T Nation

long layoff


I'm back in the gym for the first time in a while and needless to say my first workout has left my body pretty fried. Does anyone have an idea on how long it takes (roughly, knowing each person's body responds differently to training) before recovery is back up to the point where a growth surge type of program could be attempted? My goal for the summer is to go from my 155 now to 170-175 (skinny bastard at 6'). It thats unrealistic let me know also.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.


Well there is no real telling except listening to your own body.

I would say atleast a month of working on your recovery ability, and getting used tio the stimulus again.

Dont be afraid to train through a certain degree of soreness. This will allow you to adapt. If you cant walk, I wouldnt train legs again, but some soreness and training is O.K..

Make sure your diet is nailed and you are getting plenty of sleep?

Also are you considering the use of Mag 10 with the growth surge?

If so I would say wait at least 6 months and regain much of what you lost. You should get a fairly quick return without assistance. Saving the PH for when progression slows.

Hope some of this helps.



Adding 20 pounds by the end of the summer is unrealistic, unless you've got your diet dialed in and unless you're using prohormones, as Phill said.

However, that's no reason not to try! (grin)

Start reading some of the diet and nutrition articles in the "Previous Issues" section, and we'll be glad to help.


You might can put on that weight before summer's end. I have put on 12.5 pounds of mostly leanness in the last 5 weeks alone. I was also coming off a break which seems to be the prime time for me to add weight. Like Phill said, diet is key. Really jack up the protein. By the way, we have roughly the same stats, 6'1" was 164, this morning on an empty stomach was 176.5. Try to at least match your body weight with grams of protein. Yes that means you must eat all the time. One thing I do that seems to realy help is this: for two weeks I eat everything I can, high in protein and calories. I try to get 2000 calories per day more that when I am not training. Then for the next week to two weeks, I cut back to regular 2000 or so calories a day. Normally your metabolism thats 14 days to adjust to your eating habits. So at the beginning of the feeding phase, it'll be tough to eat all that but I promise you by the end of the two weeks you'll be hungry all the time. When you start the fasting weeks you'll be hungry all the time, and then by the end it will not be so bad. Then you hit it again with the food. You will lose some during the fasting part but not all of it. Also I do no cardio during this and my workouts are geared toward not overtraing which means I only do a maximum of the exercises per body part, two warm up sets for every other exercise, and then only 2 sets of 8 to FAILURE. FAILURE meaning you cannot do more than 8. If you can do more than 8 then you need to add more weight. I don't do this for squats but do all you can for squats, they are very important for your whole body workout. I usually get lots of critisism for my workout but it really works for me. I always gain and respond well to it. I have used it to gain 35lbs before I took a long long lay off and still kept 10 lbs on muscle when it was over. Good luck and train hard getting all the protein you can. This site has been great for me with all the different advice.


Forgot to finish. I usually do this for 10 to 12 weeks to bulk up. I have used a high calorie weight gainer as well but tended to get a little chubby. I recommend high protein drink with whole milk if you can take it.

Anyway, once I have gotten the weight on that I want, then I'll start with the heavy cardio 2 days a week and change my workout to high repetion and use more muscle defining type movements.

Also in the 10 to 12 weeks, you should change up your workout after about 6 weeks. Your body adjusts to the resistnace. Hope it helps.


I started back to the gym about 2 months ago and I am at the point where I can kick my ass in the gym. The first couple weeks were tough, especially when I re-tore my LCL ligament in my right knee (not from lifting). That put a damper on things as my favorite body parts to train are my leg muscles and I had to avoid training them (other than therapy) up until about 2.5 weeks ago.

I have a hard time eating right unless I'm working out so I ballooned from a relatively cut up 216 pounds up to 247 pounds of fat during that 9 months. I've managed to get back down right around 230 so far by doing a diet similar to the T-dawg 2.0. I live off of cottage cheese, Natural peanut butter, flax oil, eggs, chicken, tuna, steak, etc as well as spinach, brocoli, carrots and other veggies as well as the occasional fruit. I want to get back down around 220 by September for my wedding, and should be able to do it with the steady progress I've made so far, as well as the fact I can now do legs, run, and can do supersets. I will probably start the mutation series soon.

My strength levels are about 85-90% of what they were (up from about 75%). My re-gains are starting to go slower now, but still nice and steady. I have been doing lower reps (usually 3-6 reps) and it has worked out well for me.

Just work back into it slowly and do not burn yourself out too soon! Best of luck!


I'll try for that 175 mark with a minimum of 165 in place. My joints have been acting up (cracking and such). I've thrown in a lot of rotator cuff work and that has seemed to help. My left hip hurts now and again (right at the joint), but my elbows are the ones i worry about. I havent done any direct leg/tricep work yet, I figure I'll ease back into it with sets of 10-12 of lighter weight for about 3 more weeks (hopefully at this point hitting 160). Then I'd like to do a mag-10 cycle even though I'm only 20, I can't lie I really want to get to a base where I'm not as fucking small as I am now. Then I figure next Christmas break I'll be home for about a month so I can use my other (and last) bottle of Mag - 10.

Programs that I've followed with great success: growth surge 2, and last summer 4 weeks of ovt followed by Westside (which was insanely fun) for about 8. I haven't used any of Chad Waterbury's programs but I'm really curious. I'd like to give quattro dynamo a go but wonder if I should do it with one of my last bottles of mag-10.

As for diet and sleep, I got those locked down pretty well as well as a lot more attention to hydration. Starting July I'll be at summer school living and cooking everythign for myself and I figured the easiest way to go about getting all the calories I needed would be to cook something the night before and eat it all day the next day (like a pound of pasta, jar of pasta sauce and a pound of ground meat, associated vegetables and two glasses of milk with each meal). That way I have a calorie count before I start my day, and know I have to eat all of whatever is in front of me to get there. As for supps I have some Myostat I'll be using and my own gatorade/whey wannabe surge.


sdp, what were your stats before your layoff? how long was your layoff?

If you are trying to gain that much for the first time then like Phill said 6mo maybe, but if you were that size before your layoff its possible to gain it back at a quicker rate.


Same stats before layoff except I was a lot more cut.... basically I've put on some fat and lost some muscle. My layoff has been since about mid Feburary.


I am not going to flame you or anything, I would just like you to think about holding off on the Mag-10.

You say your stats. were the same before your, we'll call it a "long break." This to me says a thing or two. You really need to dial in your training and nutrition before you try a cycle.

You need eo learn how to put on quality mass naturally befor any pill, liquid, shot is going to give you any great effect.

At your weight and height you should be able to pack on some quality mass with some hard work, dedication to diet and just palin eating.

Just my 2cc, a friendly little suggestion. Save the Mag-10 for when you have learned to put it on without it. Then you will get the full potential of the Mag-10

Hope you consider this approach,


Phil I hear what you're saying...... to be honest my break was less a break then a long semester of partying way too much.... I picked up smoking but I've quit now but the lungs have a lot of catching up to do as does the rest of my body... its safe to say I've learned my lesson in that department and as of now I'm looking to get back on track as best I can... I figured that hitting 165 would be the ceiling of short term gains after the lay off then perhaps to put me to a spot where I'd like to be (for now the 170-175 area) the Mag-10 cycle would be the ticket to it. I've been pretty dedicated to lifting before.... the first time I did growth surge 2 I went from 141 to 148 at 5'11" with a food and training log and no supps. Last summer I got to be a far more cut 155 then I am now with creatine as my only assistance (there I also came off of a shorter lay off from being sick). I'm not trying to say I have enough experience to know when to use Mag-10 (hence the forum post) but I have gained from training and diet along before. Now as to when I switch into and use PH is a different story.


My $0.02... Drink lots and lots of water. It helps alleve the soreness in my muscles. I try for about 2 gallons a day. You will get used to drinking & peeing all the time. If you keep your sodium down you won't retain the water and bloat.