T Nation

My Goals....Any Comments?

I’m a newbie to these forums, I have been viewing the site for months and soaking up as much as I can. I’m 21 and this will be my first serious step into bodybuilding. I have done weight training in the past, but never with a committed goal to get big, and certainly with many flaws. This will be my first ‘serious’ bulking phase and I intend to use it as a learning experience, learning about my body and my training needs.

I do not believe in any of that hard-gainer crap, and I know that the responsibility is on me to follow-thru with my plans. Barring an accident, I’ll have no one but myself to blame if I fail.

I’m a skinny dude(surprise :-/) Weighing it at just under 180(fluctuates) on a 6’4 skeleton. My frame is actually fairly big all around and I believe it is well suited for putting on a lot of extra muscle, I simply have never pursued this with intent before.

My Primary goal is to put on somewhere between 15-30 pounds of lean muscle mass by next year. I am uncertain just how long it will take me to do, but I know there are no shortcuts and I’m not looking to explode in size overnight.

About 5 months ago I began weight training with bodybuilding in mind. I completely reorganized my diet and I started doing all the exercises I could manage with my free weights. My goal then was not to become fucking enormous, but to teach myself discipline and the general mechanics of what I am intent on following through with today.

I did put on a couple of pounds in that time, but mostly I just became a lot stronger, matching up with many of my friends who are more ‘built’ than I am.

Strength is not my primary concern with this planned bulking phase, I think I can adequately address that after I’ve put some beef on, and trying to get the best of both worlds might be a little too ambitious for me. I know I will get stronger in this time, but I also know that strength is not all about raw muscle size.

Aesthetics are another motivating factor, I have a big frame but it’s hollow in a way, I know that if I filled it out It’d be all around a better look for me.

Here’s some words and a run-down on the work, eating and extras.

Exercises:
I intend on sticking to Squats, Deadlifts and bench presses primarily. My goal will be to kill my body once or twice a week then rest adequately and do it again. Of all the reading I’ve encountered this seems to be one of the(if not the) most effective route for hypertrophy and building a massive foundation. I’m not too unfamiliar with squats, but deadlifts and bench presses are not something I do a whole lot of. I have been practicing form as best I can, but I intend to get some private consultation with somewhat that really knows what they are doing to help set me up right.

The only isolation type workouts I may touch will be in the forearms and triceps, since my arms have always been kind of noodly and they are a very noticeable indicator of size to the unwashed masses.

I also intend to continue doing pullups, dips, crunches and pushups to improve my coordination and ability to handle my body weight, especially as it increases.

Cardio will be limited, but I do play soccer, ultimate frisbee and basketball recreationally. I also do endurance hiking and I’m no stranger to running. I will do cardio as much as I feel it benefits me directly, but I don’t want to impede on the raw size gains.

My diet consists of 5 or 6 ‘meals’ a day with lots of grazing, sometimes more if I wake up earlier. I have not measured my latest diet, but It is somewhere between 3000 and 4000 calories on average and I know that the protein, carbs and fats are pretty balanced, with a slight bias towards protein and carbs.

Typically my main staples are(not an actual sample diet, my approach to dieting is to find all the best foods I can tolerate and eat them basically whenever);

*Oatmeal, mixed with protein powder, banana, blueberries and peanut butter - eat in the mornings, with glass of whole milk(this is usually ~1000 calories)

*Natural Peanut Butter/banana Sandwiches on Natural grainy breads - eat whenever, with a glass of whole milk(I sometimes eat 3 or 4 of these a day)

*Can of Tuna mixed with Cottage cheese - Eat whenever with water(usually eat at night and midday)

*Turkey Sandwich(turkey
and spinach) on grainy breads.(midday, eat with fruit)

*Fibrous Cereals, with banana, blueberries and whole milk(eat whenever)

*Protein shake(post workout, sometimes before bed as well)

Snacks that I eat whenever include:
*Blueberries
*Bananas
*Apples
*Oranges
*Spinach( I actually like eating plain spinach)
*Cottage Cheese(same)

Fairly often(not in my fridge constantly, but available) I eat:
*Turkey Burgers(home made, fairly big, usually eat 3 or 4, or 2 doubles)

*Chicken Breast(Barbecued)

*Raw Egg yolks, cooked Egg whites

*Beef(usually rare as possible)

*Lamb(rotisserie usually)

Sometimes I snag a fatty burrito or a greasy burger from some local joints, I don’t feel too badly about these since I’m keeping up so well everywhere else.

Supplements, I do not believe Supplements will do my work for me, but I cannot deny their role in helping fill in the cracks and pushing me forward, I have actively spent enough time experimenting with a few to determine what seems to work for me.

*Whey Protein(currently ON 100% whey, which I like, but I am interested in trying Biotest’s brand too)

*MRP shake(I never use the full servings, instead I break up servings through the day to improve overall caloric intake)

*Creatine
*Fish Oil
*ZMA(helps with sleep mostly)
*Multi-vitamin(all natural)

The one supplement I have not yet experimented with that I am planning on giving a chance is Greens Food. Any thoughts on it? It seems like a worthy filler for missing vegetable content.

The biggest problem I have right now(that I can see) is that I am an insomniac, even when I kill my body I often find myself unable to actually get to sleep. Hopefully this will correct itself as I adopt new patterns in my waking life, because I know inadequate sleep will be a sufficient bottleneck.

So now I’ve laid out, more or less, who I am and what I’m doing. I’d appreciate any input you guys have on my specific stuff. I will keep reading and adjusting appropriately.

Thoughts, comments, flames, wisdom and anything else? Did I forget anything??

Can’t fault it. What kind of rep scheme are you planning on those exercises?

Nice plan imho… regarding the sleep thing, let us know if you find something that works, I also have real trouble falling asleep at night – even after destroying myself at the gym.

Nice post, you seem well read anyway…

The few things I would say are

1] You really really really need to sleep to gain size. There are a bunch of options available to you (getting more routine, meditation, reading a book etc. even sleeping pills if it persists)

2] You didn’t mention it specifically so: make sure your pre-bedtime shake packs a punch. I’m a little heavier than you (210) but to give you an idea, before bed I have 1 scoop isolate + 1 scoop Metabolic Drive + 1 heaped tbsp flaxseed mixed with milk (to fill a 16oz container). When you sleep is when you grow and all that…

3] You didn’t mention much about specific training protocols (sets, reps etc.). I think it’s a good idea for you to spend some time doing different ranges of work for each bodypart to determine which part responds best to which range. For example, my quads grow best with high volume of work whereas my chest only responds to heavy loading. To maximise your gains it would be good for you to figure this out (i.e. get a rough idea what your fibre type percentages are for each grouping).

4] Isolated movements are not evil, especially if you’re training for size. You can work individual muscles with isolated movements in ways that are difficult with compounds (i.e. maximising loading at the points of peak stretch or contraction) which help to speed up growth.

All the best with it anyway

Have you read Total Body Training by Chad Waterbury…you might want to give that one a try. It’s 3 full-body workouts a week…and when you’re on a program like that, you will be a little bit more ‘organized’ that trying to run around the gym and do what you think you should do that workout.

Also, go sign up at www.fiday.com and enter your meals there. That’s the easiest way to know exactly what you’re eating and how much of it you’re eating. It’ll break your diet down into a pie graph and so on fat, carbs, protein, etc.

Anyway, good luck.

[quote]deapee wrote:
Have you read Total Body Training by Chad Waterbury…you might want to give that one a try. It’s 3 full-body workouts a week…and when you’re on a program like that, you will be a little bit more ‘organized’ that trying to run around the gym and do what you think you should do that workout.

Also, go sign up at www.fiday.com and enter your meals there. That’s the easiest way to know exactly what you’re eating and how much of it you’re eating. It’ll break your diet down into a pie graph and so on fat, carbs, protein, etc.

Anyway, good luck.[/quote]

Not nitpicking, but did you mean fitday.com ?

Since you havent been consistant at all, eating wise and workout wise, you will see a jump in weight quite fast. You’ll almost certainly see newbie gains if you just eat a ton more and lift a ton more that what you are/have been doing.

I wouldnt say that 15lbs the first month is out of the question and then the weight gain will taper. Then adjust your daily requirements. Remember, you need more food at 200lbs than you do at 185lbs. Keep that in mind.

And for god sakes, DONT start to cut as soon as you are done bulking! and DONT freak out when you looks some definition in your abs! Give your body some time to adjust to its new size.

One of the problems I have with this approach, while it is clearly very valid to determine what exactly I need to be doing, and I’m not shying away from it, it is simply being a newbie and knowing exactly what to look for/feel. Experimenting is always kinda risky when you’re not fully aware of all the factors involved. This is definitely a topic I am interested in, and I will explore it as I am able, but it does seem a bit more advanced from where I am right now.

I agree, they are not evil, but again, where I am right now, I feel that I should be focusing on compound movements. I’m trying to increase my overall mass and build a better foundation by which to hone in on the smaller stuff, as it happens, I’ve done a decent amount of isolation movements in the past few months, and they certainly do provide aesthetic and functional results in the areas I work, but for now, I think the simpler compound stuff will be more productive. But I am not excluding isolation work entirely, I think I should first be getting my feet wet so to speak.

Thanks for the reply.

[quote]deapee wrote:
Have you read Total Body Training by Chad Waterbury…you might want to give that one a try. It’s 3 full-body workouts a week…and when you’re on a program like that, you will be a little bit more ‘organized’ that trying to run around the gym and do what you think you should do that workout.
[/quote]

Thanks for the input. I certainly know about the sketchiness of randomly running around a gym thinking about what I should workout. 2 years ago I had a membership at the Y for playing basketball and I used their gym fairly frequently. I made absolutely no gains anywhere, I just didn’t know what I was doing at all. My diet was terrible(all junk food) and I was being completely inconsistent.

I cut all the junk out of my diet over a year ago, and now I’m actively researching as much as I can, and I am not going to make the same mistakes.

I’ll check out Waterbury’s Book. Online resources are excellent, but they can be scattered and limited, a condensed and conclusive rundown of an approach in book form might be very useful.

[quote]steinnes wrote:

Not nitpicking, but did you mean fitday.com ?[/quote]

lol yeah… fitday.com

[quote]PGA200X wrote:
Since you havent been consistant at all, eating wise and workout wise, you will see a jump in weight quite fast. You’ll almost certainly see newbie gains if you just eat a ton more and lift a ton more that what you are/have been doing.

I wouldnt say that 15lbs the first month is out of the question and then the weight gain will taper. Then adjust your daily requirements. Remember, you need more food at 200lbs than you do at 185lbs. Keep that in mind.

And for god sakes, DONT start to cut as soon as you are done bulking! and DONT freak out when you looks some definition in your abs! Give your body some time to adjust to its new size.[/quote]

Thanks for the reply. It’s true, I have not been sticking to any consistent program…yet. I’ve been sorting things out, picking apart the pieces of various ideas, getting my things together and preparing for the kill.

I do not want to be holding myself to the idea that I will put on 15+ pounds within the first month or anything crazy like that. Even though I am aware of ‘newbie gains’ as well as the potential for massively quick gains once your diet and fitness level is already decent. But that is mostly because I don’t really know what to really expect. While it may be possible to put on so much mass in a short period of time, I don’t want to be too hopeful about it, and would probably feel more comfortable if it came slower and more(what feels like) naturally.

I don’t intend on cutting for a good while after bulking. Since I have been relatively thin my whole life, I want to insure that my body recalibrates itself for the extra mass I’m giving it, Ideally, I want to have some wiggle room with maintenance, where my body won’t immediately shrivel as soon as I miss a month of working out(not that I will, but you know what I mean)

Coincidentally. In the run-up to this bulking phase. I did do those months of lighter ‘training’ training. I was very consistent with my diet and my workouts, but then I fell off the horse for almost 3 weeks as I went on some trips and did not adequately plan my workout into them. I was surprised that when I came back My muscles were still basically in the same shape as when I had left. It was very encouraging to know that I was making real gains and my body was accepting them. I cant’ say whether that would have continued for months or not, but it does put my mind at ease somewhat.

Sorry I was going to read through all the posts to see if this was adressed already but I’ve got some studying to do so I’ll just re-adress if someone has already brought it up.

You mentioned tuna in your diet, tuna is great, cheap, easy to make, and packed with protein. But before you start taking it everyday or twice a day (at night and midday as you said) read up on mercury poisoning. If you’re eating tuna everyday this could be a very real threat for you. Other than that, good luck.

Thanks for the caution. As it happens, I do not eat tuna every day, and usually no more than one tin when I do. I’m trying to find a variety in eating that I can stick with consistently without ruining my favorites or inhibiting my progress. Once there is a problem with eating too much peanut butter… then I’ll be in trouble.