T Nation

A Quest to Look Good Naked

New to the forum, though I’ve lurked around T Nation for the best part of my short lifting life. Brief background to give a little context, I’ve come from an endurance background which started in my teens, spent most my 20’s as a 17min 5k runner and was handy on a bike, too. Injuries, extra dose of talent, and not really wanting to suffer more in races than I already was, cost me stepping up a level.

I had just turned 27, rather than taking advantage of what should’ve been my running prime, I turned my S + C for running in to being that skinny guy wanting to look more like that big guy in the gym, and to look good in a t-shirt. Whilst messing about ego lifting, and still dabbling with some running, I took the time to read in to Starting Strength (borrowed a copy of the book) and your typical 5x5 routines. I got proficient and confidence on the lifts, but I found it so boring, I never stuck to it for long. In a nutshell, I wanted to lift big weights and chase a pump with my not very big muscles. I settled in to a basic PPL and started to make progress and feel pretty damn good.

2.5 yrs and 20kg later (unfortunately no photos of me at 92kg, though I can dig one out at 70kg), Covid hit, gyms closed, I couldn’t get hold of kit nor do I have space for a home set up. I started running again, it made me feel good, and though I missed lifting, I needed to move.

April this year, I was almost, but a few kg heavier, back to where I was at 27, running 60-70 miles a week, with no desire to be competitive. Gyms opened, hopefully for good this time (they did reopen briefly last year in the UK). So I set out my stall again to look jacked.

Trouble is, I program hopped, name a program and last six months I probably spent 2/3 weeks doing it. Chasing numbers on “the big 3” will be cited to me here I’m sure, variants of 5/3/1, or upper/lower, or full body … but I’m a strong believer in commitment to a routine and hard work trumps all of that. Do I look and feel better about myself than I did earlier this year? Yes. Have I made as much progress as I would have liked? Probably not. Hence the log, for some accountability, hopefully some guidance on this forum, and to save pen and paper…

I am a few weeks in to Clay Hyght’s Tried and True routine. Legs later this morning, more coffee needed first…


Welcome to the logs, good place to stay accountable. Where in the UK are you?

I’m a big believer in doing what’s right for you, if your program meets your goals it’s the right one. You’ll more than likely going to be consistent if it’s something you’re excited about and enjoy doing.

Gonna need a before naked pictures to compare to future naked you


100% in the same camp as you. Unless you are ELITE, effort/consistency/intrinsic motivation trumps programming 95% of the time.

I think we could possibly be of use to each other!

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Trying to respond directly in one post, but this website isn’t the most user friendly on a phone, or I’m just being a technophobe…

aholding- cheers, I’m in Cumbria, but have lived all over, yourself?

Wannabe- obligatory (semi) naked progress pics to follow…

Kd13- taken a look at your log, I’d say I’m about a 21min 5k these days, to be running that and keeping your numbers up is impressive!

Chobbs- agreed, too easy to get hung up over a program

On to today, should have clarified I’m running the four day template, so today was quads, hams and calves. I’ll treat every exercise as a ramp up, so although an exercise may call for example 5x6-12, I would only consider the last 1/2/maybe 3 at a push as true working sets.

Hack Squat
100x8 12 12

Leg Press
130x10 10

Both the above felt great, hit with real focus and intensity. I adopt a wider stance on leg press than I do hack squat, which after a few sessions, finally “felt” right today.


Quads were in bits, kind of deflected my attention here. Got it done, nothing more than that, but may start here next week.

Seated Leg curl
4x12-15 supersetted with standing calf raises, which I don’t really program, I just get them done. I favour laying leg curl, but machine was out of use, so went off plan and got some volume in, felt good to get some blood pumping through the hamstrings.

I’ll get pics up the next day or two, the occasional food log too. I’m 6’2, 88.9kg, diet is okay, sleep is shit. I work 12 hour night shifts, which has its perks, but sleep isn’t one of them!


Is all your weights listed in pounds or kg’s?

Looking forward to following along

Cheers, all weights listed in kg.

Chest and bi’s

DB Flat Bench
14x20 20x12 26x8 30x5
32x5 34x5 5 5 30x8

Smith Incline Press
30x10 40x10
45x 9 8

Dip Machine
65x15 13 12

Chin ups
BWx9 7 5

Straight bar curls
35x5 5
30x7 7

DB Hammer curls
12x12 12

Solid session, wrapped up in 50mins.


14/11/21 Back

Pull ups
BW x8 7 6 5

In between warm up for…

BB Deadlift
100 x 10 120 x 6 130x5

DB 1 Arm Row
26x15 30x10 36x8 8

Seated Row Hammer Strength machine
60x15 70x8 60x12 10

70kg was feeling like a back assisted bicep curl, dropped the weight, and ego for final two sets.

Hanging knee raises and ab roll outs to finish. Night shift tonight, may get steady state row in on work gym.


15/11/2021 Shoulders and triceps

Seated DB Press
12x20 16x10 20x8 24x5 26x5 5

Standing DB Lat Raises
Did them, circa 45 reps across four sets, kept rest strict 45secs

Machine Press
25x10 10 12

BWx7 7 7

EZ Bar French Press
15x12 12 20

Rope Tri Ext
20x15 12 12

5 hours sleep off nights, which is about average, sometimes more, often less. Not programing cardio, getting in steady/moderate 20-25 mins a couple of times a week, depending how recovery feels between sessions.

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3 hrs sleep off last night shift, but got it done:

Seated Leg curls
30x12 35x12
40x10 12 - 3 sec negatives

90x8 6

Hack squat
110x7 7

Leg press
130x12 12 last set to failure

Standing calf raise
40x15 15 - 4 sec negative, 2 sec hold

Pleased I get it done, definitely feel better working RDL before quads, and leg curls served a good warm up. Working sets of RDL turned in to a massive forearm pump, shall use straps next week.

On the nutrition side, I’m currently eating around 3500kcal, 210g protein, boat load of carbs in form of rice, potatoes, oats, fruit and a bagel which is typically part of post training meal. Night shifts I end up eating more, simply because I’m awake for so many hours. Not concerned about that whilst gaining, though. Update on weigh in tomorrow, it’s been slow last couple of weeks. Found in the past the first ten kg was easy, then it became a push (off memory, ended up at over 4000kcal a day)


19/11/2021 Chest

DB Flat Bench Press
34x6 5 5

Smith Incline Press
45x6+4+2 rest pause

70x10 8
60x12 3 sec negatives all three sets

Chin ups palms in
BWx10 8 6

Straight Bar Curls
35x6 6
30x8 10 bit of rest pause kind of work last couple of reps

DB Hammer Curls


20/11/21 88.3kg 4mile run 31:00

21/11/21 Back

Pull ups
BW x 10 8 6 5

BB Deadlift
130x5 5

DB 1 Arm Row
26x15 32x12
36x9 9

Seated Row
70x12 12 2sec hold 3 sec negative

Threw in couple of sets of curls, because why not, I can get away with the extra frequency at this stage. Taught me one thing though, with a wider grip and slow eccentric, light straight bar curls can start to feel really heavy. Shall take this approach moving forward…

Overall, has felt like my most effecient back session ever, good 8.5hrs sleep and a big feed yesterday paid off. Next week, shall take two warm up sets on pull ups, and one all out weighted set. Add another 5kg to deadlift, which have felt as solid as they have ever done. Continue with DB rows, but ditch the dropset as that felt lousy and unnecessary. Usual back pulley was in use, though I actually favoured this one. Angled somewhat higher, more of a horizontal plane, but felt good. Not going to overthink the difference between the two at this stage.

Weight has stalled, as has progress in the mirror but that could be in my head. I am content with the little bit of steady cardio I’m doing so as not to turn in to a complete sloath, but a little extra fat and protein can’t hurt. I’ve always favoured a high carb diet (400-500g) and feel good off it, but don’t really want to add more. Maybe closer to a 30/30/30 ratio across the board might help. To be honest, I don’t really like tracking, I used to do it to make sure I’m eating enough, not too much! I can be very inconsistent otherwise …

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22/11 Shoulders
Deleted on notes before updating this log, but I recall it being a grind, even after the best part of 11 hours sleep…! No progress on last week, couldn’t press a single rep at 26kg. Two sets at 24kg, one back off set at 22kg.

Dips felt strong, paired up lat raises with EZ bar french press. Elbows have a tendancy to flare out at 20’s, not an issue with 15’s

23/11 Legs
Change to order of routine due to kit bring in use. Looking at my log, and prior to it, some of my sets look and occasionally feel a little redundant, I feel I could get more, from less. So…:

Laying ham curls
35 2x10

Leg press
140x12 (technical failure)

Took sometime to catch my breath…

90x6 8

Hack squat
100x10 12 50%set x7

Calf raises
Slow eccentric, deep stretch, threw in some pull ups in between

4mile run in 32mins, nice leg loosener before work.

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