T Nation

Constructive Criticism and Advice


6’5”, 235lbs, 53y/o. Stopped working out 10 years ago due to neck and back injuries. Spent 8 years with a serious painkiller addiction. Turned into the ultimate jelly donut blob. Got my act together 3 years ago. Clean and sober. 20 months ago I started the claw back into the iron. I’ve always admired/aspired to the aesthetic classical physique. Would like some feedback on what I’m lacking because my basic body dismorphia doesn’t really allow me to be objective, and I just don’t have friends my age who are into the workout thing.

I train at home using a pin and a smith machine, along with a few dumbbells. I do a pretty Workman-like routine with a push/pull/legs split. I try for six days a week, but average more like 5. I try to eat clean, but have a normal American dinner with my family nightly. I essentially eat a low carb, no sugar, high protein, medium fat diet.



You look lean & strong to me bud. Tough to see your upper body with that lighting but your quads look great! Congrats on beating the addiction for sure.


Thanks, mate.


You look ready to play “Wildcat” if they give Black Canary a movie (Wildcat was a DC character more famous for being the older mentor and training DC heroes than his own adventures).


Looking good. More importantly, it sounds like you’ve hit upon a workout/eating regimen you can live with long-term. My advice is, keep doing what you’re doing.


Had to look that one up, but I like it.


Thank you, sir.


I appreciate the positive feedback. I really do. I was also looking for some harder edged comments about my desire to have a classical aesthetic physique, however. Like maybe, “hey old dude genetically you are missing ingredient x, y, or z for that kind of look.” Or, “if you truly aspire to that you’re going to have tighten up that diet and get those abs out of that layer of fat.” Or, “your height means you need another 25lbs of solid muscle to even think about turning some heads.” I don’t know. You get my drift I hope. I just can’t view myself with enough distance to be objective. No one here knows me so I thought it would be a good place to get constructively deconstructed.


What’s your definition of a “classical aesthetic physique”? Is it Steve Reeves? Frank Zane? Michelangelo’s David? Brad Pitt in Fight Club?


Great question. All those guys you mentioned have amazing physiques, but out of those I would say Steve Reeves would probably be my pick. I look back at those days of body building as my earliest inspiration, and they continue to be what I think of as the classic look.


Same age as me, and looking about 5% bodyfat leaner than I am at 5’7" and 205#, so you have that going for you. If you’re looking for the Steve Reeves look, a little more mass all around would do it, but if you want to turn heads with a t-shirt on, what really jumps out at me is that you need more trap development. Throw in some power cleans, upright rows and/or SGHP’s. You didn’t break down your routine in detail, so I’m going to assume you’re already deadlifting.


Thanks. That’s very helpful. I do need to get hot in those traps. I definitely deadlift, but need to do way more than shrugs for the traps.


There are several articles on the main site specifically about trap development. Iirc there is a particularly good one by Jim Wendler if you want to search for it. Good luck.