T Nation

Getting Big and Ready for PT


Next year I will be beginning my first year of college and will be doing ROTC, so I've spent a good amount of time this year getting ready for PT (physical training). At first I was only doing pushups, situps, and some running but I've begun lifting using the starting strength program. I am 17 years old and quite skinny, 131 pounds at 5' 11 and 7% body fat. My abs and pecs are well defined but not very big. I have made significant progress from the beginning of the schoolyear (august) when I was only 122 lbs, a little shorter and with more body fat. My typical routine follows this:

Day one- Weight lifting (Bench press, Squats, pullups/chinups, chest flys, dumbell curls, pushups, some abdominal work)
Day two- Running (Usuualy about 3 to 4 miles, though sometimes I will go on 8 or 9 mile runs)
Day three- Loaded carries (farmer's walks and waiter's walks, or I'll throw the bag on my shoulder and carry it.)
Day four- Rest

On a good day I get about 3200 calories, though it's usually less. I figure that I do so much running that whatever body fat I gain is quickly burned off so any weight that I gain is just muscle and bone. I am mainly just trying to get ready for physical training next year but also want to gain some size. I'll usually get about 130-140 grams of protein, 140-150 grams of fat, and 350-350 grams of carbs. I think the ratio is probably okay but the volume should be increased.

What advice can you give on my current situation?


I’m no expert, but I think you should make sure your carbs are good, slow burning ones not starches and sugars. I also would separate my bench day from my squat day and add in deads either on a separate day or with squats. Squat and Deadlift heavy for mass. I’m not sure how big you want to get, though, because chin ups are a large part of PT and the heavier you are the harder they get. I would also look into a good “gainer” protein powder. But, like I said, I’m no expert and I’m just a beginner, too.


This is just my opinion, for what it’s worth. I have not completed ROTC, but I have participated in a PT/Calisthenics based programs that had similar elements.

Unless I am misunderstanding the lifting program you outline above, you are not actually doing Starting Strength. I believe the basic template for SS is : Day 1 - Squat 3x5, Bench 3x5, Dead 1x5. Day 2 - Squat 3x5, Overhead Press 3x5, Power Clean (or pull up) 5x3. You alternate 1,2,1 one week and 2,1,2 the next. At least, that’s how I read the program. I’m not saying that SS is the only program out there, or even the best. I’m just saying that if you’re going to do it, you should do it like it’s written.

Regarding food, keep an accurate food log and actually plug your calories/macros into a calculator and stay as consistent as possible. Most guys are eating less than they think. Don’t worry too much about supplements unless you’ve got a bunch of extra money, just focus on quality food and lots of it. If you want to try some supps whey protein, BCAA and fish oil are good bets.

Rucking, running and calisthenics are good focuses, as they are “likely” on the agenda at ROTC. You can ruck almost every morning for 30-45min without doing yourself much harm as far as recovery goes and you should probably run 3-4 days a week, mixing shorter distance (400m±) sprints, hills and one longer, slower steady state run. Do yourself a favor and start building good running form now. You can work calisthenics in throughout the day in multiple, smaller sets. Make sure you keep fed, hydrated and rested to recover from your training volume and grow. Good luck and train hard.


you know, for your goal of getting through PT in the army (that is it isnt it?), this isnt too bad a program so long as you are recovering and progressing