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I am a novice. I eat 1/4 cup of raw oats in the morning and two portions of meat later on in the day, and tons of low-carb & low-calorie vegetables. I work out everyday, and I'm following Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength (except for the diet part, as outlined in my question). I have been doing this consistenty for the past two weeks.

What is this doing to my body? Muscle gain? Muscle loss? Maintenance? Better? Worse?

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    Just don't confuse low-carb with low-calorie. Though you may find you do lose some fat, SS is a strength program, NOT a weight loss program, and you'll hamper your results if you don't eat enough. – G__ Dec 5 '14 at 23:57
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  • Within a few weeks, you'll start noticing increased muscle definition. This will depend upon your body fat: the less fat you have the easier it is to see muscle definition.
  • Your low carb diet will probably throw you into ketosis, and you're probably calorie deficient (although that's a big assumption), so you'll be doing a lot of fat burning.
  • You will increase muscle mass and fibers, increasing your resting metabolism. This will further increase your fat losses.
  • You will probably gain some weight, initially. Muscle is far more dense than fat.
  • As a novice, your body will rapidly respond to the training paradigm. Plus, it's arguably the most effective strength training program known to the human race, so you'll be progressing rapidly.

A lot of it depends on your body fat levels in regards to what you look like. Regarding strength/gains/losses, as a novice doing compound lifts with progressive loading on a solid program, you're going to increase your strength: there's no way around it.

You'll eventually hit the novice/intermediate wall and while some might say to keep eating enough to push the novice gains as far as possible, personally I hate to have fat on me so I don't mind struggling more with my strength gains if it keeps me from getting a belly I need to worry about cutting later.

The big things I'd focus on:

  1. Form. Record your form with your compound lifts and find someone (this site works) to critique it.
  2. Increase the weight, but don't go full-dumb-dumb. You want to challenge yourself but don't wreck yourself. Follow the plan. This is hard when you start feeling like Superman.
  3. Rest. Make sure you sleep good every night. Don't sweat a bad night's sleep, but don't let it get out of control.
  4. Eat. Your diet sounds pretty good, but just make sure you pay attention to overall calories and macros. As you progress the difference between 100g and 150g of daily protein really can make a difference in the long run.

You're really on a pretty solid path. Buy a beer for whoever tipped you off to low-carbs and Rippetoe.

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Not being able to you in person, it is hard for me to say what this is doing to your body. I can say that after 2 weeks, the majority of your strength gains can be attributed'neural' adaptations. Meaning that your brain has become more efficient at sending messages to the working muscles. After 6 weeks, a higher percentage of your strength gains will be as a result of 'hypertrophy'. Which is an increase in the size of your muscle fibres. Stay the course, be consistent with your training, diet and recovery and should be pleased with your the results.

Hope that helps,

Mike

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