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Give it to me straight.
#1
Question 
So, to make a long story short, I'm slightly overweight and my body isn't the best. I've made attempts before to rectify this but I've gotten sucked into the whole "lifting for numbers" thing and the last time I was 'serious' with my weight lifting, I was doing stronglifts 5x5. For me, the progress was actually really good and the best I'd ever personally done, but the squatting every day was fucking killing me and to be honest, my workout partner at the time has god-tier genetics and never had to worry about bulking, cutting, or if he would make gains. He is 100% natty but is also just a natural chad-tier athlete so even though my body was shit I got sucked into caring about numbers and stats. Then I had nasal surgery which put me out of the gym for a month (it was pretty involved and I didn't want to bust open my nose while trying to do heavy-for-me squats). That + a really shitty commute to a stressful ass job has put me out of the gym permanently. 

I'm 5'8 and around ~165-170 lb and honestly, I'm tired of carrying my gut around. It isn't massive but it doesn't look good and I always feel so bloated. I need to get my diet in check obviously but can you guys recommend any kind of good routine for losing weight?

I -seriously- only care about losing weight, looking good/decent, and having a flat stomach. I don't even care about abs really. 

Are my goals possible without resorting to killing myself with squats and deadlifts all over again? Because at this point if I have to re-start on them my numbers have literally tanked, hard. Personally (and I attribute it to genetics 100%) I've never been naturally strong. So for me my strongest squat was 315 for 5x5, but I know if I go back in the gym there's no way I could do over 95lb again. And at this point, I just don't care about the numbers. I just want to look and feel good. Could I just take up running?

Any suggestions?
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#2
(02-03-2019, 11:00 PM)anonymouslydepressed Wrote: So, to make a long story short, I'm slightly overweight and my body isn't the best. I've made attempts before to rectify this but I've gotten sucked into the whole "lifting for numbers" thing and the last time I was 'serious' with my weight lifting, I was doing stronglifts 5x5. For me, the progress was actually really good and the best I'd ever personally done, but the squatting every day was fucking killing me and to be honest, my workout partner at the time has god-tier genetics and never had to worry about bulking, cutting, or if he would make gains. He is 100% natty but is also just a natural chad-tier athlete so even though my body was shit I got sucked into caring about numbers and stats. Then I had nasal surgery which put me out of the gym for a month (it was pretty involved and I didn't want to bust open my nose while trying to do heavy-for-me squats). That + a really shitty commute to a stressful ass job has put me out of the gym permanently. 

I'm 5'8 and around ~165-170 lb and honestly, I'm tired of carrying my gut around. It isn't massive but it doesn't look good and I always feel so bloated. I need to get my diet in check obviously but can you guys recommend any kind of good routine for losing weight?

I -seriously- only care about losing weight, looking good/decent, and having a flat stomach. I don't even care about abs really. 

Are my goals possible without resorting to killing myself with squats and deadlifts all over again? Because at this point if I have to re-start on them my numbers have literally tanked, hard. Personally (and I attribute it to genetics 100%) I've never been naturally strong. So for me my strongest squat was 315 for 5x5, but I know if I go back in the gym there's no way I could do over 95lb again. And at this point, I just don't care about the numbers. I just want to look and feel good. Could I just take up running?

Any suggestions?
Hey,

To lose weight means to eat less calories than what is required to maintain your current body weight. Figure that out and for a period of time eat less than maintenance. 

If you don't care about numbers then just pick some basic exercises that are compound based and progress with them as you did before, but don't overeat and go to form failure, meaning you stop lifting when your form starts to deteriorate. 

Rep ranges, schemes are arbitrary and up to you. Pick whatever allows you to progress with weight, but don't change it too often. If it starts working and keeps working then stick with it until it doesn't. Cycles are needed to keep increasing the weight. Read NattyorNot's articles on cycles. Don't try and do linear indefinitely as your body will fatigue quickly and will not be able to keep up with the weight. Your body will complain and force you to cycle down. 

If you want to lose weight first, then just lose weight. Or you could lose weight and exercise, but it won't lead to any muscle mass gains. Rather it will preserve whatever your current strength levels are. 

For exercises, there are many to choose from. It's up to you. Isolation exercises can be helpful too. Just give you an example: Front upper body: bench press, push ups, and dips are good. I personally prefer dips! Upper back: rows (DB or Barbell) and chin ups (weighted if you can do 15+). Legs: Squat, leg press, and running could help too. Etc. Mostly quoting what TruthSeeker has already mentioned on his many blogs. 

Actually if you just want to lose weight then eat less calories and do sprints or runs each week. Maybe try it for 6 weeks or something and then look at your body in mirror and check your weight to see if you like what you see.

That's about it.
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#3
Focus almost entirely on diet and only do exercises/activities you enjoy. Don't run just to lose weight. Only run if you enjoy it. Same with squats and 5x5 routines. If you enjoy that then fine, but I think there are more enjoyable ways to get the same/similar look.

Numbers are pointless. If you squat two or three plates, it doesn't matter. Nobody cares and neither breaks any records, but heavier usually means fatter as a natty.

The harder and more miserable your exercise regime the more likely you are to crave calories and think you deserve them. Diet is 90% of it all. It is hard enough sticking to a calorie restrictive diet om it's own so make sure your work outs are either bare minimum or enjoyable. Your goal is to get lean and bulking is a myth.
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#4
(02-03-2019, 11:00 PM)anonymouslydepressed Wrote: So, to make a long story short, I'm slightly overweight and my body isn't the best. I've made attempts before to rectify this but I've gotten sucked into the whole "lifting for numbers" thing and the last time I was 'serious' with my weight lifting, I was doing stronglifts 5x5. For me, the progress was actually really good and the best I'd ever personally done, but the squatting every day was fucking killing me and to be honest, my workout partner at the time has god-tier genetics and never had to worry about bulking, cutting, or if he would make gains. He is 100% natty but is also just a natural chad-tier athlete so even though my body was shit I got sucked into caring about numbers and stats. Then I had nasal surgery which put me out of the gym for a month (it was pretty involved and I didn't want to bust open my nose while trying to do heavy-for-me squats). That + a really shitty commute to a stressful ass job has put me out of the gym permanently. 

I'm 5'8 and around ~165-170 lb and honestly, I'm tired of carrying my gut around. It isn't massive but it doesn't look good and I always feel so bloated. I need to get my diet in check obviously but can you guys recommend any kind of good routine for losing weight?

I -seriously- only care about losing weight, looking good/decent, and having a flat stomach. I don't even care about abs really. 

Are my goals possible without resorting to killing myself with squats and deadlifts all over again? Because at this point if I have to re-start on them my numbers have literally tanked, hard. Personally (and I attribute it to genetics 100%) I've never been naturally strong. So for me my strongest squat was 315 for 5x5, but I know if I go back in the gym there's no way I could do over 95lb again. And at this point, I just don't care about the numbers. I just want to look and feel good. Could I just take up running?

Any suggestions?

As has already been said, you need to be in a caloric deficit in order to lose body fat. That's physics. It's inevitable ... ;)

But how to achieve that in real life?

Some years ago I wanted to be lean and sexy (for the ladies, haha ...). To achieve that, I took the following (rather methodological) approach (after some painful mistakes, of course):

First, I estimated my metabolic rate (basal metabolic rate plus my activities). There are formulas for that in the Internet, so you have something to start with. With the calculated daily calories at hand, I then planned my deficit and how to consume my calories. I divided them roughly as follows with respect to the macro nutrients: 1g/kg fat, 2g/kg protein, rest carbohydrates (e.g., if my weight had been 100kg, then, according to that plan, I would have eaten 100g fat and 200g protein per day then).

However, I recommend not to go overboard with the caloric deficit. If you undercut your daily calories too heavily, you will feel hungry and weak most of the time. Additionally, food craving might arise, potentially bringing your whole diet plan to fall. To be more precise: I personally had trouble to maintain a deficit of more than 500 kcal for longer times due to the reasons mentioned. Something between 250kcal and 500kcal felt more comfortable for me. But 250kcal is actually not much in terms of fat loss: 1kg of body fats amounts to 7000kcal. That means, a deficit of 250kcal/day would result in a fat loss of just 0.25kg/week, 1kg/month, 12kg/year. So, you need to take your time ...

Second, I used a log. In that log I *efficiently* noted the amount of protein and fat, plus the calories I consumed at any given meal. There are apps for that, but I used a small paper book instead since I didn't want my phone to be lubricated in oil and tomato sauce. The only purpose of that log was to keep track of my nutrients and calories for the *current* day (so a sheet that you throw away at the end of the day would essentially be enough). It's not as exhausting as it may sound. With some practice you get to know all the calories and nutrients of the food you usually eat (see next bullet point for why), and with some cheap pocket calculator (that's where your oil and tomato sauce will eventually settle ...)  you can easily add everything up

Third, I prepared my meals in advance. But I hate cooking, so I just cooked two times per week, but larger amounts of food that I could then ate the following days. For instance, I made 2kg of salad or I cooked 1kg of chicken breast. Both would last for three days. I then kept all the food in separate boxes in my fridge (a big one then, ;)). On each box I noted the calories, the protein, and the fat inside that box, each per 100g, so I could later easily make meals from the box' content. If I underestimated the food I needed, I just ate ready meals to get my calories and nutrients right. Then every day of the week (except for the weekends when I was usually more relaxed since my food was in my kitchen), I prepared two lunch boxes for the next day from the food I had cooked. That was easy since I had already the nutritional data on the boxes (per 100g). So I just needed a small kitchen scale and my delicious pocket calculator for that. I then noted the content of my lunch boxes in my log. I ate the content of my lunch boxes during the following day at work. At the evening, for supper, I usually just prepared some food "fresh" from the big boxes in the fridge, or from what was left in the kitchen. I then ate just as much to fill up my calories and nutrients for that day. If that sounds all too detailed, get the big picture: I prepared my meals efficiently.

Fourth, my diet was rather rich in protein and fat (fish, meat, eggs, cheese, nuts, ...). The main benefit of such a nutrition (call it low-carb if you like) is, that you are easily saturated. But the downside is, you feel weak and your performance suffers if you reduce your carbs too much. Hence I kept to the nutritional plan mentioned above with enough carbs to keep my mood alive.

Fifth, I delayed my meals as much as possible (playing some psychological tricks with me ...). So I skipped my breakfast, then ate my lunch at 11am or later, my second meal at 4-5pm and my supper at 9-10pm (just before bed). On lifting days, of course, I also had the notorious Post-Workout-Meal ™. I think they marketeer that diet as Renegade or so. I didn't care. The point for me was that I liked to have a meal ahead of me and not already eaten. Meal time does not matter (No only-eat-before-6pm bullshit). It's only your daily energy balance that counts.

Sixth, I did my lifting (of course, ;)), 2x/week then, plus some walks in the park. But that's it. To be honest, I would not recommend doing much sport when you are on a diet. That seems counter-intuitive and against common wisdom, but doing much sport on a caloric deficit is exhausting and makes you hungry thereby risking your diet efforts (I hear food cravings coming ...). And in the end, it's only your energy balance that matters. Additionally, low-intensity sports like running do not require that much energy (we humans are built for that). To be more precise: The common rule of thumb for running is 1kcal/(kg x km). So if you weigh 80kg (176 lbs) and run 5km (3.1 miles) then you have burned only 400kcal. Not much, I think. For swimming, cycling, or rowing it's even worse ...

Seventh and last, I weighed myself every day in the morning on a finer scale (accuracy was 0.1kg (0.2 lbs); in order to  average out the day-to-day fluctuations of my body weight). I also logged the weight loss in order to check whether my pace was right. If not, I made the necessary changes to my nutrition plan.

Up to a point (roughly 10-12%) it all went quite easy, but as soon as I had visible abs it started to feel very uncomfortable for me. So that's probably the point where one should clear the deficit. 

I later stopped my program for different reasons (relationship, got older, other things more important for me, ...) and gained some weight again (no jo-jo though, I simply had no interest in maintaining that lifestyle anymore). If you can bring together the necessary organizational means, that program is very effective though.

I'm no supporter of that eat-properly-and-do-some-sports blabla. Not because of some arrogant attitude but simply because that kind of advice does not work in real life. Look around on the street and see all those fat people. Most - if not all of them - tried something like that and they all failed miserably. Some methodological approach is needed.

I hope that was straight enough.
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#5
(02-03-2019, 11:00 PM)anonymouslydepressed Wrote: So, to make a long story short, I'm slightly overweight and my body isn't the best. I've made attempts before to rectify this but I've gotten sucked into the whole "lifting for numbers" thing and the last time I was 'serious' with my weight lifting, I was doing stronglifts 5x5. For me, the progress was actually really good and the best I'd ever personally done, but the squatting every day was fucking killing me and to be honest, my workout partner at the time has god-tier genetics and never had to worry about bulking, cutting, or if he would make gains. He is 100% natty but is also just a natural chad-tier athlete so even though my body was shit I got sucked into caring about numbers and stats. Then I had nasal surgery which put me out of the gym for a month (it was pretty involved and I didn't want to bust open my nose while trying to do heavy-for-me squats). That + a really shitty commute to a stressful ass job has put me out of the gym permanently. 

I'm 5'8 and around ~165-170 lb and honestly, I'm tired of carrying my gut around. It isn't massive but it doesn't look good and I always feel so bloated. I need to get my diet in check obviously but can you guys recommend any kind of good routine for losing weight?

I -seriously- only care about losing weight, looking good/decent, and having a flat stomach. I don't even care about abs really. 

Are my goals possible without resorting to killing myself with squats and deadlifts all over again? Because at this point if I have to re-start on them my numbers have literally tanked, hard. Personally (and I attribute it to genetics 100%) I've never been naturally strong. So for me my strongest squat was 315 for 5x5, but I know if I go back in the gym there's no way I could do over 95lb again. And at this point, I just don't care about the numbers. I just want to look and feel good. Could I just take up running?

Any suggestions?

Alot of experts coming out of the woodwork.

It comes down to this, eat less than your body requires to maintain its current weight. Don't overthink it.
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#6
(02-05-2019, 06:37 AM)Brett Wrote: It comes down to this, eat less than your body requires to maintain its current weight. Don't overthink it.

Wow, didn't know it was so simple ...
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#7
(02-05-2019, 08:55 AM)Hans Wrote: Wow, didn't know it was so simple ...

Well now you know (interpret that line with the same manner used for your own).

No need to do a Phd on the subject matter. Sometimes lifes simplest things are best left as they are. Or are we trying to turn nattyornotforum into t-nation and overcomplicate things just for the sake of it?

Edit: if it doesn't take 'expertise' to put on weight/fat (and lets face it, it doesn't), why does it then take 'expertise' to lose it? Considering its just the same process but in reverse. Convince me otherwise?
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#8
I appreciate the answers I've gotten actually, because they are the opposite of t-nation, and don't overcomplicate anything. I feel like they were the 'real-life' take on the matter.

@Hans, what was your lifting routine like since it was only twice a week? Do you think running alone will be fine? And any tips on how to get into it? I've never really run before but every attempt has failed after a week cause of how bad I am at it.
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#9
(02-05-2019, 09:06 AM)Brett Wrote: Edit: if it doesn't take 'expertise' to put on weight/fat (and lets face it, it doesn't), why does it then take 'expertise' to lose it? Considering its just the same process but in reverse. Convince me otherwise?

If I can fall from Eiffel Tower, then why can't I simply jump on it again? It's "the same process but in reverse" ...

The reason why it's easier to become fat rather than to lose it is: because nature made us so.

Up to some decades ago we did not have an abundance of cheap food, but people rather starved to death. So those who could preserve their energy resources (body fat) as long as possible had a better chance of survival in those hard times than some skinny dudes. They could then pass their genes to their offspring while the skinny dudes could not, and so those traits eventually manifested in our current human gene pool over long periods of time.

That's why we crave fat and sugar. But what was good for our ancestors has become a burden for us since food is so readily available now.

(02-05-2019, 10:52 AM)anonymouslydepressed Wrote: @Hans, what was your lifting routine like since it was only twice a week? Do you think running alone will be fine? And any tips on how to get into it? I've never really run before but every attempt has failed after a week cause of how bad I am at it.

Doing sports is not nearly as important as your diet and might even be counterproductive as I mentioned.

What's your obsession with running? I think, it's a stupid activity. You look better with some muscle mass when you are lean. That's a benefit of lifting. Besides, dieting will put a lot of pressure on your precious "gainz", so through lifting you can preserve more of it. Of course, there are other activities that fulfill the same purpose (e.g., calisthenics, gymnastics). If you want to burn some extra calories, a walk (of the same length) requires roughly the same amount of energy, but is less exhausting than running.

"What was your lifting routine like?"
Nothing special. For years I have done full-body workouts consisting of the notorious compound movements (BP, OHP, DL, SQ, ...), some extra volume a.k.a isolation movements for my arms (curls, triceps extensions), and some ab work. Then two times per week, now even less (but I'm not dieting right now). If you already have some training experience, then it's important to keep your intensity (weights) high but your volume *low*, just to provide your body some stimulus not to burn your hard earned muscles in the first place. Spreading the same volume on three training sessions per week would also be fine, if you like.

"And any tips on how to get into it?"
Into running or into dieting? I cannot say much about the former. I personally would probably do some kind of cycling (like in lifting): Run a short distance (maybe just a couple of 100m if you're completely out of shape) in the first session, then increase your distance over the next sessions, then do a reset (fall back to a shorter distance) after some weeks, then repeat that process. Maybe something like that.
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#10
(02-04-2019, 01:18 AM)Jonesy Wrote: Numbers are pointless. If you squat two or three plates, it doesn't matter. Nobody cares and neither breaks any records, but heavier usually means fatter as a natty.

Unless they call you Omar ...
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