T Nation

A T-Nation Virgin...


What's up guys. I apologize for the long first post.

I'm Alex. I'm 18 years old and I am about to be a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin.

Not gonna bore you with a history of who I am, but I've spent a good amount of time on the site reading articles and browsing the forums (far too much time I suspect..). I've seen a fair amount of people make complete asses of themselves in their first posts so I hope I'm not doing the same.

I started out with some interest in working out and all that when I was probably 15 or 16, but didn't really start anything that resembled real training until maybe sometime in 2006, when I was about 150 lbs. Even so, it was focused on bodyweight exercises (all types of pull/chinups, dips, handstand pushups, burpees, etc) and some Oly-lifts.

Even so, my diet wasn't great so physique gains weren't too great either. I came to a realization though that it was the iron that I really loved to be around so found myself a program that I'd enjoy.

So since May (well I spent the month of June in Japan so yeah..) I have been grinding out Joe Defranco's WS4SB #2 (but with a second leg day with higher reps instead of strongman conditioning). I've really enjoyed it and have made some nice gains in strength and size.

I'm weak, but since I'm sure someone will ask for some lift numbers..

BW: 185lbs, Height: 6'0"/6'1" (somewhere in there..)

Bench: 255lbs
Squat: 300lbsx5 (just started 2 weeks ago, recovering from a jujutsu knee injury)
Deadlift: 305lbsx3

I had never lifted conventionally before May.

Now, however, I've come to a point where I'm tired of having a bland midsection and want to drop some bodyfat to display some abs. I've actually lost bodyfat as I've gotten bigger, but I'd like to go on a cycle of focusing on fat loss.

An average day of eating might look like this (this is while I've been bulking):

10 AM: 2 scoops Metabolic Drive (chocolate), half glass milk, a banana, bowl (2 servings�??ish) of natural, plain yogurt with a handful of blueberries and some honey

12 PM: 2 chicken breasts w/ extra virgin olive oil, large spinach salad with carrots and tomatoes w/ olive oil and vinegar, a banana

2:30 �?? 3:00 PM (pre-workout): 1 cup frozen mixed berries, 3 scoops Grow! (likely switching this to Metabolic Drive soon), a little milk, water

(workout from about 3:30 to 4:15 or so)

5 PM: 2 scoops Metabolic Drive (chocolate), half glass milk

7 PM 2 frozen lean hamburger patty with olive oil, a banana, another piece of fruit OR 2-4 pieces whole wheat bread with natural peanut butter and some honey

10 PM 2 chicken breasts w/ olive oil, green beans, broccoli, fruit (strawberries, etc)

12 PM 2 scoops Metabolic Drive (chocolate), half glass milk, a banana, handful of blueberries

I've never calculated how many calories something like that is but I'd imagine I should. Just seems like a pain in the ass..

SO. with all that said. I know I need to get on fish oil stat, but I'm flirting with the idea of HOT-ROX EXTREME as well to help out.. I just want to get the abs showing, then will return to my regularly scheduled clean bulk (I love eating).

So, any help from wherever, I appreciate it. Also, thank you for making it through my first post. Just trying to cover all my bases. :slight_smile:

Attached are some current pictures.

EDIT: Oh, and I forgot to say a couple things.

1) I know a lot of you may say "why would you think about cutting EAT EAT SQUAT MILK SLEEP EAT!!!". I understand that. Just for my own vanity and ego, I would like to have some abs showing and from there, clean bulk until I get to some size I like. I'm pretty okay at putting on weight.

2) I've been reading and re-reading CT's "Refined Physique Transformation" article and the related articles and have been taking ideas from there in changing up my diet and adding additional energy systems work.

3) Some may say "why are you eating so late!!!". This is my summer schedule that will probably shift forward 2 hours once school starts in 2 weeks.


Rear double bi..




Lighting sucks.




Okay well I'm just going to go out and say it because you will get this response by the boat load. Forget about your abs and put some more size on.

I was 185 and leaner than what you are now and also shorter so I had more muscle and when I "cut" down to get some abs my first time I ended up being like 165. 165 at 5'10" isn't very muscular looking and if you're pushing 6'1" you are just going to look downright lanky which I'm sure isn't the look you are going for.

So I'd say forget about the abs, I mean summer is over so not like anyone is going to see them for the most part so just spend the fall/winter bulking up and get to 200+ than take a chance at cutting for spring break/summer. That way you will actually have some muscle with those abs instead of being a skinny kid with abs. That's just my opinion.


Don't listen to anyone who tells you that you CAN'T pack on lots of lean muscle mass without bulking. It's just bs, and a lame excuse for poor nutritional habits and/or workout plan..!



Honestly I don't think you're that far away from losing the pounds to show off your abs. A more distant goal might be looking to get some vascularity (veins popping out).

It looks like you were taking a lot of Metabolic Drive. I think that has a fair amount of fat in it. Instead try taking one scoop and putting it into a bigger glass of skim milk. Fool around with it to see what makes sense.

I think you'll see results before going all the way down to 165. Read up on some of the training about combo lifts just posted in the performance training section. Do those and do some intense cardio 3 times a week at least and you should be quite lean.

Drinking water also gets you leaner and is a good way to protect the muscle you've gained.


Where did I say you can't pack on lots of lean muscle without bulking? I consider bulking as when you are trying to truly focus on gaining mass and sacrificing slightly on the bodyfat to gain more muscle. I do not advocate doing what pro bodybuilders do and gain tons of fat along with it. I do the anabolic diet and when I am going through my bulking phase I just cut it off when I hit 10% bodyfat. I most definitely think you can bulk up and gain lots of lean muscle mass but if you do have a caloric surpluss and the faster you want size the higher that caloric surplus will be than you are going to be sacrificing your abs and gain some fat on them. That is just basic science there. I also believe in eating 90% clean when I am bulking. Good nutrition should be kept year round honestly.


get on dat squat rack extra hard and heavy my friend, but hey wtf do I know, right? Looks like a decent upper body will come through easier than lower body for you. Youll "pack on the mac" quicker with the basics if you try your best with them, but im sure you knew that already.

You seem pretty strong with that 305 x5 squat, why not push out eight?then cut it down to 225 and rep that shit! If u were a fighter than you already know hella bout fitness, just eat a lot of chicken and rice and youll explode!! your abs are always improving if you work on them, regardless of your bodyfat! train hard and eat big and the time WILL COME when you should get shredded! good luck man!


Well said. 10% is a bit conservative for me personally, but you're thinking is sound. I happen to have a fairly high regard for this new guy, natural59, from what I've seen, but I think he'd blow his own mind if he loosened himself up some and saw how he'd grow.

"I'm doing fine" isn't necessarily the same as as well as I could be doing if ultimate size is the goal. I don't even use the term "bulking" anymore. It engenders visions of jiggling off season pros which is not what eating to gain should mean for most people.


Dude hope your shorts are wet cuz you just worked out and not because you were too excited as it was your first post...

lost your cheery...
T-Nation style...



 Hey man, I appreciate the response.  I disagree that I'd have to cut 20 lbs to see abs.. If I had to guess I think maybe 10 lbs of fat and I'd be somewhere in the general area.  Like natural59 said, I believe it's possible to maintain/gain LBM while losing fat.  But as you said again later, you weren't disagreeing with that.

But I have ladies to impress year round, haha. Abs would just be the icing on the cake. From there, I am confident I could maintain while putting on good mass. I'm not in a hurry to get grow, as long as it's happening. I want to get up to a lean 200 or 210 and see how I feel and then go from there.


  I checked the tub and it seems Metabolic Drive has 1.5 grams of fat per serving, which doesn't seem like too much to me.  I'm more concerned with keeping carbs low and see how my body reacts to that.

 Thanks for the good ideas regarding my training schedule!  Maybe that would be good to change up my routine for awhile and hit up those complexes and do more cardio.  What exactly do you mean by "intense cardio"?  Something akin to running sprints?  What kind of weekly schedule would you recommend for a guy in my shoes?


  You're right in that I realllly need to be focusing on my lower body.  It's disgusting for me to look at, really.  Once I get down to a bodyfat level I like I will be blasting the legs like no tomorrow!  I appreciate your support though.


  Which new guy were you referring to?  

  But I will definitely be eating like a monster after these next couple weeks, assuming everything goes to plan.  I move into my dorm on Saturday, so I hope my first couple weeks in college don't fuck me up.

Thanks for everyone's responses!

Also, if anyone has any other critiques about my diet or suggestions on what I should be doing, I'd love to hear it.



That's a nice one - why haven't anyone thought of that before. Drink water, get ripped and keep all your muscle.


Personally dude, I think you could cut just fine.

Liquid Mercury makes a point that you could use a little more mass, but you could put some good clean mass on after trimming up a bit and still have abs a poppin'.

I'm not sure who agrees with me, but you may want to alter your diet a bit. Do some research on nutrient timing Ie. Protein and Carb meals (P+C) and Protein and Fat Meals (P+F). I was at 23%bf earlier this year by just eat proper nutrients at the right times I dropped down to 15%. www.johnberardi.com has some good articles about it, check out massive eating and g-flux in the nutrition section.

just my 2 cents



I don't think it's a question of cutting at this point. You have a decent base to begin with but need to put on a lot more mass before you cut. You say you're 18 and have been lifting seriously since 2006. You should continue training for at least a couple more years to give you a good solid foundation.


I don't see any reason why he shouldn't cut. If he's interested in his appearance and he thinks he'd look better with a little less fat, more power to him. He'd actually probably look MORE muscular afterwards. Size isn't the only element of cosmetic bodybuilding.


Is this all part of keeping Austin weird?


I know this is my first post, but please don't brush off my post as it'll be more helpful to you than many of the other responses.

First off we'll start with your goal and that is to lose weight.
In order to lose weight, you must be getting less calories than you're using up. Vice versa, if you want to gain weight, you need to be getting more calories than you're expending. That being said, you really should be calculating how many calories you're getting each day. It can be a bit annoying, but if you're going to spend hours in the gym each week, take a little bit of time outside the gym and get your diet right. The payoff will be worth it. Once you've got how many calories you're getting, you also need to know how many calories your body needs to maintain weight. You can find a way to calculate this online. Just find a decent calculation (use your judgment) and plan your caloric intake accordingly. Obviously, since the calculation isn't person specific, if you find yourself not losing weight, then simply drop your cals a little bit. I myself just ballpark my calories which has worked out fine for me. If ballparking isn't getting the job done, then keep better track.

Remember to stick to one goal. If you want to lose weight, then lose weight. If you want to build muscle, then build muscle. If you try to lose weight and build muscle at the same time, you'll end up doing neither effectively. Now you say you believe it's possible to build muscle while losing fat. But the real question is: is it effective? I can do somersaults naked while I urinate. Doesn't mean it's a good idea. Sorry for the lack of a better example, couldn't think of anything.

Last of all, I would highly recommend reading an excellent article about bulking written by Christian Thibaudeau. Anyone who believes in bulking and cutting cycles should definitely read it. I don't want to take away from his article so I'm just going to tell you to read it. It'll be well worth your time. I'll even be nice enough to link you over:

Hopefully this answers your question(s)


Hey guys,

 Honestly, I appreciate everyone's input.  I was going to let the thread die for awhile but I'm kind of glad someone found it.  Now that I've started school, I've found it increasingly difficult to eat 100% clean but more importantly, since now I walk EVERYWHERE and have been training just as much, I am even hungrier!  So this whole cutting thing isn't working out for me right now, hah.

While I was getting my diet in order the first week or so, I actually lose a couple pounds of fat (I think) seeing as I have a bit more definition and vascularity. I eat at the all-you-can-eat buffets when they're open (god they're heaven) and I'm just eating and eating and eating like a fucking horse (consuming tons of food is not a problem) as much as possible.

Just started taking 6 Flameout's a day and bought several boxes of Metabolic Drive protein bars for when I'm on the go (which is a lot). Also doing lots of squatting and drinking lots of milk. I'll report back to let you know how I'm doing.

Any other comments that people care to add, though, are greatly appreciated.