T Nation

Information Overload


Alright this is my first post here, so it goes a little something like this:

I'm 6ft 1in, 155lbs, and have been lifting for around two years. I have read so much that I feel like I'm in information overload when it comes to designing the correct plan. I did stumble accross the 5X5 routine where I made the most gains (I made it up to 165 at one point) but then My weight gain stopped and I found myself getting stronger but not gaining more weight. I have sabbotaged myself by switching programs too often. I read one thing and do it for a month then switch to something else, etc...Well, darnit I'm sick of pussy footing around.

I've decided to do a version of the "Squats & Milk" program. I'm going to stay on it for 6 weeks and then go back to 5X5 for a month and then back to Squats & Milk etc... My main goal here is gaining size and strength. As it stands now I am a very cut 155, I get a lot of compliments. But that's not what I'm after. So, I was wondering if someone can take a look at my routine (below) for the squats & milk program and let me know what you think? Thanks in advance.

1 X 20 Breathing squats with 10RM
1 X 15 Stiff deadlift (normal fashion)

3 X 6-8 Bench Press
3 X 6-8 Shoulder Press
3 X 6-8 Bent over rows
2 X 8-10 Bicep Curl
2 X 8-10 Close grip bench

I plan on doing this workout 3 times per week. I am using the progressive overload theory. For example, when I can get all 3 sets of bench press at 8 reps each then I bump up the weight. I also (and have always) keep a strict workout journal via excel spreadsheets. I know diet is just as important as the routine itself. I already have all the knowledge I need in that department (I just need to follow through with it). I aim for 3K to 4K calories per day with 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. Basically, what are your thoughts on the routine I designed above. Thanks!


Your problem is/was not the training, you are not putting enough food in your mouth. I would go back to 5x5 and if you are not gaining weight, eat more.


I agree. Go back to 5x5 and eat more.

Squats and milk is more of a show-off thing. It's not a scientifically valid training method. Do it once a month or so if it turns your crank but don't do it on a regular basis.


That may very well be the case. I do have a fast metabolism and maybe 3-4k calories wasn't enough once I got to 165. I have heard of a lot of success with the Squats & Milk program (and it's been around forever...not a fad).

I'll give it a shot for 6 weeks and then back to 5X5. Combining both in a cycle fashion certainly wont hurt right? Now if I could just implant a second stomach from a cow or something. Gotta get back to 1 lb of beef/chicken per day. There is only so long you can force feed yourself for.


3-4k is a big discrepancy. 1000 calories is a lot! You are tall and skinny, you need to write down everything you eat everyday and track it. When I was 20 years old I weighed 130 and have eaten enough to get myself to 240 at my biggest.

Training is the fun part, as long as you do the big lifts (squat, bench, rows, deads, etc) and don't train like a pussy it will take care of itself.

The more important part is nutrition. I held myself back for many years by discounting it, don't make the same mistake.


Matt, thanks for the input. I took two weeks off of training during the Holidays to allow myself to step back and reevaluate my program. Perhaps I need to reevaluate my food intake as well. When I did the 5X5 I was writing down everything I ate throughout the day. I should go back to that. I just got discouraged when I stopped gaining and second guessed my routine and went back to a "more common" 3 sets of 10-12 with 2 to 3 exercises per body part.

Since then I have tried probably 5 or 6 different routines but I strayed too far away from basic strength training theory. Maybe that was necessary though, because now I know pretty much what routines work for me and which ones don't. Thomas Edison didn't invent the light bulb on the first try. He discovered 100's of ways NOT to make a lightbulb before getting it right.


This might be a good time to add some leeway in your diet. If your finding it difficult to get enough calories for growth, just add in some more whole milk and natty peanut butter. I would also have a pizza once in a while.

You say you are very cut, so it would probably be beneficial to add in a few more cheat foods to get your calorie intake up.


Yeah, I've eliminated as much sugar as possible from my diet. I stick with lean meats and pasta, potatoes etc...In general I eat pretty healthy without even trying. Don't drink any soda...just milk, water, and some juice. I also ate a lot of spinach but I'm kind of afraid to now with all the eccoli outbreaks that were on the news, so I just get a lot of those steamed vegetable pouches.

My taste buds have always just been geared that way. I may not be ingesting sufficient fat though. Don't get me wrong, I never limit myself. I just know that certain things are bad for muscle growth (i.e. alcohol, sugar, etc...) so I minimize them. I've found that begals are a great way to cram in extra calories and carbs. Can get between 50-60 grams of carbs from just one begal and between 200-300 calories depending on the begal type.


Most juices have sugar in it, because fruits have natural sugar and it's just even more processed/concentrated in the juice.

I haven't kept up with news but i haven't really heard about the eccoli outbreaks for a while, it might be safe again.

Are the steamed veggie pouches the ones that contain peas, string beans, carrots, and/or corn? I read somewhere that they weren't as good as taking the whole vegetable and just eating it but its still good.


Yeah, I haven't heard of anyone getting sick from spinach lately either, so I'll put that back on the menu.

The vegetable pouches are the small ones that come in a box, then just nuke for 3-4 minutes. I like using them because they are already portioned out. I can just throw one of the boxes in my lunch bag for work and cook it later.

Plus, working full time and being a Grad student, I just don't have the time to be Wolfgang Puck in the kitchen. It has to be something I can cook quick. Slap the chicken breasts on the George Foreman, nuke a veggy pouch and a potato and I'm set. I tried switching from white rice to brown rice, but that stuff is awful. I'd rather shove it up my arse directly to my stomach than eat it. So, I stick with white rice and pasta.

I also drink a half-gallon of milk per day along with countless bottles of water. I usually supplement with a weight gainer shake (700 calories, and 50 grams protein) but sometimes I think that crap is all fake. When I've used up this stuff I'm just going to get a cubic-ass-load of regular whey protein powder.

Is there any truth to the body only being able to absorb 20-30 grams of protein per meal??? Sometimes I tend to cluster my protein all together instead of spreading it out. If there is truth to that then maybe that could be hurting my progress as well????