T Nation

First Year Progress


Ok, so about a year ago I started lifting seriously (again). Because I've never been able to reach my goals before, I threw out everything I thought I knew about training and started fresh. I did a lot of searching and reading in the articles and the forums. A lot of you guys out there have helped me without even knowing it.

My first training log entry was May 21 of last year. No before pics.

Measurements: BW - 170
Chest - 41
Shoulders - 47.25
Waist - 35.5 (at navel level)
Thighs - 19.5/20.5
Biceps - 14.25/14.5
Forearms - 11.5/12
Calves - 13.5/13.75

Bench - 170
Squat - 220 (but not until June 12 because of a broken leg)
DL - 265 (same)


Current measurements: BW - 208-212
Chest - 44.75
Shoulders - 52
Waist - 37
Thighs - 23/23
Biceps - 16/16 (cold)
Forearms - 12.5/12.75
Calves - 14.75/14.75

Bench - 240
Squat - 350
DL - 380

It's been a while since I've maxed. On June 19, I'm gonna try for a 405 DL, one of my biggest goals so far.


BTW, no real point to this thread other than to share and maybe encourage. My gains haven't been enormous, but I think I've done well for someone who just turned 31.


Congratulations on your progress. Gaining 40 lbs and having all your lifts go up significantly within a year is awesome, especially that bench press.

I am the same height as you, but you've got about 20 lbs on me, and the lifts to go with it. What's happening on June 19th? Is it just a day in the gym or are you going to compete somehow? either way, at that bodyweight, it doesn't seem unreasonable for you to get 4 plates a side on the deadlift, especially if its been a while since you maxed.

What did your diet and training look like over the course of the year?


No before pics, but do we get to see afters?

Either way, awesome progress man. A couple more years and you'll be looking sweet. What's your ultimate goal?


Congrats! Nice progress!


Thanks for the support, guys. I pretty much have nobody else to share this with. My wife is very supportive, but when it gets down to specifics, she just kinda gets that blank look and says "is that good?" :expressionless:

Everyone else is like "oh, yeah? I can bench 260!". And then when you ask them how much they DL, they give you that same blank look... Pfff...

Nah, just another day. But I'm specific with my goals. I've been shooting for 405 on that day since I hit 300 back in October.

On the training side, I started with Starting Strength and adapted to it quickly. After two months I changed to a four day push/pull and added in some work for arms, calves, and forearms. After two months of that, I tried One Lift A Day for a month and Hepburn's Solution for Strength for another month. Made no strength gains during those two months, and I think that was when I put on the most fat. So I went back to my four-day and started seeing gains again. At the end of December, I decided to work out in the morning as well as afternoon, so I could add some more volume. I lift like shit on the compounds that early in the morning, so I put extremities there and added volume to my afternoons. In February, I added a day and started working biceps and chest twice a week. I'm still working out ten sessions a week now and still seeing gains.
Looks like this:
Day 1
AM - Forearms
PM - Legs
Day 2
AM - Calves
PM - Back
Day 3
AM - Biceps
PM - Chest
Day 4
AM - Triceps
PM - Posterior Chain
Day 5
AM - Biceps
PM - Delts

Each afternoon workout starts with a heavy compound in the 3-5 rep range, followed by assistance work in the 6-10 rep range.
Bench press - 8x3 with 205
Incline DB press - 3x6 with 70's
Incline BB press - 3x8-10 with 140

As far as diet goes, I only have a few basic rules
1. Don't eat crap. - Basically, if we didn't cook it, I'm not eating it.
2. Avoid sugar as much as possible. - I have a serving of fruit post-workout. I try to make that the only simple sugar I get during the day. White flour is only slightly more complex than table sugar, so I avoid it, too. Fat and complex carbs are ok.
3. Eat enough to gain ~1lb per week.

To make this really easy to stick with... I grill an entire week's worth of food at a time. I don't look forward to a meal if it's a tin of tuna or salmon, but a steak or BBQ chicken breast? Bring it on!

Supps: protein shake in the morning - 60g whey, 8oz whole milk. Two 'protein digest' caps and a fish oil cap
Protein shake pre-workout - 60g whey, 50g maltodextrin, water. Two digest caps and a fish oil again.


Meh. I'm not big on pics... in pics... whatever.

My goal is 225 @ 10%bf by the end of next year. That means I have a year and a half to gain 25 lbs of mass and then cut it down. Gonna be a rough road, but I'll make it. Also searching for that 3/4/5 plate bp/sq/dl. Hoping to get that by the end of next year, too.


Good job old man! lol I'm turning 31 this August, so I know what you mean by slow gains.

You've made a great transformation, according your numbers, something to be very proud of.

Pictures ... did someone say pics or it didn't happen? :wink:


Thanks, man.

Yeah, someone mentioned pics. I'll see if I can't snap a few, I guess.




Front. Damn, I need a tan


Nice work. Your strength gains were great!


nice work dude


Thanks, guys. I appreciate it.


Well, I decided not to wait until Friday. Figured it would be better to max on day 1. But, unfortunately, I busted on this goal. Only managed to pull 390.

At first, I was pissed. I mean, c'mon, FIFTEEN POUNDS!!! But I guess adding 125lbs to any lift in one year ain't too shabby. I'll get over it.

On a positive note, I weighed in at 210 this morning, so I'm gaining again despite this damned heat and increased workload.

Back to the grind!


Fantastic job! What sort of training were you following? What worked the best? What worked the least? What was your diet like? What would you have done differently? Lets get some details! :slight_smile:


Thanks, brother. A lot of the details are posted above, so I'll give some short answers.

I'm on a five-day split, twice a day. Extremities in the morning, larger groups in the afternoon.

I've found that what works best for me is; heavy compound (5 reps) for the first move, then 8-12 rep sets for the rest, just to get sufficient volume. I'm currently experimenting with 8x3, then 3x5, and finally 3x8 as a finisher. Liking it, but we'll see if it gets results.

OLAD and HSS were the worst. Not that they're bad programs, they're just not for me. I need more volume.

Best way to describe my diet is 'a lot of good food'. Not too strict, but I don't eat crap.

What would I have done differently? I'd have gotten my shit together a long time ago. Makes me sick to think where I'd be now if I had this information when I was a teenager. If I had this kind of HELP.


good job dude! keep up the good work