T Nation

Advice for Two Month Mass Phase


Hi, All!

I am 30 yrs. old, 5'11, and currently 185 lbs. and 19% body fat. I am not new to lifting, but I am new to bodybuilding principles. Please read on for my context.

At my worst, I was at 218 lbs. Through regular diet and exercise (and a successful V-Diet), I have brought myself to my current 185 weight.

I am currently lifting twice a week, doing complex movements such as deadlifts, squats, bench presses, pull-ups, etc. My workout partner and I do one set of 10 for most exercises, followed by a 1-2 rep max. Excercises such as pull-ups and push-ups are one set as many as possible.

Diet-wise, I am following Shugart's 100 g. Carb Cure, so I am not counting exact calories. I eat some fruit in the morning and have Surge Recovery after my workout. Other than that, I stick to meat, green veggies, plain Greek yogurt, and protein shakes.

I am preparing to do my second Tough Mudder event, which is seven months out. My plan is to focus on these three things in this order: strength (two months), size (two months), and endurance (three months).

The first phase is to work (obviously) work on gaining strength as well as continuing to lose fat. I have already seen some strength gains.

The size phase will be all about adding muscle while minimizing fat gain.

The third phase (endurance) will be to lean up, as well as putting more focus on cardio and muscle endurance in preparation for Tough Mudder.

Obviously, two months will not be the end of the hypertrophy journey of my life, but I am specifically looking for advice to maximize my gains during this initial two month period.

I am planning to do a second V-Diet next month to strip away another 10 lbs or so of fat and look a little leaner for summer.

I am not looking to get bodybuilder big, but I do want to add some size and definition.

I realize there are tons of programs on this site, but some are older than others and I have limited knowledge of the bodybuilding game.

I have also read the "Training for Newbies" and "Nutrition for Newbies" articles. The training articles recommend a 9-12 rep range for my goals. I have also heard good things about Waterbury's "Huge in a Hurry."

What are your recommendations for my hypertrophy phase?



Look here, man: You're not going to be any bigger or stronger at the end of this clusterfuck you outlined.

Focus on one thing for a significant period of time! At seven months out, I would suggest you focus solely on endurance. Two months "size" and 2 months "strength" ain't gonna do jack shit, especially since you have that self-limiting attitude of not wanting to get "bodybuilder big".

So leave this whole lifting thing to people who are serious and go running instead.


lol@ at 2 months. This is mildly insulting to those of us who know what a realistic time scale is and know you have to bust your ass to get there. And lol@ "not wanting to get bodybuilder big" as if you'll be able to get any kind of big in just two months.


@Dre & skrabac: Look, I'm coming to this forum looking for advice because (as I said and as the name of this forum implies), I am a beginner. While I suppose in a way you have given some advice, how about doing so in a constructive manner?

Just because I want to compete in an endurance event does not mean that I am not interested in adding some muscle. And endurance competition or not, more muscle will still help. If these should be two separate goals, fine. I have no problem with that. So don't make assumptions that I am not serious.

Again, I said I am a beginner. If it is foolish to think that I can accomplish anything in terms of size in two months, so be it. But your condescending attitudes are absolutely not helpful. So how about leaving this whole advice thing to people who are serious about helping others accomplish something?

I'm not here to bicker and start fights on a forum. That sort of thing is for teenagers and people with no self-esteem. I'm sure both of you have accomplished much in your time in the game and I give you all the respect for that.

That being said, does anyone have any real advice?

If endurance should be my goal for now, what methods do you suggest for increasing this both from a cardio and muscle perspective? What tips do you have for preserving (and perhaps building some) muscle?

After the event, when I choose to start working solely on hypertrophy, what programs do you like?



Your a beginner so your going to have to train like one.

7 months is enough time to make a start on one goal, that is it. What ever you pick youll make a dent in but dont expect anything major.

Personally, trying to train for an endurance event while adding muscle and definition seems like a lost cause. What you should be doing is picking a goal and going after it.

Your doing some sort of marathon right? Well for the next 7 months fucking commit to that and nothing else, after you've done that then come back and worry about building muscle.

Seriously man, "I dont want to get bodybuilder big" ? Wtf does that even mean and do you know where your posting?

Anyway, in terms of training to help your marathon, pick a program that will build some basic strength and explosive speed, anything will do tbh. Have a look at starting strength perhaps?

What you want is to gear your training to support this goal at the end of 7 months, so make sure you pick something that will actually help you and not fuck you(for lack of a better word).

Bottm line,

cut the bullshit, pick your goal and devote yourself to it.

pick a program that supports your goal i.e. either for building muscle, strength or speed. I would recommend strength with a bit of speed myself but hey what do I know?

lastly, the obvious shit eat, rest and fucking commit.


Just to clarify: Yes, I do realize where I'm posting, and no matter what goal I have, it all involves muscle in some way. What I mean by "bodybuilding big" is that I'm not looking to become Arnold, or Dorian, or any of those guys. Physique-wise, I'm looking more towards someone like Georges St. Pierre. He obviously has a lot of muscle for his weight, definition, and the explosiveness and endurance that I seek. The writers on this site often work with and mention athletes like him in their articles, so I think that T-Nation is an appropriate place for me to look for advice even if I'm not looking to be a bodybuilder.

Now, thank you for providing some more insightful advice. Strength and a bit of speed sounds just right, so I will look into "Starting Strength."

Thanks again!

Anyone else?


Serious advice: you have 7 months. Focus first SIX on strength, speed, power...and the last month on conditioning. Also, it's not like one day you say, hey...no more strength building today...time to start "conditioning" and completely change everything you're doing. Intelligently designed, your program should have a transition between the two focuses. You can slowly add a conditioning element to a strength focused program.

Personally, I wouldn't recommend Starting Strength to ANY lifter, especially since you're not even new to lifting. Putting the most weight you can handle onto the squat bar 3 times a week will only increase your chances of injury. If you want a solid strength program look at Cressey's Maximum Strength. There's your first 4 months.


Thanks! I'll take a look at Cressey's program. That's solid advice on the transitioning as well. In regards to any strength training program I choose, what would be your advice on cardio activities during my strength program (running, HIIT, plyometric workouts, etc.)?

Additionally, advice on diet. I spent some time researching Starting Strength today, and Rippetoe recommends a lot of calories. I realize that a caloric surplus is necessary for a program like that, but do you think that that is something I should be doing at 19% bodyfat when training for an event like this? Would that cause a lot of fat gain that could hinder my overall progress or would I be gaining mostly muscle and staying at a bodyfat level reasonable enough for what I am competing in?

Thanks again!


I would get to about 10% BF if I were you and from there you can focus on adding more size.


Cressey actually talks about energy systems training in the program, and breaks it up nicely depending on your body type.

As far as diet goes, the program you posted from Shugart is a good start. You would almost have to try to put on extra fat if you follow the 100g rule. I'm someone who has spent the first 21 years of my life at around 20% body fat, and I would NEVER take dietary advice from Rippetoe. His target audience is the skinny little bitches who have been underweight the majority of their lives. These are the type of lifters who have alot to gain from his insight. You and I would put on some muscle and strength, but get rather fat in the process.

Right now, you are flirting with overthinking things. You're worried about how your body is going to respond before you've even tried anything. You are the only one who can answer all the questions you are asking. Blood. Sweat. Iron. Eat what you need. Sleep as much as you need. See how you progress, then check in with us in a few months.


It's true Rippetoe is designed for the skinny guys who struggle to put on size but I think it would work well for you as well but you need to focus only losing the extra lbs before starting a program like that.


Awesome! Nice and simple. I'll see what comes of this. Whatever program I go with, I will probably start a log on here.

Thanks for the advice!


Thanks! If my body continues to respond the way it has to Shugart's diets and the training I've been doing, I think that I will continue to drop the fat while adding at least some muscle and strength.



Pedestrian goals are pedestrian. Your idea of "a lot of muscle for his weight" is why no one is taking you as a "serious" trainee.

Also teh whole "cut down to 10% before you worry about gaining" is a clusterfuck of stupid advice for you.

You don't have any fucking muscle to cut down to. You need to build some in order to get to 10% without looking like a starvation victim.


Whoever this "Bunnybench" guy is, he needs to post far less. Anyone telling someone with this little lean body mass to DIET DOWN first is retarded. It would help if beginners would quit giving other beginners advice.

As far as the goal of looking like Georges St. Pierre, I think you are wasting your time. Your goals are your own, but when you pick a goal of looking very average, it has been seen over and over that you are LESS likely to even reach that goal.

Anyone serious should be bigger than that in less than a year of serious weight lifting. By jumping into this half interested with goals this minimal, I seriously doubt you will ever get to that point.

You are looking for unrealistic results in an unrealistic time frame with unrealstic expectations.

You seem only willing to listen to other clueless people who will tell you what you want to hear.

Nearly all of the people you have agreed with are people I would HATE to see give any other newbs advice.


You've already gotten some quality advice from some quality posters here, don't let it go to waste because you got too defensive (on an internet forum)

I would also re-emphasize that [u]gaining strength[/u] is ALWAYS your primary objective, regardless of what "phase" you're in


The blind leading the willing yeah?

Well as this biggest guy in this thread what would you recommend for this guy or any other clueless beginners like him?


I wouldn't.

Anyone clueless enough to keep repeating they don't want to get as big as Dorian when they are carrying LESS than 150lbs of lean body mass on their frame is likely too far gone and self absorbed to listen to what will help them most anyway.

That is like walking into a medical school the first day and announcing, "Hey guys, I don't want to get TOO GOOD at doing surgical procedures so I won't listen to how the best were educated. I want to listen to the people who dropped out!"

I don't have time for dumbassery. I see way too fucking much of daily as it is.

If people want hand holding and sweet nothings whispered, I am not the one.

This shit is hard work, whether you want to look like Georges St. Pierre or who the fuck ever.

Someone already talking about how muscular they DON'T want to get isn't ready....for life.


You shouldn't even need to lift weights to look like this. I see guys bigger than this who just play basketball all day.



You dont wake up one day looking like that. It takes YEARS AND YEARS of hard work to get big. Muscle just doesnt grow overnight or in a week.
If you want to gain muscle why not lift like the people who have the most muscle, they obviously know how to get it.

just remember to stop lifting the day before you feel your overnight 60lb muscle gain coming on so you dont wake up the next day looking like Dorian Yates of Arnold.