T Nation

I'll never be a T-Man

heres the situation:
age: just 19
weigh about 168lbs
about 185cm tall (72.8 inches…)

done weights on and off for the past 3 months. progress has stopped, which is why im often ‘off’ - i just cant seem to get stronger. confused by all the t-mag info, but have read all the beginners stuff. trying to get stronger, will look at getting ripped later - dont have money or motivation to make diet a major consideration just yet (sorry if this infuriates t-men).

what is a good all round method i can adopt when planning my program? i have read the dawg school stuff.

for a beginner, i think its 2-3 sets, 60 sec break between sets, 10-12 reps. But i dont understand things like:

  1. how long a break between EXERCISES
  2. if im doing, say bicep curls, for which my max reps at 20 kg (roghly 44 pounds) is 10, what is my progression up to 20?

do i do

10X10kg
10X10kg
10X20kg

or would

15X15kg
15X15kg

be a better approach. i appologise if this is convoluted. just confused.so, yeah, a little help on how i should progress, if anyone understands me, would be good.

cheers

i hope your topic was intentional and not serious, because 3 months into training and giving up is really… well, not good.

you make good progress in the beginning, so jus tkeep at it.

start with a program and stick to it. your strenght will increase gradually. i remember i was at 10kg for biceps curl, and i really found it tough to increase the weight, now i’m up to 40kg just 8 months into my training. so just keep at it and you’ll be ok.

what do you do, give us a detailed training plan.

i started fine with the routine 3 sets of 8-12 reps per set… 3-5 excercises per body part.

you need to find something that motivates you, whether it’s looking at the mirror and noticing development, or the increase of weights that you’re doing.

good luck.

ps. take a stop watch with you, to the gym, and time yourself between sets. resting periods of 60 seconds will definatey keep the fire hot.

Well, there ya go.You may not have the money or motivation to make a diet change but at least post some info on what your daily diet is so that the T-Men actually have a place to start. I may be wrong but I would say that what you eat is a major part of building a body.

I know that at your age buying expensive supplements is probably going to be somewhat out of the question but you probably don’t NEED THEM. The main question is still what your daily diet is like. If the case is that you are not eating enough protein, then maybe you should check out the dairy isle in the supermarket because eggs are pretty inexpensive.

As for not having motivation, do you want to have a better physique or not? You’re already working out and that’s a start.

Please don’t degrade yourself when you post I.E WAHH I’LL NEVER BE A T-MAN… The guys here will help you learn everything you need to know, but you have to WANT to learn it. But please don’t waste their time if you are just going to post whiny little comments. They may be forced to beat you over the head with a clubbell.

thanks for your reply.

i know theres a bit of a quitter in me, but i really was going solid for a while, and i just didnt experience the week-by-week gains i thought a relative beginner in weights was meant to experience.

im basically following chris stugarts beginners blast off program

Chest and Triceps
Dumbbell Bench Press
Dumbbell Flyes
Lying Tricep Extension (Skull crushers) using either dumbbells or an EZ-curl bar.

Back and Biceps
Pulldowns or Pull-ups- I’d prefer you use pull-ups here. Read the Back to Basics article for tips.
Dumbbell rows- Use one arm at a time.
Standing curls- Use dumbbells or any type of barbell.

10-12reps, 2-3sets.

but my lack of committment comes largely from

a) lack of gains
b) thought im doing it wrong

but enough excuses. thats why i posted here, so i could fix it and stop whining like a bitch.

so, what i was hoping someone could tell me is

a) what exactly does 2-3 sets mean - for example, is it 2-3 sets of similar sized weights? (eg 10-12 X 15kg X 2-3) or is it say, two easy sets (10kgX10reps) and then one set at a much higher weight (say 20kg)

b) what sort of break are you meant to take between exercises? does it matter?

c) when given ‘2-3sets’’ and ‘10-12reps’, when exactly do you do 2 sets, and when do you do three - what is the different emphasis here for?
thanks for any help.

ok, just saw that other post.

you’re right, i was whining a little there, but the title wasnt really meant to be at all serious

my daily diet isnt exactly body building stuff - but its reaosnably healthy, say a typical day might be

breakfast: toast and milk
lunch: sandwhich and milk or pasta
dinner: red meat, stir fries, curries…

i also drink a fair amount of milk. usually after working out i try drink about 750 mls.

but i drink it all day, so 1.5L a day would probabl ybe pretty accurate. but its not low fat, so id say i also have a high fat intake

i do tend to eat some junk food, but only the odd snack, and im reasonably lean, so i figure its not a major

If you are beginning (I am restarting my training after years off due to wife’s pregnancy, job loss, etc…), why not stick to basic execroises to start.

I do step-ups, bench press and deadlifts (the occassional bicep curl when nobody is around) with the following protocol:

5 x starting weight
3 mins rest
5 x 90% start weight
3 mins rest
5 x 80 % start weight
60 secs rest
5 x 80 % start weight
60 secs rest

etc

This for each exercise (about 3-5 mins between exercises)

Then next workout up the start weight by 5 pounds (either start off easy and concentrate on form so when it gets heavy you keep things tight). If you have a low 1RM max, try keeping the weight the same for a workout or two.

And don’t forget to keep training regularly, and more than just twice a week.

At least, that’s what I’m doing… :o)

T-man-ship starts in the head, and then moves to the balls…

Firstly, being a T-Man is not a matter of getting big and cut, it is an ideal. It is the word describing those people who work hard and dedicate themselves to achieving a goal. If you give up on your goals after only three months of training you are clearly not dedicating yourself to achieveing your goal.

Regarding your training. All I can say is that you should read as much as you can. This site is a valuable resource and although there are conflicting views it doesn’t mean that one is right and the other is wrong, it simply means that they are different.
I suggest that you choose a program, there is not shortage of them on this site, follow the program and then try out another one.

Wow. I doubt that even adds up to 1,000calories a day. yes, beginners do make great gains in general…IF THEY EAT ENOUGH TO GAIN WEIGHT.

[quote]paragon wrote:
Firstly, being a T-Man is not a matter of getting big and cut, it is an ideal. It is the word describing those people who work hard and dedicate themselves to achieving a goal. If you give up on your goals after only three months of training you are clearly not dedicating yourself to achieveing your goal.

Regarding your training. All I can say is that you should read as much as you can. This site is a valuable resource and although there are conflicting views it doesn’t mean that one is right and the other is wrong, it simply means that they are different.
I suggest that you choose a program, there is not shortage of them on this site, follow the program and then try out another one.[/quote]

I agree with much of this, however, I am not one for being this pleasant when it comes to posts like these. Bottom line, if you aren’t dedicated, why would you think that you would be blessed with instant gains as if people don’t actually work for the gains they get? 3 months of eating toast and milk and you wonder why you haven’t gained anything? Let’s get serious for a second, if you were in high school, then that might be excusable. However, common sense dictates that if the goal is to gain weight, then your food intake needs to increase. You are eating less food than the skinniest people I know would consume to LOSE weight. If you can’t be bothered to place more focus on your diet than that, you can’t possibly expect to gain anything. Yes, your post was whiny and illustrates a person who quickly gives up on anyting that doesn’t come easily. Labels aside (because I am not a “T-man”, I am my own man), nothing good in life comes without effort unless your parents were rich. Make a decision to stick with this or please, stop taking up space in the gym.

i have to agree with the above posts… t-men are t-men because they are willing to devote their spare time in building and staying healthy…

as for the reps…

this is something i would do, there’s nothing right or wrong as long as you are infact, doing something. when i started, i started like this…

for instance bench press…

1st set:
20 kg for 10 repititions

-60 seconds rest-

2nd set:
22 kg for 10 repititions

-60 seconds rest-

3rd set:
25 kg for 10 repitions

-60 seconds rest-

next excercise…

flies… with 60 seconds rest as well… if you can keep the intensity high, it’s better.

(my aim would always be 8-12, so do as many as you can… if you can hit more than 12 comfortably, then increase the weight even more).

dont’ get too focussed on tempo and resting for now, the important thing is that you progress weight-wise (the weights you lift)… get that strenght, and the mass will follow. get into tempo when you’re fairly happy with your weights… it’s a little tough doing this counting stuff, but it’s definatley well worth it.

just go out and lift lift lift, and lift some more! 3 months isn’t much, stick to it and you WILL see gains!

[quote]Professor X wrote:
I agree with much of this, however, I am not one for being this pleasant when it comes to posts like these. Bottom line, if you aren’t dedicated, why would you think that you would be blessed with instant gains as if people don’t actually work for the gains they get? 3 months of eating toast and milk and you wonder why you haven’t gained anything? Let’s get serious for a second, if you were in high school, then that might be excusable. However, common sense dictates that if the goal is to gain weight, then your food intake needs to increase. You are eating less food than the skinniest people I know would consume to LOSE weight. If you can’t be bothered to place more focus on your diet than that, you can’t possibly expect to gain anything. Yes, your post was whiny and illustrates a person who quickly gives up on anyting that doesn’t come easily. Labels aside (because I am not a “T-man”, I am my own man), nothing good in life comes without effort unless your parents were rich. Make a decision to stick with this or please, stop taking up space in the gym.[/quote]

Yeah, what he said.

I started lifting at age 16 when I weighed about 130lbs (59kg). I could hardly curl a quarter of my weight. I felt weak, thought weak, and I was right. I trained for almost a year with no real progress. Sometime when I was 17, I found this website. I realized that just doing curls and bench presses was NOT going to get me where I wanted to be. So I started squatting. That year I gained 25 lbs(11kg) Shortly after I turned 18, I started deadliftng. After a while, these new exercises became so effective that I actually forgot about how much I could curl and I pretty much stopped curling. (Gasp)

I even got into a fight at my high school with a sports coach who was trying to tell me that I needed to wear a weight belt for any free weight movement. I was doing overhead presses with about 60kg at the time. I sort of chuckled as he pointed over at all the fancy machines and explained how these were safer, more effective tools that would let me isolate each muscle group and increase muscle mass. It was at that moment that I realized how much I had learned from T-mag. Now, I weigh 183(83kg), at age 19 and how much do I curl? I don’t even care. But I can bench, squat, and deadlift about 2 times my own weight. T-Mag is your best resource, even If it sounds complicated, sort through it one article at a time and you will understand your body much better than most people can.

I know I’m long winded, but my point is simple, start deadliftng and squatting. There are no magical numbers for rest times, sets reps, ect. that will “make” your training work. It takes effort and dedication, AND a positive attitude to make progress.

Oh, yeah- pick a better title next time you have a question, I know a lot of people on here wouldn’t even bother reading a post with such a negative tone.

age: just 19
weigh about 168lbs
about 185cm tall (72.8 inches…)

  1. You are young that is a good thing. “Rome was not built in a day”: you have to be patient, you need years to build a natural phisique. You need to slowly (1.5 or 2 years) raise your bodyweight at least 30 lbs.

2)dont have money or motivation to make diet a major consideration just yet.

I never did a diet in my life but I now weigh 30 lbs more in comparison to the bodyweight I had when I was a beginner. It’s a matter of daily caloric intake with a wise choice of carbo,proteins and fats.

3)1) how long a break between EXERCISES
2) if im doing, say bicep curls, for which my max reps at 20 kg (roghly 44 pounds) is 10, what is my progression up to 20?

2 minutes of break. If you want to put on muscles faster, choose only compound exercises: Squat and Deadlift are the most important ones. Then Pullups/Chins, Military presses,Bench presses,Barbell rows. 3 workouts/week:
Monday: Squat, Pullups/Chins
Wednesday: Bench presses, Barbell rows
Friday:: Deadlift, Military presses.
3 working sets: 5-8 reps upper body,5-10 reps Squat and Deadlift. Training cycles of 3 months: begin with light loads (70 or 80 % of your best performance), try to add 5% more weight at each subsequent workout at least to Squat, Deadlift and Bench press. You will finish the cycle with a better performance, then begin a new cycle in the same way.
Have a good time !
Luca

First of all, the best advice I can give you is to EAT! if you want gains.

I understand you dont have the money for supplements right now, which is quite alright.

I’d say add in 3-4 more meals in between your breakfast, lunch, dinner, eat a crapload of meat, pasta, rice, potatoes and dont go too hard on the junk, but dont be too concerned if you binge once in awhile.

Read JB’s article called Massive Eating which can be found here:

http://www.t-nation.com/findArticle.do?article=body_146mass

dont give up so soon my friend, gains will come when you stop looking for them.

westside.

You definitely do need to eat more. One of the other posts suggested adding 3-4 meals between your other meals. My advice would be to work up to this amount gradually. Your stomach won’t be able to handle much more at first. I know that I cannot eat that many meals in a day - yet. Add 1 meal this week, say between lunch and dinner and see how that works. Next week, add a meal between breakfast and lunch (you need to eat a proper breakfast too, not what you are eating). Already you will have increased your calories significantly. You’ll be surprised how you start to make gains this way. And change your attitude. Think big. When you’re eating your mid-afternoon meal, think about how you are adding muscle mass. Good luck.

DB

Your upper body workout looks good, only thing I may change is instead of flyes do inclined dumbell presses this will give better growth and strength gains.

However you need to add at least one day of lower body work where you focus on squats and some kind of deadlift.

so lower body day may look something like this:

Squats 3x8-12
stiff leg deads 3x8-12
standing calf raises 3x8-12
pull down abs 2x12-15

this with your upper body program should give you decent progress with enough food, but any program will only work for a certain period of time then you need to switch exercise and/or rep/sets.

As far as weight progression there are to good ways to do this.

method 1: do a couple warm up sets for major exercises with weight significantly less then you will use for your 3 work sets. Now pick a weight you can barely get 12 reps with and use this for all 3 sets. Once you can can complete all three sets with 12 reps up the weight a little for your next session.

Method 2: Start with a weight that you can do a bit more then 12 reps with but only do the 12 reps! For the next set slightly increase the weight and try for 12 again (you may or may not get all 12 reps) and again increase the weight from the second to third set. Like method 1 once you complete all sets for 12 reps up the weights.

rest 1-2 minutes between sets and eat more and you should be on your way to some good progress!

hey, i’d also like to suggest that you start hitting weak spots immediately.

work your rear deltoid from the very beginning, forearms and calves if they’re weak for you.

also develop a decent pullup/chinnup stenght. it’ll go a long way. strengthen your lower back.

I’m fourteen, and I am sort of in your same situation, I’m looking for mass here. If your progression stops, then it’s time to change up your routine, go for hypertrophy at first ( reps of 8-12, with enough weight to reach failure at rep twelve, use three to four sets, and NO MORE than three excercises per body parrt) ABsolutely remember to take in as many calories and carbs as possible, and do not overtrain. So like I said, do one body part a day, legs one, chest one, off, back one, then shoulders and arms one, that sort of thing. but i cannot stress how important it is to use good form, keep your tempo in mind, and use at the very most three excercises per bodypart, and maybe a burnout. best of luck to you

  • Chris

Strapped-

Get a copy of the book Super Squats and don’t try to overcomplicate things.