44 and wondering . . .

if progress in my fitness goals are in line for my age and experience. I’ve only been reading T-Mag for 6 months and wanted to take the opportunity of my first post to get a gut check on my journey for optimum fitness. I require your knowledge and advice.

Here are the specifics: Today, 44, 5'9" 170 lbs. 13%bf. waist 34", chest 40", bicep 14", thigh 23". Played soccer and ran distance in HS and college. Never weighed more that 160 even when I lifted in my early 20's and have what most would consider a slight build. At that age I could bench 1rm 270. Over the last 20 years I continued to run but saw my weight creep up to 185, waist 38" (kids, work and all the other "excuses" for letting your body go).

14 months ago a friend of mine participated in BFL challenge and inspired me to make some changes in my life. I applied the BFL principles for 12 weeks and dropped to 174 waist 35", chest 38.5, biceps 13", thigh 22". Since the challenge I’ve done King’s SS and Limping routine as well as recently completing a HST cycle. Diet consists of 40% p, 30% c, 30% f using massive diet principles and caloric intake 2,400/day (I suspect this could be to low). Supplements, creatine, Grow, MD6, and last 4 weeks Tribex and M. As of today I can 1rm bench 265lbs., squat 305lbs, dead 265 lbs (still stuggle with form), 8 pullups. I also continue to run (mostly HIT, 20 minutes sprints on bike and run 3x week). Can run 5k in 21 minutes.

Overall, I feel better than I have in 20 years but am not satisfied with my strength or size gains. This is where you all come in. My goal's are: 185 lbs, waist 32", chest 44", bicep 16", thigh 26'. 1rm bench 375, squat 425, deadlift 375. Given these goals, is my progress in the last 14 months reasonable and what time frame should I expect to reach my goals given my dedication to future routine's like King's Limping series, EDT, 5X5 and others?

First off, David, good on ya for a model post. If only everyone who came here looking for help were so clear and informative! Second off, given your goals, I’d guess you have about ten pounds of fat to lose and 25 pounds of muscle to gain. This will require a considerable, multi-year (I’d guess 3-5 to start) commitment on your part. You’re still a relative newbie, though admittedly a slightly older one with an ostensibly less-than optimal hormonal profile, so my guess is that if you train hard and eat right you can gain muscle and lose fat simultaneously. Your calories probably are a bit low. Ideally, someone in your position would complement his training in the gym (for which any and all of the programs you named will suffice) with a good amount of HIIT and/or GPP. I dunno, does this answer some of your questions? I think you’re definitely on the right track, and I think it’ll be awesome a little ways down the road when your kids see what a badass their dad has become.

At your age, DO NOT continue pushing heavy weights for 1rep maxes looking to get stronger.

If you must go to failure with heavy weights, do 6-8 reps. It is better for size anyway and you will surely get stronger.

Realize that the older you get, the more jeapory you will put yourself if you attempt to lift as though you are 25. Stick to good form, don’t do too many sets and get rest. The more sets past a certain point that you do, thinking that this will make you bigger, the more you will overtrain and make little progress. You will make plenty of progress because by overtraining, plenty of hormones that have a negative effect on your body will adversely affect your health over time.

This has been the voice of 27 years of experience. I’ve been 170 ripped…I’ve been 234 looking like Bruno Sammartino in the 60’s. I’ve benched 400 lbs and squated 685. I know of what I speak.

Just about any hypertrophy based program will be optimal for you. How did HST go? You could continue with that or give EDT a try.

Next, you're going to have to bump your calories up. I can see that fat gain is something that is a concern based on your goals, so my suggestion would be to increase calories by 500 initially and then 250 a week until you start to notice an increase in your body fat percentage, particulary in skinfolds of locations that you tend to store fat.

Next off, supplementation. Ditch the MD6. Make sure food selection is ideal and begin to use a post-workout drink like Surge. Creatine will help. Take 5g with breakfast and 5g with post-workout drink. That should be your foundation. Tribex and M should only help. Try a long term plan like 5on/2off. Once you see how this approach works for you and you get some size on your body, you could look into doing something more aggressive like the Growth Surge Project or a MAG-10 cycle.

Dear David:

Thanks for your posting. I’m not sure my reply is the most appropriate to your questions, so I hope you don’t mind me taking the liberty of writing you. What inspired me to write was that I find myself in a similar situation to the one you described, and am looking for some guidance as to how to start out my program. I am about your age (42) and an intermmediate weight trainer, who still has a lot more to do to get where I want to go. While I have some training knowledge and background, the amount of knowledge on this site really impresses me, so I thought given you are in the same boat, you might be able to actually help and advise me as to which programs from the T-Mag encyclopedia are good for a beginner-intermmediate trainer. There is so much out there, I don’t know where to begin. I would be happy to share more with you about my stats (not to impressive, to be honest, given all the work I’ve done). If you think you could be of any help, please feel free to write, as your feedback would be an inspiration for me. Thank you very much. I wish you continued success in your lifting efforts. Sincerely, Lorne

Just wanted to second the advice to take Tribex (and possibly M). That’s gotta be the best thing you can do for yourself hormonally at this point (and as a bonus your significant other will thank you!).

To Lorne: Nice to see someone who’s actually polite on this site for once! Try checking out the “Dawg School” articles for beginner/intermediate advice. Also "Heirarchy of Needs, by Chris Shugart.

Ah grasshopper, how i want to give you the same old tired advice everybody else does. But I WONT!!! You need to make a decsion right now. Bigger or leaner. the answer to your problems is a plan of attack a bodybuilding periodization cycle. Sorry to say but if you want to gain mass, your going to gain mass including fat mass. The good news is I have an old school diet strategy touted by dr. squat (fred hattfield). It’s called zig-zag dieting.

Lean Mass Gain

days 1-4: 2300 kcal: 55-20-25 (protein,carbs,fat)

days 4-6: 5500 kcal: 30-50-20

Fat Loss:

days 1-4: 2000 kcal: 55-25-20
days 4-6: 3800 kcal: 35-45-20

By Zig-zagging your BMR has time to adjust to your new lean bodyweight. This results in less fat gain during a bulking cycle. It also does wonders at amplifiing insulin sensitivity.
Give it a try!

First, thanks to each of you for your well thought responses.

To Zev, my next routine will be EDT. As far as the kids go, one of the benefits of living healthy is that each of my four kids (2 boys, 2 girls ages 8-14) in there own ways are trying to imitate Dad. My two boys can’t wait to start packing on some muscle to keep up with Dad. Your post helped affirm some of my thoughts on where to go next in my routine.

nicklac, I have focused very clearly on solid form throughout the last year and will not fall into the trap of lifting for show. In the last year I only lifted for 1rm in the last 2 weeks to get a feel for where I was in my progress. I typically don’t lift less than 4-5 reps even when going heavy.

Jason Norcross, I had an ok experience with HST. Made gains on each lift except legs (squats and deads). I’m going to drop HST in favor of EDT. I really do like focusing on specific body parts in each workout. Feels like I work harder. As far as diet, why ditch the MD6? I forgot to mention I already use surge during and after workouts. Eating habits are solid, only 1 or 2 cheat meals a week and even then it’s just a bowl of ice cream or a piece of Pizza. I’ve used Tribex and M for 4 or 5 weeks and haven’t noticed much difference. I’ll probably cycle off for a few weeks to see if I notice when not taking them.

Lorne, I’ll echo Char Dawg’s advice. The "Heirarchy of Needs, by Chris Shugart really points out how critical diet is to your overall success. Can’t tell you how many “older” lifters I talk to that neglect diet but still expect results. One side benefit of a clean diet I didn’t count on is that in the last 14 months I haven’t been sick one day and my allergies disapeared. Not to mention feeling strong and energetic during the day. Some day our society is going to have to wake up to how bad the we eat and the consequences that follow. If you want to email me directly with any other questions, you can reach me at dkurk@bellsouth.net.

Itallian Stallion, great suggestion. As I mentioned in my initial comments I suspected that in order to gain size I’d have to up my calories. You gave me a way to do that without the fear of high fat gain. Did you mean to say days 1-3 and 4-6. Just wanted to make sure I didn’t eat 2 days worth of calories on day 4.

All in all from the tone of the responses I read that my gains thus far are pretty normal and that in order to hit my goals I’m probably looking at another 3-5 year journey. I can handle that as I having to much fun with this to do anything else.


WOW David … we could be brothers (I’m 42) I’m not an expert but heres my 2 cents. I’ve done BFL, Poliquin, King, Meltdown, EDT, 5x5 and HST routines. All are great and have their place if you add mass or diet away fat.
Also give Tribex another try !!

BFL- Got my fat ass off the couch Poliquin- 5x5 / 1-6 great for strength and mass Poliquin/TC- GVT 2000 10x10 put on mass King- add mass to legs and arms (limping series will kill your legs and butt) Meltdown- Could not finish on low carbs diet EDT- Kicked my ass, best shape of my life 5x5- worked well this summer while on diet (ab measure 15 mm) still fat but trying .... HST- Finished 1st cycle, loved it WO 3 days/ ab-biking 3 days was on end of summer maintenance diet. Also your goal is a 375lb bench the best bench article


I'm benching 255 @ 170lbs my goal was 1.5 body weight, Now I'm going for 300.

Sorry if I’m being dumb, but is your example for David at 170lbs ??

Lean Mass Gain days 1-4: 2300 kcal: 55-20-25 (protein,carbs,fat) days 4-6: 5500 kcal: 30-50-20

If you look at your goals, lean mass gain is by far the bigger component than fat loss. I would only use thermogenic substances as an aid during a strict cutting cycle, therefore, I don’t think you need them. If you are looking for pre-workout stimulation, powerdrive is a better option.

Lorne: I 2nd Char Dawg’s advice and bookmark the following:

foods that make you look good naked


The Essential Berardi


massive eating


The Missing Ingredient