T Nation

Advice on Nutrition and Program

Hey guys, I am fairly new to T-Nation. I have been reading a couple of articles and have become very interested. I am looking to gain around 10 - 15 lbs of LBM by the beginning of next season. I am a D-1 Varsity Soccer player and I am also a member of NROTC. I am a Marine Option.

I am currently 19 years old and have only really lifted in high school and college because of soccer. I have never lifted to gain any significant amount of muscle, but just to stay and shape and be strong enough to compete.

However, since I joined ROTC in my Freshman year, I have decided that it would not only be beneficial to gain some muscle for the Marine Corp, but it would assist me in my central defensive position. I am looking to gain muscle, but not at the expense of agility and speed.

I am currently 6’0" and 180lbs. I am not sure as to what my body percentage is, but I assume it is lower than 10%since I have visible abs. My goal is by pre-season in August to come in around 10-15lbs heavier. I have started a new program and need some pointers and recommedations.

Training Program-

Loading Movements
Incline DB Press 5X5
T-Bar Row 5X5
One Arm Incline Side Lateral 4X12
Pec Fly 5X8 w/30 sec rest
Pulldown 5X8 w/ 30sec rest
Incline DB Curl 5X8 w/ 30 sec rest
Decline Tricep DB ext. 5X8 w/30 sec rest

Squat 4X6
Romanian Deadlift 4X8
Calf raise 5X5
Close Stance Squat 2X15
Leg Curl 5X8 w/ 30 sec rest
Seated Calf Raise 4X15 w/ 20 sec rest


Military Press 5X5
Close Grip Bench 4X8
Preacher Curl 4X8
Flat low cable Cross 5X8 w/ 30 sec rest
Pullups 3XMax
L-dumbbell raise 5X8 w/ 25 sec rest

Friday (Light Legs)
Bulgarian Split Squat 3X8
Calf raise 3X20
Leg Curl 4X6
Leg Press 4X8

Deadlift 4X10
Lying Tricep Ext 4X8
DB Bench 5X8
Chindown 3X10
20 min HIIT (usually sprint drills)


In terms of my diet, I eat a pretty clean diet. I will post a sample one for my workout days. When I am in season and doing stuff for soccer and ROTC, my diet is different as I tend to consume a lot of carbs, since I am constantly running around and doing tons of cardio.

I sometimes consume close to 7,000 to 8,000 calories a day, I have logged it. However, given I have a fast metabolism and the amount of activity that include lifting, 2 hour practice, and then 1 hour PT.

This is my diet during the off season. It is around 3,500 calories

2 oranges
2 Cups Steelcut Oatmeal
1 cup blueberries
1 serving Metabolic Drive (2 scoops shake and 1 mixed with Oatmeal)
4 pills DHA 250 from GNC

6oz Salmon
1 cup quinoa

Post Workout
1 cup strawberries
1 serving Surge
1 orange

1 cup Yams
8oz Chicken
1 Serving Metabolic Drive
1 Tomato
1 cup celery

8oz Ground Sirloin
1 Cup Organic 100% barley
1 cup Broccoli
1 cup Celery

8oz Ground Turkey
1 cup Broccoli
1 cup Yams
1 Tomato
1 cup Spinach
1 cup Cauliflower

1 cup Shrimp
1 Tablespoon Flaxseed Oil
1 cup Broccoli
2 DHA 250 pills

7 Egg Whites Omelet
1 Tablespoon Peanut Butter
1 cup Cucumber
2 DHA 250 pills

2 Scoops Low-Carb Metabolic Drive
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 cup celery

I am not sure the macronutriet breakdown nor does it really matter to me. I have read some of Dr. Bernardi articles that it is best to split carbs and fat and just have protein + carbs or protein + fats. Thus, I have decided to eat most of my carbs during the day and postworkout and have the majority of protein + fat meals in the late evening and nighttime.

Thank you for taking the time out to help me. It is much appreciated. Thanks.

you have your nutrition down pretty good but you need to just eat more of it. Use whole eggs instead of egg white or half and half. Eat more peanut butter/nuts and other good fats. Eat beef when you can.

Lift hard, dont expect to gain 15 pounds of PURE muscle mass by august but you can put on an appreciable amount and when you add water/glycogen weight from the added muscle you may very well gain a good 15 pounds in the next 8 months. good luck and read the “clean bulk” articles. You really are just gonna need more good calories.

First off, nice job with what you have put together. It’s obvious that you have taken time to do your homework.

I have a few suggestions about nutrition. I agree with GetSwole about eating whole eggs. Yolks have about 1/2 the protein of an egg and most of the yolk fats are monsaturated. Eat them.

You might want to change a few things in your PWO meal. Fruit is ok, but you could do better (Fructose and all that). You might want to try a staggered approach like so;

Immediately PWO - Surge
30 minutes later - White rice and whey (or any other combo of a fairly fast protein and and simple food carb)
90 minutes later - meat+complex carb meal (your lunch looks good)

Just wondering, do you have a PWO strategy for after your practices and PT?

As far as total calories, you look ok, but it’s difficult to tell with your activity levels. Just make it a point to gain a pound a week and adjust your intake as you go along. As long as you get the results you want. Gaining 15 lbs of muscle in 28 weeks is very reasonable.

For your workouts it might be a good idea to include some direct abdominal training. The Marines like their situps!

Ab training for athletes and babehounds

Also I’d add some more rowing movements for balance. Say barbell rows on Thursday and dumbbell rows on Saturday.

Also here are some articles about recovery that you might find helpful.

The Recovery Battlefield

7 Secrets to Rapid Recovery

That’s it for now. Good luck and keep us updated.

Well I will give you a normal day as to when I am very active and in school.

6am - PT begins
7am - PT ends
After PT I cosume about 1/2 serving a Surge, the reason for this is at 8am, I have a team lift and do not want to be puking my brains out in the varsity gym.
8am - Team Lift for an hour
9am - 1 serving Surge
9:30am - Breakfast
10:00am - Class until 2pm
I usually bring a couple of snacks for this time since I cannot eat again until 2pm
2pm - Lunch
3:30 - 2 hour practice
5:30 - 1 Surge + 3 slices of white bread or so
6:20 - Team Dinner (we usually go down to dinner as a team)
I eat another snack around 8 and 10.

Then I eat my pre-bed snack around midnight. The problem is that on most days I am not getting enough adequate sleep, this is during in season, as I need to do my homework, papers, and projects, so ideally I go to sleep at midnight, but most days I find myself forced to finish my work around 1/2am and get around 5/6 hours if lucky.

However, given the circumstances there is not much I can do lol.

Also, I do include abs 2-3x a week and I have been using CT’s staggered abs training. It has been working, thus far as I feel that I have a stronger core, since I did the regular non-resistance ab workouts that our strength coaches had us doing in season.

My activity levels on the off-season are not as active. I just have PT twice a week, where I account for the extra activity and consume more calories. The days I find myself consuming around 3,500 are on my sedetary days where I am just going to the gym and doing basic errands.

As I recall for proper mass gain at that, you calculate BMR, then you figure out ur maitanance based on activity level, which for such a day would be around 1.6 and then add calories accordinly. My maintenance would thus be around 2,700, so I started on the higher end of the spectrum by adding around 800 to it.

Also, I have seen it stated in some articles that on days that I there is no weight training or just off days that the majority of your carbs should come from veggies and fruits and not complex carbs. I do eat complex carbs on these “off” days, is this fine to do or a big no no?

I also appreciate the links to the articles and the advice. Thank you very much. I will keep you posted.

I know it’s early but getting in some food before PT would be beneficial in not only adding calories, but also preventing any catabolism of muscle mass during PT. At the least, pop some BCAA’s or hit a half serving of Surge prior to PT.

Yeha BCAA’s would probably work better since I don’t want to wake up my roommate in the apartment with the blender at around 4:30am in the morning lol. Are there any good Protein + Fat combo that you recommend eating at night? I usually take a tablespoon of peanut butter throw it in with two scoops of Low Carb Metabolic Drive and eat 1/2 a cup of celery for the fiber, since I heard that fat and fiber really slow down the digestion of the protein. Is there any other combo that would be as tasty and provide similar benefits?

I usually eat cottage cheese and some green veggies with olive oil before bed.