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Intro and Year's Progress

What’s up everybody? Name’s Nate. 39. Got back into it almost a year ago once I got rid of the soul-sucking leech. Making decent progress, even though my favorite lift isn’t in the cards for me at the moment. Just gonna throw up a before/after back pic. Would appreciate some feedback on how I’m doing and any tips to make better gains would be awesome! `


Welcome Nate!

It looks like you’ve slapped on some solid mass throughout the year (assuming left pic is now, and right pic is before).

You’re going to need to provide a ton more information before anyone will be able to give you feedback or suggestions.

  1. What is your workout history prior to this past year?
  2. What has this last year looked like in terms of training? (programs/days per week/etc)
  3. What does a typical day of nutrition look like? (meal breakdown/macros/total cals/etc)
  4. What are your main lifts at for a 1-5RM? (deadlift, squat, bench, overhead press)
  5. What does “my favorite lift isn’t in the cards for me at the moment” mean? (injury, lack of equipment, what movement?/etc)
  6. What is your height/weight and how much weight have you gained/lost over the course of the year?

You definitely look like a strong dude who lifts though, so that’s good!

Just some more information will help you get some more targeted responses.

Thanks for the kind response. The right pic is before. That’s actually last July, before I had to stop due to my schedule being messed up. When I started back in Dec, I was weaker and fatter than that (175 @ 16-17%).

  1. Been lifting on and off pretty much my whole life. Really started getting my shit together in '08. From then to '13, I went from 165 to 235 with a bit more fat than I wanted, but 295 bench, 425 squat, and 495 DL. Cut to 205 over a few months, and the ex started getting in my shit constantly, so it kinda killed my enthusiasm and I started slacking and eventually dropped off.

  2. The past year has been all over the place. I’ve kept certain core lifts, but messing around with different lifts, rep ranges, and techniques. Just getting back to strength work in the 2-5 range.

  1. Nutrition right now consists of intermittant fasting 12-on, 12-off. Intake averages 2400 with a 40-30-30 split, with high carbs on leg days, medium on others, and low on off days. Not too terribly strict. I still eat pizza, burgers, tacos, etc… I just don’t go overboard on portions. No desserts or snacks, and sodas are limited to one every week or two.

  2. Main lifts are 45deg incline bench for 225, squat 365, seated press 5rm 155, and the last time I pulled it was 425.

  3. Deadlift. Got some discomfort in my upper back, and right elbow just healed up from tendinitis. Still lifting, just working around it.

  1. 5’9 and right now I’m hovering between 185-190. Calipers say 8.5% on a 3-point (12mm abs, 8mm pectoral, 5mm quad), but I look more like 12% because my abs hold fat.

In December I was 175 @ 16-17%, so that’s an lbm increase from 147-172, mostly before March.

Right on man. Well it looks like you have at least a good idea of what to do and have been consistently tracking so you can know what works.

I wouldn’t invest too much effort into what your body % is; from those pictures I’d say you’re nowhere near 8.5%. 8.5% is getting damn close to stage ready, and while you’re not fat, you’d have a ways to go to get close to stage ready.

If you’re specifically looking for body parts to bring up I can tag a few bodybuilders from this site that have a good eye for that sort of thing, once you post more pictures.

Otherwise, I think you know what you would need to do to take it to the next level (just being more strict, and more consistent).

I agree I’m nowhere near stage ready. I don’t really care to be that lean, though. Up until about three weeks ago, I wasn’t even really dieting. My legs have always been lean, though. Even at a fat 235, my quad skinfold was only 8mm. I have striations on my VL’s, and some starting to show through on my VM’s, so I think that’s what brings my average down. Looking in the mirror, I’d call myself a solid 12%

Just to show you I’m not bullshittin about the wheels

Deadlifted on Thursday for the first time in months. Kept it light at 250, but no discomfort in my upper back or elbow. Gonna increase the weight slowly and hope for the best.

Everything else is still increasing. Hopefully I’ll be back up to my previous strength before too long.

To follow up from the other thread, you look good, #nohomo. I think 12-14 is accurate, but you have good mass.

Thanks, Myth. I appreciate the feedback. Always chasing more mass, of course, but I’d like to get a bit leaner before starting to gain again. All in all, I’m pretty happy with my transformation so far. I’ve learned a hell of a lot about myself this year.

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Nice going ! You’ve told us you squat 365. How many sets/reps do you perform and how many times per week ? What type of squats - eg front/back/Zercher - do you perform ?
I avoided them for too long , but now do 4 sets 3 times a week. My numbers are garbage , yet I do find it easy to add a small amount of weight each workout.

I’m focusing more on squat strength than leg size now. I was doing high volume twice a week very similar to what’s in the “Mountain Dog Legs” article. Now I’ve scaled back the volume and work them every three days, alternating between:
High volume leg curls (MD style)
Back squat (parallel) working up to a good double, then a back-off set of ten.
Trap bar squats, focusing on VM’s for 3 sets of 15-20


Same leg curls
Bottom-up squats from 8" above parallel for a big single. These will make your max squat weight feel light.
Leg extensions, again focusing on VM’s

The most important thing is to avoid failure on low-rep work at all costs. A double at 90% works like magic. I hit 335 easy last night. 3 weeks ago I hit 315, and even though the weight’s going up, it feels lighter every time. As soon as I get to the point where I don’t think I could get 3 at that weight, I’ll recalculate and drop back down to 85% of the new max and start working my way back up

Oh, and I work arms with legs. Doesn’t affect my leg work at all, and seems to be working great for arms. My basic split is shoulders/back/chest, legs/arms, off, repeat