T Nation

Giddy Up! (JMaier)

I’d love to pipe in here and give you some helpful tips, but to be honest nutrition is not my strong suit.

To start, I’m a tad shorter than you…at 5’9". I weigh in at ~205lbs (most I’ve been is 217lbs, and haven’t been less than 200lbs in a couple years).

I “clean bulk” around 3000cals making sure I hit my 200g protein per day. If it is a tough workout day (squats/DL), my macros shift more towards carbs, if it is a rest day/easier day (OHP, Bench focus), my macros typically result in more protein and fat. I will often bulk until my 4-pack starts becoming a 2-pack. I’ve never got to the point where I can’t see my top 2 abs at all.

Then for cutting I keep my cals around or just below the 2500cal mark. First 3 months of cutting this year I did the same approach above (kind of a carb cycling type approach, but not really tracking) and just cleaned up my food choices. All carbs were potatoes or rice. Meat was leaner cuts of meat and fish. Up the water intake to curb any snack cravings through the day. I’m currently doing the ‘healthy eating challenge’ from NEVERsate. Basically a Keto/Green Faces type diet, so no direct carbs. First week sucked, and now I feel great. I’m only in week 3 at the moment, but I did this last year for a month and dropped ~8lbs (not saying this was all fat).

So ya, take that chunk of information for what it’s worth (maybe very little?).

I’m currently deep into a pre-summer cut. Between that and my relatively slow metabolism (age related, I assume), I’m not eating much, and am doing a lot of LISS. But as I am 22 years older than you, we are at very different points along the body-recomp continuum. Thus, while I’m happy to talk macros, training, etc, I’m not sure how germane it would be to a whippersnapper such as yourself.

Maybe there’s something in this for me. If I hit my macros I’m eating 300g of carbs. I usually only care about protein though. I get 200+ every day. With my push/pull split in having multiple days of good training in a row but not increasing carbs. Sometimes I let them stay low for the hell of it kind of like an unofficial carb cycling low day.

Yesterday I busted out over 70 front squats throughout the day. Today I had some decent pulls and played basketball. Tomorrow is supposed to be a push day with strength emphasis. Thursday is deadlifts… I’ve never really eaten much over 300-350g of carbs. Might be worth experimenting with carbs.

We may be at different places in our training lives but I bet you have some wisdom to share. Do you think it’s necessary to increase overall calories while pursuing strength gains?

I can accept my genetic potential for muscle mass but it seems strength potential is less pre-determined.

I’m 5 9’ and about 187 lbs somewhere between 12-15%. Right now I’m on 2400 cal/day with 20 per cent from fats, 200-210 g of protein and the rest from carbs. That’s towards the lower end of maintenance for my estimated LBM because I’m only just starting to try and get my body accustomed to being at this level of leanness. I’ll adjust calories upwards every 12 weeks or so until I’m at the top end of my estimated LBM maintenance, which should take around a year. That’s when I’ll start carefully going above maintenance, probably with much the same macro split.

I’ve never trained specifically for strength, so I don’t have any experience to draw upon. Training for size, yes.

Saw you tagged me, so here’s my take.

I’ve never counted a calorie or a macro in my life. I honestly just can’t see myself going through life like that. I have a few basic tenants of nutrition I follow (stay away from processed food, eat lots of meat and veggies, no direct carb sources, lots of fats), and eat more food to gain weight and less food to lose it.

“Bulking and cutting” is going about it totally backwards. Eat to support your training; not the other way around. Your training will necessitate phases of higher volume (accumulation phases). During these phases of training, you eat a greater amount to support your increased workload. This results in increased muscular gain. Eventually, you will reach a point where you can no longer sustain the increased volume. When this happens, you will need to reduce volume, which means needing less food. When the volume reduces, the intensity will naturally increase, resulting in an intensification phase.

I think if you approach your training this way, you will see the results you want. If all you do is manipulate food, you simply will get fatter and thinner depending on intake.


Do you let your body naturally send you the signal to eat more or less based on your training or do you intentionally adjust during the appropriate phases?

I track my food because not doing so has failed me. It could be my OCD with never having abs, then having them, and the fear of losing them. I’d love to be able to get away from it.

I’ve had a couple of really good training days this week and I’ve been a bottomless pit. I’ll eat a good meal and feel hungry less than an hour later. That’s not typical for me but I’ve given my body fuel because I feel like it needs it.

EDIT: I tagged the handful of people that I regularly see contribute to the forum…and who I’m pretty sure are stronger than me. Thanks for sharing!

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If I relied on my body’s natural signals, I’d be VERY fat. I have a voracious appetite. I eat pretty much the same thing everyday, and just make adjustments based on my training. Right now, I’m in an intensification phase as I rep for a contest, and I’ve eliminated pistachios and halo top ice cream from my diet. I’ve lose 2lbs doing that, and am able to see my abs. It works for me, but some folks prefer to track food.


Yeah, that’s pretty much me. I think I have the cravings and appetite of a 400lb man. Large pizza? Better chase it with ice cream. Buffets? I strive to make them lose money on me.

Aaannd that’s why I can’t have those things very often.

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I’m 5’10" 226lbs 36" waist. I need to lose about 3 inches on the waist at least. I have cut in the past using keto and RFL (Don’t do that). The lightest I’ve been in the past 5 years is 193. I got super weak and did everything wrong.

I believe that super low carb and low cal killed my metabolism/set point.

Since the end of January I’ve started actually trying to eat for performance and focus on the lifts with 5/3/1 BBB. I Went from 213 to 226 in 1 month eating 2250-2500 cals. Lost 2 notches on the belt. Shoulders, traps, chest and thighs all look better. Has to be noob gains (getting back into it).

I’ve kept protein at 175g which is my lbm assuming 25% fat. I let fat and carbs do what they’re going to do until I hit 2250 cals. I avoid carbs at breakfast and lunch. Then in the evenings the wife will have a potato or squash or fruit. We eat primal (paleo+dairy). Lift at 9pm so carbs in the evening makes sense.

As far as bulk or cut. I say if you aren’t a physique athlete than eat enough to train hard and recover. If the abs disapeer then dial up the cardio/conditioning. I’m done cutting calories hard. But that’s because I did it wrong and it sucked.

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04.12.17 (push-strength emphasis)

I opted to skip squats today in favor of leg press at the gym. My body is worn down and my left hip pain is starting to get old. I did bench at home and it was glorious to only do bench during that part of my workout. Felt great to do strength work on chest only for a change.

225x3, 235x2,245x1, 235x3, 245x2, 255x1, 245x3, 255x2, 265x1, 255x3, 265x1

Single-Leg Plate Loaded Squat Press (has an arc to the movement unlike traditional leg press)
270x5, 290x5, 310x5, 330x5, 350x5

I don’t count the machine weight when tracking my loads

Front barbell raises
4x10 w/ 30lbs

I’ve begun to slow my eccentric tempo on lateral and front raises while using lighter weights. It feels better on my joints and I’m improving the mind-muscle connection.

I finished my training off with another four games of pick-up basketball.

And a final note: I actually think I get better results from the plate loaded squat machine than squats. I know it’s blasphemy around here but I’m able to really work my legs at a better depth without taking so much out of me. I’ve gotten away from this machine while trying to do manly things like squats but I’m going to be throwing it in regularly for awhile. Don’t worry, I’ll still be squatting; just not on every push day.

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Forgot that I did the ab wheel between sets of bench. 2x10, 2x8, and 2x6.

May knocked out some push-ups at home to finish my chest training for the day. Almost forgot. I didn’t want to do it before basketball because I wouldn’t have been able to breath or shoot worth a damn.

20, 15, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 15

Why do I waste time on other exercises when trying to get in hypertrophy work for my chest?


370x3, 380x2, 390x1, 380x3, 390x2, 400x1

That’s it.

Our police department is going through the process of changing uniforms. I’m on the uniform committee and was one of nine people selected to wear the new uniforms back in November. Today I was asked to come model our current uniform options along with the new uniform. I get to be the model for the media release!!! Luckily most of it consisted of me standing perfectly still and looking like the bad robot from Terminator 2.

To put this in perspective our department has somewhere around 600 officers. Our current uniform is a silver/tan top and tan/pink pants. They’re basically two different shades of brown and tan and look terrible. We took advantage of World War I surplus uniforms. Thank goodness we’ll be switching to all navy blue from now on. No one ever heard of the “Boys in Brown”.

The reason I’m babbling about this is because it took up my entire afternoon. I tried to squeeze in my workout but only had time for deadlifts. I also over-estimated my strength apparently. The goal was to do three waves of 3/2/1. I’m supposed to hit a PR or close to a max on the last rep of the third wave. I wasn’t even close. I pulled 400 for one on my second wave and only got it about an inch off the floor for a second rep. Apparently doing deadlifts on Thursdays after three consecutive workouts and two days of basketball does not leave me at peak strength… I’m considering moving deadlifts to Sundays and giving them their own day. That would also allow me to focus on doing deadlift assistance exercises and power cleans on my other pull days… exercise ADD activated…

On another but somewhat training related note… my left hip freaking hurts. Went to the chiropractor and received some Active Release Therapy (ART). That sucked. My glute medius and tensor fasciae latae (TFL) are freaking guitar strings right now. Squats hurt, lunges hurt, single-leg leg press hurt. Doc told me to stop doing things that hurt to hopefully let it heal. That leaves me with deadlifts and partial squats or maybe double-leg leg press. So for the foreseeable future I will not be doing much for legs. I’ll try to be creative so I can keep working the muscles but it probably won’t be the same. Don’t judge me for partial squats and barbell hip thrusts.

I’ve never been good about pursuing one thing at a time such as improving my bench or squat. Maybe I’ll pick overhead press or bench and start pursuing that while maintaining the rest of me. It makes sense to put most of my energy into one thing to improve it to reach my goal and then switch to maintenance while pursuing another goal instead of chasing them all at the same time (without success).


thought of this for some odd reason

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4.14.17 (Pull-Hypertrophy)

I was supposed to do this after deadlifts yesterday but that didn’t work out so I just picked up where I left off…

2x10, 8-2-2 (double rest/pause)

Seated Cable Row
170x7, 190x5, 210x3, 190x7, 210x5, 230x3

Single-Arm Reverse Cable Fly
3x10 ea with 40lbs

Back Extension
3x15 BW

Reverse Cable Curl
2x10 w/ 120, 10-4-4 (double rest/pause)

This took about 30 minutes which is all I get for my lunch break. Really struggling to figure out how to work in some cardio on work days.

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Attention T-Nation. We have a male model here. Good on you!


4.15.17 (Push-Hypertrophy)

Well today was a new experience. I feel like I just went through the motions on my workout and had absolutely no direction. That’s never happened before. I was distracted by work today and that’s rare. I finished my workout and thought “what the hell did I just do?”

I didn’t look at my written workout; didn’t do my usual rep schemes or loads… it was strange.

5x2 w/ 205lbs

This was fine as I was just trying to work on speed reps per CT’s 915 program. I’ll be running Layers on my strength day in the near future. With my nagging hip injury I’ve decided to focus on my bench only for awhile. I’ve never done that. I’ve always tried to improve everything at once but I know better.

Supersetted with Bench, Partial or 1/4 Squats
5x5 w/ 275lbs

Way too light… not sure what the hell I was thinking. I was hoping to do some light squat work and do 1 & 1/2 reps with 135 but I felt the hip pain with the bar only. Switched to leg press because I didn’t notice any pain during my lighter double leg sets earlier in the week so I thought I’d be good to go…nope. Pain there as well. So I went back to 1/4 squats but I was flustered.

Incline Cable Fly
3x10 w/ 50lbs each arm

Standing DB Military
3x8 w/ 50’s

And that was it. I wasted about 40 minutes on this haphazard routine. I’m taking tomorrow off and hopefully I’ll pull my shit together Monday. Although I might deadlift tomorrow at home and see how it feels giving it its own day.

I had some time to kill at work today and watched CT’s video on Wave Loading on his blog at ThibArmy. This video is about two of the rep schemes mentioned in his recent article: https://www.t-nation.com/training/5-best-loading-schemes-for-size-strength

The video covered 3/2/1 and 5/4/3 waves. He said that 3/2/1 waves were a way to peak but not to develop strength. He continued with the 5/4/3 wave loading method and said that’s where the strength improvements can be achieved. Two rounds of 5/4/3. You start with 5@80%, 4, @82%, and 3 at 85 or 87%. Then you do 5@82%, 4@85%, and 3 at 87% (or 90% if you did 87 on the middle set). Two waves is enough.

This changes my plans because the written article didn’t go into as much detail about the waves. It made it sound like 3/2/1 was the best strength gaining wave scheme but it’s not. It’s a peaking scheme and meant to only run two weeks before moving on.

I had intended to continue to 3/2/1 waves on my overhead press, deadlifts, and squats while running CT’s layers program for bench with the hopes of actually improving for a change. My main focus is to improve my bench so I don’t intend to really kill myself on the other lifts but I have a hard time slacking off as well… even though yesterday’s workout says differently.

I’m still going to avoid things that hurt so I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do for leg training. At least deadlifts don’t aggravate my hip. Guess I might be stuck doing heavy 1/4-1/2 squats for a while.

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Deadlift Day

So I tried deadlifting today thinking I’d be more rested from my heavy activity days and I think I was correct. I guess it could’ve been the lighter load but I feel great.

E1/2MOM for 15 minutes

Pulled 1 rep every 30 seconds for added volume today.

30 total reps alternating between regular and squat stance with 325lbs (about 72% of my max).

And I finished with AMRAP in 1 minute with 135lbs. Got 37 reps.


4.17.17 (Pull Day)

Followed up yesterday’s deadlift session with some more pulling.

Hang Clean
5x3 w/ 185lbs

Snatch Grip High Pull
185x3, 205x3, 5x3 w/ 225

My son woke up so that was the end of part one.

A couple hours later I hit the Y to finish up. The track they have is 6 laps for a mile. I did the math and it seems to be about 270 meters per lap. The straightaways are about 90m, making the curves about 45m.

2 lap dynamic warm-up (5 min 17 sec)
4 laps of sprint/run fast on the straightaway and walk the curve (so about 8x90m) (6 min 57 sec)

2x10, 8-2-2-2 (triple rest/pause)

DB Row
5x5 w/ 100

Face Pull
3x12 w/ 100

Lying Side to sides (some call these windshield wipers)
2x15 ea side

Back Extension Machine (new version)

110x15, 2x15 w/ 130lbs

Straight Arm Crunch Machine
3x10 w/ 150lbs

And that does it for Monday. picked up my 164lbs of beef afterwards. Paid $434.50 for the beef and about $130 for processing making it come out to about $3.44/lb. Not bad for decent ground beef, roasts, and steaks :cow2: