T Nation

Covering the Basics


#1

This is my first post, but I've been lurking on the forum for a while. Over that time, I've realized that a lot of the most basic questions that people post ("How do I cut?," "Why aren't I gaining weight?," "Is this program okay?," etc.) could probably be answer by looking at what some of the successful lifters on this site do on a very basic level, and what they have found useful to do at other periods in their development.

I'm talking about things like: How many sets per body part or movement type per week do you do on average? What is your training frequency? How often do you do conditioning or steady state cardio? How do you figure out your calories and macros at the start of a weight loss/ weight gain phase? What are your average daily calories and macros for most of the year, and how do you determine those numbers?

Obviously there is going to be a degree of variation here, but I imagine there is enough overlap that some basic principles will be evident. This alone would help me, and likely a lot of other people figure out ways to improve our own training, or at the very least avoid huge pitfalls. For instance, if it turns out that the leanest and biggest guys here do a total of 15-20 sets per bodypart each week and rarely if ever drop their calories below 12 times bodyweight, that is valuable information in my opinion.

So, I guess what I'm asking is this: what, on a basic level, do you guys do as far as training and nutrition that you feel leads you to being successful when others aren't? I'm talking about things like training frequency, volume, calories and macro intake, and also mental attributes and lifestyle factors. I know that this is a broad topic, but I think that many people could gain a lot by seeing the answers.


#2

[quote]scramcats wrote:
Obviously there is going to be a degree of variation here, but I imagine there is enough overlap that some basic principles will be evident. [/quote]

Your question is so broad I’m not so sure about the above.

consistency is probably the only basic principle, that I can think of anyway, that apply to everyone that is successful. Otherwise I have to think most people’s success, especially trail blazers, are anecdotal and unique.

Some people swear by high rep, some low reps, some high intensity, some low intensity, some the “big 3,” some pump work, LISS, HIIT, tabata, ad infinitum…

Hell, people don’t even agree on what success even means.


#3

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

[quote]scramcats wrote:
Obviously there is going to be a degree of variation here, but I imagine there is enough overlap that some basic principles will be evident. [/quote]

Your question is so broad I’m not so sure about the above.

consistency is probably the only basic principle, that I can think of anyway, that apply to everyone that is successful. Otherwise I have to think most people’s success, especially trail blazers, are anecdotal and unique.

Some people swear by high rep, some low reps, some high intensity, some low intensity, some the “big 3,” some pump work, LISS, HIIT, tabata, ad infinitum…

Hell, people don’t even agree on what success even means. [/quote]

This is all true and I now agree that my question was probably too broad to be very useful. I originally just wanted to ask what most people’s calorie/ macro intakes were when they were maintaining, gaining, or losing weight, and also what their total training volume per body part tends to be. Probably should have just kept it to that instead of trying to ask everything at once.


#4

Nutritional: Eating vegetables and cooking. It’s amazing how many people don’t/refuse to do these things.

Training: Constantly existing outside of my comfort zone and having loyalty to no method, only results.


#5

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Nutritional: Eating vegetables and cooking. It’s amazing how many people don’t/refuse to do these things.

Training: Constantly existing outside of my comfort zone and having loyalty to no method, only results.[/quote]

I couldnt agree more with the training aspect, I think alot of people have some form of confirmation bias towards a style of training that they arent realizing it may not be the most effective for them.


#6

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Nutritional: Eating vegetables and cooking. It’s amazing how many people don’t/refuse to do these things.

Training: Constantly existing outside of my comfort zone and having loyalty to no method, only results.[/quote]
This thread could probably end right there. The amount of people that come on here and have crap diets asking how to lose weight or what supps to take need to first learn to eat real whole foods. A good rule of thumb is if an item might have been found in your grandma’s kitchen, its propably good to eat. Real meats, real vegetables and real fruits will get you a long way nutritionally to a decent physique.

With training, to follow the above advice, train with consistency and intensity, and probably whatever you do will work. Most things will work, until they don’t. There is no perfect program, perfect rep scheme, or perfect exercise for all people.


#7

just to stir the pot eccha…If grandma’s nutrician was so good. Why are people living longer now? Lol. Advances in medicine…?


#8

[quote]confusion wrote:
just to stir the pot eccha…If grandma’s nutrician was so good. Why are people living longer now? Lol. Advances in medicine…?[/quote]
Yes, if they had the regular shitty diet from nowadays theyd live less, heck my grandma lived to about 110.


#9

[quote]confusion wrote:
just to stir the pot eccha…If grandma’s nutrician was so good. Why are people living longer now? Lol. Advances in medicine…?[/quote]Yes, advances in medicine. What we also have today is life increasing, but more people that are hanging on by a thread for 10-15 yrs before actually passing away. Obesity, diabetes and heart disease are far more prevalent that 50-60 yrs ago.


#10

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Nutritional: Eating vegetables and cooking. It’s amazing how many people don’t/refuse to do these things.

Training: Constantly existing outside of my comfort zone and having loyalty to no method, only results.[/quote]

I think this is the best answer; if your nutrition is in check you will be shocked with the results that follow. The key to any program is consistency, and effort. I have/know genetic gifted friends that swear by exercises/methods that I have never or will ever endorse. Fortunately building muscle isn’t an exact science, and certain things work differently for different people. The best advice I can give anyone is to choose a SINGLE program, and follow it to tee for a couple of months with your best effort. Only then should you evaluate your progress, and of course all of this is a mute point if your nutrition is in check. Anyone can progress with just about any program/routine, but nutrition dictates how fast or slow you progress.


#11

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

Training: Constantly existing outside of my comfort zone and having loyalty to no method, only results.[/quote]

How far out of your comfort zone do you go? How do you determine (intuit?) an appropriate amount of work?
How do you look at your results and determine what was responsible for them? Especially during the early years of training, when people are bound to get results as long as they put in hard work. In other words, how do you know if the programming is working for the person, or if the person is making the programming work?

Assuming the OP’s frame of mind, these are what I would ask.


#12

Did you read this? http://www.T-Nation.com/powerful-words/100-laws-of-muscle

I found myself agreeing with a strong majority of these rules. Nearly all of them if we take out the more controversial diet ones. I get the feeling from feedback that a lot of people found themselves agreeing as well.

[quote]scramcats wrote:

How many sets per body part or movement type per week do you do on average? What is your training frequency? How often do you do conditioning or steady state cardio? How do you figure out your calories and macros at the start of a weight loss/ weight gain phase? What are your average daily calories and macros for most of the year, and how do you determine those numbers?

Obviously there is going to be a degree of variation here, but I imagine there is enough overlap that some basic principles will be evident. …

So, I guess what I’m asking is this: what, on a basic level, do you guys do as far as training and nutrition that you feel leads you to being successful when others aren’t?[/quote]

The questions in the first paragraph, and the broad question in the last are very different.

I disagree that the first type of questions will have some degree of variation – I think they will have a very LARGE degree of variation. If you want to derive some kind of basic principle from successful lifters’ programs and diets, I would say the most important thing is simply that they paid attention and worked for their success. Any basic principle you find will probably be a mental approach or attitude.

The second question will probably see very similar answers or themes for people who train with the same goals in mind.


#13

[quote]Sutebun wrote:
How far out of your comfort zone do you go?[/quote]

Enough such that you obtain results.

By outcome. If you are getting results, it is appropriate. If not, it needs to change.

I don’t really see a need to make this distinction. If I am getting bigger and stronger, what I am doing is working. If the biggest problem I am having is that my training is so successful that I cannot determine if it is me or the programming, I think that is a great problem to have.

As I get further along in my training, I am finding it harder and harder to train wrong.