T Nation

Help Choosing a Program?

Hey guys,

So I’ve been hitting the gym for a couple months now, but I haven’t been following any sort of specific outlined routine. I go in knowing what I want to work on, and try to balance out my workouts. However, as most of you already know, this doesn’t help a whole lot, or atleast, hasn’t helped me.

I’m starting firefighter training in the fall, and my first physical fitness testing will take place at the end of the first semester (end of december, start of januaryish). There are several more following that, so I’m set up for a long range plan.

A little about me: I’m 6’ 4", about 200 pounds and would estimate being in the low 20s for bodyfat %.

My buddy suggested I started the DC training plan with him, but I think for my current physique, it might do more harm than good, so I’m looking for something that’ll help me step in the right direction.

I’m not setting unrealistic goals. I have about 2 years till I would be actually tested for a career, and I believe that in that amount of time, I could reach my goals.

So, my question to you all, is what sort of program would you suggest for me? I will evolve to newer programs as I progress, as I understand that helps to keep bringing gains rather than reaching a plateau. I’ve read a ton of articles on this site, as I’ve been lurking around here for a few months, and yeah, I read “Riddick”'s articles.

Also, as far as training supplements go, I’ve read that they don’t help a whole lot early on, but I’d like some suggestions as to what I might be looking to get further down the line. I’ve read tons of praises for a ton of different supplements, so it’s still a shady area for me.

Thanks in advance guys, hope someone can lend me a hand. Just ask if you need more info.

Oh, forgot to mention, I’d like to stay fairly lean, as opposed to bulking up and having muscles wider than the trunk of a sequoia tree.

For a training program, lots of beginners have gotten good results from Starting Strength, you can look that up. There are tons of other good programs though find something that works and stick to it for a while. For supplements, good ones would probably be fish oil, creatine, and protein.

Finally, the last sentence you wrote… you’re gonna need to get out of that kind of thinking if you’re going to make much gains. If you’re working out hard and eating lots of good food, you will make good progress, but you’re not going to wake up one morning and have muscles wider than the trunk of a sequoia tree. It’s fine that you want to stay lean, and as a beginner if you start eating well and working out you should be able to lose some fat while gaining some muscle, but don’t be afraid of getting bigger, it takes YEARS to get to what even regular people call ‘too big.’

leg press
deadlift
pull downs
db bench

do all of the above 3 - 4 times a week 4 x 8 or 3 x 15

use a weight that’ll have you making funny faces towards the end

cardio 1 hour total a week

200grams protein a day and 6 - 8 hours of sleep every night.

4grams of fish oil or dhea supplement daily

it sounds too simple, but ill be damned if that doesnt get you somewhere quick.

you might wanna do 5 x 5 for the deads

^Above poster is a moron.

As a firefighter, I think you’d be best served by Starting Strength (buy the book, do the program exactly as written) until your linear gains cease (i.e. you cannot increase your lifts from workout to workout) and then switch over to CrossFit, which is widely used in the FF community, and will fit with your goals of staying on the lean side.

Regarding your concerns about “getting too big,” I totally agree. I went out for a jog this morning and accidentally became a world-class 800m sprinter.

Thanks for the words guys, I’ll pick up a copy of the book and get to it. Also, regarding that last sentence, I just wanted to gear any suggestions towards the path I’d like to go, just trying to supply as much info as possible.

And Sneaky, I’ll be watching for you at the next Summer Olympics!

Before taking on board the above advice, valid as it, you need to consider your past history (Injury & Mobility). What can and can’t you do? Etc.
Don’t start DC its for advanced trainees