T Nation

21 Year Old College Student


Hey guys, I’m a 21 year old college student and looking for some feedback on my physique. I want everyone to be as brutally honest as possible. I have been working out for about seven years now and go to the gym six days a week. I am around 15% body fat right now and am trying to get down into single digits. My goal is to get lean(build muscle, while destroying body fat). I would love to hear any recommendations you guys have for exercises, foods to eat/avoid, daily habits, etc. Thanks!


Hi there, in my opinion it seems that you’ve got a good frame to build some decent muscle but seems like (and this is just my honest opinion) that you’ve got a body that looks like it just needs to put more effort in. If you’ve been training for 7 years you should know your way round the gym but maybe its your nutrition or training that just needs that push. First of all, nutrition. How many calories are you eating a day? are you fitting your macros? how much are you weighing atm? how consistent is your nutrition? what supplements are you taking? once i know that then i can help a lot more. For your training, whats your programme look like, what reps, exercises, sets etc? too what intensity are you lifting (breaking a sweat?, percentage on 1 rep max etc) i could go on but these are the main questions. What i would also suggest for basic habits for anything is drink a lot of water and get your vitamins in, that will benefit everyone and anyone.


Hi thanks for the feedback. I want people to be as brutally honest as possible and want criticism. To answer your questions, I do not count my macros, but am very conscious of what I eat. My general diet consists of brown rice, wheat pasta, all vegetables especially spinach, squash, asparagus, sweet potato, brussel sprouts, etc, fruits like apples, blueberries, strawberries, grapes, cottage cheese, granola, natural peanut butter, black coffee, scrambled, fried eggs on wheat english muffin, grilled chicken, pork, etc. For example, my meals for today are: breakfast: two fried eggs on wheat english muffin and cottage cheese with fruit, lunch: whole wheat wrap with turkey, spinach, mustard, tomatoes, and green peppers, and for dinner: plan on having two pieces of grilled chicken, quinoa/sweet potato and another vegetable. I currently weigh 165 lbs, and am taking gold standard 100 natural whey chocolate protein after I workout. My programs have varied in the past, but have recently done a split of: Day 1: chest, triceps, abs, Day 2: shoulders, biceps, abs, Day 3: Legs and abs, Day 4: chest, triceps, and abs, Day 5: shoulder, biceps, abs, and Day 6: cardio sprint interval training on treadmill. I usually shoot for 8-10 reps on most exercises, except for heavy lifts like deadlift, weighted pull-ups, etc where I go for 5 or 6. I also try to drink at least a gallon of water a day. Thanks or the feedback and I look forward to hearing what else you and everyone else has to say.


Eat more to gain more.

Rocket science, right.

Decide whether you are going to cut and get down to ten percent or so, to maintain and try to recomp, or to slow, clean bulk.

Then figure your maintenance and eat appropriately.


It’s hard to be critical with your photos; a large portion of your body is obscured.



Diet seems good to me, would recommend going onto a macro calculator online and just seeing what macros you should be hitting. I don’t count my macros either but its good to know just to see what you might need to add or take away from your diet. Another thing is try changing it up so if you’re only eating 3 meals a day, maybe try 5 or 6, seeing what works best for you. Regarding training I’d cut down on the abs, only 1-2 sessions are needed at max really and your recent split doesnt seem to have any back in there. Maybe try: Day 1:Chest/tri, Day2:Back/bi Day3:rest Day4: Legs and some LISS/HIIT cardio at the start Days5: Shoulders/abs Day6:Cardio/rest Day7:rest.

Put a lot of focus on Db pressing compounds for chest/shoulders as heavy as you can without losing form for 8-10 reps, same with squats, romanian deadlifts, barbell rows and see where that gets you. I’ve built muscle and dropped fat simultaneously when i’ve focused the more on compound 8-10 reps. Just make sure you put enough effort in to make a change. One thing I’d also mention about your current physique is focus on widening your back and shoulders, width goes a long way. Hope this helps.


As stated, make a choice bulk or cut. If I were u id bulk and yes, that means you need to eat more. You want to cut when there is muscle under there to reveal as u drop bf. U have a good base but need more size on it. Eat, eat and eat some more. You have a high metabolism, so your going to want to eat every couple hours throughout the day. Counting macros is wise and it helps but at you current state, I wouldn’t even bother, just eat!! Don’t eat a bunch of garbage but a cheat meal (pizza or whatever once a week wouldn’t hurt). As for training, if u have been on that regimen for the past seven years, id say change it up. Throw ur body a curve ball. It will respond better. U can easily research good routine here on this site or online where ever. Good luck and keep us posted!


Hey guys, thanks for the feedback, I really appreciate it. Anything and everything you guys say I take into consideration. I just had a quick question about a certain exercise: when performing the ab wheel rollout, do you want to inhale, then roll out, or inhale and exhale fully, then roll out? Thanks.


Descend- inhale and tense core. Come back up- exhale.


I would focus on gaining some size and strength. I find it allot easier to cut far now that I have some more muscle on me. (Higher metabolic rate). Focus on doing compound movements before accessory. Your bench/squat/deadlift are going to recruit allot more muscles and cause you to upregulate testosterone production and release igf-1.

I would try and up your diet (you seem to eat pretty clean so that helps) and focus on making sure you get stronger, that will give you the fastest and most lasting body change IMO.


I do reverse breathing on all core exercise. (Multiple pro men’s physique models I’ve worked out with recommend it). Exhale on the way down, inhale while you are doing the actual lift.

For added benifit hold a vacuum during the whole set


You don’t look completely terrible but you def do not look like you’ve been working out for 7 years at 6 days per week
You’re built more like the only thing you’ve done was a few games of pickup basketball
You’re wasting your efforts in the gym and spinning your wheels IMHO
I scrolled through the comments and it confirmed what I figured that you have not given enough appreciation to what nutrition can offer
A Ferrari that has had countless hours of engine work done won’t break any track records if you are filling the tank with water
Good news though! You probably know your way around the gym. Start eating for your goals and you WILL hit them at a rate you haven’t seen yet