Been following this thread ( http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_bigger_stronger_leaner/anyone_willing_to_coach_me?id=5623657&pageNo=0 ) between RDS and Stinger, and have adopted the original routine RDS offered to Stinger. I had originally posted this question there, but it was suggested I start a new thread.
I have basically copy-pasted my question below (so some of my statements may seem out of context, but I am happy to clarify whatever is needed for those not familiar with the above thread), and would love to get some perspective from this forum as I really don't have any real-life role models to go over my plan with. I'm from a very lazy and over-weight family, and trying to get out of that trend.
Im 28, 64, 192-ish pounds. I had never lifted before October, and did not put on any substantial muscle during the years before that. Played ice hockey in college, hurt my hip/low back (all soft tissue stuff due to weak muscle support around my pelvic cradle. Had lots of pelvic tilt, leading to sciatica and back spasms), have had a terrible diet my whole life (fast food), and struggled through the back pain for years. A year and a couple months ago, I started a P90X bootcamp style workout, and radically changed my diet. Went from about 210 to 178 in an attempt to shed off the body fat that had been accumulating.
Ended up looking much too thin due to a lack of muscle, so in October (after 7-9 months of cutting), I started lifting. Got comfy in the gym around Christmas, and started my first attempt at a bulk as my New Years resolution. I think this is the most important point in my training: I am a terrible eater. Not in the sense that I eat a ton of junk food now (in fact, I eat almost no cheese, no processed food, no fast food), but in the sense that my body massively self-regulates its appetite. If I eat 3500 calories today, my body only wants 1500 the next.
Back to the point. Been lifting and eating more seriously since January (although it has not been consistent due to lots of travel for work). Squats have been the hardest lift for me to get comfortable with (pelvic tilt). I have made amazing progress though. Back in November I squatted 95lbs once (back squat) and ended up with back spasms for the next month. Now, using your original routine with Stinger, I do a max-set of 5 front squats at 135lbs, and 5x10 at 85lbs. I know this is not very much, but was a big step for me in recovery from my hip issues, and I know I need to progress slowly, because when I add more weight quickly, my pelvic tilt threatens to come back.
So I found RDS' routine with Stinger, and have been doing the original routine for 3 full weeks now. I love the workout, and I especially love the 2 leg-days considering my hip problems, and considering that it does not ask me to go super heavy and threaten my back health. If you've made it this far, I think I've given a sufficient rambling background, and would love to ask a few questions.
First, here are pictures of me (http://ufsnook.smugmug.com/Sports/Workout/29801947_bMNFQm). And I think it is important to be clear about my goals. My dream body is more Brad Pitt in Fight Club than Ronnie Coleman, but I am not near a point where I currently see that as a goal on the horizon. My real goal is 1) to continue to see progress in building muscle mass on a year-to-year basis (would love 10lbs over the next year), and 2) to get my hips back to a point where I can play ice hockey injury free. I am making real strides on goal 2, as I played ice hockey for the first time in 4 years the other weekend (hence the recent bruises on my hip) and noticed major differences in my body dynamics (as a goalie, I am basically holding a squat for 30-60 seconds at a time, every other minute, for an hour). Questions:
1) When bulking, I face a dilemma. I have made a lot of radical changes this past year, and it is hard to do so much new stuff at once. The hardest thing for me is trying to eat clean to gain weight. Major mental roadblock. Im not saying I will never be able to do this, Ive just come to accept that I cannot eat 95% clean in the volume required at this time. My options are either to eat clean but not hit my caloric goals consistently, or go for a bulk where I eat clean as much as possible, but also allow myself to eat whatever I want (hamburgers, pizzas, chicken wings, etc) when IÃ¢??m not getting enough calories in order to force on the pounds. Cutting is easy for me (diet wise), so I dont mind cycling bulking/cutting.
2) Does RDS's original program work for me, or since I am still a novice to the gym, do I need to dial it back a bit? I am really enjoying the workouts, so would like to continue what RDS laid out.
3) Since I've been a bad eater, I cut out cardio when I started lifting to bulk to save calories for growth. I will box/kickbox or do bootcamp again when cutting, but am I right to knock out cardio when bulking to focus on weight lifting exclusively?
4) I am struggling with a decision of whether I should start a cut now that I have gained a bit of muscle mass, or if I should continue trying to bulk since I still dont have a ton of underlying muscle. I know my body fat is high (especially in the belly), but hate looking super-skinny (October 2012 pic). What do you think, and when I do start to cut, how should I alter the original program (besides adding cardio)?
5) My hips. Again, this is my biggest success although my numbers are low. I notice my pelvis still wants to tilt on squats (I only do front squats now, because they have been much better for my posture/hips, although I would like to try back squats again at some future time). My legs are very long, so I dont go ass to grass, but I am now able to get to parallel, or right above. After playing hockey, I noticed lots of soreness around my groin, hip flexors, and piriformis. I think my entire pelvic cradle could use more strengthening, and it is the weakness in that area that I think makes my squat growth so slow (which I am ok with so long as I progress).
Should I just keep with the 2 leg-days a week and let those areas get stronger through the leg workouts, or is there a rehab style workout like RDS gave Stinger that I should consider incorporating? I am at a desk most of the day and notice a general lingering tightness around my piriformis (the worst) and hip flexors.
Thanks for any help. It has been a bit overwhelming getting into lifting, and I think it is time I got some external voices helping me on this long-path.