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Had the Body & Lost It Over 9 Years

Alright I’ll skip the drama: In 2011 I had a six pack and I was able to bench 125lbs for 20reps and I was deadlifting 205lbs. I barely did squats. I’m starting back on Sunday, and I need some help.

It’s not like I don’t have any experience though; I used to do a chest/tricep (workout A) and a back/bicep split (workout b) and did shoulders and abs for every workout, and I would hit the treadmill for 10mins and do a set of 20 pushups as a warm up. I was 5’11 and 160lbs
at 20yrs old and didn’t work my legs in as much as I should have.

Now, I’m 28yrs at 185lbs. My goals are strength (a 700lb deadlift, a 315lb bench, and hell if I know what a good goal for a squat is) and more muscle mass (ambitious, I guess). I used to add weight every set to the bar after reading once about how they used to do it in West Side, and I think that’s the approach I want to go, but again, it has been a long time.

It’s important to me to build up my strength and endurance, but I also want to put on slabs of muscle.

I don’t know how to plan my workout and what my protein/carb/fat intake should be on my off days and what they should be on the days I’m busting my ass. Any advice?


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Indeed, how can you come from a 205# deadlift wishing for 700? He should aim for 900 I think


I understand it can feel paralysing when you’re starting out. Here is my rough guide:

  • Perform each movement pattern 1-3 times a week
  • Train 2-4 times per week
  • Machines are okay, particularly if you’re very uncoordinated and/or new to training
  • Include low-intensity conditioning (walk, rowing machine, assault bike) 2-4 times a week
  • Train predominantly in the 6-15 range, with a few sets below 6 and a few above fifteen
  • Aim for 1-3 quality, hard, sets per exercise, per session.

The movement patterns are:

  • Knee-dominant: squats, lunges, leg press, hack squat
  • Hip-Dominant: deadlifts, block pulls, rack pulls, RDLs, stiff-legged deadlifts, good mornings
  • Vertical push: incline press, shoulder press, landmine press, arnold press
  • Vertical pull: pull-ups, pulldowns
  • Horizontal push: bench press, floor press, decline press, chest press
  • Horizontal pull: any kind of row

That’s a pretty normal weight. What do you look like?

What, exactly, did you eat yesterday? ( Shout out @Chris_Colucci )


I think @j4gga2’s guide is right on it - can’t go wrong.

My advice at this point would be to pick any program on this site (because it will follow the principles he just laid out) and just do it. Over time you’ll figure out what you like and don’t like and will gravitate toward whatever fits you/ your goals. Speaking of which, your goals are going to mature, too. Right now you don’t really have any (I know it seems like you do, but basically you want to amazing at everything, which is a little more aspirational than what we usually discuss), which is good: that gives you a ton of freedom.

I think the only thing that can derail you at this point is thinking more than doing.

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possibly the most useful advice a trainee could receive. I still fall victim to it.

Also, I appreciate the vote of confidence :slight_smile:

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At the moment I would like to keep my opinion to myself at the moment. That is until I can fully evaluate the thread


Plenty of free conjugate resources here (and elsewhere). Find one (de Franco has some good programs) and stick to it.

Everything you need to know about diet here: https://www.t-nation.com/diet-fat-loss/simple-diet

That should cover you for months.

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As an aside, whatever happened to Henriques? He had some incredibly practical articles

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Thanks for the tip.

So I’ll start with the following:

Workout A
-Bench 3x10
-Dumbell fly 3x10
-Dumbell pullover 3x10
-Decline dumbell fly 3x10
-Incine dumbell fly 3x10
-Tricep ext 3x10
-Tricep pulldown 3x10
-Lateral raises 3x10
Overhead Press 3x10

Workout B
-Deadlift 3x10
-Barbell rows 3x10
-Cable rows 3x10
-Lawnmowers 3x10
-Lat pulldowns 3x10
-Dumbell shrugs 3x10
-Drag Curls 3x10
-Hammer arms 3x10
-Supinated dumbell curls 3x10

Looking at it again, it looks like too much, but if I can keep control of the weight with good form, I should be okay right? I still don’t know how to tackle the legs though

Maybe read @j4gga2’s post again, and then scrap that workout.

Or google 5/3/1 for beginners.

Or do Deep Water.

Honestly tho, Jagga had some solid advice, and you can’t have read his post and then, using the information in it, made that workout plan.


Okay, try this:

Lift weights 3 days per week, with at least 48 hours between sessions. On at least 2 of your rest days, go for a walk, swim or bike ride, or hop on a cardio machine and work up a sweat for 20-30 minutes. Keep your mouth shut and breath through your nose. It will keep your heart rate down and your body more towards aerobic metabolism instead of lactic.


  1. Goblet Squat (pretty light): 3 x 6
  2. Front Squat: 2 x 5+5+5 (do 5 reps, rack it and rest 10-15s, then another 5, then rack it and rest 10-15s, then one final set of 5) use a load that you can move perfectly I’ll write up a progression model below
  3. DB Romanian Deadlift: 1-2 hard sets of 8-12
  4. DB Arnold Press: 1-2 hard sets of 8-12
  5. Chest-Supported DB Row: 1-2 hard sets of 6-10
  6. 1-2 muscles to isolate (your choice): 10 minute time cap


  1. Greco Pull Apart (link below): 3 x 6
  2. Bench Press: As for front squat
  3. Dips or Push-Ups: 3 x failure
  4. Chin-Up or Pulldown: 3 x fail if chins or 1-2 x 10-15 if pull downs
  5. Leg Press or Reverse Lunges: 1-2 hard sets of 15-20 for leg press or 1-2 hard sets of 6-10 if lunges
  6. 1-2 muscles to isolate (your choice): 10 minute time cap


  1. KB RDL (light): 3 x 6
  2. Trap Bar Deadlift: as for front squats
  3. Goblet Squat: 1-2 hard sets of 8-12
  4. DB Incline Bench Press: 1-2 hard sets of 8-12
  5. Cable Row: 1-2 hard sets of 10-15
  6. 1-2 muscles to isolate (your choice): 10 minute time cap

For the squats, bench press and trap bar deadlifts:

  • Week 1-3: 2 x 5+5+5, add 2.5kg/5lbs each session, so start fairly light
  • Week 4-6: 2 x 4+4+4, again adding 2.5kg/5lbs each session
  • Week 7-9: 2 x 3+3+3, again adding 2.5kg/5lbs each session
  • Week 10+: switch to 1-2 x 3-5 followed by an AMRAP at 85% as from here onward your technique should be good enough to handle the heavy and higher rep loading. You can progress by doing more reps with the same weight on your heavy work sets, more weight on the heavy work sets, or more reps on the AMRAP down set

Greco Pull-Apart:


Horrible session, go for the one posted by @j4gga2 for instance.

Like you have 3 different flyes in your workout… And yeah just too much exercises for a beginner.

After going back over the OPs post. I think he would be well served in reading some material that covers the basic principles and concepts regarding resistance training. Which isn’t a slight against him at all.


Yeah agreed. I looked at the 5/3/1 program by jim wendler and also the west side for skinny bastards artciel as well. What @j4gga2 laid out fits the general methodologies, I’ll give them a go and post pics in 4 weeks. I’ll keep up with the reading and apply what I learned into my routines.

Side note, nutrition.
How should I split my protein/carbs/fats? I bit the bullet and bought metabolic drive to make heavy shakes, and I got a bottle of isopure protein as well for good measure. Any advice regarding how many grams for each macro I should be taking? Is carb cycling really as effective as I read it to be?


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I can definitely work with this.

I wanted to go hard and take full advantage of my body adapting to heavier weight, but after reading a little I would’ve burned out and hurt myself. I appreciate the kick in the pants and bringing me back to reality.

What @TrainForPain said is true: The only thing that can derail me is thinking more than doing.

It’ll take a while before I put on muscle, but I’m ready to get to work. Thanks again @j4gga2


I would keep it simple and not bother with anything like carb cycling, except in the simple concept of keeping carbs somewhere around training times.

You can’t get simpler than somewhere around 1g/lb of your bodyweight for protein, and then make sure to get a lot of green veggies, drink lots of water, and keep an eye on excessive carbs or fat.


Solid advice. Many people think it need to be complicated. Probably largely from “experts” trying to sell the secret that will finally get you gains.

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Putting my own bias towards this author( due to his stance on certain issues )to the side. I believe you might benefit at your current level by possibly looking into the book im posting below.


Alright, so I took @j4gga2 advice and started light with the given workout.

It’s been a week and I modified the training schedule based on how my body reacted to compound movements a few days ago. My plan now:

Chest Day
-Over head press (3x10) empty bar
-Incline Bench (3x10-8-6) add weight each set
-Dumbell flys (3x10) same weight
-Dips (3-failure)
-Dumbell pull-overs (3x10) same weight
-Seated Shoulder press (3x10-8-6) same weight

Back Day
-Deadlift (3x10-8-6) Add weight each set
-Barbell rows (3x10) same weight
-Lat pulldown (3x15)
-Drag curl (3x10) empty bar
-Hammer curls (3x10)

Leg Day
-Front Squat (4x10-8-6-8) Add weight each set, drop weight for final set to starting weight
-Leg press (3x15) same weight
-Leg extension (3x12) Same weight
-Trap bar Deadlift (3x12) Same weight
-Goblet squat (5x12)

I did all three workouts this week and felt pretty good leaving the gym; i wasn’t aching when I drove home, and i had more energy than I thought I would when I went to work 4 hours later. Woke up earlier today and felt a little soreness on my quads but it subsided.

Any thoughts or concerns?