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Bill Starr's 5 x 5 program... Variation per Madcow2 (thanx) So here it is! K up now!


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That's perfect then. Keep me updated on how your lifts go further on in the deload/intensity A lot of people here are really concerned with gaining weight and size so I'm making a conscious effort to try to accomodate because I consistently find people that are fairly lean, managing their calories with a thin margin, and not realizing that there may not be caloric excess. The end result is they get a lot stronger but little muscle or even fat gain...hence no excess existed.

Definitely keep us updated on how your lifts go as you get a couple more weeks out. If you loaded as heavy as it sounds you will likely get a really good performance boost further out.


New member
holy shit just weighed myself 2 days ago i was 149 and today im 154.6, is that possible lol, on top of lifting today i ran a mile and a half and played basketball for 2 hours. Craziness!

Tom Treutlein

New member
Your body weight will fluctuate a lot over the course of even a single day, depending on water retention, hydration, and the general time of day you weigh yourself.


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yea, usually its one or two lbs. over or under from the day before. When i weigh myself on monday i always weigh myself right before bed and thats what i usually go by. Last monday i was at 147. Just really surprised me to see that. My weight gain the past few weeks has been about a lb. to 2 lbs. a week.


New member
Re: Bill Starr's 5 x 5 program... Variation per Madcow2 (thanx) So here it is! K up n


Okay, I don't really care to delve deeply into diet issues generally. I find it pretty basic and uninteresting, plus - there's enough books and forums out there that you can easily get up to speed on the micro crap. I'm going to deal with one topic - caloric excess (the most important non-training topic for those looking to add muscle) and then provide a few quotes.


First, a lot of BBers claim that diet is 95% of everything - that's some nice bullshit to spew when a guy is running the test levels of 20 men, has no performance criteria whatsoever to be judged by, and even a horrible training stimulus will still get him results. The bottom line is that for an experienced natural or someone who isn't living on large dosages of drugs, as long as your diet is "reasonable" you will get bigger and stronger only if the training is in line.

This is common sense blocking and tacking stuff. Eat a good balanced diet, get enough protein, vitamins, whatever, drink lots of water, and make sure you supply yourself with enough calories to grow. Combine that with a good training program and voila - you will get bigger and stronger.

I tell you that the main issue for most non-novice lifters is the training program. They don't know how to get stronger and increase their capacities in the core lifts after they crest the novice stage where they can't just go in and add weight each week. Stuff like the 3 day split, training bodyparts 1x per week, thinking that a routine is a list of exercises you will do and that it is enough to go in the gym and work hard - all this screws people. Shattering these bullshit BBing myths and near total reliance on anabolics and illustrating proper periodization and dual factor style programs was the reason I put the Bill Starr 5x5 program on this site.

Of course there is one problem. The assumption of a "reasonable" diet and the key factor here is caloric excess. The key factor is not 6 meals a day, nor is it X grams of protein, nor is it weighing one's food and counting every last scrap of it while extracting yolks from egg whites like a baby salamander. It is caloric excess. If you don't have it, you can't grow. Contrary to popular BBing mythos, it need not even be a clean diet. You can eat quite a bit of garbage and get big and strong (even staying reasonably lean for a lot of people) as long as there is caloric excess. If you choose to eat clean, more power to you but make sure in your extra effort that you get caloric excess or you won't be adding muscle.

Now some people start with a pretty big margin of bodyfat (approaching 20% or more), these people already have significant caloric excess built into their base diet. Most of them find that they can hold their calories constant and for a while they will add muscle and the maintenance of that muscle will use up the excess calories that are currently going toward maintaining their excess fat. This won't last forever but it will likely get them down to the mid to low teens without any issues. Everybody with lower bodyfat needs to add excess to their base diet.

Now this sounds like common sense but here is the kicker. There are a lot of people who really put a lot of effort into their diet and maintain fairly lean physiques. They carefully calculate and maintain a constant diet and precise level of caloric excess - nothing wrong with that. The only problem is that their calculations might not fully reflect their activity level or the requirements of their own individual body.

Keep in mind that they are already fairly lean so there is obviously little to no caloric excess in their base diets. Also understand that the lower your BF is, the less willing your body is to add muscle - very logically, muscle is calorically expensive and increases risk of death from famine, if fat stores are already low, it is very hard to convince the body to add muscle (the people with this genetic makeup died millions of years ago). This is also why people loose muscle when cutting (this is all based on natural lifters, steroids enhance certain abilities but don't erase restrictions completely).

So given that some of these people are already lean (no caloric excess) and run their diets based at the margin of a calculation, these people can go through a good training program, get strong as hell raising their capacities in all the lifts and not gain any weight. How is this possible? Very simple, no caloric excess. If you eat more than you need you will gain weight. If you are a couch potato, that weight might be all fat. A good training program will ensure that a large portion is muscle. Either way, if caloric excess is present - one will not be the same weight and body composition by the very definition of caloric excess.

This may sound like common sense but it snafu's tons of people, particularly BBers because many of them like to maintain lower levels of BF and spend a lot of time on their diet and eat right at the margin of a somewhat arbitrary calculation that works on the average but in reality needs to be tailored to their own requirements. In addition, many will make their diet squeaky clean and not realize that their volume of consumption has to increase drastically to get the same number of total calories - so they wind up putting themselves in caloric maintenance or worse, deficit.

In addition, as people gain muscle their base requirement increases and thus their diet must be adjusted to maintain the same caloric excess margin. I know it sounds easy but a lot of people eat the same diet at 195 as they did when they were working their way up from 180. They sit their with this nice lean body and wonder why they can't ever seem to break the 200 barrier because their training is good and they eat the same good healthy diet that got them all the way to 195.

Another good thing to remember is that you don't eat too much one day and wake up to find that you went from 8% to 20% BF overnight. A lot of people have a good feel for their base diet and just consume more when they want to gain. If they start getting too fat too quickly, they cut back appropriately. For the vast majority of people, they can likely monitor this without every doing heavy micromanagement while gaining muscle. If your goal is hardcore cutting and getting down much below 10%, well that takes work but adding muscle is pretty easy without micromanagement. But, if one wishes to quantify their diets and spend time on this then go right ahead, I just don't like to see people with pretty mundane and attainable goals think that this it's absolutely necessary if they want to add even an ounce of muscle.

I'm not crapping on the desire to eat clean wholesome foods but it is not necessary for the purpose of adding muscle whereas caloric excess is. Eating clean is a separate goal from adding muscle, it's a lifestyle goal and takes work - kudos to those that do it because it makes the whole thing a bit harder and requires more planning. I'm not saying to eat total garbage but a reasonable diet is fine and to be honest more than a few people have found it necessary to add in more calorically dense foods (i.e. fried chicken etc...) when bulking simply because they can't consume the volume and get all the calories any other way (I'm not talking about your standard 150lbs kid here obviously).

Bottom lines:

1) Caloric excess is required
2) Your body will change if excess is present - fat/muscle/body composition
3) If over the period the body did not change - caloric excess was not present
4) If you add muscle, your base requirement will change and you will need to eat more to maintain excess


So here's a few other posts on diet snipped from JS182 on Meso.
Source Post:

TOPIC 15: Food and Training

let me just piss off a number of people right off the bat by saying that i totally disagree with anyone who says that food is as important as training in growing muscle.

ive heard a great number of people assert this, and its just crap, in my opinion. i know so damn many people that eat totally like crap, yet train hard and gain... but i dont know anyone who gains without training hard, unless they are a rank beginner, and thats a whole other story, since a beginner wint have to eat right to gain either.

now, to back this up a bit, let me say that the most elite athletes in the world have notoriously bad dietary habits. yeah, thats right. those elite weightlifters, skiiers, wrestlers, etc, eat like crap. if there is any common ground amoung all the sports that have resident athletes at the olympic training center, its the concern over getting decent food into the athletes. most of the top throwers i have known ate fast food, and not enough of it most of the time... most powerlifters eat like crap. if there is anything that elite olympic lifters ahve in common, its smoking, and worrying more about what beer they are going to drink than what they are having for dinner.

but, you might say, this may very well prove that gaining strength, skill, endurance, and even muscle mass isnt really tied to a perfect diet, as long as you get ennough calories... BUT bodybuilding is different because of the low bodyfat required while maintaining high amounts of muscle mass.

well let me ask you this. what stops more people from attaining a physique that looks like a bodybuilder, not enough muscle, or too much fat... and which is easier to remedy? the answer is obvious. going from 160lbs of lean body mass to 230lbs of lean body mass is a lot harder than going from 15% bodyfat to 7% bodyfat.

if your not ready to accept this, then answer this question. lets say that i was a magic genie, and could give you either the muscle mass and of ronnie coleman, or his bodyfat level. now, if i gave you his muscle mass, youd still be as fat as you are now, on top of all that muscle, and would have to lose the fat to look like him. if i gave you his bodyfat level, you would still have your present muscle mass and would have to gain the muscle yourself to look like him. which would you choose? if you didnt pick the muscle, your kidding yourself.

so what have i said so far... first, that getting big and strong, while undoubtedly helped along by a good diet, arent at all dependant on teh "scientific" and exacting diet plans that most people would hold up as ideal, in fact, getting big and strong seems to happen on a frequent basis to people whose only concern with food is that they get enough of it and that it tasts tood...

and second, that getting really big, and probably pretty strong as well, is the hardest part of being a bodybuilder. staying lean, or getting lean, are both not easy, but they arent the main challenge to the guy just starting out who want s to step onstage someday.

so there you have it... training, what you do and how hard you do it, is the most important thing in bodybuilding as in any sport. food, rest, other recovery techniques, self confidence boosters, EVERYTHING else, in fact, are just there to support the training. the training is the main thing.


ive got no superior knowledge on the subject, but i noticed in the original post somewhere he said he took in 300g of protein, not many carbs, and only 10% fat. and ate 3500 or 4500 cals. not possible. 300grams of protein is 1200 calories. hes either eating way more carbs or fat than he thinks.

what i have my athletes who are in strength-power sports eat is milk, meat, some other protein sources if wanted, and lots of vegatables... some fruit but not a lot and breads/pastas kept to a bare minimum. add in more starches when you want to gain weight, cut them back when you want to lose.

a good meal is this... go to walmart and buy the big economy bag of chopped mixed vegatbles. then buy some chicken breasts and lean cuts of beef or lamb or other meats you like. cut one or two different kinds of meat into little chunks. cook in olive oil till just about done... if using chicken put it in first so its well done first and everything else is lightly cooked.steam the vegatables, use some spices, ginger actually is nice. stir it all together and cook it a bit in the olive oil (just briefly, just a bit of olive oil). now you can fix this in about 15 or so minutes. you can fix enough for 4 or 5 meals at one time if you have the right size equipmenmt in your kitchen. this is what i recomend for those wanting to gain strength without gaining a bunch of fat.

i dont like eating out of a blender. eat meat, enough for the protein you need. fill up on vegatebles. save the starches for special occasions, eat apples or something like that for snacks. eat about 4 meals a day with meat and vegatebles. eat a couple of snacks, a piece of cheese and an apple is a good snack, a glass of milk and an orange is a good snack.

by the way, my wife is a registered dietician, and also a national record holder in powerlifting, and shes a good enough discuss thrower that still at age 32 she could walk on to just about any college program in the US and get a scholarship. and she hasnt thrown seriously in years. even when not training hard, she can squat ass to ankles double bodyweight for 10 reps without a belt. so she knows about nutrition, and how it relates to athletic performance. and if you could talk to her she would also tell you that the ideal diet for most athletes is meat and vegatbles mainly, with enough starches thrown in to maintain weight or gain weight if needed.

i know that most of you eat out of a blender half the time, but damn it food is good. i look forward to eating if its good food... and i dont care how engineered anything is, its not the same as real food, yes the protein is there, the calories are there, but you dont get as complete nutrition from a can or box as you do from real food. eating good food, nutrition rich food is healthy. and healthy people do better in the weight room. and if you ever have the chance try mongolian food, do it. geez that stuff is good.
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Tom Treutlein

New member
I don't agree with the second post as much. Caloric excess determines fat gain, not a lot of starches. He seems a bit uninformed in that area. I'm sure he's a good guy overall, but his spelling is also atrocious. It just annoys me to read the stuff he writes sometimes.

All in all, I agree with him, though.


New member

If you had the same basal metabolic rate and followed exactly the same training routine as another guy and ate 4500 calories of extremely strict, clean food but the other guy was on a diet of 4500 calories of food that wasn't as clean (i.e. some ice-cream, big macs whatever thrown in) but was still eating as much protein and carbs as you were, then you would both gain the same amount of muscle, right? But surely eating the ultra clean food would make you less likely to gain as much fat as the guy eating all the junk? Or is it irrelevant how clean your diet is when you are on a caloric excess?

Hope that makes sense.

Tom Treutlein

New member
Caloric excess is the thing of main importance, but once you cross that threshold of excess cals, you need to be a bit shifty. If the excess is coming through ice cream or something, you might not be as pleased as if it were from meats. That's my take, anyway. In the end, make sure you eat enough, no matter what. Unless you can easily stomach clean calories past your limit, you'll want to enjoy yourself a bit more and have some unclean foods.

Also, one person's sensitivity to carbs can factor in.


New member
This is the diet minutia stuff. Think about it, let's say you got your clean calories in 3 meals a day where this guy was splitting up his big macs most advantageously to keep constant flow of flood and not provide any single large spikes of calories etc....this is why I don't even like to get into this crap because it's a never ending PITA. Suffice to say, eat a clean diet if you choose (it's better for you) and if you want to gain muscle you best be absolutely sure you have a caloric excess present or your efforts in that direction are totally shot.

Tom: I think he's assuming you are eating at your base intake and your diet consists of mostly meats etc...When you want to start gaining weight, a good way to do that is to up your carb intake (increasing total calories). I think it's more on how he believes strength athletes should eat in general rather than specific to hypertrophy. I know what you are saying though, I just figured I'd add them and make it easy.


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In my nutrition class the first thing my prof said about gaining and losing weight is simple math. It's cals in versus cals out, if you have left over cals you'll gain weight, if you even out you'll maintain, or if you dont take in enough you'll lose weight. I think with this whole diet thing it's more of a matter of time than actually eating the foods. When there is food right in front of you of course you'll eat it, but its just a matter of getting the food in front of you. During school i had trouble getting excess cals in bw class and work and all that shit, but now that school is over and im jobless all i do is eat because there is nothing else to do. My father even owns a grocery store and it's hard sometimes for me to eat in excess. Just real life ya know.