T Nation

Having a Little Trouble Getting on the Right Foot


Greetings everyone,

If you can't tell by the thread title I am looking for a little bit of help, so I would appreciate any advice or structure you gentleman can provide. I have been on and off lifting for several years with no discenerable results, not surprisingly due to a lack of consistency.

However over the past year I have gotten progressively more serious about improving my strength and physique. I've joined a gym and for the past few months have been lifting very steadily with a buddy. I have noticed some definite increases in strength but it's about time I start trying to create my own schedule and nutrition setup since both are goals and body types are very different. I am having some difficulty putting a lifting schedule together due to an abundance of different information and honestly a lack of experienced input. The same goes for the nutrition and supplementation angle. I think the simplest way to figure this out would be to just list my personal statistics, goals and concerns and you guys can just comment on whatever you see fit.

Personal Statistics
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 168
Body fat: 15%*

*This may be somewhat lower or higher, I am basing this off of the last time I measured with calipers before my friend brought them into the black hole that is his house.

1. To put on at least 10-15 pounds of muscle, anything higher is icing on the cake
2. Eventually lean out to around 5-10% body fat.
3. Even out my frame. I have long legs and when compared to my scrawny upper body it comes off disproportionate. Iâ??m hoping with the combination of muscle gain up top and BF loss things will even out a bit.

1. I can only make it to the gym Monday, Wednesday and Friday due to work and other constraints. I keep hearing from different angles about whether that is not enough or fine, so I am not really sure if that is workable.
2. So far finding a good lifting schedule has been arduous. There is a considerable amount of information available saying this and that, not to mention the "expert" advice I receive from every in-person conversation I have. I understand very much that I need to "Lift big" but I am not sure what the rest of that entails, or even how much enough is. I have no problem putting in the effort and I will do anything that works. I would just prefer if it is straightforward, and I don't need to spend three hours at the gym. The closest I have gotten to what I think may fit is some of the 5x5 routines.
3. The other side of the coin being the "Eating big" is not so much of an issue for me. I have a good idea of the intake I need to have, not to mention what exactly I am supposed to be eating. My point of confusion is in the number of times I should be eating during the day. I have seen several sources saying that you should be eating at least 6-7 times during the day. However, is it that much worse to eat three times a day if you are intaking the same amount? This seems to make sense to me but than again I am not nutritionist.
3. A friend had given me two 5lb tubs of MHP 'Up Your Mass' for my birthday. He seems to swear by it and thinks it's just what I need for my goals. I don't know anything about the product, or what the people here think of it. I would like to use it since I said I would and according to the serving suggestions would only last about two weeks. Time will tell the outcome of this weight gainer; however where would a good place to look once I finish with this amount.

That is everything I can think of at the moment. I apologize for the length of this but honestly I prefer putting everything in at once. I would appreciate any amount of advice or direction you guys can hand me


I forgot to add that I do boxing on the side, so I have to walk/run 1-5 miles every morning with weight. As well as trying some HIIT with jumping rope or swimming twice a week. Not sure if this seriously affects anything other than nutritional intake. I have had people tell me that if I really want to put on a good amount of muscle I will have to cut out cardio almost completely, however I would rather not.


compound movements, 3x5 or 5x5 or whatever gets you to climax. look up Starting Strength if you want. move up weight as often as you can.

it's not probable that you eat the same amount in 3 meals as a guy who eats 6 meals. how much do you eat, REALLY? do you have any numbers? me thinks you're bullshitting yourself.


Follow Jim Wendler's 5/3/1 program. It might seem a little complicated at first because you have to figure out all these different percentages of your 1rm on four lifts (standing shoulder press, bench, squat, deadlift) using 90% of your 1rm as your working 1rm. But beyond that, it's simple straightforward, easy to follow, and there's a built-in progression, plus a deload week every fourth week.

The basic idea is this: the four lifts above act as the primary lifts for the four days that you lift, one primary per day. Let's use squat as an example. You'll perform 3x5 with (I think) 65%, 70%, 75% the first week, then 3x3 with 75%, 80%, 85% the 2nd week, then 5/3/1 with 70%, 80%, 90%, then a deload week with something like 2x5. The last set the first 3 weeks is done to failure. After the primary lift, choose two accessory moves, like front squats and good mornings for squat day, and do 5x15. Push it on these two exercises, but not balls to the wall, since they're just assistance moves.

After a four week cycle, go back and start over, but just bump the weight up by five to ten pounds on each set from the previous time. You can switch the assistance moves every four weeks as well. The point is to gain strength in four bigtime power moves, while keeping things simple and to progress at a reasonable pace. Mix in some cardio on off days and do some stretching and mobility shit before and after each workout. There was an article about the program posted on here a few weeks ago. You should be able to find it somewhere on here.


Are you kidding me?


Thanks I will look into that. As for the eating, yes I have done the legwork, using mostly Berardi sources; Precision Nutrition, Scrawny to Brawny, etc. I have actually an exact dietary schedule that I have been following for a while. However it is just extremely tedious with all the extra containers and finding time to eat. I have been experimenting with simply combining some of the meals into larger ones to cut down on seperated eating times. This is accounting for roughly 2 smaller 'snack' like meals during the day on top of 3 larger ones, as compared to about 6-7 equally sized meals. The difference is very simple to me, I have to carry around fewer containers and the smaller 'snack' type meals are significantly easier to eat on the go and at work. As for numbers I have to intake roughly 3400 kcals on training days and 3150 kcals on nontraining. I also have the different proportions of protein/carbs/fat layed out as well. Now I have done the homework, im just concerned that I have hitched my wagon to the wrong horse so to speak thats why I came here. I am more than open to suggestion.

Thanks for all the information Artw, this seems my speed. I will have to put something together and see how it works. I have reading both of the 'Training For Newbies' by CT and trying to adopt some of the tenants it suggests, which leads me to ask if a standard 3x10 wouldn't be better for somebody like me who is starting out?

No, I am just being upfront about what I would eventually like to reach. I am well aware that these aren't short term goals and could take the upwards of several years to adequately reach. I am simply stating what I would ultimately like, so as those reading this will hopefully have a better idea of what I should start with.


whats kidding about that?

at least he has a goal.


hahaha, climaxing while doing compound movements?


You can make progress with three days a week. I'd lean towards fairly total body lifting each time, just because splitting into small body parts might leave a loong time between them being worked. But it probably doesn't matter much.

As long as you hit your totals for the day, the number of meals doesn't matter much. It might be easier to eat more with multiple meals.

I hadn't heard of MHP Up Your Mass, but it look at the package. It's basically a meal replacment / weight gainer. Carbs and protein and fat. It is what it is... it will probably work fine. I wouldn't recommend fatty shakes before or after workout, as the goal is generally fast absorbtion of carbs and protein. I'm also not enthused about its use of soy protein. But 2 tubs is 34 servings, so it won't last that long anyway.


Its cool, I can imagine there are quite a few people who come through here looking to put on 30+ pounds of muscle in several months. Im sure it can get a little annoying dealing with that, although it is hard to define what is realistic when you haven't been into bodybuilding very long. I can only say I understand it is a long and difficult road ahead and I hope I get started well enough

Thanks, the number of times I could go to the gym a week was concerning me since I frequently hear from my friends who lift 4-6 times a week about how its not enough. As far as total body lifting can you be a little more specific or point in the direction of some solid information?

As for the weight gainer, I honestly don't have enough backround in supplement use to really make any qualified decision. Not to mention supplements seem to be the one thing everyone has a totally different opinion on, so I guess I will just have to learn by doing. Honestly I will just take what I was given and make a more justified decision after that time period.


Because whats the point of putting only 10 pounds? You wont look any different. Unless your in a sport and have to stay a sustain weight, whats the point?


just because you don't see a point doesn't mean its not a valid goal.
this is the beginners section anyways.. don't be a dick.


pushing hard for only a couple more inches, feeling like you've just dropped a large weight, grunting....



Very simply, because I think that is a goal I can reach. I would rather shoot for something lower and move up down the road if I can make it, as opposed to picking the ideal and being disgruntled when you don't reach it right away. Chances are if I can add that amount of weight on, I will get hooked and want more, I just prefer setting goals closer to home.

Thats not even mentioning the fear of finishing way to soon, trying new 'exercises' to keep things interesting, or having to wipe down everything with an old towel when your done.


Were I to climax while doing compound movement, I would probably collapse and be crushed under the weight soon afterwards.