T Nation

Growing The Fro Out

background info here: http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_beginner/really_confused_now

EDIT updated 5/11/12
links to progress pics on page 20
BW 6/2011: 169 lb
BW 9/2011: 186 lb
BW 1/2012: 206 lb caliper BF: 21.32% Bod Pod (actual): 26.8%
BW 5/2012: 194 lb caliper BF: 15.08% Bod Pod (estimate): 20%
BW 6/2012: 201 lb caliper BF: ~15% Bod Pod (estimate): 20%

weight progression on various lifts (6/2011 vs 9/2011 vs 1/2012 vs 5/2012)
incline bench: 45x10 DB vs 185x4 vs 215x8 vs 225x3x2 (RFL)
flat bench: 155x8 smith bench vs 245x8 smith bench vs 245x7 bb bench vs 275x1 (RFL)
deadlift: 205x8 vs 265x9 vs 385x1 vs 405x1 (RFL)
squat: 205x8 (3/4 squat at best) vs 185xsum hack squat (due to injuries) vs 225x8 back squat (pretty close to parallel) vs 275x1 back squat (just short of parallel, RFL)
bb ohp: 125x9 (push press) vs 115x9 (seated bb ohp) vs 155x7 (seated bb ohp) vs 175x1 (RFL)
DB dead stop row: 100x8 vs 125x8 vs 125x12 regular DB row (strapped) vs 125x19 DB row (strapped)
Vbar row: 0 vs 0 vs 3 plates x8 vs 4.5 plates x4 (RFL)


short-term (by end of December 2012)

  • weigh in at 210 or more as lean as possible
  • continue adding at least 10-20 lb a month to every lift
  • balance out shoulder development
  • boulder shoulders
  • test 1RM for big lifts

medium-term (through to next summer/fall 2013)

  • start dieting in january until friend’s wedding in May, break for one month then diet until my wedding in September
  • re-evaluate physique
  • take stock of any injuries


  • at least 1000 lb total (315 lb bench and squat, 405 lb dead), and 2pps seated ohp
  • 190-200 lb or more at 10-15% bf, not really sure how much I will have to weigh to be “big enough” but I very much enjoy being under 15% bf
  • basically be decently strong and look the part, with more emphasis on looks

i’ve always kept a log of weights used on my phone, but it’s far too unwieldy to carry a log on there over time so i’m putting that here. also, hopefully anyone who bothers to look in can see where i could use some improvement and also help keep me from making mistakes sooner. i know that i can improve a lot everywhere. on the bright side though, looking through some of the old logs on the phone, i saw a db row 85x4. wow. can’t believe i went from that to doing 125x7 before my back injury!

i decided to pretty much start over and train according to mr. popular’s recommendations in the above thread.


30g whey hydrolysate upon waking/while washing up

186# bw, post-void. i always weigh myself post-void, nekkid, and before pooping (which usually doesn’t happen til after i drink my preworkout anyway). consistency is the key!

breakfast/preworkout meal
6 hardboiled eggs (3 whole/3 whites)
2 bowls frosted mini-wheats (going back to quinoa once i finish this box)
~ < 2 cups of whole milk
~ 6-8oz 100% juice (had to finish what little was left in the bottle)

waited 30 mins for breakfast to settle and drank preworkout:
jack3d 3 scoops
con-cret 3 scoops (3.6g creatine hcl according to the label)
citrulline malate 6g
l-carnitine 3g

shaker bottle intra-workout:
whey hydrolysate 60g
vitargo s2 70g
1/4-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

3 supersets of 2x10 rope curls and pushdowns, 60#, 70#, 80# (stopped at 8 reps, felt nice and warm)

alternated weighted close-grip pullup and weighted dips

close-grip pullup
bw x12
25# x10
35# x8
45# x6

bw x12
25# x10 (mini-break at 8)
35# x8 (mini-break at 6)
45# x7 (mini-break at 5)

misunderstood the rep scheme for the next two movements so instead of 15,12,10+ i did 12,10,8,6:

triangle pushdowns
90# x12
100# x10 (mini-break at 8)
110# x8 (mini-break at 6)
120# x6 (mini-break at 4)

hammer curls
45x10 (mini-break at 8)
50x8 (mini-break at 6)
55x6 (mini-break at 4)

close-width pushups to technical failure on 4 levels of decline/incline (~30* decline with my feet on a bench, floor, hands on seat, hands on backrest)
15 reps -> 11 reps -> 9 reps -> 8 reps

rope curls


i wasn’t sure about the weights to use. next session i will probably take two steps back owing to the higher reps and the number of mini-breaks i took, and go from there.

pw shake
60g whey hydrolysate
70g vitargo s2
con-cret 3.6g
citrulline malate 6g

pw meal (~1 hour pw… had to do my laundry anyway)
6-8oz chicken (from thighs, skin off)
~8oz white rice
some ketchup

gf was about to come over around the time i could’ve eaten my next meal. i should’ve at least had a shake but i didn’t want to have an upset stomach during my “cardio” session.

frickin starving by the time she left. i had a frozen jamaican beef patty (22g fat, 39g carbs, 14g protein. utter crap and super tasty). still hungry < hour later so i had the other two chicken thighs (skin on) that i should’ve eaten in the first place.


same pre-breakfast/breakfast/preworkout as above, minus the fruit juice. the sell-by date on the milk said 9/2 so i threw the rest out. unfortunately there’s still another bag of frosted mini-wheats to go.

legs (first time squatting anything in over a month)

5 minutes on stairclimber
15 minutes stretching

hack squat (the kind with a sliding platform). i really tried to go ATC here. feet about shoulder-width, toes slightly pointed out, i let my knees follow my toes and tried to keep my lumbar arch and get big air before going down. i treated every set as a set of X singles rather than 1 set of X reps.


right hip flexor was feeling more sore and tight than the left but not painful. great success.

leg curls. ~1 sec concentric, hard squeeze at the bottom, ~2 sec eccentric.

started getting that wobbly feeling. huzzah.

leg extensions. ~1 sec concentric, hard squeeze at the top, ~2 sec eccentric.
70x11, mini-break then 3 more.

definitely got that wobbly feeling. fml.

standing calf raise (machine with shoulder pads). i haven’t worked calves probably since last winter. from fully stretched position, ~2 sec concentric, hard squeeze at the top, ~2 sec eccentric. had to rack the weight and reposition my feet on the step probably once a set.

105x8 (left knee had a seizure at top of last rep)

walked to seated calf raise like i had a stick up my butt.

seated calf raise. from fully stretched position, ~2 sec concentric, hard squeeze at the top, ~2 sec eccentric.

65x12, mini-break then 3 more

AHHHHHH IT BURNSSSSS. lol guy on the machine next to me was doing around the same weight but basically bouncing it. you work that Achilles tendon!

15 stretch

pw shake as above

pw meal soon as i got home, same protein but about half the white rice, saving the rest for pw meal for chest later today. i worked chest press machines on monday in an effort to re-learn my rep speed so i’m gtg.

it’s 6pm so if i want to get in chest today, i don’t really have time to eat again after my pw meal. should’ve gotten up earlier today. but i don’t feel tired, which is good.

off to LA Fitness

spoke too soon. chest felt ok but tris were probably still not 100% from yesterday.

20 pushups
shoulder complex thingy

incline bench. very controlled descent, slight pop off the chest because i’m not used to the bar, usually db press.
barx10 x3
75x6 x2
95x5 x2

supposed to do sets of 12,10,8,6+ but then i figured if the first three are supposed to be warmups, i’ll just break them down so i don’t get tired and i get really comfortable with my left shoulder. usually i incline db but i didn’t want to risk popping a hip flexor from kicking the weight up.

115x6, x6
135x5, x5
155x3, x3, x2
feeler rep for 185. felt heavier than it did two weeks ago. i knew my tris were toast and my foot placement/back arch felt funny because the seat was almost to the ground. but wtf git er done.
185x3, x2, x1

tried to flat bb bench, right ham cramped up warming up with the bar. fawk.

flat db bench 15,12,10+ tris still toast, couldn’t leg drive 100%. but managed to get db’s almost parallel to chest without tweaking left shoulder much, nice controlled descent.
45x15 (damn 40’s were missing)
55x12 (damn 50’s were missing)

cable flyes 15,12,10+ couldn’t go all the way back because of left shoulder. nice controlled negative/positive, hard squeeze at the top.
40x14, mini-break, x5


pw shake

i should’ve eaten the rest of the rice earlier because i forgot i couldn’t eat late tonight. i’m back to work tomorrow and i always sleep horribly the night before so i need to take an ambien on an empty stomach around 10.

note: musclemeds carnivor fruit punch tastes HORRIBLE.

(6 whole eggs + pint or so white rice) * frying = egg fly lice


rope straight arm pulldowns
bw pullups

work sets
wide grip pullup 25x8
neutral grip 55x8
close grip 45x7

HS front pulldown (one arm at a time, full stretch)
90x8, x4, x3
HS dead stop low row
135x8, x5, x4
HS low row
115x10, 90x12

straight arm rope pulldown/low row supersets for pahmppp
50/80 x15
60/90 x12
70/100 x10


trained chest last thursday 9/8 and i feel fresh so what the heck. chest/back day.

did my measures today (averaged the sum of 3 pinches for each skinfold this time like i’m supposed to):
ab 29mm
chest 9.6mm
thigh 10.3mm
14.65% bf
left arm 16.5"
chest 39.25"

looks like i gained only 1.5# from last month, but today i weighed AFTER pooping. yesterday my BEFORE poop weight was 190#. usually i don’t poop until after breakfast so it’s likely i gained 2-3# from last month.

6 whole eggs
1.5 cup cooked quinoa
felt MUCH less bloated than when i was eating cereal+whole milk. might as well get rid of what’s left of the cereal.

incline bench
warmups with barXwhatever, 55xsum, 95xblah, 115xcouple, 135xfew, 155x1or2, felt up 185.
185x4, x3
felt stronger than last time. i could’ve probably ground out a set of 6 to start but i felt my tris taking over, rep speed slowing, knew it was gonna be a grind so i backed off.

smith flat bench. backed off again when i felt my tris taking over.
245x9, x4, x4

cable flyes. squeezed mah tittehzz real hard at the top, backed off when i felt my bis assisting.
50x13, x5, x4

pec deck (machine with forearm pads)
55xdrop sets until i go up a cup size from teh swole.

i remember reading something that Phil Heath said in a past issue of Flex about drinking his pw shake, then drinking his creatine 15-20 minutes later and how it didn’t mess with his appetite. i tried it, and not only did i NOT feel bloated at all, i actually felt HUNGRY an hour after i finished my pw shake. i’ll keep doing this from now on as pw meals were always a huge struggle for me to get down.

filled my plate with what usually looks like enough to me (ie a challenge to finish), then weighed it.
10oz of hamburger meat (the package said it’s 88% lean, but i baked it and threw out the gunk)
8oz of cooked white rice

going out on a date with the gf tonight so i need to get back to the gym in two hours for a back session…

i still felt too full to eat before i went back, so i just had a preworkout shake (BCAA 5g, con-cret 3 scoops, citrulline malate 6g).


straight arm pulldowns
BW pullup warmups

wide grip pullup 25x9
neutral grip 55x9
close grip 45x7
wide grip BWx7
neutral grip 35x7
close grip 25x7

HS front pulldown
90x9 x5 x4

HS dead stop low row. was very distracted dealing with dinner reservations and hurrying through the rest of the session to get out in time for dinner.
135x8 x5 x4

HS low row

straight arm rope pulldown/low row superset

we went to ruth’s chris steakhouse for dinner. i had some white bread plain, 8oz of filet and over half of their “one-pounder” baked potato (plain) before we had to go home, take turns sitting on the throne then some “cardio”.

after she went home, i ate the rest of the steak (probably 2oz tops), maybe 4oz of burger, the rest of the potato and 1/4 cup of dry roasted almonds.

tomorrow, shoulders/traps combo in the AM and legs in the PM…

6 fried eggs
a bunch of quinoa



seated db OHP
60x7 x3 x2

seated bb OHP
115x9 x4 x4

standing db lateral raise
30x10 x7 x7

heavy rear delt swingers
45x13 x9 x8

seated db shrug. i was doing 115x10 after bb shrugs before i pulled my back. feels like my grip is getting weaker.
100x10 x7 x6

calf machine standing shrug
195x11 x7 x6
drop sets up the stack until i get swooole

pw meal
5 oz hamburger
can of tuna
white rice

not sure if i am doin it rite but my control on eccentrics is much better, weights or reps are going up, measures are going up and i haven’t hurt myself in weeks…

I was really pressed for time with this leg session. I did manage to stuff down a cup of quinoa and six egg whites beforehand. had to cut the warmup and stretching short but the movement felt ok.


hack squat
180x13 x7 x6

db lunge walk
35x30 steps. my left butt/groin and my right hip flexor HATE me.

standing calf raise

had to bounce so I was out like trout. bento box for dinner tonight!!

slept mad late, woke up early, bis feel tired from back day…

6 fried eggs
almost half a plate of quinoa


warmed up with straight arm rope pulldowns, rope tri extensions and rope curls.

close grip pullup
45x10 x5 x5. will try to get more reps next week before I increase weight as 10 reps didn’t come easily.

45x10 x5 x4. same here, more reps next week.

hammer curls
50x8 x5 x4

close grip smith bench
225x8 x4 x4

preacher curl
75x10 x4 x4. had to bro up the last two reps =x
drop sets

90x16 x7 x6
drop setsÂ

I was getting tendinitis in both elbows so bad that it hurt to straighten my arms for days. they feel fine now. my left shoulder also didn’t bother me at all while doing dips and close grip smith bench.

pw meal was a total fail. I had to meet up with a friend at her gym and I was on my bike so I couldn’t eat en route. I was also running crazy late to meet up with gf and friends to go upstate so I didn’t have time to eat. fortunately, I did have shakes during and after my workout. I told my buddy to grab me a roast beef sandwich on white with cheddar and triple meat (plus 3 lb of turkey for the weekend) plus a muscle milk (oooohh yeaaaaa) so hopefully I can get some fawking calories in me.

no gym until Monday…

I was in a huge hurry to move back into my parents’ house last night and I wasn’t sure when my CPR class this morning was gonna end, so meal planning was subpar. I did manage to bring all my eggs to the house, and there was bacon and tortillas in the fridge. thus, breakfast was a pack of bacon, six eggs and five white tortillas. I ate two from 8-9 while in class and the rest when I got home past 11.

i had dinner plans so i had to do one huge chest/back session. I packed an extra shake to drink during my back session. I got done with the whole thing in about two hours. had to skip pec deck burnouts and also HS lat pulldown though.


incline bench warmup, 6+
185x8 x4 x3. I realized that this is a STRENGTH MOVEMENT and I should dominate the hell out of it, and not worry about what my tris feel. if I had a spot I might have been able to grind two more reps out.
165x7. messed up, this was supposed to be 155.

flat smith bench 6+
245x10 x4 x3. if 10 comes easier next session, I’m moving up.

cable flyes 10+
50x17 x8 x7. moving down the stack next session.

back. the half reps were justtt short of a full one. better luck next time.
wide grip pullup 25x9.5, BWx8
neutral grip 55x9.5 35x8
close grip 45x7.5 25x7

HS dead stop low row 6+ 135x9 x6 x5
     no stop 115x11 90x13

straight arm rope pulldown/low row supersets 10+
70/100(15/15). was supposed to go down the stack but I had to use a Life Fitness cable stack with ambiguous “resistance” plates. I assumed they were in kg and went approximately 80# and 100# with each movement.

went home and ate about 4 oz each of grilled salmon and white rice rather than taking creatine. I figure I’ll get to eat again in another hour and a half.

if I do these mega-sessions all week I might die. last week was already tough with two a days and some rest and food between sessions.

wednesday I should be able to do shoulders/traps in the AM, legs (mostly squat variations) in the PM and arms on Thursday. next Tuesday I should be able to start loading my back again.

I was running out of protein so I just went straight to breakfast.

6 hardboiled eggs
bunch of quinoa
still not all that full, had a banana


seated db ohp 6+
60x9 x4 x3. should’ve gotten that 10th rep but I took too long resting at the bottom of the last rep. I’ll get you next week!!!

seated bb ohp 6+
115x10 x4 x4. last rep had just a tiny bit of grind/stall at lockout. probably good enough, will slap some 2.5 pounders on next week rawwrrr.

db lateral raise 10+
30x13 x8 x8. tried not to cheat it too much at the end but form was decent IMO. will get those last two reps next week.

rear delt cable reverse flye
17.5x11 x6 x5

seated HS shrug 6+. much easier to get into position for my back.
100x12 x9 x9

calf machine shrug 10+
195x17 x10 x10. going down the stack next week rawwrrr.
drop sets

ran out of protein for my pw shake so I went home and ate… less than a pound of grilled salmon and maybe 8-10oz of leftover white rice and quinoa. dumped sweet chili sauce on the fish, I luvs it.

just realized I don’t have any cooked food left >_<

managed to get down 6 eggs (4 whites 2 whole, I failed at straining those yolks out), 3 bananas and half a cup of dry roasted salted almonds before I went back for legs (squat pattern/quads and calves, really…)


hack squat 6+
190x14 x8 x7. felt pretty strong here. I guess it’s just me getting used to the movement again. up another 10# next week. I’m sure this will plateau soon.

db lunge walk 10+
40x30 steps. the 20th step almost knocked me over. took some deep breaths and gutted out the rest. should be able to go up next week.

leg curls 10+
100x15. burned like a mother. should be able to go up here too.

standing calf raise 6+ 
135x10 x7 x7. could’ve ground out a couple more but the tenth rep was pretty clean so I figured I’d save myself the DOMS. I got it bad for four days last time…

seated calf raise 10+ 
75x15 x10. figured I’d stop here for DOMS also.

gf came over shortly after I got home so no time to eat. was too tired to make or get food after she left. realized my planning has been utter shit lately so I have the 1.5# angus beef ready for tomorrow, plus 2# of pork chops and 2# of beef short ribs thawing.

feels like I’m making a lot of noob gains everywhere. I also counted something like ~450g protein, a similar amount of carbs and maybe 70g fat consumed today. it seemed like a lot but then again after two sessions I guess the benefit from the calories and macronutrients is halved… if I ever get to “respectable” poundages I’m guessing that either my intake will have to go up even more, or I’ll have to spread my sessions out. the latter not being ideal because doing that sometimes last winter I’d go two weeks between sessions for a bodypart/movement…

breakfast: the usual


close grip pullup 6+
45x11 x6 x6. fairly clean on the last 2 reps. more weight next week, probably 10#.

dips 6+
45x11 x7 x5. the last 2 reps were hell but clean. 10 more lb next week.

hammer curls 6+
50x10 x6 x5. had to cheat the last 2 reps a tiny bit but my elbows stayed back the whole time. fuck it, 55’s next week.
35x8. was supposed to use 30’s but some guy was doing single arm curls with the other one.

close grip smith bench 6+
225x10 x4. ohhh yea last rep was a grind, but my leg drive sucked due to last night’s quad and butt destruction (pause). fack ettt 235 next week. edit: sticking to 225 next week, I realized that I was kind of bouncing out of the bottom of the rep so I need better control here.
185xsome. was running late for lunch with the gf, so no isolation/burnout work.

had a “Baja turkey burger deluxe” and chicken noodle soup with iced tea (I said unsweetened dammit…) for lunch. the patty was tasteless and probably 6oz at best. ate the whole thing (especially the tomato slices and avocado) some fries and added a few tablespoons of sugar to my drank.

working Friday-Sunday so no gym til Monday again. should be more than ready to knock out 10 reps of that 185# incline bench by then.

ended up eating all of the angus beef (couldn’t have been more than 12oz), and a couple cups quinoa around 4. got hungry again by 730 so I got some KFC (2 ~4oz filets, a biscuit, sweet corn and a soda). it’s almost 10 and I can feel my stomach emptying so I will probably have a protein shake with some olive oil. I’d eat cottage cheese but I can only eat half a cup before I fart through the whole night. I know there’s a type of casein that lactose-intolerant people can consume without side effects…

You’re still making your training more complicated than it has to be, in my opinion… and avoiding certain basics like back squats, barbell curls, barbell rows, for some reason in favor of stupid shit like DB lunge walks, machines for back, and chinups for your biceps.

I don’t even know what to tell you really, because you’ve just got so much shit swimming around in your head I feel like any advice I give that is meant to be simple will just get lost in there.

If I could, I would take one of those MiB memory eraser things and flash you with it, and tell you to forget everything you think you know about lifting weights, and start over.


anything that puts a load on my back (even standing bb curls and standing shrugs) was scrapped until next week because of my back strain.  next week I start going under the bar again (just the bar…) and I’ll increase the weight every week until I can go “heavy” again.   in the meantime I figured I’d keep the machine stuff since it’s the only way I can go heavy safely. when I can go heavy enough on the basics, I plan to scrap the machine alternatives unless I feel like I need more work.

rest assured, deads, squats, bb rows, db rows and bb curls will go back in where they belong as my back heals completely. I LOVE to pull heavy, and though my squat sucks I want to bring it up. when I was figuring out how to substitute exercises in to work around my injuries it got a little depressing.

is there anything wrong with my rep scheme? I tried just the one blast set and then doing a couple of lighter sets, but it didn’t feel like I was doing enough work. I rack the blast set just short of when I’d need a spot, rest a bit and do a couple more. or should I just add a few more lighter sets?

oh my god so much crap. blast set??

Keep It Simple, Stupid. Mr Popular is much better than I am at concisely delivering basic, solid advice. I believe he has already done this once in one of your previous threads. Maybe he will do it again, but when it comes down to it, YOU have to put it in to practice.

One thing I will say now is that your commitment and intensity seem to be lacking, already. Seems like every post you have made in this log has had a section about how you didn’t do something because of your girlfriend. Look man, you can certainly make progress with mediocre consistency and dedication (lord knows I have not been an extremely dedicated bodybuilder, but I am 21, and I’ve pretty much gotten over the half-assed phase) but if you want to get big, you can’t be shitty about it. If you want to be a truly BIG guy, your life has to be about that. No I’m not saying be a miserable loser with no life outside the gym, but you can’t skip meals, or parts of your workouts, or eat like crap, every damn day, because of your girlfriend.

blast set (it’s in the bible, that’s how bricknyce referred to it, not my term), work set, heavy set, all-out set. the original recommendation was warm up to one all out set of 6 reps on one or two compound movements, then try to improve rep count up to 10 clean reps then increase weight. same with isolation movements except the starting rep count is 10, and improve up to 15 before increasing weight. I thought I was doing that.

I tried warming up to one all out set of a compound movement before going to isolation movements but it didn’t feel like enough work until I added more reps and then lighter sets after.

as for the meals, I’ve conceded that my planning has been utter shit. non-training days are especially rough because of lack of opportunity to eat at work. I’ve already got a reputation for eating all the time which looks really bad considering some nurses don’t even get to take their break sometimes and eat once. but I’ll probably start bringing shakes to work to compensate, and waking up earlier on training days to make more time for eating.

breakfast was 8 eggs, 6 whole 2 white, plate of quinoa and 2 bananas.

I’ve been feeling a weird twinge down my left arm from the shoulder and tendinitis from that elbow since a couple days ago. warmed up and everything felt ok.

incline bench 6
185x10 x5 x5. got a spot for the all-out set and the confidence boost made all the difference in the world. the last rep was tougher than the rest (surprise…) but went up pretty clean and easy. I couldve ground out another two but I figured I’d stop while I was ahead. this is technically a PR since I can’t ever remember incline benching anything over 135 for reps, but this feels like I should’ve been capable of it all along. will chalk it up to just beating the log and put up 195 next week.

flat smith bench 6
245x10 x6 x5. last rep was better than last week so I will go up to 255 next week.

cable flyes 10
60x13 x6 x5

stretch. pw meal is skinless chicken thighs and white rice.