T Nation

If You Could Start Over Again


I’ve seen A TON of new posts from new people asking all sorts crazy questions. I think the overload of information in today’s world causes paralysis by overanalysis. I know this happened to me as well.

So this led me to wonder something:

  • What program would you guys start with if you could start from the beginning again?
  • Would you start will full body or would you start with a upper/lower and then later transition to whatever you want?
  • How would you approach eating and nutrition?
  • How would you fight the urge to add the whole kitchen sink to your routine based on something you read?
  • What are the 3 major things you would tell yourself if you could go back in time?

Basically if you had to start over again from scratch, what are some of the major things you would do differently and wish you would have known back then?


I’d probably start with one of the beginner 5/3/1 programs. It’d probably take me a whole 3 months longer to reach where I got to on the SL5x5 routine, so, yeah who cares about a handful of months in the grand scheme of things?

I still like full body training, would definitely keep it my starting point.

Not much different than I do now. Add a few more servings of veggies and a bit more protein from real food sources but nothing drastic.

Listen to what some of the experienced posters on this forum were saying sooner. Read Jim Wendlers work about balanced training, and common sense.

  1. Don’t join that commercial gym. Either A. invest in the home gym sooner, or B. find another bad-ass hidden gym, they exist.
  2. Talk to people who are bigger, stronger, and faster than you. Most of them will be happy to give advice.
  3. Do some friggen conditioning!

Edit: also, start younger.


I’d start with 5/3/1 as a beginner. Either one of the full body Beginner programs or just traditional 5/3/1.

I don’t really have leanings about full body or upper/lower. They both work.

Eating and nutrition, I’d be a lot more mindful of what I eat and learn to cook 3 different meals. When I first started, I was a kid and most of my food was junk. I got away with it because I could, but it took a long time to learn how to eat right, and I’d be a lot further ahead if I had mastered a slow cooker and a foreman grill.

I’d read less to fight the urge to add things into my training.

3 major things; effort, consistency and time trump everything else. If you work hard, work often, and work for a long time, you’ll get results. You can’t rush any part of it.


I’d start with 5/3/1 BBB from the first book (using plus sets).


If I could go back and tell me old self what to do I’d give myself Dinosaur Training, Destroy The Opposition, and 531 books along with Tight Tan Slacks blog. That’s all I’m allowed to read for the next 3-5 years. Add a rep or two, or a set or two of an exercise a week, tell myself to do body weight shit on the off days, condition like a mother fucker and be sensible about it.
Diet I’m still trying to figure out honestly. I did come to a revelation that my body doesn’t like a lot of milk or red meat and I have been downing that shit by the pound and gallon for years. I’ve felt better following a chicken, egg, veggie, fruit, and bean diet the past couple weeks. I would save SO much money on sups and tell myself to never take a preworkout or drink an energy drink; only coffee.


Probably start with a 5/3/1 program.
Count my macros
Record everything in a workout diary
Not fall into the trap of taking every vitamin every mass produced.
Come to T-Nation from DAY1.
Don’t train arms and chest more than anything else (specially legs) (eventhough my arms never grow #noodles)


I would do exactly the same thing I did at 16. Go to a gym and train with the big guys. No internet, no reading shit and thinking I know what I’m doing, no fucking ego, have respect for your fucking elders, shut up and prove yourself to them with your intensity and not how much you think you know.

Get this. I was so uncoordinated and weak @105lbs, 1.77m, I got stuck at the bottom of a squat with just the barbell. I didn’t know what muscles to use at the bottom, tried to get up using only knee extension and ended up on tiptoes and finally on my knees while everyone was laughing at me. Apparantly some of them were impressed with my prolonged struggle to stand up and they displayed this by letting me go on and make a fool of myself. But that’s how I got them willing to show me the ropes after that incident. Nowadays, something like this would be interpreted as the “Big Boy’s Club” fit shaming a well intentioned noob victim.

6 years later and almost 100lbs of bodyweight gained; that’s when I started reading. At that point it wasn’t about following programs or protocols. It was taking in new ideas and implementing them, then evaluating their efficacy.




Like I said before You and myself are from around the same era :metal:t6:

Yeah I posted this from a old interview of wendler last week …

Also, the age of the weight room and the passing of knowledge have all but
gone. Now it has been relegated to the pussies on the internet. There aren’t
gyms that a kid can go into and learn the ropes. These are now in garages, in
warehouses, basements and tool sheds. So even if a kid doesn’t know what he
wants to do, he won’t ever be given a chance to find out.
At least in the 70’s and 80’s there were places a kid could go to learn about
training. Now the only people that they can learn from are a bunch of needledick
pusses that operate a keyboard. At least back then, you could size up your


Are posts with only gif links hidden or deleted? Can’t see mine anymore.



I’m actually doing almost the same program right now that I started with 15 years ago. I don’t really count my high school weights class. We just did whatever was written on the board… And skipped what we didn’t like.

I’d do squats regularly from the start. I rarely squatted in my early days. Apparently my brother and his friend didn’t like squats so we did other things on leg day.

I don’t know if it would’ve made a difference. I succeeded in bodybuilding terms by adding some mass. I just kind of think squats wouldn’t suck so bad now if I’d done them right from the start.


Don’t you dare take my unicorn blood flavored cannibal riot. This ish is wonderful.

  1. Strength is only a part of the equation. Don’t ignore the other variable they’ll hinder your strength gains anyway.

  2. It’s cliche, but show up. You have to be consistent over years not weeks if you want to accomplish better than average.

  3. Conditioning is important fuck face. Don’t neglect it or you’ll be sorry.

As far as the others, 5/3/1 is a good place. So is WS4SB imo. That’s were I started and I’d probably do that again. It’s a great beginner program. Food? Eat things that were once alive. Avoid processed foods. Don’t stuff your face all the time for “da gainz”.

Good luck, lol…


5 x 5 probably. Maybe Johnnie Candito’s linear program with added OHP emphasis.

Full body. Although one of my above mentioned program choices would be upper/ lower.

Well I haven’t really figured that one fully out yet. I would tell myself to not believe every nonsense I read online though.

This urge dies more and more with experience. I think this is kind of necessary unless the important stuff is neglected.

  1. Be patient and consistent (not in a sense of actually training, that was never an issue, but in trusting a program and trusting progress)
  2. Figure out what you want to do and persue it. This includes competing as soon and often as possible.
  3. Do what is necessary, not what is fun or otherwise appealing. Adress your weaknesses instead of mainly embracing your strength.


Despite a back injury my first year and some heavy mud wheel spinning, I wouldn’t change shit. I’m happy where I am and where I’m going. I’ve learned too much to just want to go back and redo it all.


I wish this could happen to me , a gym full of big strong guys that know what they’re doing. Unfortunately its all shitty commercial gyms with a bunch of newbs where i am. Glad i found tnation though.


I’m in the same boat man. I first started lifting in a really awesome gym, type of place that Tnation readers/forum posters would get real jazzed up over. Part of what made it great was that it was always pretty empty when I went but that meant no big guys to learn from.

I moved and then it was commercial gym time. I became “friends” with one of the big guys, then he tried to get me to join his pyramid scheme. I bought a power rack and weights shortly after.

Tnation has been a huge help lol


Pyramid scheme lol. There was one powerlifting gym in the city i live in but it closed down like 6 months before i moved here, i just found out :frowning:


When it dawned on me what was happening I was so disappointed haha.

Bummer about the gym! Shame all the good places wind up closing down and Orange Theory pops up in it’s place for what seems like an eternity.

I just found out there’s a really cool powerlifting gym close to me. I doubt I’ll go any time soon but glad to know it’s there.


Yeah man im thinking of starting a go fund me page so i can build a home gym (joke lol)
Damn these shitty ass gyms!!
Lucky you have one near you!