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Starting My Way Down

Posted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 9:43 am
by Neb154
When I arrived home from school on May 25th, I weighed 178.5 lbs. Yet after four and a half months on Madcow's 5 x 5 routine, I am up to 206.8 lbs. My strength has gone up rapidly, despite some short vacations and small setbacks (i.e. straining muscle in back).

Strength gains:

Squat: 210 for 5, to 245 for 5 (this included switching from front to back squats, and readjusting weight, after back strain).
Deadlifts: 225 for 5, to 275 for 5
Military: 45 (lb dumbbell in each hand) for 5, to 55 for 5
Bench: 55 (lb dumbbell in each hand) for 5, to 75 for 5
Bent over BB Row: 110 for 5, to 135 for 5

This has all been done with cardio on average at least twice a week.

I had my body fat measured with skin calipers at my hometown gym on August 1st, and came in at 14% body fat with 195 lbs total weight. I assume I am up around 15-16% now - and I want to go back down, hopefully ending up around 9-10%.

Obviously the Madcow plan has been great for me, and I do not wish to change my program, at least for now. Yet, as I mentioned before, I do want to start cutting down. I have heard that in retrospect most people feel they cut too early, but once I reach 208-210 lbs, I think I will feel OK with coming back down.

My essential questions is: can I keep pushing through the same Madcow program with a reduced caloric intake? Since May I have been going for quantity in my diet, although eating clean as well. I was thinking I would move to a cleaner diet for this cutting phase, while reducing caloric intake by a couple hundred calories or more a day.

Also, what strategies can I employ to cut down fat while not paring down my muscle?

I realize that when I cut down, I will probably decide that I want to put on more muscle, but I think this current cycle of bulking and cutting will be the first of many.

Posted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 9:50 am
by TimD
Just my take on it. Keep two heavier Starr/Madcow based workouts a week. Slightly reduce your calorie intake, cutting back on any processed food and starchy carbs. Add a light day or two of complexes (or crossfit style metcon workouts) and or HIIT, done at a quick pace to stimulate the metabolism. This should kick up the metabolism, induce some fat loss, while not promoting leanmass loss. See the sticky on DB/KB complexes.
Tim

Posted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 3:31 pm
by Neb154
Thanks for the tip. I think the idea of cutting down the Madcow to twice a week and adding in the other training is a good one. I have been looking at the Crossfit and complex exercises, and was wondering whether it would be better to "randomly" choose one, perhaps from Crossfit's WOD, or to program one into my regime e.g.:

Monday - Madcow
Wednesday - Madcow
Friday - DB Snatches, DB Lunges, and BB Push Jerks?

Thanks again and I appreciate any more advice in advance.

Posted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 3:39 pm
by pdellorto
I'd program it, so you can keep the heavy lifting up. If you stop lifting heavy I think maybe you're going to lose some strength. If you go too random, like Crossfit, you may lose more fat but not get in enough squatting to keep strong, you know?

There was a "physique clinic" they did on T-Nation. One guy was cutting fat, and they had him doing some pretty heavy lifting and circuits and NEPA (non-exercise physical activity - basically, non-fatiguing but fast walking). I remember an emphasis on "keep the weights you lift up so you don't lose strength."

Posted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 11:16 am
by Neb154
pdellorto wrote:I'd program it, so you can keep the heavy lifting up. If you stop lifting heavy I think maybe you're going to lose some strength. If you go too random, like Crossfit, you may lose more fat but not get in enough squatting to keep strong, you know?

There was a "physique clinic" they did on T-Nation. One guy was cutting fat, and they had him doing some pretty heavy lifting and circuits and NEPA (non-exercise physical activity - basically, non-fatiguing but fast walking). I remember an emphasis on "keep the weights you lift up so you don't lose strength."
Do you have any suggestions for any crossfit-type exercises I could program in? How does DB snatch, DB lunge, and DB push jerk sound for one day, in addition to the two Madcow days per week?

Posted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 1:46 pm
by TimD
Neb, it sounds great. But also, look at the sticky. It has links to some ideas. Also, look at coach rut's blogspot
http://coachrut.blogspot.com
and also crossfit.com. They have lots of nice workouts put together. Just pick a complex or one of them on your day for them. Pick randomly, mix them up.Variety is good for a light, metcon day. That's what I do.
Tim

Posted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:38 pm
by Neb154
Just one more question:

As far as rep/set strategies, I was planning on doing something like this:

DB Snatch: 4 sets of 12 (this is per arm)
DB Lunge: 4 sets of 30 (this is for both legs)
BB Push Jerk: 4 sets of 8

How does that look?

Posted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 2:40 am
by TimD
I wouldn't program it that way if you're going for a HIIT of effect. I would go something like thisl
DB Sn 5L +5R
Lunge 5L + 5R
BB Push jerk 10 reps
5 rounds of each for time, using light moderate loading.
Tim

Posted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 6:00 pm
by Neb154
TimD wrote:I wouldn't program it that way if you're going for a HIIT of effect. I would go something like thisl
DB Sn 5L +5R
Lunge 5L + 5R
BB Push jerk 10 reps
5 rounds of each for time, using light moderate loading.
Tim
If I am doing these for time five times, should I increase the reps and decrease the weight? 5 lunges on each legs, for instance, does not seem like very much.

Posted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 6:47 pm
by stuward
Don't increase the reps. The idea with HIIT is to do the circuit quickly. Tim said do 5 rounds for time. Try to do it faster each time. If you get through all 5 rounds too easily, increase the weight next time.

Take at look at this article by Javorek. http://staff.jccc.net/ijavorek/mf.htm

Most of the exercises are 3 or 6 reps.

Posted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 12:28 pm
by Neb154
stuward wrote:Don't increase the reps. The idea with HIIT is to do the circuit quickly. Tim said do 5 rounds for time. Try to do it faster each time. If you get through all 5 rounds too easily, increase the weight next time.

Take at look at this article by Javorek. http://staff.jccc.net/ijavorek/mf.htm

Most of the exercises are 3 or 6 reps.
I tried this workout today, going through five rounds and timing each one.

My results: 1:40, 2:05, 1:55, 2:05, 1:47 and a whole lot of lactic acid and heavy breathing.

This was my first time doing push jerks and db snatches, and they were definitely challenging.

I look forward to this workout again.

Posted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 1:44 pm
by TimD
Hi Neb. Sounds good. But actually, what I meant, was to turn on the clock when you start, and get a TOTAL time for the whole thing. Next time you do the workout, you try to beat the total time, i.e. get the same amount of work done in a quicker time frame.
And to your earlier question; don't worry about the amount of weight. You will find that when you start doing these metcon type of workouts, you're going to be using lighter weight. It's about the metabolism, breathing, etc; you're just using resistance as a tool to get there, and getting a full body workout of strength-endurance as well.
Tim

Posted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 4:31 pm
by Jungledoc
Wouldn't it be a good idea to learn new lifts in a more leisurely way? I'd think you should practice a new lift before you you use it in a time-pressured routine.

Posted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 5:14 pm
by TimD
This is assuming you already have them down. The OP was was asking about a HIIT type of ciruit done with weights, and apparently, from his comments, it got the job done.. Of course, when doing a new move, you learn it leisurely.
Tim

Posted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:47 pm
by Neb154
Jungledoc wrote:Wouldn't it be a good idea to learn new lifts in a more leisurely way? I'd think you should practice a new lift before you you use it in a time-pressured routine.
I should have clarified my post:

It was not my "first" time doing these exercises, but rather my first time at full intensity.

I have been studying videos online and practicing these exercises for the past 7-10 days or so.