T Nation

Critique My Routine & Diet


#1

I'd like to have everyone critique my routine. Suggestions, complaints, flames, whatever, I'm listening.
My goal is to look good naked and feel healthy, if I gain some strength on the way, that's pretty cool too.

Program Design Theory:
1) Hit every major muscle so as to avoid imbalances, injury, and build the most overall muscle mass.
2) Utilize alot of exercise overlap to make up for less volume.
3) Alternate hypertrophy and strength cycles to avoid early plateaus.
4) Utilize a mixture of different tools like barbells, dumbbells, machines, odd implements, etc. in order to increase variety and make early adaptation less likely.

NOTES:
I've been lifting again for about 9 months, before that I hadn't lifted for about 8 years so I started very weak and with some weird imbalances. (Strangely enough for about 2 weeks when I first started I could curl more than I could bench, LOL) When I initially started lifting again I had very little equipment, so this routine has only been in use for about 2-3 months in anything like it's current form.

I've left out a couple of excellent exercises because at this point I haven't worked up my strength enough to use them properly including chinups and dips. So far while on this routine I've dropped 3% bodyfat and all my lifts have gone up considerably, but I'm in my first year so I can't take too much credit there.

Although I'm interested in them, I currently don't know how to perform the olympic lifts, and my home gym doesn't have room to perform them safely as of yet.

Order of exercises is rotated so as not to get stale. Workout is normally done in the morning before going to work. I try to keep it under an hour, but sometimes with my workout partner there is takes somewhat longer.

DAY 1 (1 Drop Set of each)
Tricep Bar Hammer Curl
Cable Curl
Dumbbell Reverse Wrist Curl
Dumbbell Wrist Rotation
Cable Tricep Extension
Cable Tricep Push Downs
Cable Crunches
2 Sets Hyperextensions (As many as I can)
Overhead Sandbag carry (Down to end of block and back)
20 Min Recumbent Bike in the evening

Day 2 (1 Drop Set of each)
Machine Shoulder Press
Dumbbell Laterals
Cable Front Raises
Dumbbell Shrugs
Machine Chest Press
Dumbbell Flys
Dumbbell Side Bends
Rotator Work (Cuban press and External Rotation)
Sled Drag (Down to end of block and back)
20 Min Recumbent Bike in the evening

Day 3 (1 Drop set of each)
Lat Pulldowns to Chest
Face Down Incline Dumbbell Rows
Barbell Good Mornings
Cable Rows
Cable Kick Backs
Dumbbell Step Ups
5x5 Plate Loaded Crush Grip Machine
Neck work (Harness and Isometric)
Wind Sprints (Down to end of block and back twice)
20 Min Recumbent Bike in the evening

Day 4 (1 Drop set of each)
Machine Leg Extensions (I'd prefer a leg press but don't have room at the moment)
Dumbbell Lunges
Machine Leg Curls
Dumbbell Stiff Legged Deadlifts
Seated Barbell Calf Raises Off Blocks
Dumbbell Calf Raises
2 Sets Russian twists (As many as I can)
2 Sets Reverse Hypers (As many as I can)
Farmer's Walk
20 Min Recumbent Bike in the evening

Day 5 OFF

Day 6 (5x5)
Barbell Curls
Close Grip Bench Press
Wrist Roller Strap (2 Sets of 5 each way)
Cable Crunches
2 Sets Hyperextensions (As many as I can)
Overhead Sandbag carry (Down to end of block and back)
20 Min Recumbent Bike in the evening

Day 7
Standing Barbell Military Press
Thick Bar Bench Press
Trap Bar Shrugs
Dumbbell Side Bends
Rotator Work (Cuban press and External Rotation)
Sled Drag (Down to end of block and back)
20 Min Recumbent Bike in the evening

Day 8
T-Bar Rows
Trap Bar Deadlifts
Sumo Squats
5x5 Plate Loaded Crush Grip Machine
Neck work (Harness and Isometric)
Wind Sprints (Down to end of block and back twice)
20 Min Recumbent Bike in the evening

Day 9
Barbell Full Squats
Barbell Stiff Legged Deadlifts
Barbell Calf Raises
2 Sets Russian twists (As many as I can)
2 Sets Reverse Hypers (As many as I can)
Farmer's Walk
20 Min Recumbent Bike in the evening

Day 10 OFF
Day 11 OFF

Start over at day 1

I keep a training log where I record each lift and wether or not I'm ready for more weight next time.

My diet was pretty bad when I first started as I hadn't really even watched what I was eating. I still have quite a ways to go, but here are some positive changes I've made so far:

1) Eat four meals per day instead of 2
2) Increased my average protein intake from 70g/day to 220g/day (my goal is 260g/day but I'm not there yet) mostly by adding a protien shake in the morning and a protien bar in the late afternoon.

3) Stopped drinking regular soda, now I drink C2 (haven't been able to completely quit that yet), sugar free ice tea, and diet sprite zero
4) Switched from chips to almonds
5) Switched to wheat bread from white

6) Cut down my fast food, and watch my choices much more carefully when I do go
7) Eat protein and vegetables at every meal
8) Cut out or bought replacements for many items containing sugar. (I.E. Peanut Butter, Ketchup, etc.)

9) Stopped eating anything with transfats
10) Cut my saturated fats, though I'm having trouble giving up butter.
11) Cut out all soy except soy sauce, and some products that use soy lecithin as a binding agent.
12) Always have a protein shake before I work out

13) Switched to low carb ice cream and reduced frequency from twice a week to once a month.
14) Reduced the amount of pizza I order to once every three months.

I've been reading T-Nation ALOT lately, and I know that neither my diet or workout routine are perfect, but I'm working on it.

Height: 5'10.5"
Age: 33
Occupation: IT Director
Starting weight: 262 lbs
Starting bodyfat: 28%
Current weight: 258.6 lbs
Current bodyfat: 25% (Most of that happened in the last three months since I started reading T-Nation and some books by Mel Siff, Zatsiorsky, Arnold, etc.)
Current Progress: +0.89lbs/muscle per week

Beginning Lifts (all numbers are for 5x5 reps not max)
Bench Press: 45 lbs
Squat: 65 lbs
Deadlift: 95 lbs

Current Lifts (all numbers are for 5x5 reps not max)

Bench Press: 130 lbs
Squat: 140 lbs
Deadlift: 180 lbs

Goals for this year:
All three major lifts at bodyweight or at least 2 45 lb plates on each side whichever is higher at that point.
Get down to 10% bodyfat
Continue training and improving my diet

And to think ten years ago I was a Marine, anyways I'm putting my asbestos suit on so flame away!

#2

HOLY long post batman.

I honestly didnt make it even through all the training.

Id say you could do a TON better there, start basing each day on MONEY/Compound excersizes and fill in the gaps if there are any with the Isolation stuff.

Diet eat good food. Then eat for the goal. More to add less to lose.

Keep it simple and effective.


#3

You've made some great nutritional changes.

One thing to critique though is that low-carb ice cream isn't really all that much better if you're looking to get lean.

In short, they replace the sugar with sugar alcohols that aren't technically classified as a carb. However, they can still impact blood sugar which will limit fat burning ability.

Overall looks decent, later on maybe add in another meal when possible.


#4

For diet just read t-dawg 2.0 its simple and pretty easy to implement.

The workout needs a lot of work in my opinon, way to much isolation work, keep it simple, but not easy. High Intensity Low volume. You might want to do something like Dan John's OLAD.

For cardio, keep it high intensity and short sessions. Sprinting is very good.


#5

The information that I've read suggests that sugar alcohols are absorbed very slowly, while this does provoke more insulin response than say protien, is it really that big of a deal?


#6

The hypertrophy cycle does include more isolation work since it's based on bodybuilding principles, but all the major compound exercises are included on the strength cycle. Basically it's a four day bodypart split arms-shoulders/chest-back-legs Each day works three muscle groups plus 2 core/assistance exercises and 1 gpp exercise.


#7

Ok, in case anyone is still paying attention I have an update. I'm starting to get strong enough that the workouts were taking too long, so I've cut it down some. I'm still getting great results at about 1lb LBM added per week. Here's my new routine:

Day 1 (Drop-Sets)
4x8 Barbell Reverse Curl
Dumbbell Wrist Rotation
Cable Curl
Cable Tricep Extensions
Sandbag Carry

Day 2 (Drop-Sets)
Cable Front Raises
Machine Chest Press
Machine Shoulder Press
Dumbbell Side Bends
Sled Drag

Day 3 (Drop-Sets)
Barbell Good Mornings
Cable Rows
Lat Pulldowns to Chest
Cable Kick Backs
Wind Sprints

Day 4 (Drop-Sets)
Machine Leg Curls
Dumbbell Lunges
4x8 Seated Barbell Calf Raises Off Dumbbells
1 Set Neck Work (Harness/ISO)
Farmer's Walk

Day 5 Off

Day 6 (5x5)
Barbell Curls
Close Grip Bench Press
Wrist Roller Strap (2 Sets of 5 each way)
Barbell Decline Situps
Sandbag carry

Day 7 (5x5)
Standing Barbell Military Press
Thick Bar Bench Press
Trap Bar Shrugs
Drop Set Rotator Work
Sled Drag

Day 8 (5x5)
T-Bar Rows
Trap Bar Deadlifts
Hyper/Reverse Hyper (2 Sets of Each)
Plate Loaded Crush Grip Machine
Wind Sprints

Day 9 (5x5)
Barbell Full Squats
Barbell Stiff Legged Deadlifts
Barbell Calf Raises
Barbell Twists
Farmer's Walk

Day 10 Off
Day 11 Off


#8

I can't believe people asking opinions about their shitty workouts when there are so many awesomes training programs just here.


#9

I dunno..I use drop sets..particularly at the end of my workouts with light weights to really get the "pump"(yeah thats right I said it) but I dunno about basing entire days around this method.


#10

Simple, I'm trying to teach myself training program design.  I want to learn to fish, not just be handed one.

In addition, as all of the authors on this site have mentioned, cookie cutter programs are always less effective than something custom tailored, so I'm attempting to learn custom tailoring. So far each new program I design is better than the last and I learn something along the way.

As for it being shitty, well I'm gaining an average of 1lb a week of lean body mass, though I freely admit I've only been back lifting again for 9 months.  You can blame that on newby gains if you like, but in the first six months before I started figuring this out (coincidentally about the time I started reading T-Nation) I didn't advance half as much as I have in the last three.

#11

Yeah, I admit it's wierd. Tom Venuto of BFFM fame, and some other bodybuilders I've read like them, and they've worked great for me, especially because I don't have to guess if I'm doing the most I could do. Basically my theory is that during a hypertrophy cycle your whole purpose is to create maximum protein breakdown, which this definitely does, and it lets me pack a ton of intensity into a small area of time. Using dumbbells and cables (with a weight stack)

I can really rip through them in short order. Don't be fooled though, I start with my 3RM, so these aren't pansy drop sets. My total tonnage with these are VASTLY larger than I could do with say a 4x8 scheme. (though I use that for the barbell stuff since it's harder to change the weights quickly).

My only real worry is CNS fatigue, but since my strength cycle is 5x5 not to failure, I feel that it recovers pretty well at this point.


#12

Workouts on the strength cycle were taking too long even on the new routine (hurray for getting stronger) so we cut out the GPP for that week. My new, but still ridiculously low PRs:

(all are for 5x5 not max)
Bench: 135lbs (With a 2" Thick Bar)
Squat: 155lbs
Deadlift: 200lbs WooHoo!! Hope to hit bodyweight in a few months. (trap bar)

I've been working with the jumpstretch bands, and I think I'll actually be able to do real pullups here in a few weeks. I started with the blue, then green, now I can do 3 reps with the purple ones.


#13

Ok, after a bunch of testing and figuring out what to drop we've managed to squeeze the schedule down to three day cycles instead of four. While I'm still trying to make sure all the muscles get hit directly at some point, the program is now loosely based on a vertical push/pull, horizontal push/pull, and legs push/pull split with some accessory work and GPP thrown in.

(4x8 Cycle)
Day 1 Vertical
Rear Delt Row
Band Chinups
Barbell Decline Situps
Farmer's Walk

Day 2 Horizontal
Close Grip Bench Press
(Drop Set) Seated Cable Rows w/stirrup handle
Barbell Good Mornings
(5x5) Crush Grip Plate Loaded

Day 3 Legs
Trap Bar Deadlifts
Barbell Calf Raises
Sled Drag
(Drop Set) Rotator Work

Day 4 off

(5x5 Cycle)
Day 5 Vertical
Standing Barbell Military Press
Trap Bar Shrugs
Barbell Reverse Curl

Day 6 Horizontal
Thick Bar Bench Press
T-Bar Rows
Wrist Roller Strap (2 Sets of 5 each way)
(Drop Set) Weeblewobbles

Day 7 Legs
Barbell Full Squats
Barbell Stiff Legged Deadlifts
Barbell Curls

Day 8 off
Day 9 off

New PRs:
Thick Bar Bench Press 5x5: 140lbs
Trap Bar Deadlifts 4x8: 205lbs
Full Squats 5x5: 165lbs

As of yesterday I'm 265.4lbs at 24.6%BF, not great, but so far over the last four months I've gained 11.47lbs of muscle, and lost 8.07lbs of fat. Currently gaining +0.96lbs/muscle per week and rising. Due to all my grip training, and arm work, my forearms are growing like weeds, pretty cool.

On a down note, I've been having trouble getting motivated to do my cardio lately, so that's slacking a bit.

Nutrionially I've ditched low carb ice cream for natural yogurt (with active cultures), almost completely stopped eating fast food, and worked hard to eliminate alot of soy and sugar products from my diet. I just recently purchased John Berardi's Precision Nutrition product, and while I'm not following everything in there as of yet, I'm headed that direction. Still, my diet is definitely still my weak point, it's amazingly hard to break years of eating habits.

If anyone has comments, I'm all ears.