T Nation

Beginner Looking for Diet/Training Advice

I have been training for about a year now, unfortunately inconsistently but I have a month off school and I am trying to bring my diet together. I am essentially just looking for some experienced advice on how to go about my training and dieting.

Currently I am working on a 20 rep squat program 3x a week, next week will be my third week. I experimented with this program some months ago which lead to exertion headaches so I took some time off and have not had them since. From there I tried a split routine to which I found I prefer full body workouts. I have done quite a bit of reading and recently came across ‘The Anabolic Diet’ article which got me interested in a Ketogenic type diet although I am not sure if it would be suitable for beginners.

Currently I am sitting at 178lbs, 6’1", and at 18% body fat according to my scale. My plan was to cleanly gain lean mass and cut down my body fat at a later date.

I’ve only been training for about a year, but I can give you some pointers. First, don’t worry about cutting carbs if you want to gain mass. I have found that intensity and overall performance in the gym is enhanced when you are not carb-deprived (at least 30-35% of your calories should come from carbs mainly early in the day). Second, follow a split program. I prefer making my own programs, but you should focus on a body part (I believe legs should be first as most beginners forget about them) for a few weeks and train that 2-3 times per week, and then switch to a different muscle group for a few weeks.

Something like this worked for me:
Monday: Legs
Tuesday: Arms/Shoulders
Wednesday: OFF
Thursday: Legs
Friday: Chest/Back
Sat/Sun: OFF

Do 2-3 exercises per body part depending on the size of the muscle group. Keep the sets/reps at around 3-5 sets of 5-12. Add in abs, forearms 2-3x per week. Keep your workouts below 90 minutes, preferably more like 45-60. Another very important aspect of gaining mass is para-workout nutrition. I don’t know if you are able to purchase supplements, but if so, look in Christian Thibaudeau’s forum for the protocol. If not, I found eating fruit, drinking water (and creatine if possible) about 30 minutes before workout, and then about 10 minutes before, drinking a protein shake with a lot of my own added sugar/honey to be effective at prepping my body for an intense workout.

During workout drink a diluted protein/water mixture. 60 minutes after, drink a protein shake and 30 minutes after that, a good protein/fat meal such as wild salmon. Make sure to drink a lot of milk/water, and have cottage cheese/greek yogurt and peanut butter before bed. This will provide slow absorbing protein (casein) while you are sleeping.

Good luck on your training. Remember, whatever you do in the gym, make it intense and you will see gains.

P.S. Body fat scales are usually wrong, sometimes off by as much as 10%.

Thanks for the tips, I am going to stick with my current program for the remaining four weeks and see how it works out then give a split routine another try. The supplements I have right now are creatine monohydrate, a pre-workout nitric oxide mix (superpump 250) and whey protein. It looks like I need to read some more on para-workout nutrition, if anyone can post a link or some insight on the topic I would appreciate it.

Looks like I will have to invest in some body fat calipers, I had a feeling the scale was off.