T Nation

Bhopki01 Log


I've been a loyal reader of T-Nation for 2 years now and must say I have learned more about nutrition and training from this website than I have about engineering in college...or so it seems. The authors are fantastic and I really love the style that information is presented. It's really a blessing these guys provide such valuable information for the benefit of people who train hard everywhere.

That being said, I've always had the ectomorph style physique and have been clean bulking since I turned 18. I played soccer nearly all my life, and senior year of high school I was 125 lbs. soaking wet. At nearly 6', I decided I needed to add some serious muscle despite my track record on the field. Accelerate life three years later. I'm now at 179 lbs with about 7-8% bf, still looking to add some muscle. I'd like to top out at a lean 195-200. I hardly ever carry much body fat, this is just what my genetics have done to me, but I can't really complain.

On to the important stuff. My training style lately has been focusing on 5 major lifts. I overhead press every training session, as well as perform two variations of the squat, including back squat and front squat. Yesterday I added barbell bench press back into my routine, which had taken a vacation for over 7 months. I also deadlift every third training session and perform full olympic cleans but leave the jerks for a later date. The gym I train at doesn't like people dropping weights and there aren't any bumper plates.

I am attempting to gain maximum strength, and not so much focusing on size. My goals are simple. For the time being, a goal of a 200lb overhead strict press, 250 full clean, 315 bb bench, 405 back squat, 365 front squat, and 515 deadlift. I care a lot about my form and I'd rather be static in my progress than cheat and progress. My current numbers are:

Back Squat: 335
Front Squat: 295
BB Bench: 270
Overhead Press: 165
Full Clean: 225
Deadlift: 445

I have come to realize that central nervous system training is vital and more important than working the muscles themselves. As Thibs says, "chase performance, never chase fatigue."

Being a biochemistry/chem engineering double major in school really has influenced the way I train. From understanding all the biosynthesis pathways and nutrient timing as well as being able to understand chemical engineering principals in a physique sense, I believe that the life journey that most T-Nation readers undertake against the iron is a combination of a science and an art. Constant progress is the name of the game and we'd all think it'd be easy. Progressive overload and eating enough calories to support our lifestyle doesn't always work out the way we'd like, especially with how busy our lives are. But we love the struggle and the challenge.

Today is a day off, I worked out the upper body a little more intensely yesterday than I expected, but I will include some single leg work outside the gym to get some blood flow and nutrients to those areas.

My type I fibers are killing me everywhere but my legs today. Hopefully the single leg work will activate some type II and induce some growth. I'm working on equalizing my legs. They are very unbalanced in strength and I feel that if I fix it, I will be able to progress in the compound lifts more quickly.

As for arms, my biceps lack in size despite all the weighted pull ups and kroc rows I do, I'm thinking of doing some ballistic movements to wake them up. Thanks Thibs and Bigmac73nh.

Lastly, FINiBARs are fantastic. Had my first one yesterday and I'm wondering why I've been deprived so long.


Today is going to be a P.M. workout, and I'm hoping to do a few key things:

Back squat 225x5 in under 10 sec.

Back squat 275x8

Back squat singles cluster set: 295x6 in 3 minutes

Work on snatch form with bar

Makeshift glute/ham raises - low rep sets for increasing strength

Get some blood/nutrient flow to deltoids with light barbell overhead press and light DB shoulder press

Repeat with light flat bb bench press to achieve increased nutrient uptake to chest for heavy session tomorrow

End with some bodyweight work:
single leg squats (pistols)
Neural charge squat variations


Last night's workout was strange. It was like my central nervous system was lagging or something. Back squats hit a sticking point at 295 that I haven't experienced in a while. The weirder thing was once I passed the sticking point, the bar rose a good 4 inches off my back once my legs were in lockout. I'm not entirely sure what the deal was, but I worked around it.

Pistol squats were thrown in early to activate both legs and clusters of back squats followed the single leg work. I was more coordinated than ever on the pistol squats and even did them on top of a dumbbell holding 25 lb weights. Kinf of inexplicable how easy they were compared to the back squats. I think my central nervous system lag may have something to do with not having deadlifted in two weeks.

Today I'm hitting it hard on deadlifts from a decifict of 2x25 plates under each foot in my work boots. Tomorrow is gonna be hell. Trap bar deadlifts will follow conventional style, ending on snatch grip. screw the straps.


Today's workout wasn't that great. Another shitty day of central nervous system fatique. The joints in my elbows really hurt today and I couldn't go too heavy. I guess that's what happens when you take two weeks off from deadlifting.

Heavy singles from conventional style: up to 415. 405 flew off the ground and for some reason I couldn't budge 415.

Triples with trap bar - up to 365. Joints hurt.

Triples & doubles for snatch grip - up to 235. Hands ripped to shreds.


Glad you liked the FINiBARs, and glad you've started up a log. I haven't been too good about checking PM's recently, and I just realized that you're on here now lol.

If you're feeling a bit of CNS fatigue, you might have some luck throwing in a round of a neural charge circuit to begin your next workout (either that or skip the heavy weights and just hit a few rounds of the neural charge workout and invest in the next workout). I started my workout with a circuit similar to this for a long time to help wake my CNS up for early AM workouts:

overhead med ball throws (think push press) x until explosiveness is lost
vertical jumps x until explosiveness is lost
plyo push-ups with hands on bench x until explosiveness is lost
broad jump x until explosiveness is lost

*If you can make it to 10 reps, then you should stop there and move to the next exercise.

Currently I'm just leading off with 2-3 sets of very light triples on power clean/push press and really working on explosiveness to ease into my workouts. Starting off with your snatch form work and just going for maximum explosiveness on that might do good things as well. I definitely think investing the extra 5 minutes to prep the CNS in some way makes a big difference.

It also might make sense to abuse the straps on DL's/O lifts for a few days to give your CNS a break if the problem really isn't going away. Using them for a workout or two even on lighter weights where you don't really need them would probably help stave off the neural fatigue.

Hope that helps... neural fatigue is a real bitch sometimes. Good luck getting it under control. You going to be in the gym on Friday? This week is a bitch and I'm going to need to get in there and kill it for sanity's sake.


Wow, lots of good info there. The idea of the neural charge workouts as a pre-workout routine would probably be really good. Another thing I noticed today was how sore my joints were. I think it was probably from not pulling a lot and then over-shocking my body and CNS yesterday with a lot of un-strapped pulls.

I think warming up with snatch work would also be good for the joints because it's explosive work yet the weight is low. This may help warm up the tendons. I know ligaments and tendons are avascular, but I feel like it would at least give them a good stretch before they get completely destroyed with the big lifts.

It sounds like the power clean/push press low rep sets are giving you good results. That being the case, I will definitely incorporate things such as these into my workouts, I'm sure they'll have great benefits.

The stupid thing about my strap problem is before fall break I was pulling close to 450. That is strapped, mind you, but it is amazing how much less I can pull without them. This may be because I refuse to use a mixed grip but I feel like I should be able to pull substantially more than this. It's very humbling, but if I'm neglecting the maturity, I feel like a complete girl.

I think I need to focus on pulling more and strengthen my lower back to the point where it isn't my weak point. I also need to pay more attention to my hamstrings and glutes.

As if that isn't enough...I also need to up the reps for the overhead press and drop the weight a bit. I don't think the stimulus is enough any more. The CNS can probably only handle so much before the body physically needs to change for you to make progress. That is a function of my eating. More cals? Duh. Lots to work on. I think making a list will help me:

  1. Increase reps per set for overhead press to 5-6.

  2. Increase calories slowly and monitor body composition changes.

  3. Perform more glute/ham raises with shitty make-shift set up in Davis.

  4. Front Squat more...dare I say drop back squats for a month and monitor progress.

  5. Most importantly - Heavy pulling at least 2 days per week, beginning and end preferably. (watch form)

  6. lastly - Incorporate more flat barbell bench sets, and cluster around 235-240. Don't push maxes for a while try to maintain joint health through stretching.


Today's workout:

Snatch form work 3x3 with empty bar, followed by jump squats with empty bar 3x5.

Shoulder Press - 8x(5-6)

Front Squats - 10x5

Speed pulls from floor - double overhand - 4x5

At the end - dips with 90lbs - sets of 3-5 alternating with kroc rows x 40.

End on romanian chair leg lifts - sets of 25


Great training session today:

Warmed up with explosive box jumps 5x5 onto 36" platform

Straight barbell bench press

-warm up - bar, work on form. slow eccentric lowering, fast explosive concentric

-135x4 same deal as bar

-185x3 - focus a lot on explosive concentric

-225x1,2,3,2, cluster set 3x1, then final set of 2 explosive concentric

-245x1 - slow eccentric phase, touch and go explosive 1 rep.

Move to single leg squats (pistols)

5,5,6,7,8 reps per leg. worked on left leg first. trying to equalize the legs due to severe imbalances. Played soccer too long and was never able to level out the strength. Working hard to bring the left leg up.

Totally dropped back squats. I'm dropping these for a month and only doing front squats of medium rep range...5-7 reps per set. Clean grip. Working on quad development and form. Also trying to improve core strength. Went really deep on these tonight with form work. explosive concentric portion of the lift to teach the right form for full clean catches out of the hole.

Moved to makeshift glute-ham raises -

3x3 This is such a humbling exercise. I suck at it and I hate doing it but I know once I can do them with perfect form, I'll be much stronger in the deadlift. Good investment I think. Really worked on the eccentric lowering because the part I'm lacking isn't the explosive concentric...really working on controlled lowering with lots of tension. I'm pretty quick already but this will probably knock down my forty time. Break the 4.4 threshold? hmmm.

Went bigmack style today and did some hang clean to push press - 3x5 with 135 just to work on explosiveness and form. Grip strength is definitely improving. 135 feels like a broomstick.

Did some muscle ups just to screw around - 3x5

went to 4x5 on dips. just focused on the concentric portion of the lift and moving as fast as possible.

finished off with some romanian chair leg raises and went to the decline bench to finish off with a super-slow lowering portion for sit ups and as fast as possible concentric portion.

Note: it's amazing how fast the abdominals get fatigued when exposed to high motor-unit recruitment exercises. They really must have a high proportion of slow twitch muscle fibers because I can do situps all day and hold an L seat on parallel bars indefinitely, for all intents and purposes. But once I start doing a slow eccentric and super fast concentric, I really fatigue quickly. I must be doing something right though, because my core is getting really strong.

At the end of the workout, I decided to do a barbell rollout with 405 on it. Never has the concentric phase been so difficult. Stopping the bar on the eccentric portion once my body was 180 degrees was one of the harder things I've ever done in the gym. Mental toughness kicked in...I've seen girls do it and that's all I needed to get myself standing.

That's it for today.

Note: adding 5 grams of leucine to anything carb related is amazing. My body primarily functions off of carbohydrates and for some reason doesn't like high fats. I munch on my brazil nuts and take my tablespoons of almond butter but for some reason I thrive on 500 grams of carbs daily. I also get super lean...it's like my body decides that it's in a cutting phase when I drop fats down low. I'm going to add them back in slowly, I can't afford for the hormone levels to drop. I'm trying to gain at least 15lbs more of muscle so a lean 195 will be a good stopping place. Wonder how long it's gonna take to get there...


Thought I'd post some nutrition for the day; this is what I plan

8:00 ? 2 cups quaker oatmeal w/ 5g Leucine and 27g Micellar Casein protein, 2 tsp Cinnamon.
110g carbs, 32g protein
10:30 ? 1.5 cups quaker oatmeal, 1 tbsp Organic Almond Butter, 5 oz chicken breast
81g carbs, 10g fat, 34g protein
11:30 (workout) ? sipping 15g hydrolyzed casein with 5 g leucine and 1 scoop purple intrain
5g carbs, 30g protein
12:45(postworkout shake) ? 34g Pro7 protein powder, 10g Creatine monohydrate, 90g starch
90g carbs, 34g protein
2:30 ? 4 eggs, 3 slices nonfat lactose-free cheese, 3 slices Ezekiel toast
45g carbs, 16g fat, 48g protein
6:00 ? 66g rice, 5g leucine, 5oz. chicken breast
66g carbs, 40g protein
9:15 ? 10 brazil nuts, 2 cups spinach, 2oz tuna, 1 tbsp mustard for tuna
-30g fat, 23g protein
11:15 ? 27g micellar casein shake with 5g leucine
-32g protein
Totals: 400g carbs, 270g protein, 56g fat = 1600 1080 505=3185

Workout for the Day

Neural Charge Box jumps - 5x5

Hang clean to push press - 5x3x155

Front Squats - 10x5 - normal eccentric lowering to explosive concentric phase. weight range (135-245)

Speed deadlifts - 5x5 - (315-325) - double overhand, unstrapped

Wide grip pullups - behind the neck - 5x10 BW

Kroc Rows - 100x to muscular failure - 2 sets

Trap bar deads - speed work - 5x3x315

10 minutes abs

Eat. Sleep. Train.


One quick recommendation for the neural charge warm-up: you should use at least two different exercises run as a circuit. CT is pretty big on maximizing neural efficiency by varying exercises set to set.

Those 405 ab rollouts sound ridiculous. I don't even know if I could do that haha.

Nutrition looks very solid. Nice and clean, but I didn't really expect anything less based on our nutrition conversations! I do have a couple of thoughts:

1) Try mixing some whey in with your casein. I've seen a lot out there suggesting that the efficacy of a combination of the two proteins far exceeds that of either one individually. One article I was reading recently that went into this is the following: http://mennohenselmans.com/?p=32. I don't agree with what he says about carbs around workouts (empirical results just don't agree), but I think he's right on as far as protein is concerned. I've mixed whey isolate and casein powders together, as well as had the Metabolic Drive where they're already mixed, and I did see much better results than using either one individually.

2) If you're looking to add more fats in, I'd recommend just upping your almond butter and/or Brazil nut intake. It's really easy to get a lot of fats in that way without feeling like you're eating a lot. Also, John Meadows has been spilling lately about how they're awesome for liver health and estrogen management, so I think they're pretty tough to beat as far as fats go.

With that said, you could probably see some great muscle growth from keeping the fats where they are and just jacking the carbs up even more. You just might have to go higher than 400g carbs per day if you're still breaking even around there.

I personally believe in a higher fat intake for mass gain and maximum performance (CT has mentioned a 33/33/33 breakdown for macronutrients as optimal for mass gain, though I don't usually go THAT high on fats or protein). Just the same, others like Matt Kroc have advocated a low fat/high carb approach to lean mass gain, so if your body seems to dislike the fats I'm sure you could get by with more carbs.

3) I didn't see any fish oil in your diet. I'm guessing you are taking fish oil, but I'm curious as to how much.

Hope that's somewhat useful. Keep killing it in the gym man. Hopefully I'll catch you at Davis sometime soon, I'd love to see what kind of setup you're using for GHR's. I feel like I should be doing those.


Thanks for all the input. It is truly helpful to get insight from smart guys. I'm just curious, what do you think I should add in with box jumps? My warm up hang clean to push press was kind of a pseudo substitute but I didn't want to do anything chest related, everything still hurts from Friday.

In response to your suggestion about protein: I do totally agree with it. Blends are significantly better. My Pro7 that I take post workout is a nice blend: hydrolyzed casein, whey protein isolate, whey hydrolysate, calcium and potassium caseinate, micellar casein, and hydrolyzed glutamine peptides. Unfortunately right now I'm trying not to break the bank and the micellar casein was really cheap and I'm trying to save on my post-workout protein (pro7) so I'm stuck with micellar casein. Otherwise I would have gotten a blend.

Yesterday's nutrition was interesting because my fats were probably 3 times what they were today. I couldn't get to the gym and cut the carbs down low and decided to up my fats for the day to get the cals in. I noticed today that my workout was lacking even though I tried to replenish on carbs this morning. My body just uses carbs so I guess I should just keep utilizing what I have because they're going to be used one way or the other.

I do agree with your statement though, adding in more fats via more brazil nuts and almond butter will probably do. I think I need to get in around 100g for the day and that will help keep hormones up.

Pushing carbs to 500 is what I usually do but I'm running low on food today and it's king of crunched so maybe i'll up it to 600 for a few days and see what that does. 2400 cals in carbs a day should do the trick.

I like Kroc's approach only because my body does love the carbs. I've gone as high as 700-900g a day over the summer for my construction job but I don't need such an exorbitant amount of them now...unfortunately I can't always get to the gym when I want to so I have to make nutritional adjustments on the fly based on availability to get to the gym.

I didn't include my vitamin regiment or my fish oil...just threw in macros for the day. I do take cod-liver 2-3 times daily to get my vitamin A and D, as well as essential fatty acids, and I try to eat fish daily so I feel like even though I may not be getting enough, its better than buying the capsules, at least for now. I'm really trying to save on lots of things; otherwise my diet would be a little more varied and have some finibars etc haha.

Overall, thanks again for the insight. It's really great. I'm sure I'll see you there soon, I'll be there Monday afternoon, Tuesday morning, thursday morning and friday afternoon.

My GHR setup is pretty simple and is something you probably could make better once you see it; I feel like you're more creative in that sense and could make it more comfortable. Not necessarily the movement itself, just the setup...it blows not having a good GHR machine. I may make one for myself once I graduate haha.


As far as another move to circuit with box jumps goes, I'd recommend an upper body move. It should be an explosive move, but something easy enough that it allows you to try and generate a nice quick movement for activation without really leading to any fatigue accumulation. Throws, plyo push-ups, and band slams all work great.

You can do the throws lying, seated, or standing, and they can be overhead or from the chest. I typically do either lying throws from the chest (nowhere good to throw med balls except up in Davis), but I'll do the overhead throws either seated or standing, depending on whether I want to add leg drive or not.

For the band slams, you can just drape one of the bands over the top of the chinning grips on the power rack, grip one end with each hand, and do a sort of quick, explosive straight arm pulldown. This is also a good lat recruitment move, by the way. It's essentially the same as a med ball slam, it just doesn't result in gym employees coming over and crying about how you're disturbing the offices downstairs lol.

Everything you said with nutrition sounds reasonable. I definitely understand about trying to save a few bucks. I'm lucky enough to have a good meal budget from parents, but I spent the whole summer paying my own way and I know how much of a pain in the ass it can be.

I like how you went lower carb and higher fat on the off day, I think that's a smart move. If you roll with a mass/strength gain program similar to Kroc's, I think you'll see some good things. I find that in order to modify your physique substantially on the shorter term, you really need to push the edge of comfort (personally doing this now... holding way more water than I want to be, but it keeps the PR's coming). So I do recommend trying to up the carbs as much as you can afford. I'm sure you know yourself well enough to judge when it's become too much, but I do think it's worth trying to find that upper limit and then backing off a bit.

If you have any notes on my training/nutrition/whatever, shoot me a PM or something (I know you can't post in Indigo logs, unfortunately). You know the biological mechanisms behind everything a hell of a lot better than I do, and I'm always looking for critiques. I bet you could help me out on some new things to try with nutrition once I settle back down from my current "eat like an asshole, lift like an asshole" mentality haha. Also, I'll be in Davis around 6PM today after my last class. Maybe I'll catch you on the tail end of your workout.


Today was actually a late workout - 8:20 - 9:50 p.m.

Started with box jumps to activate the CNS coupled with bench explosive plyo pushups. all 5x5

Moved to power cleans with push press


Moved to shoulder press (false grip) - Wendler style

95 warmup x5

db shoulder press

50,65,55 all by 5

Bench press - barbell

135x5 warmup
185x5 warmup

Overhead forward lunges - 95x4,3,3,3

Abs - romanian chair leg lifts 2x25

1 arm pullups - assisted with gripping ab strap on non-working arm

3x4 for all grips - pronated, supinated and neutral.

Today was just kind of working a bunch of different things and I had done enough thermodynamics for 1 day and needed a little testosterone pick-me-up. mission accomplished.

Tomorrow is front squats and deadlifts. I'll be sure to throw in some kroc rows at the end and possibly some v-bar pullups with weight.

Going for some heavy sets tomorrow in the front squat - bring it on.

I find that telling myself to "make the bar your bitch" before every set usually helps it move faster on the concentric portion, A for experimental success. I need more cals still.

bigmack, thanks for the elaboration on neural charge exercises and it's a shame I didn't see ya there...I'd have spotted ya.


No prob, hope the activation work went well.

I like how you're focusing on "making the bar your bitch" on every rep. That's right in line with CT's "chase performance, never chase fatigue" mentality, and it's what I'm seeing great results with lately. I'm finding that exploding on the concentric and just trying to lift in a really athletic manner does great things for strength.


It's been kind of hard this week to really get to the gym besides for Monday evening.

In about an hour I'll be doing:

10x4-5 Front Squats

Speed Deadlifts - triples and 5's

Behind the neck pull ups - sets of 10

Kroc rows

Box jumps


Sorry to hear that it's been tough to get to the gym this week. I'm going over around 2PM today, hopefully the whole crew of serious lifters will be around. Maybe catch you there- if not have a good workout today.


Bigmac - sounds good. I'll be there around then too.

Todays agenda

If I can find a bench on this wonderful Friday with all the assholes coming in to do chest before they go out drinking and skirt-chasing, I'll be doing some barbell bench

8 total sets

pushin a max today. Reps and sets not sure about yet.

Shoulders - strict press - false grip. 8 total sets

Open up with hang clean to push press and box jumps and explosive pushups (plyo)

Maybe end with some muscle ups if I'm feelin good, or some kroc rows to kill the back again today. we'll see. gotta balance the pushing and pulling especially on the pushing days. I pull more than I push for the most part and I don't want to get that too far out of wack.

I feel like I should be able to bench what I can do 1 pullup with.

180 (as of yesterday) 145 max = 325 lbs total for 1 pullup.

I'm not even close to that on bench, hopefully that tells me I have lots of room to grow on the bb bench.

Since cals are up, I have been growing little by little I think. Squats felt great yesterday. Since I dropped back squats a week or two ago, my quads have gotten stronger. The front squats have really done me some good. I did a single with 135 and 225 at the end for back squats and on the ascent the bar flew off my back by at least 6 or 7 inches; I had to wait for it to return to earth.

Also, did a little experiment...added 40g of dextrose to my intra-workout drink which normally consists of:

15g casein hydrolysate
5 g leucine
1.7L h20

This was a great combo...never got tired yesterday. Had to go cause of class. Not sure if I wanna add this in again today. The carbs were high yesterday and have been high today as well so I'm not sure if I wanna push it.

Hopefully today's workout goes well.


So today is an evening workout...lots of CHE lab crap and a cappella.

I plan on doing legs tonight and lower back.

Looking to do some high volume squats...still sets of 5. Trying to get the working sets up.

Front Squats 10x5 - Start at 185 today, 135 doesn't count.

Single leg squats - 2 sets of 5 just to finish off the legs.

Deadlifts - 5,3,1 then incorporate the straps. 3 cycles

Finishing abs work - 200 total reps.


Today's mid-afternoon workout:

I plan on doing chest and shoulders today. Last night's workout kicked my ass and I'm beat but I'm glad I went through with it.

Workout: (greek letters denote different exercise stages for the day)

alpha: warm up with plyo push ups on bench, box jumps and hang clean to push press - 3x5 circuit.

beta: Chest - bb bench - warm up with bar - 1x3 speed
- 135x3 explosive
- 185x2 explosive
- 225x1 explosive
- 235x1
- 245x1
- 260x1
- 225x5,x
- 185x12
gamma: shoulders - 8 sets - overhead press
- 5 sets - db shoulder press (seated)
- 3 sets - cable lateral raises

delta: abs - twists w/ 7 lb. bar on decline bench - 100 straight.


Didn't get to do this workout yesterday...up for today at 3.

In addition to the above, add the following:

epsilon: hang clean to push press - up to 195.

zeta: Front squat triples - light (dynamic effort) - work up to 215

Just wanna prime the legs for Thursday morning. won't get to lift tomorrow.