T Nation

15lbs In Two Months - Realistic?

Hi everyone, I’m a beginner. I’ve trained off and on since the beginning of 2006, but just started getting serious a few months ago. I’m now 155lbs @ 5’ 9’’ and I’m curious to see if making it up to 170lbs by May would be a realistic goal. I started around 120. I’m not going to post any pics (a stupid thing to do here if you’re under 200lbs), but I do have some other information about my habits:

My schedule is as follows:

Monday: Squats, Calf Raises, Weighted Pull-ups
Tuesday: Deadlifts, Bench Press, DB Military Press
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Repeat Monday
Friday: Repeat Tuesday
Weekends: Rest

I eat a good amount but there is always room for improvement. Most of my protein comes from dairy sources (milk, cottage cheese) and I make sure to get at least 1g/lb BW each day. The exercises I listed are the main ones I do, but I also add isolation exercises in when I feel a bodypart is lagging. Right now I’m just trying to focus on compound motions to get that hypertrophy going.

Thoughts, tips? If more info would help let me know. I just plan on eating as much as possible from here on, but any constructive criticism or advice about nutrition would help a lot too.

What total kcals are you eating a day? Do you do any other exercise? What is your lifestyle (eg sedentary desk worker or labourer)? What set/rep scheme are you using?

15lbs in 2 months is possible, but only if you have everything dialled in. You also have to accept that some of it will be fat. Let us know the answers to the above questions, they will help to figure out if is going to happen given what you are doing.

don’t let anyone tell you you can’t ok. in fact just shoot for it. you won’t know till you try it. eat like a horse and train hard.

[quote]That One Guy wrote:
don’t let anyone tell you you can’t ok. in fact just shoot for it. you won’t know till you try it. eat like a horse and train hard.[/quote]

Definitely agree with this. The only way to know for sure is to give it your best shot and see what happens. It’s certainly not impossible.

You can absolutely add 15 pounds in 2 months. There is nothing in your way but you. Eat like a real man and you can get there. You should shoot for 20 pounds by May.

[quote]sharetrader wrote:
What total kcals are you eating a day? Do you do any other exercise? What is your lifestyle (eg sedentary desk worker or labourer)? What set/rep scheme are you using?

15lbs in 2 months is possible, but only if you have everything dialled in. You also have to accept that some of it will be fat. Let us know the answers to the above questions, they will help to figure out if is going to happen given what you are doing.[/quote]

I’m eating three meals a day, and the kcal amount varies. I do not keep a log, but have considered it. For example tonight for dinner I had a few slabs of roast beef and some buns in gravy as well as acorn squash and pizza with a couple glasses of water and a couple of milk. The fuckers were out of cottage cheese and some other good stuff. My lifestyle is that of a college student: I’m sitting down for most of the time but I also walk a few miles a day.

I use 3x8 mainly but will switch it up with 5x5 or a pyramid scheme if my gains start to drop off. I’ve made some great progress just by staying consistent and getting lots of rest. Right now my bench is probably around 210, deadlift around 315, and squat in between those two.

Firstly 15 pounds for a beginner is very attainable.

My critique of this program has found a few deficiencies.

Firstly a squat day followed directly by a deadlift day might be very taxing.

Secondly the exercises stated are standard exercises and it is likely they will not ellicit a major growth stimulus if you are use to using them.

Thirdly this program does not seem to be a well rounded one.

Concluding this I do like to outline that learning for ones self in a practical sense is essential but begginners especially should attempt to use guidelines from experienced coaches and stay flexible in their approaches in order to make well rounded and appropriate distinctions.

Try chad Waterburys Anti-Bodybuilding Hypertrophy Program which was designed for beggeniners around your current beliefs about major compound exercises, and repition ranges.

I’m not all that experienced myself, but its the general consensus that you should nail your nutrition down before making LBM gains long term, such as around 5-6 meals a day, break your caloric intake into 6 meals, with breakfast being the largest and 6th meal being the smallest.

Read Berardi’s 7 rules of highly effective nutrition programs before beginning any sort of meal plan, and then massive eating by the same author.

http://www.T-Nation.com/...ic.do?id=459493

You will also want to examine this article once you have the 7 habits nailed:

Massive Eating: I, Caloric Needs
http://www.T-Nation.com/...ic.do?id=460331

Massive Eating: II, Meal Combinations and Individual Differences
http://www.T-Nation.com/...ic.do?id=460327

Of course, I;m on a fat loss plan (bulked all my life to an LBM of 150lbs on a 5’7" frame :slight_smile: ), and am doing quite well with the seven rules alone and around 70-75% compliance, so I assume it will work very well to keep you lean while bulking up.

Physical Culture:

What would you recommend changing about this program? I have got an upper body push, upper body pull, lower body push, lower body pull, as well as work for shoulders and calves. I have read many times on this site that isolation exercises are something beginners do not want to focus on and that compound movements promote more hypertrophy, so that’s where my general planning came from. Don’t get me wrong, I have performed bicep curls and stuff before; they just aren’t a regular staple in my split.

powerhouse:

I try to eat 4+ times a day but sometimes I am unable to due to time/money reasons based around being broke and having studying to do. I understand that eating many smaller meals works better to keep one’s metabolism up but it is not often that I can actually do this until May comes around. I will read those articles you mentioned right now.

Mate i’m sorry to hear that you have ambition, but limited funds. Judging you to be quite skinny so far (starting at 120lbs) i feel confident in reminding you of the cheapness of eggs, and milk. Eat plenty, and often mate. Good luck

I know it’s possible for a newbie 'cause I’ve done it. And now I’m trying to do it again.

However, I know in my case I really do have to stuff myself a minimum of six times a day. I’ve had to make some major life adjustments to make that possible.

Someone somewhere had mentioned that he had never seen a guy with big arms who did NOT do bicep curls, and/or a guy with good pecs who did not do flies. I do curls and/or extensions (not more than 2-3 sets and no less than 4RM after my compound circuits since I;m trying to improve my strength while losing fat, I;m pretty weak for my weight right now) and flies immediately after dumbbell presses.
And as far as 6 meals go, eggs are dirt cheap, cottage cheese and flax seeds are not too expensive, a 30 servings tub of whey (EAS brand for eg.) costs 12$ at Walmart and will last you almost a couple of weeks, old fashioned oatmeal costs $2 for about 20 servings, lavash bread ain;t all that expensive (I love this btw), fruits are cheap, and you get these microwave-in-bag bags of broccoli and beans, cans of black beans (2.5 servings) for about 40 cents or so…the main difficulty is adjusting to the rule of eating every 2-3 hours, as long as you shop at Walmart or costco. You can also eat at Subway once in a while if youre careful what you order. And use fitday.com to keep a food log.

[quote]VTPower wrote:
Physical Culture:

What would you recommend changing about this program? I have got an upper body push, upper body pull, lower body push, lower body pull, as well as work for shoulders and calves. I have read many times on this site that isolation exercises are something beginners do not want to focus on and that compound movements promote more hypertrophy, so that’s where my general planning came from. Don’t get me wrong, I have performed bicep curls and stuff before; they just aren’t a regular staple in my split.

powerhouse:

I try to eat 4+ times a day but sometimes I am unable to due to time/money reasons based around being broke and having studying to do. I understand that eating many smaller meals works better to keep one’s metabolism up but it is not often that I can actually do this until May comes around. I will read those articles you mentioned right now.[/quote]

[quote]VTPower wrote:
Physical Culture:

What would you recommend changing about this program? I have got an upper body push, upper body pull, lower body push, lower body pull, as well as work for shoulders and calves. I have read many times on this site that isolation exercises are something beginners do not want to focus on and that compound movements promote more hypertrophy, so that’s where my general planning came from. Don’t get me wrong, I have performed bicep curls and stuff before; they just aren’t a regular staple in my split.[/quote]

Sorry I may have sounded a bit ambigous because I wrote my comments with time constraints.

I did not mean to infer that you should start isolation exercises(though everyone should acknowledge that isolation exercises have their place in correcting muscle imbalances and bringing up weak points). What I meant was most people do just squats and deadlifts and when I see people who put these into there program quite often they have just finished another program with the exact same exercises. Try for variety if this is you, front squats, zerker squats, goodmornings (westside has about 40 different types), romanian deadlifts, weighted pushups, snatch grip deadlifts etc…

My other criticism was that it seemed that the rep ranges was thrown in as an afterthought with little consideration of how these exercises affect neurological and physiological recovery (which is why I recommended chad waterburys Anti-body Building program due to its usage of similar yet neurological and physiological recovery considered program).

Furthermore the upper body push, upper body pull, lower body push, lower body pull does go far in affording a healthy lifting career but if you read Eric Cressey and mike robertsons more recent articles you will see that this is but one step to achieving a balanced injury free body.

Good posts from all. I like the thoughts Physical_Culture is throwing out.

However, I’m going to say something that may get me in trouble. You are currently working legs in some form 4x a week. I think you should keep it that way, AS LONG AS you’re feeling fresh each time you go in. If you are getting run down or sore all the time, or feeling like you don’t want to train, then drop the frequency of your leg work to 1 or 2 days a week.

Frequency is a very good variable to elicit hypertrophy. I’d vary the weight and reps as much as possible for each day though. I have a pet theory that what you do in the first few months of serious training (even up to the first few years of training) has a particular impact on what you are conditioned to accept physically.

In other words, I’ve been thinking that if you start at a higher frequency or volume as a newb, you’ll be better able to handle volume later as a vet. Thib is the example that first comes to mind, as he worked his legs 4-5 times a week for the first few years of his training, plus Oly training. Seems to be ok with him.

Anyway, You’re missing a horizontal row. Replace calves with something bigger. Calf work is not a “systemic” exercise choice.

Monday: Squats, Calf Raises, Weighted Pull-ups
Tuesday: Deadlifts, Bench Press, DB Military Press
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Repeat Monday
Friday: Repeat Tuesday
Weekends: Rest

You have 1 vertical pull, 1 vertical push, 1 horz. push, and NO horizontal pull exercise. You need one in there, at least. Bent row, dumbell bent row, whatever. Another idea for variations on legs–do legs each day, but instead of repeating the exercises from the first day, pick new ones for Thurs/Fri. Example–front squats and snatch grip DL. Another idea–make a day legs/horizontal plane and another legs/vertical plan. Putting it all together you’d have something like this, give or take:

Mon–squat, military press, weighted pull-ups
Tues–DL, row variation, bench
rest
Thurs–front squat, weighted chins, push press
Fri–snatch grip DL, bench variation, row variation

Now there’s one leg exercise, one push exercise, and one pull exercise on each day. Then add in isolation stuff and abs.

It would be a good idea to look at the Total Body Training article at least for organizational ideas, if not to actually perform. Also, the ABBH program is good.

Congrats on the progress so far, you’ve got a ways to go. Shoot for your goal.

Oh yeah, food. You need to eat 5 times a day. No matter what. Easiest way is to put food in your backpack for school or whatever. Walnuts/pecans, and raisens in bulk work pretty well. Big handful of each and you’ve got some quality calories, healthy fats, and good carbs. walnuts= 200 cal for 1/4 cup with 5g protein. Raisens=250 cal per 1/2 cup. Tuna/canned chicken is good for protein, as is beef jerky. All relatively cheap and non-perishable.

Thanks for the additional tips, guys, especially the ones about nutrition.

Aragorn, I’ve added rows to my workout in addition to weighted pulls. You’re right, I do hit the legs in some form 4x/week, but I need to do the most work on them considering my distance runner background. If I feel that they are being overtrained I always cut back.

I have been mixing up the sets and reps a bit with 4x6 and 5x5 stuff, but I’m still learning and I am also apprehensive to make any big changes without reading up a lot first.

I will update you guys if I can remember this thread in a couple months.

[quote]VTPower wrote:
Thanks for the additional tips, guys, especially the ones about nutrition.

Aragorn, I’ve added rows to my workout in addition to weighted pulls. You’re right, I do hit the legs in some form 4x/week, but I need to do the most work on them considering my distance runner background. If I feel that they are being overtrained I always cut back.

I have been mixing up the sets and reps a bit with 4x6 and 5x5 stuff, but I’m still learning and I am also apprehensive to make any big changes without reading up a lot first.

I will update you guys if I can remember this thread in a couple months.[/quote]

It’s been a week, gained at all? Eating more?

Steve Turano (fitness expert) from BodyPerformanceTV.com says that you can add a maximum of 1 pound of muscle a week…

[quote]Horazio wrote:
Steve Turano (fitness expert) from BodyPerformanceTV.com says that you can add a maximum of 1 pound of muscle a week…
[/quote]
I’ve read similar numbers elsewhere but they seem to apply to seasoned lifters with a decent amount of mass. Bigger gains can happen with newbies (especially really skinny ones), people who lost a lot of muscle mass and are regaining it, and of course the chemically enhanced.