T Nation



Hi guys:

I am new to this. I would like your help to catch anything I ought to be doing that I've missed.

My questions:

  1. Is my goal physically possible, using any methods short of a steroid cycle?
  2. Are the measures I'm taking likely to achieve my goal?
  3. If not, how should I change the measures I'm taking?

My condition currently: five-foot-eleven, 158 lbs. Lean body mass 137.4 approx. Classic Culkin physique. Discovered I am pitifully weak at compound lifts even though I can do Turkish get-ups with kettlebells and pull-ups with a 70-lb weight. Am ashamed of myself :frowning:

My goal: Gain 37.6 lbs of muscle to achieve a lean body mass of 175 in 12 months. Total body weight = not relevant to goal. Ab visibility = not relevant to goal.

What I'm doing: Starting Strength (thank you for the correction!) as written. At pathetic poundages, but they feel heavy to me.

What I'm eating:

Pre workout: cliff builder bar (20g protein)
Post workout: 12 boiled egg whites, 2 sausage biscuits + supplements
Midmorning: cliff builder bar, ensure muscle retention (33g protein + HMB)
Lunch: School lunch, all you can eat :slight_smile:
Mid afternoon: cliff builder bar, ensure muscle retention (33g protein + HMB)
Dinner: varies...but everything I can pack in + 1/2 cup lentils
Evening: protein shake (25g brown rice protein, whole milk), 12 more egg whites (sorry caveman, I left that out before)
Early morning (2 am): cliff builder bar

TOTAL ESTIMATED PROTEIN INTAKE 225-300g/day, average approx 270g/day (check my math)

Relevant supplements: 8000mg vitamin C, 6000mg L-lysine, 1000 mg red rice, 1000 mg cq10, 3000mg HMB in addition to ensure

Your thoughts, gentlemen.


hmm, at least you aint concerned about your abs.
A: wtf is all that sciency shit at the bottom? is that more important than eating whole eggs?
B: i can only see 120gms of protein and not a lot of calories in that diet. increase protein to 200gms and start eating whole foods-whole eggs and beef dammit!
c: i presume you are at school during the day? take whole milk and chug that shit brah, start with 1 litre a day and gradually increase from there.
D: summary - you arent giving your body enough to Grow! there are loads of good diet articles on this site

A: what are your current training figures
B: what are you doing for assistance
C: good work on those pullups, they will certinly help you achieve your goal
D: Summary - need more info


Apologies, I'll be clearer:

A: I throw away all but 1-2 of the yolks to avoid the very high cholesterol content. I have genetically high cholesterol. The vit c and l-lysine dosages follow the Pauling therapy.
B. I'm sorry, I wasn't clear in my post. I estimate my total protein intake to average about 270g a day: the protein figures for lunch and dinner aren't listed. I usually add about 1/2 cup of lentils a day too (approx 25g protein).
C. Whole milk intake is at 1 1/2 pint (approx 700ml)/day. Increase whole milk...check.
D. I will be faithful to look at the diet articles, and thank you for the tip on the whole milk. Do you have any other ideas for how I could increase my intake?

A: The poundages are embarrassing. Squat 185, Bench press 135 (!), Deadlift 185, Military press 65, PC 75
B: Workout A 2x8 dips with 25-lb plate, Workout B 2x8 chinups with a 25-lb plate (max is 70 when I'm fresh)
C: Thank you.
D: Let me know if you need anything else.

  1. I believe you have the right mindset to make it happen.

  2. If you are consistent and sufficient with your food intake, yes. Caveman's info is worth repeating.

  3. However I think your poundages are too small for 5/3/1 to get you going/gaining top-speed. Wendler's program is more of an intermediate-geared approach. You're a beginner, so take advantage of it. A method like Starting Strength or Stronglifts 5x5 until you're at maybe 315 for squats/deads for reps, 225 for bench, 135 for OHP, will probably get you there faster. When the weights are to that point, then switch to 5/3/1.


oh wow. I am an idiot. Starting Strength IS what I've been doing...I was just reading an article on 5/3/1 and I guess it made an impression. I chose Starting Strength on the advice of veterans who indicated it was the best program for beginners.

I will correct my stupid, stupid post.


Bravo then. Onward and upward!


i agree with HRM, then youre doing it anyway. is lying a good way to start a relationship? lol


Sorry, didn't mean to mislead. And I was trying so hard not to disrespect any help you veteranos might offer. hangs head in shame

My main concern though is this: gaining 37.6 lbs of lean muscle (assuming a 60/40 muscle to fat gain ratio) would mean gaining over 62 total pounds. That's over five pounds a month. Is that a realistic goal?


with big enough balls!
yes, train hard, dont get distracted


you've gotta get some quality fats in there, especially with as much change you are expecting to induce on your body. Jack up the omega 3s with some wild salmon, fish oil, walnuts, etc. Throw in some avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, etc. As far as cliff bars go, they are practically nutritionally equivalent to a snicker's bar...I'd look for some high protein whole foods to snack on instead. Are you a vegetarian?


Hey jskrabac, thanks for taking the time to post.

I'm not a strict vegetarian, but I have vegetarian leanings. I try to eat as raw and as vegetarian as practical, but I'm not willing to sacrifice my goals for it.

Fish oil...check. I am picking some up today (Rippetoe mentions it). I also have a few cans of coconut milk that I can mix in with the rice protein shakes. I would eat avocado with every meal if I could...

I snack on raw almonds and raw pecans a lot. I can tell when I'm saturated with pecan oil, btw. It's a unique feeling (for me).

About the cliff bars: the average snickers bar has about 1g of protein, and the cliff builder bars have 20g. I chose them based just on that...although they are high in saturated fat (5g!) If you meant they were the equivalent to snickers bars in some other way, though, please correct me!


Its already been said but get yourself some fish oils.

I'd also look into some other bars instead of the Cliff Bars. It seems like you've got a lot of bars and things mixed in your diet. Try to get as much of your macros from real food.

I dont know anything about rice protein. Youre a vegetarian? or semi vegetarian? Like I said I dont know much about that type of protein but it might not be the most optimal? Are you opposed to trying a more "standard" protein... like a whey?

Starting Strength seems like a good program. I havent done it myself but it should be good (seems to be getting lots of good reviews) I dont know if you have a workout partner but a good workout partner (bigger and stronger than yourself) should help you push yourself to get bigger and stronger.


This week's results are in: +1.5 lbs. :slight_smile: I am ginormous now!

Okay back to reality and...boiled eggs.


Starting strength does seem to be good for a lot of people to put on mass, but it can also create some serious imbalances. If you're just doing
Bench press
(some versions are different than others)

You're missing
ANY real bicep, tricep, lateral delt, calf work.

Just something to consider. It depends on your goals, but Starting Strength is nowhere near a bodybuilding split. I don't believe being a beginner means you should neglect all those other things.


Yea, so if you hit a plateau at all, it may be a good time to consider adding some meat. Good to see you loving the coconut milk. I looked up the Cliff Bars, and I think I was confusing them with something else like Power Bars. They're definitely better than snickers, but I noticed all that protein comes from Soy Isolate, which can be bad news for digestion. Better to go with a whey isolate IMO.

Good to have you on board.