T Nation

Best Lessons Learned From T-Nation

Since I’ve joined T-Nation and have become a regular reader/researcher, I’ve made many changes to my lifting routines and nutrition plan. I’ll share what’s changed in my training life, and it’d be cool to see what else people have assimilated from this site.

  1. I eat for the task at hand. Now, this doesn’t mean that I under-eat just because I’m not active; but when it comes to carbs, I eat them in the “peri-workout” period. I’ll eat carbs exclusively at those times, except for breakfast. The concept of nutrient timing is really important, and has helped me to gain muscle mass.

  2. Post workout nutrition is totally different for me now, than it used to be. This is one are where it feels like I had blinders on. I used to consume a no-carb, high protein drink after working out, and I didn’t make great gains. I was also just way too “low carb all the time” with my diet, and since I’ve added in lots of good carbs I haven’t gotten fatter - just stronger and more muscular.

  3. BCAAs. I really think that this has helped to change my body composition from “emaciated runner” to looking “muscularly respectable” (I have a long way to go). Taking BCAAs before and after running my 18 minute 3-mile run has probably staved off wild catabolism. I also take BCAAs before and after lifting, and should probably incorporate a mid-workout feeding, but I find that cumbersome.

  4. Protein types and differences. I used to just think that there were two kinds of protein: good and soy. Now that may be the case, but the major differences in the absorbtion rates of the types of protein has shed light on the right times to ingest specific kinds of protein. Casein during the day and before bed, whey in the morning and post workout…really helpful things that I didn’t know abot prior to reading T-Nation.

  5. The importance of changing training routines to keep the body from adapting. This would seem like common sense, and I think most people should intuitively know that variances in training routines should “shock” growth out of the body, but most people get comfortable with a routine and DON’T KNOW what else is out there. T-Nation provides about a billion different training methodologies, so lifting won’t be stale or boring.

  6. The importance of high intensity cardio over steady state cardio. Wondering why you’re running 30 miles a week and are still fat? You’re steady-state cardio is leaving your body in a steady-state. Intensity burns fat.

  7. I’m in the right place for gathering information that I can use for my overall health and physical progress. T-Nation is where it’s at for those of us who want to be on the cutting edge of nutrition and exercise science. I know that if and when “things change,” the T-Nation audience will be the first to know. The authors, coaches, and posters all do a great job of instilling tons of useful informaiton and constructive criticism.

The best lesson I’ve learned is that I’m not as impressive as I though it was.

  1. The best lesson I’ve learned started at Berardi’s website where I read his articles on mass-gaining and followed his links to this site.

I struggled and struggle to gain weight for years. I claimed that I “ate all the time” blah blah. Berardi and authors and posters on this site that basically called people like me pussies finally woke me up to the fact that I was not doing what needed to be done. Once I started keeping food journals, eating 6 times a day, and cutting out excuses, results followed.

  1. Squats and deadlifts for mass gains. Oh, I read about them other places, but the tone was not enough to convince me to do them.

None of the above would have worked had I not made the decision myself to put forth serious effort, but the spark was lit by some good articles on this site.

I wouldn’t even know where to start. I am very grateful to this website for so many reasons. I know if I tried to list the reasons I would be forgetting many others.

[quote]martin blank wrote:
2. Squats and deadlifts for mass gains. Oh, I read about them other places, but the tone was not enough to convince me to do them.[/quote]

Yeah, I know what you mean. I did squat before I found T-Nation, but it was more of an afterthought. I never deadlifted though, in part because I had no idea how to, in part because I didn’t know the benefits.

Not only did I learn about these benefits on the forum, I also found plenty of articles and threads detailing proper technique. I think that lack of instruction keeps many people away from the free weight movements and hooked on machines.

I also learnt about nutrition timing. My nutrition was pretty solid by the time I found T-Nation, but it wasn’t distributed in a timely manner LOL

  1. Importance of proper nutrition

  2. “Release the beast”

  3. Training in balance (not focusing on the “mirror muscles”). And training/rehabbing muscles you can’t see but are important, like rotator cuff and hip area (piriformis, hip flexors etc.).

  4. Lots of facts about physiology and anatomy.

  5. Ability to do my own routines. Exercise balance (3.) and as EDT, or Charles Staley puts it, “doing more work in the same time”.

That’s about it.

We ALL know what the # 1 lesson learned here at T-Nation is:

Do not post a pick asking what your body fat is with a shoe at hand.

Just go out and buy some new calipers.

[quote]vbm537 wrote:
I wouldn’t even know where to start. I am very grateful to this website for so many reasons. I know if I tried to list the reasons I would be forgetting many others.

I agree! I learned so much about losing fat and gaining muscle, the importance of protein, nutrient timing, what type of lifting to do, limiting cardio, the importance of pwo nutrition, etc., etc…

I often say that “I didn’t even know that I didn’t know anything” before I started reading here.

I’m not as strong as I thought

Proper nutrition is key

  1. Compound lifts will make you stronger physically AND mentally.

  2. Even dieting down I should eat more than most other sources would recommend (esspecially in reguards to protein).

  3. Creatine…not just for stupid people drinking the liquid sugar kind.

  4. Fish oil: righting the wrongs of the modern diet.

  5. In life and in the gym resistance makes us stronger (all Shugart there).

  6. If you want to do something bad enough, you’ll find a way (AKA “display adaptability” also Shugart).

  7. Do something with your life you find fulfilling. This often involves some risk taking.

That there a TON of the most top quality info here and it can lead to paralysis by analysis. In short the info is awesome but at some point you need to shut the hell up and DO it see what works for you. Sure keep reading the stuff store it away to slowly try but give things a good trail see if and how they work


change reps, sets, tempo, every 6th workout.

I’ve learned many things, but perhaps the one thing I’ve come away with is a greater understanding of the overall big picture and I’m am better able to think for myself and listen to my body and constantly evolve my training.

For instance I powerlift. I do squats and deadlifts blah,blah,blah. I do certain movements around my home while gardening or playing with the kids…etc, and I was amazed at how weak I was for some movements. I incorporated Olympic lifts and have started very light while I get form and technique down. OMG! Imagine my suprise when of all things my lower back was sore. How can this be? Working different muscles.

It’s a journey and this site has helped much. I just wish I could hit the lottery and train twice a day and teach lifting the rest of the day.

Good posts guys!

Main lesson I have learned from T-Nation;

Never apologise for telling a woman that you would hit it.

If anytime a female gets mad at you for a wise ass comment, say I’d hit it.

Tube steaks can boogie.

0.9 bananas is better than the whole banana.

The most important things I have learned from T-Nation:

  1. EAT

  2. SLEEP

  3. LIFT HEAVY (90%+ of 1RM)

  4. Fish oil is awesome.

  5. Peri-WO nutrition is crucial to success in the gym.

  6. Looking like you lift even whilst wearing clothes is infinitely more rewarding (and rare) than looking like you ‘diet’ whilst shirtless at the beach.

  7. Testosterone is responsible for all the great things in life.

What I’ve learned here is that

  1. I am small and weak
  2. I need to keep working my ass off in the gym
  3. I am an idiot for not doing squats and deadlifts last year
  4. Consistency is key

And countless other things, but these things are probably the most useful, I can’t believe how stupid I was when I started lifting, and then I’d even been reading here for a year or so. I no longer feel many on here are unnecessarily harsh when giving beginners (like me) advice, some things just need to be POUNDED into people.

A few articles-

Locked and loaded
Smart from the start
Set/rep bible

These are very valuable insightful articles that have helped me get out of a groove. I agree about the analysis-paralysis thing. I would just recommend to DO a traning plan by one of the good authors, before reading another plan

[quote]Brant_Drake wrote:
The best lesson I’ve learned is that I’m not as impressive as I thought I was.[/quote]


My best lesson learned is that getting fat is worth its weight in gains.

I came to T-Nation wanting to gain just lean mass like I had been doing 10+ years in gymnastics. As soon as I got here I realized that if I wanted to go that route it would take me another 10+ years to achieve what I could in 2.

To keep flaming newbs who make posts about cutting at 140 pounds with 7% bf.