Jake's Journey to Getting Big

So I decided to go for it. I want to build strength and size and become a bigger, better me.
Some stats:
Height: 6’1
Weight: 165lbs
Age: 19
BF%: 15-16% (estimated, I can see my abs decently and I’m not too soft)
Estimated 1RMs:
Bench: 205
Squat: 230
Dead lift: 225

These are all rough estimates.

I sat down and made a 6 month plan to build mass through proper diet and nutrition. The only hitch in my plan is that, being a rookie to lifting, I don’t have much experience as to how my body reacts to different types of training. I’ve been lifting frequently for about a year now, but for the majority of that time I let myself be pulled in every direction in the search for that super program that would allow me to stack on muscle as fast as possible. I also was afraid of losing my abs while bulking, so I could never push myself to eat enough to get bigger. Well, suffice it to say, I’m past all of that and now I’m getting serious about achieving my goal. 6 months from today, I would like to weigh 185lbs (hopefully at a comparable bf%).

So, I’ll be posting my training sessions on here straight from the log book that I take to the gym with me. I’ll also list my daily nutritional habits. I would REALLY appreciate any feedback from you guys. There are some awesome people on this site with a ton of valuable insight. Thanks in advance.

Day 1, 7 AUG 2011: Upper Body - Push

Bench Press, 4 sets: 8x135, 8x145, 8x155, 8x165
Decline BB Press, 4 sets: 8x155, 6x155, 6x155, 8x135
Incline DB Press, 3 sets: 10x35s, 8x40s, 8x40s
OHP: 8x75, 8x80, 8x80, 8x80 (I know, this is sad, but I’ve gotta start somewhere)
Delt DB Raises,4 sets: 10x25s, 10x25s, 10x25s, 10x25s
Shrugs, 4 sets: 10x120, 10x120, 10x120, 10x120
Tricep Circuit X3: French Press 8x50, Overhead Tricep Extension 8x50, Tricep Pulldown 8x50
^This is done with no rest between moves and only 30sec between circuits.

Daily Nutrition:
Breakfast: 1 cup egg whites, two whole-wheat tortillas, 2oz white albacore tuna, 1 apple
Snack: 2 Zone Perfect Nutrition Bars
Lunch: Had to skip it because I was flying back to NY from FL :frowning:
Afternoon Snack: 1 Pear, 1 Zone Bar
Dinner: 1 Beef Hamburger, 1 Beef hotdog, 1 slice watermelon
Post Workout: 1 PoweradeProtein shake.

Calories: 1811 (not enough, but it’s tough to eat healthy while traveling)
Fat: 46g
Carb: 185g
Protein: 166g

NOTE: Normally I get a higher percentage of my calories from protein than I do from carbs, but I wasn’t able to eat as well I would have liked today. I did my best with what I had. Also, I am a cadet at the United States Military Academy and we have to eat whatever they serve in the cafeteria here. Usually I can choose healthy foods to actually eat, but this is not always the case. Just something to keep in mind when looking at what I eat each day.

I’ll post the rest of the days leading up to tomorrow sometime tomorrow afternoon. I have to go now, early wake-up to go running (mandatory).

Day 2, 8 AUG 2011: Upper Body - Pull

1)Pullups, 4 sets: 13 ,12 ,12 , 8 (Body weight only, focusing on form, will add weight soon)
2)Dead lift, 4 sets: 8x135,8x145, 8x155, 8x165 (Planning on upping this more aggressively)
3)Seated Cable Row, 4 sets: 8x140, 8x120, 8x120, 8x100
4)T-bar Rows, 4 sets: 8x45, 8x55, 8x55, 8x55
5)Incline DB Curl, 2 sets: 7x30, 6x30
6)Hammer Curl, 3 sets: 8x30, 8x30, 8x30
7)Preacher Curl, 2 sets: 7x30, 8x30

This workout started out pretty well, I was going strong and blasted through the pullups. I took my time on the deads because I am still new at them and I wanted my form to be as good as possible. The T-bars were new also, and I went light because that pad in my stomach/chest made it a little hard to breathe. I’m going to up the weight next time. I was also starting to get gasses by the time I moved on to direct arm work, so I didn’t do too many sets. My biceps got worked in almost all of the other moves in one way or another.

Breakfast was cereal with skim milk (the main dish was some nasty cheese quesadilla so I passed on that). I had Greek yogurt for a morning snack, a turkey/spinach wrap for lunch with olive oil, a post-workout shake, chicken breast and broccoli for dinner, and a bed time shake.

CALORIES: 1874 (still working on getting that higher, will do tomorrow)
FAT:23g (need more of this, too. Will buy some natural nut butter)
CARB: 191g (mostly from the breakfast cereal and PWO shake, will work on an alternative carb choice at breakfast)

I did better at getting in more protein today, I just need some more healthy fats and need to up my total calories in order to gain.

My biggest question, for anyone who is following this, has to do with my training routine. I notice that I sometimes find myself focusing on getting those 8 reps, and will sometimes choose a slightly lighter weight in order to complete them. Should I be focusing more on maybe just hitting the bottom portion of the functional hypertrophy range (more like 5-6 reps) and use as much weight as I can with good form to do so? Again, my goal is to pack on some mass, and I know I need to eat more in order to do this, which I will starting tomorrow (I promise!)

Day 3, 9 AUG 2011: Legs

1)Back Squats, 4 sets: 8x185, 8x195, 8x185, 8x185
2)HS Curl, 3 sets: 8x115, 8x115, 8x115, 8x115
3)Leg Press, 4 sets: 8x225, 8x225, 8x225, 8x225
4)Bulgarian Split Squats, 3 sets: 8x25s, 8x25s, 8x25s (one leg on bench, knee almost to floor)

I got a little greedy on back squats today. This is the first time I’ve squatted in a few months and my form got a little sketchy when I tried upping the weight. I backed it off to 185 again and my form improved. Guess I’m going to have to take things nice and slow at first.

Breakfast was a serving of raisin bran with skim milk and about 4oz of chicken breast (don’t ask me who comes up with these menus). I had a skim milk and a Zone bar for a morning snack, then tuna, egg whites, kidney beans, and a banana for lunch. I had about a cup of tuna for an afternoon snack and then a PWO shake. For dinner, I was invited to a family friend’s house and I had beef stew and a biscuit. Then, I had some cottage cheese and organic peanut butter for a bed time snack.

FAT: 69g
CARB: 246g

Well, I said I would eat more today. I feel like I almost ate too much, but based on information here at T-Nation, I need to eat about 3700 calories each day that I train and about 3250 on non-training days just to maintain my current weight! Could someone give me some input on the amount of protein/carbs/fats I’m getting each day. I’m planning on having the rest of my training days look more like this, nutrition-wise.

Day 4, 10 AUG 2011: Upper Body - Push

1)Bench Press: 8x145, 8x155, 8x165, 8x165
2)Incline DB Press: 8x40s, 8x40s, 8x40s, 8x40s (up weight next time)
3)Low Cable Press: 8x55, 8x55, 8x55, 8x55
4)OHP: 8x95, 8x95, 8x85, 8x85
5)Delt Raises: 8x30, 8x30, 8x30, 8x30
6)High Front Rows: 8x30, 8x30, 8x30, 8x30
7)Skull Crushers: 8x70, 8x60, 8x60, 8x60

I was happy that I went up in my bench press. My goal is to make steady progress each time, be it reps, weight, or number of sets. I need to go heavier on the incline DB presses, the 40s were too light. The low cable presses were substituted in for decline bench just to switch things up a bit. I went heavier on my OHP also and my form was still good, so I was happy about that. The Delt Raises felt better this time, used the right weight. The front rows also felt good. I went a little too heavy at first on the skull crushers, but backing off to 60 was the right choice.

Breakfast was a bit of turkey sausage and some cheerios. I didn’t get much, so morning snack followed soon after as a Met-Rx bar and some milk. Lunch was tuna, egg whites, and cottage cheese. I had a PWO shake mid-afternoon and then plenty of green beans and chicken breast for dinner. My bed time snack was cottage cheese and natural peanut butter.

FAT: 60g
CARB: 182g
PRO: 280g

I didn’t eat as much as yesterday, but I still got in a decent amount (I think). I’ve been sticking to lean protein and mostly veggies and fruits for my carbs. I’ve been reading more stuff on the site and am beginning to wonder if I need more carbs. I’m not feeling tired at all during my workouts, so there isn’t an energy problem that I’ve notice as of yet…

Day 5, 11 AUG 2011: Upper Body - Pull

1)Pullups: 14, 12, 13, 10
2)Dead lift: 8x135, 8x155, 8x175, 8x 155
3)Barbell Row: 8x95, 8x105, 8x105, 8x105
4)Barbell Curl: 8x60, 8x60, 8x60, 8x60
6)Hammer Curl: 8x30, 8x30, 8x30, 8x30

My numbers improved on pullups. I’m going to do a couple more sessions at body weight only just to make sure my form is good then I will start adding weight. Dead lift was a little sketchy because my legs are still shaky from that leg workout a couple days ago. I may have to take tomorrow off. I also may up the weight soon on curls. Barbell rows went well, I will up the weight a bit next time.

I went a little overboard today on protein (I ate 350+ grams today) so I know now that I need to get in more healthy fats to make up more of my caloric intake. I’m still wary of ingesting a large amount of carbs.
Breakfast was raising bran with skim milk, eggs, and Canadian bacon. Morning snack was tuna, cottage cheese, and milk. Lunch was chicken breast and green beans. I had some egg whites and gatorade pre-workout, then 2 scoops of O.N. 100% Whey and a banana PWO. For dinner I had tuna and egg whites and for a bed time snack I had natural peanut butter and cottage cheese.

I know I need to back off on the protein and up my healthy fats. I will focus more on this starting tomorrow.

FAT: 63g
CARB: 200g
PROTEIN: 360g-ish

I’d say you shouldn’t be concerned at all with eating too much or too much protein at this stage, and more with hitting your calorie target every single day. It helps to have a stash of calorie dense food or some other plan to top off a day’s calories when dinner ends up being something light like chicken breast. Just my uninformed opinion.