18 Year Old's Training Log

A bit of background: Was extremely fat all of my childhood, my freshman year I got tired of it. Knowing nothing about diet, I ate 500 calories a day for about 5 months. Lost a lot of weight, but a ton of it was muscle. Went from 175 to 147. After this I started p90x, which I actually gained weight from because I was eating again. This time around 1500-1600 calories. After four months of p90x, I started another crappy program called body beast. This was a terrible lifting program, using dumbbells and isolation exercises only. I was eating 2800 calories this time, and gained like 15 pounds from this 10 week program. Fast forward to my junior year, I had a fall of uncontrolled eating habits and little training. I got quite fat, and was weighing about 185. I began a cut with some help from a personal trainer with a very respectable physique on facebook. I was able to get down to 158 in the end (keto, not holding water) using his methods (1700-1900 cals the whole time), but I still wasn’t lean. Maybe 15% bf or so. After getting down to that weight, I came to the realization that I was a gonna need a lot more muscle to look good lean, so since July of 2016 I’ve been eating well and training hard, although this winter (latter november and december) my diet and training was less than stellar. I started my bulk in september this year weighing 175, and I am now 195.

Goal: To get a strong, aesthetic physique.

Current objective: to spend a couple months getting leaner before adding more lean mass.

Current Stats:
Weight: 195
Height: 6’0"
Bodyfat %: unknown

Lifts: 1rm
Bench: 235
Squat: 345
Deadlift: 405
OHP: 135

Apologies for all the info, but I feel as if anyone following oughta know. Diet and training advice/critique is welcomed, I’d love to hear from some veteran lifters.

Pics coming soon.

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Here are some pics. Today made a week that i’ve been dieting, and my lifting belt and pant belts are down a space. On a 4 day split quite similar to Blending Size and Strength 2.0, with 30 min LISS 1x a week and 15 min HIIT 2x a week. my macros are 220p 60f and 100c. 250c on Thursdays and Fridays. My main lifts are down from my absence of training the last month and a half but the strength will hopefully come back fast.

The information is good because it helps anyone who wants to give you advice.

In terms of training, I would think you would do well with this to start with

Do it EXACTLY as written if you decide to do it - the importance of this cannot be overstated. After a few years of following programs to the letter you’ll know enough to start tinkering. Not before.

When you’ve run it a couple of times or more, you may find this would be a good next step.

Ordinarily I would recommend a 531 variation, but that is a performance-focused system and your goals are more aesthetic from what you said. CT has a habit of putting out programs that make you look good and perform well to boot. You can absolutely end up looking good using 531, but it takes a little more thought.

For your nutrition, I cannot recommend this approach enough:

It does require you to calculate your macros, track your calories and (I find) weigh your food but that is a very small price to pay considering how well it works. Now, I would not recommend going into much if any of a deficit. You’re sitting on 195 lbs, so you would probably be fine at 2500 calories/day. I certainly wouldn’t go lower.

All that being said, the absolute overriding factor is consistency and hard work. If you work hard consistently for a long period of time (years), you will get good results. It doesn’t matter as much (within reason) how you train. Of course, your results will be much better if you train hard using a good approach with consistency than if you use a less good approach.

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Thank you for the info, MarkKO. So based off of what you told me, would it be worthwhile to take a couple weeks to find my maintenance so I know exactly where I’m at calorie wise so that I can follow How to Stay Strong While Dieting? Quite honestly I’ve never taken the time to find my maintenance, and I have a suspicion that my metabolism may be slower than the average joe. Last year this time I was 185lbs (way less muscle than now, though) and was at 2300 cals for about a month and hardly lost weight, no more than a couple pounds if I remember right.

Also, you said that going into much of a deficit (if any) isn’t really advisable. If I stay around maintenance while following The Complete Power Look program, can I still expect to lean out?

Based off of my current state I feel as if fat loss should take priority. But, I’m willing to follow advice of someone who knows what they’re doing and has been in the iron game for a long time like yourself.

Not really. If you pick a reasonable estimate you’ll be fine. Your maintenance calories usually sit between bodyweight in lbs x 14 and bodyweight in lbs x 17. The more bodyfat you have, the further towards the low end you’ll be. Your low end would be around 2700 cal/day.

You would be absolutely fine to start there. Even if it is a little higher than you need it wouldn’t hurt for a week two while you get stuck into Power Look. That way you’d be sure to be full of energy and recover really well which would build confidence.

Then, as you went along you’d gradually adjust calories downwards as needed - usually around 100 calories at a time.

It’s worth noting that you would possibly see scale weight go up in the first few days simply because your carb intake would increase - which is fine. It just means your glycogen reserves would be full and you’d be holding more water. Generally the best thing to do is be guided by the mirror first and scale second. If you look leaner but the scale says you’re heavier, there’s nothing to worry about. A good idea is to use the same mirror with the same lighting and same distance.

Quite possibly. This is where you need to adjust as you go. Generally if you don’t see progress after a week or two, you would want to drop calories. Day to day fluctuation is completely normal.

What the Power Look will do (with the right nutrition) is help you add muscle, so you’ll look more muscular. Obviously you’re more likely to add muscle while eating at maintenance than in a deficit.

Hell, I personally would say you’d probably do very well to eat in that maintenance window using Paul Carter’s approach for the first cycle of Power Look anyway. I would be very surprised if you didn’t like how you looked after that.

I disagree a bit. You’ll look a bunch better with more muscle because you’re not fat as such. You’re just not very muscular. Plus, I have found it much easier to get leaner when I had a little more muscle.

Either way, if you’re getting the right food in the right amount and training hard and well you’ve got a very, very good chance of seeing improvement. Like I said above, if you just eat at your low end maintenance (2700/day) with the macro split Paul Carter’s article sets out while following Power Look chances are you’ll be pretty pleased with your progress.

The real key apart from consistency and effort is patience. Even a year is nothing in your overall training lifetime. Ten weeks is a speck. I figure in terms of deficits, the smaller the deficit the better because recovery is what determines progress. If you can improve your look at maintenance, so much the better. That’s where the mirror trumps the scale. If you can see muscle growing without extra fat accumulating, you’re in a good position.

From where I sit, if you could run three cycles of Power Look at in that maintenance window and simply gain some muscle before even thinking of going into a deficit you’d be laughing because then when you did go into a deficit you’d have added an appreciable amount of muscle.

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Thanks! Nobody has taken the time to explain things to me. It all makes a lot more sense now, and your approach is worlds better than mine. I’ll finish out this week on my program and start Power Look on Monday. I’ll spend the next couple days getting my diet where it needs to be.

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I’m very glad I could help. It’s a simple approach both on the training and eating front, from two guys who seriously know what they’re talking about. Paul Carter is also worth following on FB/IG because apart from training and nutrition tips he just has an amazing outlook on life. There are very, very few people I actually look up to and he is one of them.

With training and eating, I’ve often found that the simpler you can keep things, the better.

I also should have mentioned, Power Look mentions Plazma and I think one or two other Biotest supplements. I’m guessing you’re not exactly rolling in money at your age, so if you can’t get them don’t worry. Yes, Plazma is amazing - and as far as I can tell Biotest has yet to release any product that isn’t at least good - but supplements are way down on the list of priorities. A good diet is all you actually need. Supplements are the cherry on the cake.

The main trick with the macro breakdown for me was finding protein sources that were low on fat and cheap. White fish is excellent for that. Pork leg is pretty good, but you’ll need to take the skin off. Any lean cut of beef is good too (topside/silverside is lean AF and usually cheap, but is also very dry), and of course chicken thigh and breast. For carbs, oats, rice and potatoes are my go to. Pasta is good too, but packs a lot of calories per gram compared to the others (except oats). I haven’t yet started logging sauces/cooking oils yet because I haven’t found the need and because I don’t use much. Myfitnesspal is a good tracker, BTW.

If you can happily deal with eating exactly the same thing over and over you’re ahead of the game because you know EXACTLY what you’re getting each day. For example, my breakfast every day is:

150 grams basa fillet, fried, with ketchup

75 grams quick oats
225 millilitres whole milk
30 grams chocolate sauce

Cup of tea with teaspoon honey, some milk
Cup of coffee

It’s my favourite meal of the day. I still look forward to it and find it properly enjoyable. If you can find a few dishes that fit your macros that you really enjoy, they are a massive help.

My supplement lineup is pretty basic. Dextrose, whey, and creatine. I normally take fish oil with every meal as well. I have access to lots of lean beef, chicken, white fish, and venison. Generally for carbs I eat jasmine rice, oats, and pasta every now and then. I’ve been counting macros for essentially a year, (excluding november and december) so this will be second nature to me. Thanks for all your help, every bit of it is greatly appreciated. I’ll be posting updates on here every couple of weeks, if I have any questions I’ll be sure to ask. My biggest concern is being able to get my calories dialed in correctly so that I’m gaining muscle but not fat. I’m thinking maintenance give or take 100 cals but I’ll see what needs done as I go. Also been reading your log a bit, interesting stuff on there!

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It sounds like you’re pretty set. If you train hard and eat right, you’ll be fine. Since you’re already used to tracking calories, there will be minimal adjustment beyond a new macro breakdown anyway.

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Tendonitis in my right elbow has hurt my lifting quite a bit. For the last two weeks I’ve just been doing lower body days from my split. Still been eating what I’m supposed too.

Starting Monday I was back on program from tendonitis. A small bit of pain in my right elbow when benching and doing triceps exercises, but nothing near inhabilitating like earlier. Lost a little weight during this phase, I just kept cals at 2,300 or so to make up for the lack of training. I also did some cardio as to not lose my conditioning. My weights were down a bit which is discouraging, and I had to lower my bench 55lbs to complete it with correct form because of my elbow. I’m sure the strength will come back fast.

Really liking the complete power look program so far, I think taking a step back from the back squat and focusing on my front squat will help my back squat numbers considerably. 185lb front squat for 5x4 this week. Unfortunately I caught a cold yesterday, so not feeling good but not terrible either. Skipped lifting yesterday due to feeling like crap, will probably make yesterday’s session up today.

Read this back to yourself a few times.

Was I right or wrong?

At this stage my money is on wrong. You weigh in the mid 190s and your squat is in the mid 300s right? So you’re not huge but not small, and your squat is OK but not particularly big.

If you’re simply looking to improve your squat numbers (reps, weight or both), the simplest and most effective way to do this is going to be squatting more with mostly moderate weights. You’ll get technically better for starters, which always translates to more weight and/or reps. You’ll also overload your body better that was than with front squats, because you’ll use more weight even with moderately heavy squats.

I’m not saying front squats won’t help - they will - but prioritising front squats over squats to improve your squat isn’t an optimal way to do things right now. If your squat was bigger (let’s say you were using double bodyweight and more for your top work sets on a weekly basis), then doing a bunch of front squatting could certainly help because it would let you squat more often without overloading your body as much. Right now, you don’t need to worry about that.

Different story if you were aiming for quad size or upper and middle back strength - then front squats might well work better.

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Interesting! The Complete Power Look program doesn’t have me doing any back squats. If my front squat numbers go up, won’t my back squat numbers inevitably go up as well?

Not inevitably, no. If your front squat equals or surpasses your squat, maybe - so let’s say you can front squat 375 lbs then you’ll probably be able to squat 375 lbs.

Here’s where you run into a problem with using front squats alone to build your squat: front squat poundage is almost always limited by what your upper back can hold in the rack. Squat poundage is limited by how much your legs can move and how much your lower back and abs can stabilise (OK, so I simplified a bit but you get the idea). Your upper and middle back with almost never be able to support as much as your legs and lower back. So, how are you supposed to overload your legs and lower back enough to drive your squat by front squatting alone?

The Complete Power Look program is designed to give you a look, after all, not build your squat.

Certainly front squats are a great exercise, and they will help drive your squat (and deadlift) - if used wisely. If you squat with a very high bar, very upright torso and medium to narrow stance you may well find front squats are an excellent accessory and you could even do them in a 2:1 ratio to squats. If you squat with a lower bar, lean forward more and/or use a wider stance, front squats probably won’t be as useful.

Wasn’t aware of that. One of the many reasons I like hearing from the iron vets. Can’t thank you enough for your input on my log. You’ve definitely pointed me in the right direction training and diet-wise.

I’m sure you’ve worked around injuries before, how do you normally go about this? The tendonitis in my right elbow has set me back quite a bit. While it is no longer painful, there is still quite a bit of discomfort when doing any pressing exercises.

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It is my pleasure to help.

Elbow tendinitis is a @#$%

Neutral grip pressing can be a big help, and in the absence of a football bar dumbbells might be the answer.

If you front squat with a clean grip, stop and start using straps. It’ll take a lot of strain off your wrists, which translates into somewhat less strain on your elbows. If you’re doing pull-ups, again, neutral grip.

Hammer curls are something I’ve found to be a lifesaver too. Light and for higher reps they do nice things to your elbows.

First off I wanna congrats @MarkKO for all the detailed responses.I really respect you for taking the time to help all those guys in here

Since you are not a powerlifter,the question is,do you really care all that much about your back squat?If so,then Mark’s advice is probably the best. If you don’t though,and you are just in the mindset of the big 3,don’t.If you enjoy front squatting more than back squatting,then just go for it.Adding 100 pounds to either of the 2 will probably result in you being bigger.Same goes for any other lift

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