T Nation

Beginner Looking for Some Constructive Feedback


33 years old
no major injuries

Goal: The physique I'm shooting for is something like you'd see from 'the Rock' in a Fast and Furious movie. I realize this is a path that could take years to achieve. I'm not looking for a quick fix, I'm looking to change my lifestyle to accommodate real change.

I've been working out 5+ days a week since January 1, 2015 after not having been to the gym for about 6 years. I started at 304 and got myself down to 279 by mid April with a mix of HIIT cardio and SS cardio along with some descended rep ranges 22-20-18-15 with increasing weight.

I then went to the Velocity diet and lost another 8 pounds. No complaints about the results, I know what I did wrong.

I'd like to continue adding muscle mass while decreasing fat composition and I'd like some advice on my training plan and my daily calorie intake.

I don't really know my 1RM in the following lifts, but I can tell you weight and rep count.

Bench Press: 255 (4 rep max)
Seated Shoulder Press: 140 (8 rep max) shoulders have been a weak point so I'm working into standing shoulder presses
Deadlift: 315 (8 rep max)
Squat: 250 (8 rep max)
Chin-Ups: At 274lbs I can usually get 3 sets of 8 reps

Supplements: I'm taking Flameout 5 times a day and 1 serv Plazma before and 1 serv Plazma during my workouts.

I have made my training program public on a shared Google Doc. If a cell doesn't make sense there are descriptions in each if you just hover your mouse over it. Also you'll see tabs for each body group with columns that group the lifts in certain ways, fairly arbitrary groupings created by me. Also the tabs have links on certain lifts that take me to a YouTube video in case I forget what the lift looks like, or to an article from T-Nation that I swiped the workout from.


I'm happy to answer any questions to help clarify the document.

I can only lift in the morning, from 7am to 8:45 is my window. I don't like having days where I don't lift, I don't like 'cardio days' unless it's part of a short term program.

I like dedicated days to certain muscles, and I've benefited from having separate tricep and bicep days and making those Tricep + Chest 2 Day and Bicep + Back 2 day.


This is a major question I have, again my goal is adding muscle mass and losing fat. I'm not trying to 'get shredded' but I easily have another 20-30lbs to lose before I'll see my abs, at the same time 6 years ago my peak bench was 330 and I could rattle off 3 sets of 20 chin-ups no problem, so I have a lot of lean muscle to get back too.

How many calories should I be taking in?

What should my macro-nutrient breakdown be?

I use MyFitnessPal to track calories, should I be factoring in calories burned to my allowable calories taken in?

Right now I'm shooting for 3,100 kcals (again, 6'5" - 274) with a breakdown of 40% carbs 40% protein and 20% fat.

So for example, today so far I've consumed 2,472 calories (my goal is 3,100) so I have 628 calories remaining. However, I've burned 1,000 calories in my workout (I wear a Polar Heart rate monitor) so MyFitnessPal is telling me I have 1,628 calories available to consume.

If I do that I'll be calorie neutral for the day, assuming it takes 3,100 calories to maintain my weight, which I'm not sure about, nor am I sure what affect adding the muscle mass is going to have on my calories burned vs consumed.

So I could really use some help.

Please feel free to access and critique the current workout program I've built.

Please help me better understand my calorie goals. I could really use some specific answers on 1) total calories I should be shooting for to gain muscle and lose fat, 2) what my macro nutrients should be 3) how should I be calculating calories in and calories out?

For general reference I'll post some before and after pics.


Here is a picture from the end of January: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/5043239/End%20of%20January%202015.jpg

Here is a picture from Mid April:

Here is a picture from the V Diet:

And hopefully I look a little different today, I'll post a pic tomorrow morning.


Just from my own experience, working to increase my max single on the big three did a bunch to build muscle and drop bodyfat. You're obviously committed and methodical and you've got some good results (the chin ups especially at that weight).

I'd suggest taking eight to 12 weeks to work in increasing your max in the big three in the one to three rep range with good technique. See where you're at after that cycle, and I'd be surprised if you weren't leaner and more muscular. You'll definitely be stronger


I would do a recomp, starting at 3500 kcal, 315 g protein and 342 g carbs. Google "barbell medicine to be a beast" for a good article on this stuff.

Calculate calories just by tracking CAREFULLY what you eat and then monitor weight gain/loss on a weekly basis. Don't worry about calories out, just be consistent with your activity level.


Good for big guys...

If you're on Plazma you can get away with lowering your carbs and upping your good fats, start maybe 30% for both