T Nation

Beginner/Intermediate program


I've just lost 11 pounds by completing a month of a low carb/high protein diet but was doing minimal exercise due to a torn ligament in my ankle.

I'm 6'1 and currently weigh in at 205 pounds with a BF of 19.3% (according to BF scales). So my aim is to reduce my BF to 12% BF while weighing 185 pounds.

I'm 23 now and for the last 3 years I've tried on and off to get down to 12%, consequently I've fluctuated between 15% and 25%. I'm not a beginner in the gym in terms of doing all types of different exercises, but I don't think I've ever properly planned a diet or exercise regime (well intelligently atleast) and this is what has brought me to this site.

So this is a program I've made for myself and I wanted to know what you all thought of it? And whether it is realistic that I might get to 12% BF at 185 pounds within 3 months?

Diet per day:
250g protein
100g carb (pre- post-workout mainly)
100g fat
~2300 calories


I'm quite top heavy with fat and my legs are not very muscular so I'll hit them 2 times a week. Doing assisted wide-grip pull ups on every gym day at 25% 1RM for 50 reps because I want to rip this muscle.

Day 1
Back - Wide grip pull-up
Chest - Dumbbell Flat Press, Cable Flat Fly, Dips, Pushups
Legs - Front squat, Machine Hip ab/adduction, Leg curl, Dumbbell Single leg hops

Day 2
Boxing circuit - 1.5 hours
Wrist - Dumbbell Reverse wrist curl

Day 3
Back - Wide grip pull-up
Biceps - Dumbbell Incline Curls, Preacher curls, Pull up
Triceps - Close-grip bench press, Skull crusher, Tricep pressdown
Abs - Decline Sit up, Decline Side twist, Incline Leglifts

Day 4
Boxing circuit - 1.5 hours
Wrist - Dumbbell Forward wrist curl

Day 5
Back - Wide grip pull-up, Standing Cable row, Heavy deadlift
Legs - Dumbbell Single leg deadlift, Cable Hip ab/adduction, Standing Calf raise, Lunges

Day 6
Swim - 0.5 hours

Day 7


In my experience, the best way to decrease bf% and LOOK GOOD is to add muscle. Too add muscle you will need to up the calories (if 2300 is accurate). I would like to see what you are eating before I say any more than that. If you are eating well, it doesn't make that big of a difference what you do in the gym, as long as your are putting forth the effort.

There are some other things I could knit pick (single leg deadlift primary exercise??), but where you are, getting your diet in check if the first concern.

Post what you ate today......no bullshit either...


Well I haven't started the training workout, still doing low carb diet. I'm starting Monday when I get paid so I can go to the gym. I imagine when I start I'll add some rice.
In any case this was yesterday:
10 lean beef chilli rissoles (500g)
300g lean pork loin steak
200g pumpkin
200g asparagus
100g baby tomatoes
40mL Horseradish cream
10mL Apple sauce
100g strawberries
20mL cream


I also wanted to know about supplements, never used them before. Judging from articles and posts I'm thinking Surge Recovery, Metabolic Drive, and HOT-ROX?


Basic supplements to include in every lifter's diet:

Protein power
Fish Oil
Creatine Monohydrate

If you're after aesthetics you should think about just following a basic bodybuilding split, your program looks pretty weird and ineffective.


Do you ever notice that the people coming in here posting about how ineffective their training is INEVITABLY have written their own "program"? I can't recall too many posts "well...5/3/1 just ISN'T working for me."

OP, you've tried for 3 years, you've failed. Yet you're trying again, in spite of knowing no better. I've been there. Alot of us have. It is clear that you don't know anything about writing a proper training program. Most don't. Alot of guys who may be tempted to post a response here don't know either. What you have written is all over the place...no indication of set/reps, rest intervals, and how exercises and whatnot will change from week to week (i.e. how will you progress?). Suck up the pride, grab a tested and proven program written by a professional with experience, do it, own it. Then, come back here if you don't see progress. Also, stop telling yourself you're going to "try" to get to 12% bf. You are going to do it. Period. If you want it, you will get it.

This guy says it better than I can.


your leg plan is shit, SSHHHIIITTTT. get me? single-leg DB dead? what are you, a 60 year old housewife?
why not
Day 1 - back or front squat (at least to parrelel) 5x5 - heavy (for you), then do legpress and a hamstring movement like Good Mornings/ leg curls etc for eg 5x10
Day 5 - Deadlift - ramp till you hit a max 5 reps, then 5x5 deadlift with half that weight
- add weight every week, even if its just 2.5lbs)


good post


I disagree, as I feel like it focuses on the wrong things & has too many generalizations and assumptions.

The overall message doesn't suck in this particular instance. But what he wrote doesn't apply across the board.


I feel dumber for having actually read the first 1/4 of that I read.

If someone is a pussy, they will fail at this hobby. That isn't a programs fault, it's the trainers fault.



Very true. If someone just isn't cut out for it or dedicated to the craft, then, no, the greatest program in the world won't help them. And if the most dedicated newbie comes across a shit program, they probably won't be seeing results either. In this particular instance, we don't know that either is the case because OP doesn't seem to have tested any of the "proven" programs out there yet. I didn't rule them out. I just was giving him the benefit of the doubt for now. What we know is that whatever he's writing for himself, has been ineffective.


This is where we disagree.

A newb that eats enough, is consistently getting stronger and protects himself from injury will make progress as long as the split/program isn't totally retarded, and even some cases if it is.

Are some programs more ideal and better set up than others? yes. But in the grand scheme of things, the program is largely secondary to diet, effort & consistency.

A good diet, effort and consistency will give progress despite the split.


Touche. I can't argue with that. I still believe for the vast majority of beginning and even intermediate lifters it is much easier to maintain a solid diet, as well as keep up effort and consistency when you're following a set program like 5/3/1. Very often I see friends of mine seeing little to no results weight training are often the ones jumping from program to program (after not seeing results after only a couple weeks) or making up stuff on the fly like the OP. Granted, these are the ones typically not dedicated enough in the first place, and don't really apply to your argument; however, I have a few friends I've helped by just giving them a solid program to read and I've seen they're dedication levels climb to where they need to be. In my own experience, too, it wasn't until I picked up a program and just did it that I ever had any confidence in my training. That was what motivated my OP.


I probably didn't make it clear enough. In the past the programs I've done have come from trainers in a gym. Always with 3x12 sets/reps, trainers seem to love that. I've seen progress everytime but the program always becomes stale after 3-4 months. I've never made a program for myself.

The program I made is based off some of Chad Waterbury's articles. The idea was set/reps changing each workout; 3x8, 4x6, 5x5. For the back I was planning on just constantly training it with lat pulldowns every workout to get it bigger. For the legs I was going for something like hypertrophy (8x3, 4x6, 4x9).

Obviously I've made a mistake here by stitching a few workouts together?


Yeah cheers, I bought some fish oil, flax seed oil, a multivitamin, and some protien powder today. Loved that the fish oil, flax seed oil, and multivitamin were all fairly cheap. All these other building products seem to get ridiculously expensive.


Set/reps would 3x8, 4x6, 5x5. Rest intervals 60s between sets, 90s between exercises. I do have exercises that interchange, mainly change by using an incline/decline/flat bench or dumbell/cable/machine equipment. I didn't put it all up there so not to scare people away from reading it.

I've heard of 5/3/1 before on here. I looked it up and it looks very simple, I'm a little surprised that only 3 exercises a workout is so effective.


Haha, I've seen 60 year old housewives with bigger legs than me.
Thanks for the additions, I will put them on and remove some of the "wimpy" exercises. I need help with my deadlift, it doesn't feel right when I do it, think I'm feeling too much stress on my lower back.


post a vid of the form so we can rip the shit out of that to! (just kidding, constructive critism and a light piss take only)


That's the kind of stuff you have to include here. Then we can ask specific questions like "why this particular volume?"... "why this much rest?"...etc. You're not going to scare people away. People on this site are passionate about training.

Why are you surprised that only 3 exercises can make up an effective workout?

Also, I don't understand the hate on the single-leg RDL. It has its place in accessory work, and it's a good way of placing only half the load on your lower back. It probably doesn't have much place in bodybuilding, but I've used it from time to time to improve strength, posture, and balance. It helped me immensely with skateboarding (as you're in a very similar position each time you push off).


Well it would just feel weird for me to finish a gym seesion in 30 minutes, never been under an hour. Plus with 9 exercises a week how do you cover all movements to work all muscles?