T Nation

Looking for Advice

first post here so apologies if I’m asking questions that have been answered a thousand times already.

I’m currently at just under 90kgs (89.6 at last weigh) and I’m guessing around 23% body fat. 35 years old and 5’9. Now for my aims and goals. I’m looking at
Finishing around 90-95kgs but obviously adding a fair bit of size. Now I know I either need to bulk first then cut or vice versa.

My first question is which would you guys do bulk then cut or vice versa?

Secondly I’m currently in the gym 4/5 days a week but fancy a change so any programs you could recommend? I’m pretty limited with my equipment, smith machine is the only real way of squatting/benching heavy. I have no control over this due to my work location (saudi) so have to make do.

I’m currently doing a chest/arms/shoulders/back and leg day for my sessions with 2 soccer training as cardio.

Thanks in advance and sorry for rambling


Do you have access to a barbell? You could power clean it to do front squats and OHP. How about DBs? What kind of equipment do you have access to?

What are your lifts like now? Training history?

What are your goals? I realize you want to be at least 90kg lean(er), but are you training for sports? strength? to look pretty?

The powerlifter in me isn’t really a fan of the smith machine TBH. I think it’s something that’s more suited to lighter accessory work like guillotine presses.

Hi Apocalypse,

Thanks for the quick response. I have a barbell to use, but not much room to swing it so to speak. Could probably clean it up for front squats though I guess. Dumbells wise there’s a few, upto 50lbs I think then a couple of 25kgs I think, not sure why they switch kg and lbs though.

We also have a multi gym type thing to pull down, machine chest press and do ham curls and quad extensions.

It’s mainly for vanity I’m working out if I’m honest. No bones about it. If I can get a bit of benefit for my soccer then fine but that’s nothing serious just a hobby.

Oh as for lifts I haven’t measured for a while but my bench is around 90kgs for 5x5. I haven’t deadlift or squatted heavy for a long time. Old back injury and no equipment. But it was 97.5 5x5 for squat and 105 deadlift. I feel the same about the Smith machine but I have been using it for high rep squats and it’s seemed to help my former some, but that may just be me being paranoid about form.

I’m not a big fan of the cleaning into a front squat thing. If you don’t have the wrist mobility to front squat with a clean grip then you’re going to have a bad time.

I also wouldn’t squat in the smith. Hard on the ole knees. I do like the smith for single leg stuff like static lunges, Bulgarian split squats, etc.

The limited equipment thing isn’t ideal but you can get a decent workout with what you’ve got if you get creative. Using what you have, I’d do something like:


Low Incline Smith Press
Pull Ups or Pulldowns
Machine Press
Dumbell Row
Vanity Stuff (various raises superset with arms exercises)


Deadlifts (heavy)
Single Leg Squats on the smith (mega high rep for these)
Leg Extensions
Leg Curls
Abs Stuff

Something like that would work. Obviously you don’t have to do exactly that but that’s more or less what I would do.

Thanks yogi1,

Ill maybe give it a go, question though why single leg squats but not full in squats? Also how would you set up for a single leg squat in the Smith? Leg rear on a bench as per dumbell single leg?

Thanks again.

yeah, I mean don’t get me wrong, lots of people squat with the Smith but I’m not a fan as it locks you in to a bar path that might not necessarily suit your body’s proportions. If you can do it and it feels natural then have at it, but single leg stuff is generally way easier on your lower back, and you could make the argument it’s more sport specific for football players like you anyway.

Either of these would work:

that’s obviously the foot elevated one, or:

would also work. I’d start with the non-foot elevated on first, then after I’d done that for a while I’d switch to having the rear foot elevated for the sake of keeping it interesting.

When i was without a rack i would do an explosive glute bridge to get the bar into a floor press position.

Kind of sucks after the set though…

Awesome thanks yogi,

I’ll give them a go and see how it goes. Might struggle with 2 lower sessions a week though as I seem to get doms real bad Inews my legs for some reason hehe.

after awhile your “DOMS” will go away if you train lowerbody twice per week. just glutamine protein creatine

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Ok, thanks for the advice about training. What about the bulk/cut? What would you guys do in my position, bulk first then drop down or drop down some first?
Oh and any diet tips/recipes would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks all so far


At 23% body fat I really don’t think a “cut” is necessary. Cutting is something bodybuilders do, and my guess is your goals are not the stage and man-thong look in the next few months.

Jim Wendler’s website talks about introducing people to weight training and fitness in general. There is a section that address good eating habits. Follow that for a few months and see where it gets you.

Thanks for the link I’ll have a good read of it. When I say cut I mean just to get rid of some body fat before bulking. I don’t really have much of an idea what 90kg muscle looks like. So that was just a goal I chose to aim for.

Yes, I know what you meant by it, but in your position it may not be as beneficial for you to think in those terms.

The link got taken down by the mods, if you haven’t been able to open it yet, just google it using the info I gave.