopefully, by this point, you will have lost a fair bit of fat and can begin slowly increasing calories if you like.
A note on bodyweight exercises. They have a place and can be of great use as supplementary exercises. However, as soon as you can lift more than your bodyweight on a given range of motion e.g. squats they become increasingly less practical (in the case of squats you have to move to single leg exercises which take twice as long and require ever more balance/flexibility). In my experience there is also no bodyweight exercise capable of mimicking the deadlift, which imho is the best single exercise for developing whole body strength (before anyone gets upset, yes, squats are great too, just not quite as good )
As a further point, do start with the sprints and generally try and move around slowly more in true primal fashion. Both of these will help drop the fat without hindering strength gains at the gym
Definitely check out Body by Science - it's a radically different approach compare to Starting Strength. I'm sure that especially as a beginner you can make decent gains on both protocols - unfortunately you can't try them out both at the same time and see which is better. Personally I'd recommend Body by Science, which in essence means that you train once a week (maybe twice a week if you're a *real* beginner) and only do one brutally hard set per exercise, and only five exercises (squat/leg press, barbell row / horizontal row, bench press / seated bench press machine, pull-down / lat pull-down machine, military press / overhead press machine).
The key element, regardless of which approach you end up trying, is to keep accurate records of your progress and to change things based on whether you're making progress.
Try not to get overwhelmed by all the different programs out there. There are many ways to get fitter/stronger. They all claim to be the best, and they all have pros and cons. Just start. You'll learn so much more by actually trying different things than you will by talking about them.
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they couldn't be more different."
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Thanks JS290, predictability is always good in driving people batshit crazy.
to the OP: What are your goals? It's hard to say "Starting Strength" no bodyweight, no Body by Science without knowing your goals. Is it muscle mass? SS isn't ideally suited for that although you will put on muscle, it's not a bodybuilding protocol. Are you looking for strength? Then a linear progression like Starting Strength (or the Greyskull LP) are best.
You don't need to eat big to put on mass; but it helps. Moreover, for something like SS, you need to eat big to recover from the lifting, although if you have fat to lose, you don't have to eat THAT big. Just don't diet much.
For the hypertrophy crowd, they seem to get good results from Body by Science. I've seen other people get good results just with a typical bodybuilding split, but what are YOU looking for?
In my case, I want strength and some mass, so I am working on a strength protocol (low reps high weights) and my assistance lifts are all in the hypertrophic range (10-12 or so) with lighter weights, but still heavy enough that 12 reps are difficult to achieve.
I started with the Strong Lifts 5x5 and loved it. It is very simple, 3x a week instead of daily 20 min visits for split routines, based on SS but does not require coordination and the beginning strength necesary for one of the excersises in the Starting Strength. I didn't make any incredible, legendary gains, but I confidently squat body weight now, and building upper body strength. The most important thing for me is that I can now use gym equipment very easily, while in the beginning, I had to use short bars (30 lbs) to do over head press, since I could not lift the Olympic bar over my head.
Like Abu Reena said, Starting Strength is metabolically expensive, and it doesn't make any difference to the body whether you're getting the energy from body fat or from your diet so in the beginning at least you won't have to eat that much more, and you should still lose fat. The numbers on the scale might not change much though, as the increase in muscle mass will partially offset the fat that is lost.
The particular strength training program you follow will really depend on what you like. As long as the program uses high intensity and an intelligent progression system you'll make gains -- as long as you follow the program. I have found out that I like barbell training, and am doing SS. Al Kavadlo is a fan of bodyweight training, and he's plenty strong too. You can get the required intensity with gymnastic rings, sandbags, kettlebells....
Starting Strength and Convict Conditioning are focused on barbell and bodyweight training, respectively, and have a comprehensive program that tells you when and how to progress. I'm not a big fan of the writing style used in CC, but the material itself is good. I've also heard very good things about Building The Gymnastic Body, though I don't know whether it provides a complete program, or just a template. On the free end, simplefit is a very simple (3 exercises) bodyweight program. Try one, stick with it if you like it, otherwise try something else.
If you're going to go with barbells, I really cannot recommend SS enough. In fact, even if you don't do that particular program, buy the book anyway because its true worth is in the exhaustive instruction and analysis of how and why to do the lifts.
Rhyno, I'm finding that, at my obese weight, the bodyweight exercises are harder on my joints because they're often with at fast tempo. I've stopped doing stuff like burpees and am going back to regular weight training until I lose some of this bodyfat.
Leida, it's nice to know you liked the StrongLifts program. I started it last week for the first time. Wasn't too sure about it because of the lowered weights in the beginning, but I like how the poundage is increased every workout and there's only 3 exercises per session. I'm starting out with 15 lb dumbbells for the overhead press, though--my shoulders have always been my weak point.
I'm retraining and strengthening my taste buds, one primal meal at a time.