T Nation

Clueless Lifter

I’ve been attempting to make progress lifting over the years, but it has always ended in me putting on too much fat and not enough muscle. This has always ended in frustration and me wanting to quit. I really want to emphasize my desire to lean bulk. One difference this time around is that I’m going to be tracking everything I eat and logging my workouts here. Hoping to get feedback, since I’m a clueless lifter who hasn’t been able to understand how to train properly. I’m hoping people can see how I’m training/eating and point out what I’m doing that’s all wrong.

I recently dieted down from 150 to 135 lbs.

My stats:
Gender: Male
Age: 39
Height: 5’6"
Weight: 135 lbs

Here is my workout from today (just started deadlift about three weeks ago, but been adding 10 lbs each session):

Deadlifts - 175 lbs - 3x10 (2 min rest)

Leg curls (attached to a bench) - 55 lbs - 3x8 (2 min rest)

Goblet squats - 35 lbs - 3x25 (3 min rest)

Ab Rollout - 3x10 (learning proper form)

Single leg squat - holding 35 lbs plate - 3x12 (2 min)

Notes:

  • Goblet squats felt brutal at 25 reps - felt winded
  • Decreased ROM on an rollout from last time to avoid collapsing my back

Here is what I ate (tracked in MyFitnessPal and food measured, etc.):

FOODS Calories Carbs Fat Protein Cholest Sodium Sugars Fiber

Breakfast
French - Ketchup, 1.5 tbsp (15ml) 30 6g 0g 0g 0mg 255mg 6g 0g
the Little Potato Company - Red and Yellow Potato Variety, 226 g (~22g/potato) 144 33g 0g 4g 0mg 0mg 5g 4g
Becel - Olive Oil Margarine, 0.5 teaspoon 18 0g 2g 0g 0mg 18mg 0g 0g
Generic - Cremini Mushroom - Raw, 114 g 25 4g 0g 4g --mg 6mg 2g 1g
Generic - Sliced Monterey Jack Cheese, 1 slice 80 0g 6g 6g 20mg 135mg --g --g
Kirkland Organic - Egg, 1 Large 70 0g 5g 6g 185mg 70mg 0g 0g
Stonemill - Multigrain Sourdough Bread, 1 slices 75 14g 1g 3g 0mg 110mg 1g 2g
Sesame Berry Squares, 1 serving(s) 191 23g 7g 5g 0mg 31mg 14g 7g
Kirkland Egg Whites - Egg Whites Liquid, 0.33 cup(s) 44 0g 0g 9g 0mg 133mg 0g 0g

Lunch
Berry Kale Protein Shake, 1 serving(s) 600 75g 18g 53g 0mg 269mg 40g 14g

Dinner
Homemade - Turkey Breast, 100 gram 135 0g 1g 30g 83mg 52mg 0g 0g
Lettuce, Green Leaf Fresh - Fresh-lettuce Leaf, 2 leaf 8 1g --g 1g 0mg 2mg --g --g
Cherry Tomato - Cherry Tomatoes, 3 tomatoes 9 2g 0g 0g 0mg 2mg 2g 1g
Sir Kensington - Avocado Oil Mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon 100 0g 11g 0g 15mg 90mg 0g 0g
Flat Out - Protein Wrap, 1 flatbread (57g) 120 17g 2g 12g 0mg 300mg 1g 8g
BAKED BUTTERNUT SQUASH FRITTERS WITH PARMESAN - The clever meal, 1 serving(s) 212 26g 7g 11g 133mg 793mg 3g 5g

Snacks
Simplyprotein Bar - Lemon Coconut, 1 bar (40g) 150 15g 5g 15g 0mg 190mg 1g 7g

TOTAL: 2,011 216g 65g 159g 436mg 2,456mg 75g 49g

2 Likes

Welcome to the log sections man.

Just a quick question: what is your current goal? You’ve talked about cutting and about lean bulking, which one are you planning to tackle first?

I was cutting up until today. I’m at maintenance calories now, which I believe is about 2000 calories for me. My plan is to stay at 2000 for the time being (which is +200 from my cut which was closer to 1800) and just keep lifting. Once I really start to stall I was going to add another 200 calories. So I guess I’m switching to lean bulk phase, but I’m nervous about eating too much, since I would use lifting in the past to just eat whatever I wanted and then always ended badly.

Want to put in 5 lbs muscle in a year.

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Weighted myself this morning and I was below 135…weighted in at 134.4 lbs.

Workout 2

Bench Press: 110 lbs - 3x - 12,11,8 (2 min rest)

BB Rows: 85 lbs - 3x10, 80 - 1x15

Pull-ups: 3x - 10,10,9

Dips: +5 lbs - 3x - 10,8,7 (2 min rest)

DB Shoulder Press: 35 lbs - 3x10,10,8

Isolated DB curls: 17.5 lbs - 3x15,15,12

Notes:

  • No progress on bench. Lifted exact amount last week. Trying to aim for 3x12.
  • Worked out in the morning before breakfast - wonder if this effected results.
  • Little to no progress in general but I’ve been in calorie deficit up until yesterday and have been losing weight up until this point. Since yesterday I’ve increased my calories by 200.

My lifts basically didn’t go up at all. Almost the exact same as last week. I lifted the exact same last week for bench. Should I just be happy to be maintaining the lifts since I’ve been in a calorie deficit? @dagill2 any thoughts?

I will post my food later today.

Stop letting that happen.

You are going for 3x12. That is 36 total reps. You got 31. You owe 5 reps. Do as many sets as needed to get those 5 more reps. Next training session, try to do it in fewer sets, or have more sets of 12. Once you can get 3x12, advance.

NEVER allow yourself to stall. There’s always SOME way to progress. Reduce rest times, add sets, move the bar faster, etc. Just do SOMETHING.

2 Likes

Kk. Thanks! I also plan to stop lifting in the morning. I usually workout after work or at lunch. I just felt too depleted working out first thing in the morning.

I notice a lot of your lifts are pretty high rep. 3X10 on deadlifts, 3X12 on bench as examples.

How often do you do lower reps? Like 3X5, 5X5?

I think doing different rep schemes can really help progress. I do 6-8 weeks at certain sets and reps while increasing weight weekly, then drop reps per set and do that for another 6-8 weeks, I might do this one more time if peaking, then drop weight and go back to higher reps.

I don’t tend to stress about a single session because some days are bad days. I look for trends in my lifting. In a managerial capacity, if I saw an issue like this, the first question I would ask would be: “you’ve identified a problem (you didn’t progress), now what have you done to make sure it doesn’t happen again?” In this case, it could be that you’re going to commit to eating appropriately. Or it could be that you’ve done some more work to make sure that next week, you’ve made progress(see @T3hPwnisher suggestion). Ideally it would be both in this case.

I can’t “like” his comment enough. If you didn’t hit a new top set, do an extra set with it. Definitely get all your reps in. Don’t be happy with not getting better.

It also gives you the permission to suck on your assistance work if you blew away a PR on your heavy stuff, too, so this thinking gives both ways - it lets you keep the important stuff important.

2 Likes

An example to echo what is being said. In this instance you could add one more set to make up the missing reps (Plus one or two hopefully). Alternatively, I would suggest that you instead do 115 lbs 3 x 10, or even better 120 lbs 3 x 8. Leave the volume for the assistance sets.

Programming is pretty important. There is a reason the people who come in and do 3X10 on bench every week on average don’t make the progress of someone who programs the lifts intelligently.

My other upper body day is more in the 4x4-7 range, but I think you’re right. I should just focus in on a smaller range and not flip flop. Doing the x12 seems a bit much.

My food for today:
FOODS Calories Carbs Fat Protein Cholest Sodium Sugars Fiber

Breakfast
Stonemill - Multigrain Sourdough Bread, 0.67 slices 50 9g 1g 2g 0mg 73mg 0g 1g
Becel - Olive Oil Margarine, 0.5 teaspoon 18 0g 2g 0g 0mg 18mg 0g 0g
Kirkland Organic - Egg, 1 Large 70 0g 5g 6g 185mg 70mg 0g 0g
Kirkland Egg Whites - Egg Whites Liquid, 0.67 cup(s) 89 0g 0g 18g 0mg 267mg 0g 0g
Olive Oil, 1 tsp 40 0g 5g 0g 0mg 0mg 0g 0g
French - Ketchup, 1.5 tbsp (15ml) 30 6g 0g 0g 0mg 255mg 6g 0g
the Little Potato Company - Red and Yellow Potato Variety, 226 g (~22g/potato) 144 33g 0g 4g 0mg 0mg 5g 4g

Lunch
Silk - Unsweetened Soy Milk, 1 cup 80 4g 4g 7g 0mg 70mg 1g 1g
Vegan protein (vanilla), 1 scoop 126 6g 2g 21g --mg 70mg 3g 2g
Presidents choice - puffed wheat, 2.2 cup 110 24g 0g 4g 0mg 11mg 0g --g
Banana, 1 medium 105 27g 0g 1g 0mg 1mg 14g 3g
Strawberry - Large, 2 berry 12 3g 0g 0g 0mg 0mg 2g 1g

Dinner
BAKED BUTTERNUT SQUASH FRITTERS WITH PARMESAN - The clever meal, 0.5 serving(s) 106 13g 3g 6g 66mg 397mg 1g 2g
One Bun - Multigrain Bun, 75 g 190 36g 2g 7g --mg 310mg 4g 4g
French - Ketchup, 0.33 tbsp (15ml) 7 1g 0g 0g 0mg 57mg 1g 0g
Sir Kensington - Avocado Oil Mayonnaise, 0.5 tablespoon 50 0g 6g 0g 8mg 45mg 0g 0g
Generic - Sliced Monterey Jack Cheese, 1 slice 80 0g 6g 6g 20mg 135mg --g --g
Beyond Meat - Beyond Burger Canada, 113 grams 270 6g 18g 20g 0mg 390mg 0g 2g

Snacks
Grace - Coconut Sugar, 2.5 tsp 38 10g 0g 0g 0mg 0mg 10g 0g
Olive Oil, 1 tsp 40 0g 5g 0g 0mg 0mg 0g 0g
Fresh Brussel Sprouts Bb - Steamed Brussel Sprouts, 400 gram 212 38g 0g 14g --mg 71mg 9g 14g
Sesame Berry Squares, 1 serving(s) 191 23g 7g 5g 0mg 31mg 14g 7g

TOTAL: 2,058 239g 66g 121g 279mg 2,271mg 70g 41g

Protein a bit lower than I’d like at 121g. I will try and make sure I hit 135 g more often.

No lifting today, but used stationary bike. It said I burned 500 calories.

FOODS Calories Carbs Fat Protein Cholest Sodium Sugars Fiber

Breakfast
Ground Flaxseed - Flaxseed, 1 tablespoon 35 2g 3g 2g 0mg 0mg 0g 2g
Syrup - Ed Smith No Sugar Added, 0.67 tbsp (42g) 7 2g 0g 0g --mg 17mg 1g --g
Kirkland - Organic Maple Syrup, 1 tsp(s) 18 4g 0g 0g 0mg 1mg 4g 0g
Bulk Barn - Pea Protein Powder, 30 g 126 0g 3g 25g 0mg 0mg --g 0g
Moov - Boreal Wild Blueberries, 0.5 Cup (140 g) 35 10g 1g 0g 0mg 2mg 5g 3g
Birch Blenders - Paleo Pancake, 4 pancakes 280 32g 14g 14g 200mg 680mg 0g 10g

Lunch
Kirkland Egg Whites - Egg Whites Liquid, 0.5 cup(s) 67 0g 0g 13g 0mg 200mg 0g 0g
Olive Oil, 1 tsp 40 0g 5g 0g 0mg 0mg 0g 0g
Dimpflmeier - Organic Spelt Bread With Wild Rice, 1 Slice 120 24g 1g 4g 0mg 220mg 2g 4g
the Little Potato Company - Red and Yellow Potato Variety, 226 g (~22g/potato) 144 33g 0g 4g 0mg 0mg 5g 4g
Becel - Olive Oil Margarine, 0.5 teaspoon 18 0g 2g 0g 0mg 18mg 0g 0g
French - Ketchup, 1.5 tbsp (15ml) 30 6g 0g 0g 0mg 255mg 6g 0g
Kirkland Organic - Egg, 2 Large 140 0g 10g 12g 370mg 140mg 0g 0g

Dinner
Homemade - Garlic Aoili, 0.33 Tbsp (15 g) 28 0g 3g --g --mg 27mg --g --g
BAKED BUTTERNUT SQUASH FRITTERS WITH PARMESAN - The clever meal, 0.5 serving(s) 106 13g 3g 6g 66mg 397mg 1g 2g
One Bun - Multigrain Bun, 75 g 190 36g 2g 7g --mg 310mg 4g 4g
French - Ketchup, 0.33 tbsp (15ml) 7 1g 0g 0g 0mg 57mg 1g 0g
Sir Kensington - Avocado Oil Mayonnaise, 0.5 tablespoon 50 0g 6g 0g 8mg 45mg 0g 0g
Generic - Sliced Monterey Jack Cheese, 1 slice 80 0g 6g 6g 20mg 135mg --g --g
Beyond Meat - Beyond Burger Canada, 113 grams 270 6g 18g 20g 0mg 390mg 0g 2g

Snacks
Kernels Dill Pickle - Popcorn Seasoning, 1 tsp (7 g) 8 2g 0g 0g 0mg 400mg 1g 0g
Popcorn - Air Popped Popcorn, 6 cup 186 37g 2g 6g 0mg 6mg 1g 7g
Sesame Berry Squares, 1 serving(s) 191 23g 7g 5g 0mg 31mg 14g 7g

TOTAL: 2,176 231g 86g 124g 664mg 3,331mg 45g 45g

Did you account for that extra 500 calories in your daily total?

No, technically it’s 2,176 - 500. Is it so bad to have lower calorie days? I did eat a bit more than 2K that day though.

I will likely switch to 5/3/1 Hardgainer next week and try to learn to squat while I do it I.

I believe Dan John has a short “learn to squat” program attached to Mass Made Simple. I’ll try and dig it out for you when I get home if you’d like.

In terms of calories, I’m no expert but if i’m aiming to gain weight, I would try and increase net calories, not decrease them.

1 Like

Do you have a prowler? It’s a pretty crucial part to that program.

Would you need a prowler or would a homemade pull sled do the job?