T Nation

I Want to Be a Bodybuilder

Hi all.

My name is Josh, nice to meet you. I’ve been lifting for a bit over four years now, beginning with Starting Strength, then a 5x5 routine and 5/3/1 for the last year or so. I’ve gained a bit of muscle and quite a bit of strength (though my numbers are still meager compared to most) and considering I didn’t start until I was 27, I haven’t done awfully. However, after a month or so of lackluster training sessions, I had quite the realization the other day: I really don’t look particularly good and I haven’t really been enjoying training for awhile.

I’ve always sort of told myself that I just training to get stronger and that looks weren’t really a priority, except that every time I would start to put on a little too much fat, I would diet down and end losing most of the strength (and frequently muscle) that I gained. I think I didn’t want to admit just how much I cared about appearance because I thought it would make me appear narcissistic and because I was afraid of the commitment it would require to truly go after those goals (it’s a lot easier just to lift and eat, then to pay attention to macros and calories etc.). But here’s the truth guys: I want to be a bodybuilder. I don’t want to do what I’ve been doing and I don’t want to be stuck in an endless cycle of gaining/losing with little to show for it.

I really don’t know much about about bodybuilding and the type of training for those goals, but I’m learning. That’s why I’m here. I’ve been reading the “best of…” threads and I bought Arnold’s “Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding” and I’ve been outlining a new plan for the coming year. Strength is still important to me, but it’s no longer the only priority.

My first step is leaning out some more. Before I try to add any more muscle I need to get legitimately lean. I’m probably 13-14% bodyfat, down from over 20% in July. I need to get lean enough that when I try to add muscle, I don’t add a ton of fat as well. I’m currently experimenting with carb backloading, though I don’t have enough experience yet to say much about it.

I’m really looking forward to a new style of training and a new set of challenges. I’m also looking forward to hanging around the T-Nation forums. As far as I can tell, this is the best bodybuilding resource on the net. Wish me luck everyone!

The BIGGEST aspect, and difference, is really the diet. Clean that up and your 80% of the way home in terms of the different goals.

5/3/1 can be tweaked quite nicely to be a good body building program, just stick with the higher rep assistance stuff. Or you could try something else, but I do like that 5/3/1 has those 4 big lifts to keep as bench marks as your move forward.

Welcome to the other side of the game though brother, its a fun ride with its own set of challenges and standards. Have fun making the mistakes, learning from them, and then getting better and stronger.

Thanks Lonnie. I’ve managed to lose a lot of fat so far, but to reach the level of leanness that I want, I’m going to have to get a lot more disciplined with my diet. I’m working on it though, it’s a new challenge for me.

With regards to training, my tentative plan is very similar to what you suggested, though I’m going to move away from 5/3/1 just to try some new progressions. I’m planning on setting up a 4 day per week split - Legs, Chest/triceps, Back/Biceps, Shoulders. Each day will feature one of the big four lifts, following Paul Carter’s (of Lift Run Bang) Strong-15 progression and then a bunch of higher rep stuff targeted to the specific goal for that day. For instance, for leg day I will squat with the strong-15 percentages then follow it up with high-rep front squats, RDLs and possibly leg extensions/leg curls. I haven’t worked out all the assistance work yet. I’m also still working on how to incorporate cardio to keep losing the rest of the fat.

Thanks for the welcome. I appreciate it.

The diet is definitely the hardest aspect. Hate to be that guy but John Meadows stuff is definitely worth trying out. I’m basically doing a push/pull/legs split with a dedicated arm day using alot of his principles, along with being effective the training is actually fun. As many others have stated after doing mainly OHP then some half assed laterals for so long, JM’s stuff is a whole different animal. Especially coming from a strength oriented mindset, having those few staple lifts that you can use as benchmarks will keep that itch for lifting big in check.

Good luck and enjoy it man

Thanks, Rush. I’ve seen the John Meadows/Dave Tate videos on EliteFTS, but I really don’t know much about his training or what he advocates. I’ll check out his stuff. Thanks for the tip.

[quote]Iron scholar wrote:
Thanks, Rush. I’ve seen the John Meadows/Dave Tate videos on EliteFTS, but I really don’t know much about his training or what he advocates. I’ll check out his stuff. Thanks for the tip. [/quote]

I’ve never had my shoulders hurt soooo much as by doing a Mountain Dog style shoulder workout, except this weeks CT HDL layered shoulder day. Those are the two most painful pumps I’ve ever had. But boy is MD style shoulders fun until you can’t lift your arms haha

Well, I read through all the Mountain Dog training articles and wow…I think most of that is beyond me at this point. John Meadows is a beast. Really interesting articles, though, and there are a some take away points that I think I can work with. Thanks for pointing me in that direction.

Ur in the right spot Iron, plenty of top notch world class coaches training programs on here for u to use for free, it gets no better than that.

Diet is in fact at least 80% of leaning out. Check out Charles Poliquins lactic acid training for fat loss 6,12,25 program damn its great. Christian Thibs Star complexes are a guaranteed leaner and conditioner program. Thibaudeaus HSS-100 is a ridiculously effective bbuilding protocol.

Time to start training muscles u want to develop directly and not just lifting for numbers, again Christian Thibs delt specialization program on here will do a WWOORRLLLDD of good for the width, detail balance, and appearance of your shoulders.

After u get hooked on the results of these programs u damn sure will be loving to train