T Nation

Atomic Pup - The Transformation II


The Ace Up Your Sleeve - Training and Nutrition Tips

These tips are what I've learned, used, and discarded. These are my opinions. They'll work for some. They won't work for others.

Regardless, this is how I grew.


Training programs have a purpose: to take the guesswork out and keep your ass in line. Follow them.

Some training programs are horrible and should never be followed.

If you're just starting to train "smart," I'd recommend using a catch-all program from T-Nation (either Waterbury or Cosgrove).

My favorites:

AC's Holiday Workout:

CW's Total Body Training:

If you've been training for over a year, I'd recommend writing your own training program using what you've learned from all of the T-Nation authors.

Start here:

MR's Program Design 101:

As Dan John says, "eat the biggest frog first." If it's a lower body day, I'll start with deadlifts or front squats. If it's upper body, I'll usually start with a heavy row or weighted pull-up. If you're training with a total body split, don't start with dumbbell curls. If it's "arm day", then may God have mercy on your soul.

You gotta try a shit-load of methods before you really find one that just seems to "work" with your body. I choose to do mostly upper/lower body splits. I've tried total body. I've tried body-part splits. My body doesn't like them and doesn't grow.

You can pretty much always squeeze out another rep or two with good form. Stop being a pussy.

Some days you'll walk into the gym and not want to be there. Your training session will kick ass.

Some days you'll walk into the gym and not want to be there. Your training session will suck ass.

You'll slowly learn how to tell when to go and when to stay.

Consistency is the key to a great body. You've got to be "on."


Pick a few bad-ass recipes that you can whip up in a limited amount of time and learn to master them. This is also a sure-fire way to impress and possibly bed the girl you just brought home.

My favorite breakfasts:

Oatmeal, vanilla Metabolic Drive, raspberries
Scrambled eggs with ham, green onions, and peppers

My favorite dinners:

Grilled chicken stuffed with feta cheese, onions, and sun-dried tomatoes
Cajun salmon with asparagus, black beans, and wild rice
Thai beef with cabbage, onion, red pepper, carrots, and a ton of freakin' spices
Steak with sauteed mushrooms and onion

Trying to gain weight? Try these tips:

Drink one scoop of Metabolic Drive after every meal. Remember the story about putting rocks in a jar? The big rocks go first, the pebbles come next, the sand fills in the other spots, and the water is the last ingredient, right? I think of my stomach in the same way.

When I really needed to gain weight, I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread with a big-ass glass of 2% milk. I have no idea why I didn't gain a lot of fat.

Carry around a baggie full of cashews, almonds, and walnuts in your pocket.

Don't, however, accidentally add a Flameout fish oil capsule to the mix. You'll be very surprised when your cashew explodes in your mouth.

I think everyone should count calories and keep track of macronutrients - for about a week. Then just eat a ton and adjust as necessary. Life is too short to count fucking calories.

Green tea is awesome. Herba Mate tea is even better. Fruity spice tea will make me want to kick your ass.

Need some extra calories? Not getting enough good fat in your diet? Take a tablespoon of olive oil. Down the hatch!

All right, let's hear some of your tips!



CONSTANT access to a big container full of raw, mixed vegetables and a supply of protein powder can easily be the factor that makes or breaks a diet.

Design your lifting program so that your workouts rotate through the weeks. If you lift 4 days a week and have 5 routines you will be working different bodyparts every Monday, Tuesday, etc. This way your whole body gets the benefit of your "freshest" days.

BUY food in bulk, COOK food in bulk, STORE food in bulk, EAT food in several moderate portions all through the day.

Cardio sucks, but incorporating cardio into a sport or pleasurable activity does not. At the very least, if you have the option to: WALK.


I love eggs, especially a good omelet, and usually have one over the weekend. However, during the work week, I like to get a little extra sleep rather then wake up the twenty or so minutes earlier it would take to prepare eggs and such. So, my breakfast which I have talked about before is Metabolic Drive Complete usually with a scoop of low carb thrown in fat free milk with fruit and vegetables blended in as well.

This and my Flameout. It provides me with quality protein and heathy carbs and fats for breakfast five days per week and it's tasty! That's my tip for anyone who hurries to get rolling on the road to work and skimps on breakfast due to this.




Nothing wrong; they just don't work for me. I definitely use come curls and triceps variations for my "finishing touches", though.



The first 3-4 years I lifted, I continued to do bodypart splits, using reediculous volume(we're talking 20 sets per body part, and 10 each for bis and tris), and once I started eating more(took a couple years to figure that one out), I put on weight like crazy. And my arms got hyoooge(17-17.5", measured cold), from doing ARM DAYS.

The last few years, I switched to total body, and most recently WS4SBIII, and my arms are a bit smaller(16"). I definitely respond to volume(or at least I used to, haven't done it in so long I don't know), but at my age and station in life, I focus more on athleticism/functionality.

That's why my max effort upper body lift is one-legged bicep curls standing on a slant board on top of a bosu ball in the squat rack while holding a medicine ball overhead in the other hand.


How do you skullcrush with a squat rack?


Have a basic plan of attack before you get to the gym. If you're not following a written routine, you should plan what you are going to do in advance. This brings continuity to your session and eliminates guesswork between exercises. It also allows you to prioritize exercise selection based on your particular goals.

Have your pwo nutrition ready before you leave the house. If you're just going to the gym and then home, it's not such a big. But if you are crunched for time after the gym, make sure you brought your shake/food or have it planned to pick it up when you are finished. Waiting too long to eat or skipping the pwo meal is certainly not wise if you're trying to grow.


Leave your ego at the door. If you're going to train, train hard and train right. Unless you're an advanced lifter and working weak parts of specific lifts, full range of motion is your ticket to success in gains and preventing injury. If you choose a weight for an exercise and can't use it through full ROM, drop the weight and do it right. There is no shame in that. Do not let those that are using more weight than you, but can't do anything but a mere partial, sway you to doing the same. Ego is not part of successful training.


Fix what's not working right and get in shape before trying to get hyyoooge. I'm not saying it's impossible to improve, but you will stall out faster than someone who has a decent base of conditioning and whose joints are working properly.

Read all the articles from Cressey, Robertson, and Bill Hartman.

Oh, and buy/make/steal/comandeer a sled or prowler type device. People don't rave over them for nothing.

For fat loss, I like to follow Wendler principle #546 (or whatever he calls it): eat less and move more.


Unless you train "instinctively" and plan on looking the same every year.


So all this time you've just been stuffing your sleeves with playing cards to make your arms look bigger?