T Nation

A Lanky Kid's Program

Hey everybody. I’m new to these forums and to weightlifting, and I’ve done a lot of reading over the past week or so on programs, supps, nutrition, etc. but I’m still feeling a little bit lost and I was hoping you guys could give me a better idea of whether what I’m doing is good based more on my own personal goals, starting point, budget and amount of free time, etc.

So, I’m 18 years old, about 6’4" and 160 lbs. Hence, why I want to start lifting. Tired of being scrawny, so I’d like to build a solid base of strength in all the muscle groups and just look more muscular and more defined in general. I’m a college student, so I don’t have very much free time for cooking or training more than 3X a week, and I definitely don’t have much money to throw around on supps or groceries. Mostly, I’m limited to what I can get in the dining halls.

I made a program basically straight out of Tony Gentilcore’s article here http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/program_design_for_dummies. Specifically, here’s what I do:

Tuesday: Squat, 5X6; Dumbbell Incline Press, 5X6; Suitcase Deadlift, 5X6 each side; Bent over barbell row, 5X6; Skullcrushers, 5X6; Barbell side bends, 5X6; Side Lying external rotation, 5X6 each arm.

Thursday: Bench, 5X6; Pull-ups, 3X4 (that’s the goal, but I’d be lucky to do 2 reps right now…); Bulgarian Split Squats, 3X6 each leg; Standing Military Press, 5X6; Chest supported row, 5X6; Standard planks, 5 sets of 45-75 secs.; Face pulls, 5X6

Saturday: Deadlift, 5X6; Decline barbell press, 5X6; One arm dumbbell row, 5X6 each arm; Upright barbell row, 5X6; Standing barbell bicep curls, 5X6; V-ups, 3 X however many I can; Side lying internal rotation, 5X6 each side.

I warm up before each session with 4-5 minutes on the exercise bike, and I do all of these lifts at the most weight I feel I can for the number of reps. I try to rest about 60-90 seconds between sets.

Any comments on the program? Number of sets and reps, rest times, etc.?

Nutrition and supplement wise, if I can only afford maybe 60-70 bucks a month max here, what will I be best off getting, and what’s most important? When during the day should I have protein shakes (I can’t really eat real meals as frequently as is usually advised because of my schedule. I’d be lucky to get maybe 4 decent ones a day), and what should my peri-workout look like? Should I go with something like Surge or Metabolic Drive, or just whey?

Hope none of these are too stupid or too broad questions. I just wanna make sure I’m doing things right. Thanks!

Sometimes on saturday mornings, the wal mart that I go to has manager specials where they have really low prices for food that’s getting ready to spoil, like a 1/2 galloon of milk for $0.50. You can also buy 5 dozen eggs for $6 something. Make Sams Club your friend for most other things.

Good tip! Thanks man. A simpler question that’s come to me as I’ve been actually tracking what I eat for the first time today: sources on here and on the FitDay website I’m using to track calories lead me to believe my DEE is about 3015 calories a day, and so to gain mass I’d need maybe 3300-3600. I’ve been finding it pretty hard to eat that much. Is that really what I need? Will supplementing with shakes make it easier and if so, which should I use and when/how much in a day?

Thanks!

[quote]reallywittyname wrote:
Good tip! Thanks man. A simpler question that’s come to me as I’ve been actually tracking what I eat for the first time today: sources on here and on the FitDay website I’m using to track calories lead me to believe my DEE is about 3015 calories a day, and so to gain mass I’d need maybe 3300-3600. I’ve been finding it pretty hard to eat that much. Is that really what I need? Will supplementing with shakes make it easier and if so, which should I use and when/how much in a day?

Thanks![/quote]

Use as many shakes as needed to get the food in, at one point I was drinking 6-9 a day on top of about 1kg of chicken breast daily, and that was just my protein intake - the shakes were convenience/budget related though in my case. Some people like to stick to rules such as “every other meal is solid food,” it’s up to you.

Supplementing with liquid meals will help because the food digests faster (so you’ll get hungry again sooner) and its easier to drink food than to eat it. Ideally, I prefer all meals to be solid except for around the workout, but this just isn’t practical for most people (i.e. in your case you don’t have the appetite).

is 3300 calories what you really need? No one can answer that. Figure out how much you are eating now, figure out if you are gaining or losing weight on that or staying the same and adjust accordingly. Even the best guessers and formulas will likely be off, every person has different activity levels and metabolisms.

4 decent meals a day is plenty. You don’t need 8 meals or anything like that. As long as you hit your calories/macros you will make progress, whether that’s 3 meals or 8, some will argue more is better but plenty (and I mean plenty) of people make progress without sitting down and eating 6-8 solid meals a day. Take protein shakes with your meals or in between if you feel like it.

Just because your a college student doesn’t mean you can only train 3 times a week, that’s a horrible excuse. I was in high school and worked 25 hours a week and still lifted 5 days. I go to college now with a difficult major and still get to the gym 5-6 times and get all A’s. Not saying you need 5 days a week im just saying the excuse of “im in college” is BS.

$60-70 a month is plenty for supplements, especially since all your food is in the dining hall and you probably get buffet style there. Protein powder and maybe creatine are cheap and all you really need, with maybe some dextrose/maltodextrin for peri-workout shakes.

3000 calories really isn’t that much, especially if you’re eating college dining hall food. Seriously, look at the nutrition facts posted if your school does that. You will be surprised how many calories are in a lot of the food there.

Haha, harsh, but I’ll accept that. I could defend myself about the amount of work I have…but that is still an excuse and you’re absolutely right that I could find time to train more. I’ll shut up and put up. Do you guys think I might benefit from another workout or even 2? I guess I was partly just being cautious about giving myself plenty of rest because I felt like I might tend to need a longer time than most to recover.

About supps, okay that’s what I was thinking. I’ll get a protein powder and creatine then.

As far as the diet, I actually tracked everything I ate today on FitDay so I do know what I’m getting (at least, as close as anybody could) in terms of calories and macros. At the end of the day today I’ve had: 3082 calories (DEE is supposedly 3015); 260 g of protein (which seems like overkill to me now that I look at it); 1076 calories from protein; 1470 calories from fat (500 saturated, 160 polyunsat., 614 monounsat.); 535 calories from carbs (which were all green veggies–spinach, broccoli, cucumbers, peppers–plus 2 bananas). What should I change about that?

[quote]reallywittyname wrote:
Good tip! Thanks man. A simpler question that’s come to me as I’ve been actually tracking what I eat for the first time today: sources on here and on the FitDay website I’m using to track calories lead me to believe my DEE is about 3015 calories a day, and so to gain mass I’d need maybe 3300-3600. I’ve been finding it pretty hard to eat that much. Is that really what I need? Will supplementing with shakes make it easier and if so, which should I use and when/how much in a day?

Thanks![/quote]
Sorry its kroger

[quote]reallywittyname wrote:
Haha, harsh, but I’ll accept that. I could defend myself about the amount of work I have…but that is still an excuse and you’re absolutely right that I could find time to train more. I’ll shut up and put up. Do you guys think I might benefit from another workout or even 2? I guess I was partly just being cautious about giving myself plenty of rest because I felt like I might tend to need a longer time than most to recover.

About supps, okay that’s what I was thinking. I’ll get a protein powder and creatine then.

As far as the diet, I actually tracked everything I ate today on FitDay so I do know what I’m getting (at least, as close as anybody could) in terms of calories and macros. At the end of the day today I’ve had: 3082 calories (DEE is supposedly 3015); 260 g of protein (which seems like overkill to me now that I look at it); 1076 calories from protein; 1470 calories from fat (500 saturated, 160 polyunsat., 614 monounsat.); 535 calories from carbs (which were all green veggies–spinach, broccoli, cucumbers, peppers–plus 2 bananas). What should I change about that?[/quote]
I’d cut out some of the fruit/vegetable carbs and make them oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potatoes, white potatoes (postworkout), whole grain bread

You don’t need 6-9 protein shakes per day, I could maybe think of 3-4 times, and that’s pushing it

you shouldn’t be counting the carbs from veggies, and even if you got those 500 calories from potatoes etc, i would raise carbs a lot higher, no reason to have them that low when you’re trying to gain… plus carbs are cheap and mean you don’t need as much protein (although your protein is plenty low enough so keep it where it is)

at this point in the game (just starting out) I wouldn’t expect you to get everything right and be consistent about it, so just get yourself to a point where you’re gaining weight from good food sources (most of the time), and you should do pretty well… you are still young, and only 160lbs at 6’4" so don’t hold yourself back by being afraid to gain

as far as how often you should lift per week? it really depends on you… but pick an amount you are gonna stick with and never miss a session, whether that be 3 days, 4 days, or even 6 or 7 days. Just starting out I would probably push you to go for 5 if you can make it, at least 4 anyway. My thoughts on training have changed a lot and i don’t think 3 days a week is bad anymore, but I’m not sure you’d be able to make those 3 days count like they should.

[quote]chobbs wrote:
Sorry its kroger[/quote]

Works for me. I live in the south, so there are Krogers all over the place anyway.

[quote]nuts wrote:
you shouldn’t be counting the carbs from veggies, and even if you got those 500 calories from potatoes etc, i would raise carbs a lot higher, no reason to have them that low when you’re trying to gain… plus carbs are cheap and mean you don’t need as much protein (although your protein is plenty low enough so keep it where it is)

at this point in the game (just starting out) I wouldn’t expect you to get everything right and be consistent about it, so just get yourself to a point where you’re gaining weight from good food sources (most of the time), and you should do pretty well… you are still young, and only 160lbs at 6’4" so don’t hold yourself back by being afraid to gain

as far as how often you should lift per week? it really depends on you… but pick an amount you are gonna stick with and never miss a session, whether that be 3 days, 4 days, or even 6 or 7 days. Just starting out I would probably push you to go for 5 if you can make it, at least 4 anyway. My thoughts on training have changed a lot and i don’t think 3 days a week is bad anymore, but I’m not sure you’d be able to make those 3 days count like they should. [/quote]

Could you explain why the veggie carbs don’t count? I’m confused, to be honest. Should I be eating more bread, rice, oatmeal, etc. when I can instead?

Alright, I’ll definitely look into adding another session each week. Not opposed to that at all and I know I could keep to that schedule. I want to push myself. I just don’t know yet what I’d do on that fourth day. I’ll look at more programs, or I’d be glad to hear if you guys have any advice for that based on what I’m doing already.

Many thanks.

You could go on a pull/push/legs/free split. 4 day split where you get your big back work in, squats, and presses in, and whatever fun stuff you want to do on saturday.

[quote]reallywittyname wrote:

[quote]chobbs wrote:
Sorry its kroger[/quote]

Works for me. I live in the south, so there are Krogers all over the place anyway.

[quote]nuts wrote:
you shouldn’t be counting the carbs from veggies, and even if you got those 500 calories from potatoes etc, i would raise carbs a lot higher, no reason to have them that low when you’re trying to gain… plus carbs are cheap and mean you don’t need as much protein (although your protein is plenty low enough so keep it where it is)

at this point in the game (just starting out) I wouldn’t expect you to get everything right and be consistent about it, so just get yourself to a point where you’re gaining weight from good food sources (most of the time), and you should do pretty well… you are still young, and only 160lbs at 6’4" so don’t hold yourself back by being afraid to gain

as far as how often you should lift per week? it really depends on you… but pick an amount you are gonna stick with and never miss a session, whether that be 3 days, 4 days, or even 6 or 7 days. Just starting out I would probably push you to go for 5 if you can make it, at least 4 anyway. My thoughts on training have changed a lot and i don’t think 3 days a week is bad anymore, but I’m not sure you’d be able to make those 3 days count like they should. [/quote]

Could you explain why the veggie carbs don’t count? I’m confused, to be honest. Should I be eating more bread, rice, oatmeal, etc. when I can instead?

Alright, I’ll definitely look into adding another session each week. Not opposed to that at all and I know I could keep to that schedule. I want to push myself. I just don’t know yet what I’d do on that fourth day. I’ll look at more programs, or I’d be glad to hear if you guys have any advice for that based on what I’m doing already.

Many thanks.
[/quote]

the calorie expenditure required to digest them essentially means they are calorie free, HOWEVER there are some keto diets (v/low carb) where the creator says you are not allowed to eat veggies… lots of vegetables are “free” but some aren’t too (i don’t know the entire list off by heart, that list isn’t really important to you right now so don’t sweat it - just eat veggies with your food but dont count them)

and yes, your carbs should be coming from things like oats, potatoes, rice, wholemeal pasta/bread. You should try and eat veggies with your meals wherever possible, the fibre slows the digestion of the carbs

Guys… Don’t you think he should just do starting strength for six months and eat tons of food? It usually works for lanky teens.

As for training, to be honest there are a lot of options. If you are doing 3 days now (or want to move to push/pull/legs), you could just repeat the first day. So for example, lets label your workouts A, B, and C. If you were training Mon/Tues/Thurs/Fri then it would look something like this:

Monday: A
Tuesday: B
Thursday C
Friday: A

and next week Monday would start with the B workout

Monday: B
Tuesday: C
Thursday: A
Friday: B

and so on for C until you’re back at A again.

I personally think an upper/lower split is the most logical option for you as a beginner, but I am not sure of the recommended way to spread this out over 4 days. For example you could try:

Monday: Upper
Tuesday: Lower
Thursday: Upper
Friday: Lower

Might be worth reading some material on splits like these though, as I can foresee plateauing without any kind of exercise rotation etc (but again, you’re a beginner, you can probably get away with it for a long time). In fact I would probably just use different rep ranges. So do the same exercises both sessions, but in one you’ll do 4-8 reps and the other will be 8-12. That should keep you going for a while.

I think a free day is wasted for you right now, you will be experimenting with plenty of new movements as you progress over the next year anyway (and throughout your entire lifting career)… plus if your schedule means 4 days a week is a push, then going to the gym and spending time in a session where you’re not stimulating growth etc sounds like a waste of time

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:
Guys… Don’t you think he should just do starting strength for six months and eat tons of food? It usually works for lanky teens.[/quote]

never said he shouldn’t eat tons of food, but i would never recommend starting strength

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:
Guys… Don’t you think he should just do starting strength for six months and eat tons of food? It usually works for lanky teens.[/quote]
Yes, but I personally have never done that program, so I shouldn’t recommend it.

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:
Guys… Don’t you think he should just do starting strength for six months and eat tons of food? It usually works for lanky teens.[/quote]

YES!!! Finally someone said it.

I’m glad OP admitted that not having time is just an excuse. Nothing more to really say there.

Supplements are alright if you can afford them, but they’re not required. If it’s between supplements and real food, take the real food option. Protein is really convenient, but it’s not mandatory if you are going to break the bank trying to get it.

If you’re trying to gain size, go for a minimum of 6 meals per day. A meal is not a feast, just get some protein in and a good carb or fat source. The trick to doing this, especially if you are in school or employed, is to prepare your meals while you are still at home. Get tubberware containers. Cook a bunch of chicken breasts and eat them for the next couple of days. Cook a roast and eat that for a couple of meals or use the meat in sandwiches. It’s easy to fit in a roast beef sandwich and a handfull of almonds between classes.

As far as how many calories to take in, try using a calculator on the internet somewhere. Then adjust it according to your progress. If you are gaining too much fat, less calories. No changes, increase calories.

[quote]GSD wrote:

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:
Guys… Don’t you think he should just do starting strength for six months and eat tons of food? It usually works for lanky teens.[/quote]

YES!!! Finally someone said it.

I’m glad OP admitted that not having time is just an excuse. Nothing more to really say there.

Supplements are alright if you can afford them, but they’re not required. If it’s between supplements and real food, take the real food option. Protein is really convenient, but it’s not mandatory if you are going to break the bank trying to get it.

If you’re trying to gain size, go for a minimum of 6 meals per day. A meal is not a feast, just get some protein in and a good carb or fat source. The trick to doing this, especially if you are in school or employed, is to prepare your meals while you are still at home. Get tubberware containers. Cook a bunch of chicken breasts and eat them for the next couple of days. Cook a roast and eat that for a couple of meals or use the meat in sandwiches. It’s easy to fit in a roast beef sandwich and a handfull of almonds between classes.

As far as how many calories to take in, try using a calculator on the internet somewhere. Then adjust it according to your progress. If you are gaining too much fat, less calories. No changes, increase calories.[/quote]

meal frequency has very little effect on body composition. he could eat twice a day and still get the same results. someone 6’4 160lb does not need a lot of food to grow.

Wow, amazing what goes on here

[quote]reallywittyname wrote:
So, I’m 18 years old, about 6’4" and 160 lbs. Hence,
1)why I want to start lifting. Tired of being scrawny, . . .
2)build a solid base of strength in all the muscle groups . . .
3)look more muscular and
4)more defined in general. [/quote]

Pick one goal

Your entitled to listen to whoever you want to listen to. That being said I would recommend starting strength.
Why?
the pros;
I (we) don’t know your training history, don’t know if you have been lifting for the past 3,4, or 8 months, if you have ever lifted at all before in your life, ever played sports, how coordinated you are, injury history, imbalances and what not.

So with starting strength you at least address point #2 (see above), and point #2 will be of immense help with achieving point #3 and #4. A solid foundation of strength goes a long way. You will also get a chance to grease the groove with the squat movement, which is a very important movement in weight lifting/ weight training/ body/power building, you name it.

You get to start off light (maybe perhaps with only the bar), you can develop your coordination while progressively adding weight,
See we are taking care of a few things at once right there, now regarding injuries or what not, I’m not a fan of changing/ altering programs from how they were written, but do you have shoulder issues? Do you have access to a safety squat bar? Use that instead if you can. Lower back pain (or history of)? Uni lateral leg movements. Once again shoulder issues? Use floor press instead of bench press. Standing press giving you cranky shoulders? Drop it! Or a neutral grip (1 arm) DB press in the scapular plane. You should by now at least know your body and know it’s limitations and what not.

And there might not be any better way to find out about your body and get familiar with certain lifts (as a beginner) than starting strength.

The cons;
First off depending upon which variation of starting strength you go with, you need (here comes the hate) more rowing in MY opinion, I know some variations have power cleans and deadlifts and pull ups and what not, but a set or 2 of a horizontal pulling exercise will not hurt, I never came across anybody that was doing to much back work.

You will not be #4 “more defined in general” I would think. Though you can be, but I thought your trying to gain weight. See how riding to horses with one ass can be tricky.

P.S. try warming up with mobility drills, I don’t know anybody that is doing too much mobility work.

Good luck