T Nation

Figuring Out Regimen for Mass

For the past year now I realize that I’ve been pretty much spinning my wheels, gettin’ nowhere. This means I need to do the opposite of what I’m doing now, but I don’t know exactly where to go.

To start off, I’ve change weight more often than Oprah. Back when I was 15 and slightly pudgy, I made the stupid mistake of doing the starving thing before I started high school football. I dwindled to 145 lbs. then stopped, and began gaining weight again through working out with the team. I topped out at about 208 lbs. in my second year of junior college football.

Then due to laziness/GF/other excuses, dropped from 200 lbs. to 175 lbs. (last September) in about 8 months. I got back in the gym last year and started eating better and lifting, but haven’t actually gone up or down in weight, yet my composition has changed slightly (since I have progressed with weights), but I’ve stagnated for the longest time now.

Anyways, as for as my goals go so you guys know what’s up, They aren’t super ridiculous in nature. The fact is, I’ve never had a nice lean, base physique. I mean I was somewhat big and strong in football, but aesthetically I looked like shit. Now is the time where I just want to develop an aesthetic lean build, and would be super happy if I could get to 185 lbs. with about 8%. This is mainly because I’ve never actually looked really lean (due to my muscle/fat ratio) so it would be nice to be like that for once.

  1. What program would you guys suggest? I really like lifting weights 4x a week. I also have cut back slightly on legs, as I used to focus too much on them and not enough on my upper body (during athletics). For all the shortcomings I may have, they are actually my genetic gift. Even with a year off, I’ll roll out of bed and ATG squat 315 lbs. yet only be able bench 185 for 3 reps. Here’s what I’ve been doing currently:

Monday/Thursday (Squat/Back/Bi�??s)

A. Back squat (dead lift on Thursdays)
4 x 5 reps
B. Bent-over barbell rowing
3 x 6-8 reps
C. Chin/pull-up mix
1 x 6-8 reps (wide grip chin)
1 x 6-8 reps (close grip pull-up, palms facing each other)
1 x 6-8 reps (pull up)
D. T-bar rowing or close-grip upright cable rowing
3 x 6-8 reps
E. Barbell shrug
3 x 10-12 reps
F. Preacher curl
3 x 10-12 reps

Tuesday/Friday (Chest/Tri�??s)

A. Barbell bench
4 x 5 reps
B. Dumbbell incline bench
3 x 6-8 reps
C. Seated cable fly
3 x 6-8 reps
D. Cable triceps extension
3 x 10-12 reps
E. Standing push press
4 x 5 reps

Now, I know I need to be doing something different, so what program would you guys recommend for 4x per week? Is there one that will not completely ignore leg training (still squat one day, dead lift another), but emphasize the upper body? I’d like to find a workout that emphasis strength and compound exercises. I also would like to do some form of cardio early on my off days (HIIT/beach running, nothing too crazy) early, with my MMA training around 6-7 hours later in the evening.

  1. Diet wise is where I have the most issues. I worked through a carb cycling diet following CTs article and it came out with this.

BMR = 1955.1
Maintainance = 3128.16
Bulk = 3440
Cut = 2502

I try to get all my carbs in my first meal and after my workout, but I feel like shit when I try to gorge everyday to meet what my supposed caloric need is. How do you guys pound the food down? During sports it was easy because my metabolism was a race horse, but now besides the gym and MMA, I sit around a lot more. I also bought Precision Nutrition from Berardi, since he’s also really good for mass building strategy.

  1. I also don’t like the amount of body fat I’m carrying, and I have no idea how much I have. I’m figuring that I have anywhere from 12-14%.

So at 175 lbs. at ~13% this would mean that I have 150.5 of LBM and 20.5 lbs. of fat. To reach my goal, I need to gain 20 lbs. of LBM to be at 185 with 8%. What’s the best way to go about this, just focus solely on increasing as much LBM as possible, then diet the fat off later?

  1. I store a lot of my BF on my glutes/thighs/lower back, could this be a signal of poor insulin sensitivity? Should I continue with the fish oil and digestive enzyme I take?

I’ll try to think of anymore questions, but thanks for helping out guys.

Anyone?

  1. A program suggestion that I think would fit your goals and be great would be West Side for Skinny Bastards. Its Highly customizeable, and in its original form prescribes upper body twice a week and lower only once.(you can read why)

2.Food…umm. I had a hard tim putting down a lot of solid food at first. I relied on shakes a lot for a while, but gradually weened off of them. I feel as though it would be better to get cals through shakes rather than not at all. Though solid meals are best. I found 3500 clean was very doable. 4000 clean was tough.

  1. Who likes the amount of body fat they carry? really? I would love to be a solid 10%, but I’m not, more like 15-18%, but I do know that the more muscle I put on, the less it looks like. I would rather have an extra 20 lbs. of muscle than use the same efforts to lose 10-20 lbs of fat.

  2. Most men carry fat there, if not you’re a women. JK. I have read that insulin sensativity takes a little while to restore. Keep taking the fish oil, shoot for 5 or more grams of EPA/DHA combined a day.

…in addition to the diet thing, I like a lot of the stuff that Thib. writes, low carb, but I find that to be the hardest to follow while meeting calorie need. but I found that almonds, cashews for what they’re worth, and walnuts help a lot with fulfilling calorie needs through healthy fats, but not adding starchy carbs.

I’ll give WS4SB a look, would it be too much to do this program on M/T/Th/F around 10 in the morning, than MMA on M/W/F around 7 at night? I probably shouldn’t be doing too much cardio outside of MMA, correct?

I was also thinking of doing full body on the days I don’t do MMA, but that doesn’t seem like enough.

Yah I know no body likes the amount of BF they carry, but I don’t think I’ve EVER been below 12-13%, honestly. But to get to that from what I’ve read, I should look at adding the 20 lbs. of LBM I need, than try to lose whatever fat I’ve gained. As long as I am as lean as possible at 185-190 lbs. I’m set (singe digits). But for now I don’t mind since my abs are barely visible as it is.

IMO, you can still gain mass while doing extra GPP work (MMA, football practice) IFF you eat like a linebacker.

If I remember correctly, Droogan, last summer you did Thib’s superhero workout. How’d that go?

[quote]Droogan Leader wrote:
I’ll give WS4SB a look, would it be too much to do this program on M/T/Th/F around 10 in the morning, than MMA on M/W/F around 7 at night? I probably shouldn’t be doing too much cardio outside of MMA, correct?

[/quote]

If you do WS4SB, Joe Defranco shows a lot of different ways to lay out the program. I think that if you want to do back to back days of working out like Mon./Tues. then Thurs./Fri. I would make sure I didn’t do the Max Effort days back to back. Example: ME Upper/Mon. , Repetition Lower/Tues. , Repetition Upper/Thurs. , ME Lower/Friday. That way it splits up the Max Effort days by well over 48 hours.

I second what OTEP said about the GPP, I don’t think it will hurt you, it may speed up recovery, just remember to eat a lot. The more active you are the less likely, in my opinion, you are to gain fat on a calorie surplus diet.

[quote]Otep wrote:
IMO, you can still gain mass while doing extra GPP work (MMA, football practice) IFF you eat like a linebacker.

If I remember correctly, Droogan, last summer you did Thib’s superhero workout. How’d that go?[/quote]

I was going to go with that program, until I slapped myself realizing that I need to pack on serious muscle mass before I start worrying about “lagging” parts. I still do however want to give the edge to training my upper body, and doing really only squats and dead lifts for my legs.

I’m trying to figure out a plan that I can go with over the summer, and continue on with basically for a while before switching. Once I get back to school (I’m moving near a gym down there that’s finally has power lifting equipment), I’m gonna get back to including cleans and snatches as well.

I figure the GPP work would be fine (it’s only an hour), but is it alright that I do it on the days that I lift? For example:

Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday:
Resistance training for 1 hour at 10AM

Monday/Wednesday/Friday
Mixed martial arts for 1 hour at 6:30PM

I just downloaded WS4SBIII, but I don’t know how to quite organize it yet. I want to ditch the lower dynamic work (we do plyometrics in MMA) and and in another weight day.

I’m thinking I might post my diet for some of you guys to look over…

Doing GPP on the days you lift is probably not optimal, but it probably won’t hurt you too much. Lots of yesteryear’s strongmen worked in construction and oil drilling.

Post the diet. If you can, include the total calories and protein (when I look over a diet, doing that saves a bunch of time).

But as long as I get plenty of rest, and the workouts are about 6-7 hours apart, I should be OK? Anyways, my diet looks something like this:

Breakfast 8AM
1-2 whole omega-3 eggs + 3 whites
1 cup Irish oatmeal with some blueberries/strawberries/flax seed mixed it
6 raw almonds
1 scoop whey protein
2-3 pieces small fruit (usually whole strawberries)

Postworkout 12PM
2 scoops whey
1/3 and 1/8 cup dextrose or 1-2 pieces of fruit

Lunch 2PM (this is the hardest to stick too)
4-6 chicken tenders
1 medium yam
1 cup vegetables
Small salad

Afternoon meal 5PM
1 whole omega-3 eggs + 3 whites
10 raw almonds
1 Tbsp. and 2 Tsp Olive Oil
3 fish oil caps

Post MMA days 7:30PM
1 scoop whey
30g dextrose

Dinner 8PM
8-9oz of some lean meat (top sirloin, ahi tuna, chicken, turkey or salmon)
Large side salad
1 cup broccoli
1 cup green beans
3 fish oil caps

Pre-bed 10PM (I try to get this in if I’m not too stuffed)
2 Tbsp Omega-3 peanut butter
1/2 non-fat cup cottage cheese
5 almonds

The calories came out to about 3300, with around 250g protein

Are you seriously counting the almonds?

I mean, I admire your dedication but… dude.

Hahaha, actually it’s more like a handful. Still, I get the feeling that between MMA and a 4 day split, that’s not enough calories.

[quote]Otep wrote:
Doing GPP on the days you lift is probably not optimal, but it probably won’t hurt you too much. Lots of yesteryear’s strongmen worked in construction and oil drilling.

Post the diet. If you can, include the total calories and protein (when I look over a diet, doing that saves a bunch of time).[/quote]

I agree with OTEP and will add the following guidelines to keep in mind if training 2x daily (be it with weights or weights and energy system work):

When training several times a day increase vitamin C and glutamine by 80g.
To fix overtraining I have had success with clients using blood protein by Poliquin(tastes like an old shoe but very effective)
BCAA while you train (40g for 200 pound male).
Alpha choline also aids in fixing overtraining.

pretty good variant IMO

[quote]laroyal wrote:
When training several times a day increase vitamin C and glutamine by 80g.
To fix overtraining I have had success with clients using blood protein by Poliquin(tastes like an old shoe but very effective)
BCAA while you train (40g for 200 pound male).
Alpha choline also aids in fixing overtraining.
[/quote]

Instead of taking Vitamin C by itself, should I take a multivitamin or just load up on the C? I just ran out of BCAA powder, and I’ll pick some up ASAP (why is it so damn expensive?). I was taking my BCAA in the morning, after weights and during MMA.

I have no clue what blood protein is, but I’ll look it up. The same goes for the alpha choline.

Load up on the Vitamin C! For the BCAA’s try scivation’s extend and check out www.ntesupplements.com (they also carry some Biotest).

The reason I am against multi-vitamins is because they contain things thatcompete for absorption and not enough of what you need (e.g. most have calcium and magnesium…can you say waste). Vitamin C has been proven to lower cortisol.

FWIW, Poloquin’s supplement regimens often conflict with a realistic budget.

His work also frequently touches on supplements, and very rarely on calorie levels.

IMO (and I realize this goes somewhat against what LaRoyal, who has been highly intelligent in his advice on this forum, says), you’ll see results just by adding more calories.

That’s what I’ve trying to do slowly, just adding more calories. I’m afraid that it wouldn’t be right to jump up 1000 calories really quickly.

Now that I’m going back to school and will have a badass gym available to me (one that lets me through some weight around so that I can actually deadlift, clean, etc.) I’m going to start with lifting 3x per week with a full body routine. How does this look? I’m keeping it basic:

Monday:
Squat - 5x5
Power Shrug - 5x5
Bench - 5x5
Barbell Row - 5x5

Wednesday:
Deadlift - 5x5
Incline - 5x5
Lat Pulldown or Weighted Chins - 5x5
Push Press - 5x5

Friday:
Power Clean - 5x5
Dumbbell Bench - 5x5
Barbell Row - 5x5
Weighted Dips - 5x5

Too much volume? Should I even do arm work on my off days? Could I stick a workout in on the weekends? I’ll do abs on the off days.

Like I posted earlier too, there will be GPP work on my off days, either MMA sessions, HIIT or steady-state. Depending on how this program goes over the course of 3-4 months, I may switch over to the one Zephead suggested.

Routine looks fine.