T Nation

All Advice Wanted


I have been lifting consistently for about 6 months. The more I read the more I realize I have no clue what I am doing. I have been cycling between set programs but I feel I should be running a more efficient one. Any advice on what I should be doing would be appreciated.

Diet is a place where I am really lacking in knowledge. I have a basic understanding of macros but no idea what I should strive for percentage wise, it seems every article recommends something different. I do not have a problem hitting 200g of protein, but that is about as complex as my diet is right now.

As for training history when I first started I weighed about 140 pounds. I drank a gallon of milk everyday (like I said I do not know what I am doing) and now weigh 180 lbs. I have been lifting 4 days a week but would love a program that would allow me to be in the gym everyday or close to it. As far as maxes I started at 150 bench, 185 squat, and 200 deadlift. Now I can bench 205, squat 250, and deadlift 350. I have gained a good deal of bodyfat from all the milk but it does not look horrible due to starting so skinny.

Goal wise I want to be a low body fat by next summer but other than that just the standard look better and get stronger (probably in that order).

Any advice constructive or not is welcome.


40 lbs in 6 months...talk about growth spurt!

I'm sure Chris Colucci will be by here any minute...but 'til then...

Congrats on your progress, do people comment on the 40lb difference? How tall are you btw?

Also, I'm extremely envious that you are capable of hitting the gym 7 days a week. With work, OT, side jobs, family/kids, house chores, elderly parents (recreation/social life=0) etc...I'm lucky to get my 4 days a week at the gym. So I'm jelly. I would love to be able to hit every body part twice a week.

Ease up on the milk. You should get plenty of protein from eggs,meat,fish and whey. Stick to the basics. Don't forget your dietary fats. Take fish oils, flax etc. Eat plenty of nuts. Don't be afraid of olive oil. Oatmeal, brown rice, bananas, sweet potatoes are good carb choices.

If you stall or are unhappy with your progress, it's usually one of 3 things:

a) training(intensity)
b)diet (calories)
c)recovery (sleep)

Most beginners screw up A or B. Only beginners who run daily or do sports and like to stay up late socializing or what not have any real problems with C. But when your young, you can get away with it. Skinny guys almost always fuck up A and B.

The regulars should be around to help you fine tune your diet or program. Good luck!


Thanks for the reply. Yes people comment, I look a lot different. Since I am in college hitting the gym everyday isn't that bad. I used to run until I started lifting and that was everyday twice a day. You brought up fish oil, are there any other supplements you would recommend taking? (that are cost efficient).


Are you saying you don't get much sleep? You're 18, you can get by on less and be fine. How many hours do you get on average? Unless you're doing insane volume and a ton of other physical activities, it shouldn't be an issue.

Do you still run?

You're on a site that boast some of the best quality supps. Alot of people swear by them! I don't take alot of supps, so I'm not the one to ask. A quality multivitamin, fish oil, whey, creatine and a carb supp (dextrose/maltodetrin etc) are the bare bones. Aside from caffeine and gatorade powder, my money goes towards groceries.

Hopefully more peeps will chime in. G/L


No I get plenty of sleep, about 8 hours every night. I do not run anymore. I only lift. What does a carb supplement do for you?


Basically a protein powder w/ carbs right after the workout...helps w/ recovery and prevention of muscle breakdown, I believe.



Agreed. There's no reason to be switching programs, especially as a beginner. What has your most recent training looked like - the days, exercises, sets, and reps?

Why? More training does not bring more results. 5 days is generally what I'd consider the high end of training frequency. More than that and you've got to really have your nutrition and training program dialed in to maximize recovery.

Jim Wendler has a 6 day a week 5/3/1 program, but I'm wondering if you'll be able to reel yourself in enough to benefit enough ("starting too light" and "progressing too slow" are key tenets of his plan).

Good stuff. Between the strength gains and the bodyweight gains, it sounds like you stumbled your way into a decent foundation. Nice work so far. Tweaking your training and nutrition will definitely keep things moving forward.

Exactly how fat are you right now? Not a percentage, but do you have a muffin top or some gut hanging over the belt, do you have any ab/leg/shoulder/arm definition, care to toss up a quick pic just so we know what's what?

Basically, if you really are getting too fat, definitely consider easing up a bit on the calories. Not saying to start cutting, but if you plan on cutting next summer (about 6 months away), there's no sense in adding even more fat. You can keep gaining size and strength without necessarily adding excessive bodyfat.

Surge Recovery is still a cost-efficient workout shake. Quality protein and carbs before, during, and right after training can make a difference in recovery and performance.


The reason I want to lift more is because I enjoy training and feel better after a workout.
As far as definition the quickest answer is not really haha. I like to tell myself that Iâ??m only a couple months away from looking alright but honestly I just look blockier and a lot less cut than when I started (I use the word cut loosely, there was not much muscle to be "cut"). But Iâ??ll attempt to figure out how to put up some pictures just for fun.

Recent training days

Bench 145x5 160x3 180x5
Triceps pushdown 120x10 120x10 120x10
Skull crushers 70x9, 70x9, 70x8
Dips 25x11 35x8 45x6
Close grip bench 115x8 120x8 120x8
1 armed dumbbell bench 55x8 55x8 55x8
Various weighted abs exercises

Press 85x5 95x3 110x10
Dumbbell shoulder press 55x5 55x7 55x6
Front dumbbell raises 25x10 25x10 30x10
Side dumbbell raises 30x8 30x8 30x8
Bench (paused not to failure) 135x8 135x8 135x6
Shrugs 225x10 250x10 260x8

Deadlift 135x5, 205x5, 255x5 275x5 305x4
Pull-ups 45x19 45x16 45x11
DB row 90x10 100x10 100x8
Curls (cheat a little bit) 90x8 90x7 90x7 80x8
Preacher curls 60x10 70x10 70x10
Hammer curls 30x11 30x11 30x6

Squat 135x8 200x6 225x3
Leg press 275x10 350x10 400x10
Leg curl 80x10 80x10 80x10
Calf raises 300x15 300x15 300x15
Leg Extensions (didnâ??t write down reps and weight)
Weighted Abs


Thanks for the reply Chris and thanks for the video Claudan.


based just on the pic, I'd say your diet is fine if you're getting bigger


You're quite a bit leaner than I expected. You're doing great, so definitely don't mindfuck yourself into thinking you're gaining a ton of fat. You're right on point.

That program seemed okay, but could definitely use some improvement (mainly in exercise choice and the way some days were setup). Like I said, check the Archives for programs. I still don't think you need to train more than 5 days a week, tops. This is one example of a good 5-day split:

You could look into Wendler's 6 day a week 5/3/1 or maybe even Thibadeau's Layer System, but If you just like the feeling of being active, you might be better off doing some recovery work (mobility stuff, foam rolling, little mini-sessions, etc.) on the off days so you "feel" like you've trained without really tapping into recovery .


Thanks, that article is exactly what I was looking for.


Thought I would write an update for the people who replied and helped me out a year ago. I weigh the same (about 180) but a good deal leaner. My upper body lifts improved nicely. I bench around 265, have a chin-up 3rm of 135, and a lot of little improvements in almost all my top half lifts. A knee injury has stopped and regressed lower body training. I'm still working on squatting pain free (max is probably around 200 which is very disappointing), but somehow my deadlift went up a little without training it and Is at 380x3. I have been lurking in the beginner forum all year and have read every article on the site since I joined. Everyone has been a huge help and I'm very grateful.

I am thinking about trying a program that hits each body part 2x a week and if anyone has any suggestions I would appreciate it. Currently still running the "tried and true bodybuilding program" Chris linked above. Progress has slowed though and a change would be nice mentally.




I agree with this 100%, you're doing well so tweak it and enjoy the process.