T Nation

'Experienced' Beginner. Advice & Constructive Critism Needed!

Ok, so I just wrote like 3 pages of stuff and it somehow didn’t post, so I’m going to give the short and dirty this time.

About me: 27 yo, 5’11", approximately 186lbs & 15% bf, 35" waist. Maxes…not sure. I would guess the following (being conservative): BP: 235, Squat: 275, Deadlift 305. Overall nothing impressive.

9 years of experience, mostly not doing anything. I’ve had about 3 spurts where I was on track for a year: 18-20 where I was in Army basic training through my first year of college. Got down to 163lbs and 8-12% bf. Guy did a caliper test and said I was 8% but I couldn’t see my abs so…

Got fat after that, got deployed to Iraq and worked with Craig Balyntyne and droped to 173 then got up to 185. Was in really good shape and probably about 15-18% bf. Got back from Iraq and got really fat again, as much as 205lbs and 39" waist.

Biggest problems: Paralysis by information analysis. Just to much info in my head. I know a lot, but knowing when and how to put it into practice is just failing me.

What I’m doing now:

My original goal was to get down to 170-175, evaluate how I look and make a call from there. I’ve been stuck at 185 for some time now. I think it mostly has to do with consistency in my work outs. Been consistent now for about 6 weeks and haven’t really seen a change in my waist measurement, although my belt is fitting better and I look better in the mirror and just feel better.

Nutrition: Kind of a carb cycling deal. I do not do well on super low carb diets. I just have no energy to do anything.

Cals may look a little low, but i always add about 200-250 cals a day in healthy fats. when I eat veggies. I just don’t write it down on my diet plan, its just kind of implied.

Nonlifting days:

Breakfast: 4 eggs and 2 turkey sausage patties, water with psyllium husk
Lunch: 8-10oz cooked meat, a lot of veggies (either a salad with Oil/Vinegar dressing or veggies usually roasted in olive oil)
Snack 1: 1.5 oz nuts and 6oz greek yogurt
Snack 2: 1 scoop syntha-6 and 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
Cardio: 4 scoops Xtend
Dinner: 8-10oz cooked meat, a lot of veggies (either a salad with Oil/Vinegar dressing or veggies usually roasted in olive oil)
Snack 3: If hungry, nuts or PB or another protein shake. sometimes a fiber one bar

Lifting days:
Breakfast: 3 eggs and 1 turkey sausage patties, water with psyllium husk, 1/2 serving of steel cut oats mixed with 6oz greek yogurt and frozen blueberries
Lunch: 8-10oz cooked meat, a lot of veggies (either a salad with Oil/Vinegar dressing or veggies usually roasted in olive oil), 1 cup cooked brown rice
Snack 1: Fiber-one bar and 1-1.5 oz nuts
Snack 2: 1 scoop syntha-6 and 1 cup unsweetened almond milk and 1.5 serving steel cut oats w/frozen blueberries
Training session: 4 scoops Xtend
Dinner: 8-10oz cooked meat, a lot of veggies (either a salad with Oil/Vinegar dressing or veggies usually roasted in olive oil), half a carb (usually half a sweet potato)
Snack 3: If hungry, nuts or PB or another protein shake. sometimes a fiber one bar

Always take in 1-1.5gal of water every day. Also, 1 day a week is a cheat day, but i keep it in check and it’s on a day that I lift weights

Training:

I’ll post my last weeks training. It’s a pull/legs/push/full body routine. last week was my first week on this routine so the weights may be a little lighter on some exercises

Monday- 30 min moderate cardio

Tuesday (rest sessions are 2 mins for heavy exercises, 1.5 mins for moderate, and 1 min for lighter)
Pull

Pull ups
BW 5x5

T-bar rows
80 8x1
85 8x3

Single Armed DB Rows
45x10x3

Inclined DB curls
25x10x3

Standing EZ-bar curl
55x8x2
55x6x1

15 mins elliptical

Wednesday
Legs

Didn’t finish my entire workout. Just wasn’t feeling it and my hands are eff’ed up from pull day where trying to hold a barbell and do SLDL would just not work. Plan on adding SLDL (4 sets of 8) and seated hamcurls(3 sets of 10)

Squat

225x5x5

Machine Hack Squat-wide & high stance
200x8x1
220x8x3

Single-leg leg press
110x10x3

Thursday
Push

Bench Press
205x5x4
205x3x1

Inclined DB Press
45x8x1
50x8x1
55x8x2

CGBP (about 6-7" apart)
115x10x3

Skull Crushers
45x10x1
45x9x1
45x7x1

Standing Cable Flyes
25x10x3

15 mins elliptical

Friday
30 mins of moderate cardio

Saturday
Extra Day-Full Bodyish

Deadlift
265x5x5

Wide Grip Declined BP
190x8x1
195x8x1
200x8x1
200x6x1

Seated Hamstring Curls
140x8x4

Rev Grip Pulldown
110x8x4

15 mins elliptical

Sunday
Funday-Usually do some light cardio or Yoga or something.

So that’s it. I appreciate all constructive criticism and advice ahead of time.

-Zach

Okay first stick to a program where your muscles can recover when you lift heavy, so none of this push then full body try something like westside for skinny bastards.
another point, you are not hitting every push muscle evenly their isnt even a shoulder workout on push day. same with your not working your hammys at all except on deadlift.
and you should be doing more than just light cardio everyday.
This is a shit plan man just get on top of the westside for skinny bastards or wendlers 5/3/1

5/3/1

@Back: Thanks for responding. I think I need to clarify some points you had and see if I address maybe some of your concerns.

I don’t see how doing a full body once a week goes against mountains of articles and advice from this website alone that says hitting muscles twice a week is best for muscle building.

As far as not hitting shoulders and doing heavy 5/3/1, I totally agree with you that I’m semi-avoiding that. Reason being, even though I haven’t been super consistent, I have been doing nothing but heavy for some time. Although I only have medium gains from inconsistency(I wouldn’t miss a workout for like 6 weeks and then I would for 2 kind of inconsistency), my body is still feeling the heavy weight, especially my shoulders so I’m taking a little break from direct shoulder work for now. Previously, I had been doing Waterbury’s ‘Waterburg Method’ for about 5 months with great results then followed that up with 1 month of 5/3/1 (have both books btw). I just wasn’t feeling 5/3/1. I do plan on giving it another go in the near future. I’m just beat up from all the heaviness for now.

Hammies- I said in there I just didn’t do them that week. This week I did 195x8x4 of SLDL and then 140x10x3 of seated ham curls. Went a little light but I haven’t gone above the 6 rep range for a long time so wasn’t sure what would happen. Going to hit up Good mornings on my Saturday workout for some more posterior chain work.

Cardio- my cardio sessions are 15-30mins, heart rate b/w 140-170 BPM, mix it up b/w eliptical, running, HITT, & Barbell complexes, so I wouldn’t call them light.

I’ve seen the Westside for Skinny Bastards name thrown around, but haven’t read anything on it. I’ll run a search tonight and read up on it. I’m sure I’ll have some questions on it.

Thanks!

[quote]back211 wrote:
and you should be doing more than just light cardio everyday.[/quote]

why?

Hey man,

first off, diet seems to be pretty good…

Secondly, the other guys have got the right idea… 5/3/1 may be a decent programme for you.

I also semi-advise mark rippetoes starting strength…

It really is a great programme… Even for some fat loss, it’s intense enough for that simply because you have 3 compound lifts each lifting day…

As you are experienced and your lifts are further on than a typical SS beginner I suggest tweaking the programme slightly. Maybe add in some more lifts?

You could also add in a fourth day as long as this doesn’t affect your recovery… To prevent that maybe drop the compounds that day and just do something like dips, chins and ab work.