Best way to workout (not on steroids)

Big topic, yes.
I just wanted to share my thoughts and hear if most of you agree, and maybe give someone some food for thoughts.
I never used steroids, I am 50 years old, I’ve been on TRT the last 10 years. Been working out on and off my whole life. Started out as a very skinny teenager (6’2" and 155 lbs). Never getting huge (and never actually aiming for it either), but reaching a level I was happy with (212 lbs and visible abs).

Anyway, I did all sorts of programs. If anyone can be accused of program hopping, it’s probably me. I did splits (4-, 3- and 2-) and I did full body. I did add cardio and I did not. I did straight sets, I did drops, rest-pause, myo, slow negatives, pre-exhaust and you name it. I think I tried it all.

On the extreme end of things - one end was 2-3 workouts per week of 5x5 of one lower body exercise (squats or deads), one pull exercise (weighted chins or barbell rows) and one press exercise (weighted dips or standing barbell presses). The other extreme end was CT’s “Best damn workout for natural lifters”.
I also did quite a lot of “Dogcrap” style workouts. I.e. one set to failure at fairly high reps (8-15) followed by 30 seconds rest, going to failure again, another 30 sec rest, and go to failure again.

What is clear to me (finally after all these years…!) is that the most important factor for me to get results is… working my ass off. I need to push myself hard in the gym. And that is not defined as going to failure. I can do cable flyes and leg extensions to failure all day every day and it still won’t count. And I can do a heavy compound exercise for one rest pause set but it still won’t be enough.
I mean pushing myself hard as in working my ass off with compound exercises, heavy weights, multiple sets and fairly short rest periods. I need to sweat, get my pulse up, and I need to push my limits with my whole body. It’s a difference in going to failure with deadlifts or with back extensions. Weighted dips or cable flyes.
I can only get good results when I let my whole body work its ass off.

I’ve also noticed that I don’t need to work out very often. Two of those workouts per week is enough, ore ven optimal. The most important thing is not frequency, it’s working my ass off when I work out.
It’s like there is a threshold in terms of effort I need pass. If not, the effect is zero. No matter how many times per week I do it.

Hence, the “Best damn workout for natural lifters” is the opposite. I loved the idea, but it just doesn’t work for me. And I don’t think it is because I don’t push myself till failure. I am prepared to say I can push myself till failure. But after a workout like that I just feel that I haven’t pushed my system hard enough. Sure, the individual muscles, yes. But I don’t crawl out of the gym and I don’t wake up next day feeling sore all over. And that’s what I need to get results.
And with results, I don’t only mean muscle growth. I also mean getting lean and getting in shape. During a workout of the type I described initially, where I do the lower body 5x5 with 2 min rest, and the press and pull exercise 5x5 alternating between them with 1 minute rest, I stay on an average heart beat of 120-130, peaking at 150. This does wonders for my overall fitness as well. I will never reach those bpm without heavy compound exercises.
And just to be clear, I don’t think there is anything magic about 5x5. I’m sure it could be 4x6, 8x3, or whatever. I think the point is multiple sets, heavy weights, fairly short rest, going close to fail on all sets. And actually all the way to failure on the last few sets.


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hate to break it to you. you use steroids.
you may play semantics and say you do not abuse steroids.

because you are not natural.

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Of course, TRT is testosterone, and testosterone is a steroid. So of course I use steroids. But dosing makes a difference. I did 5mg of Androgel per day. That will not result in higher average testosterone levels than a healthy non-TRT male. So the question is, does a normal level of testosterone caused by steroids give any advantage to the same testosterone levels produced by the body?
In my case, my peak levels an hour after gel application was ~1000 ng/dl, and my trough in the morning before application was ~300 ng/dl. A simple calculation gives an average of 650 ng/dl over the day. Which is quite normal levels for a natural guy.
I wouldn’t say that using 5mg of Androgel per day is abusing steroids. Would you?
I would even guess that it does not produce better results in the gym than having a healthy natural testosterone level.
Would you?

There is a legitimate basis in research to say that your expectation of adaptation is what drives (or at least moderates) adaptation

Very interesting thought


It can be hard to get all the work Out.

Blastin’ away for a few reps, taking a brief rest and doing it again (and again) is a cool way to train, natural or enhanced.

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