T Nation

Natty on Pennies

I’ll use this log to:
-Track ideas that appear to me
-Keep track of the progression of me and my “clients” aka. friends that I coach
-Maybe to socialize a bit, as I don’t do that too much in the real world

Yes, I stole the name of topic from DC, and I have no shame. It represents my life in a great way as I am maybe the skimpiest person you’ll ever meet or hear about.

The biggest I have ever been was 110kg (247lbs), then I dieted down, mainly due to financial issues (as I was consuming nearly 7000 calories/day, that is not really “cheap”) but I plan on getting up in the 107-112kg (240-250lbs) range again.


Let’s get this rolling
So, some progress from a friend of mine that is under my coaching.

This dude has been lifting for 10 weeks now and his squat has gone from 5x80kg(176lbs) to a 132.5(292lbs) single in a span of 10 weeks. He also did a triple with 127.5kg(281lbs)
This was done without focusing on the squat.
He was on a caloric surplus of only 300-ish calories/day, dude weights about 94kg(207lbs) now

I plan on getting him to do a single or a double at 140kg(315lbs) in the following two weeks.


Here is another story about squat progress -this time about my girlfriend.

In the beginning she was ~54kg(122lbs) and squatted 60kg(135lbs) for a single at this point she had been training for about four months, learning the movements and such. (For the record, her first squat session: a single at 25kg/55lbs)

Ok, so. She told me she wanted to go on a diet and improve her squat.

After three months (so now seven total months in training) she squatted 105kg(235lbs) for a single at the bodyweight of 53kg (~120lbs)

That is an increase of 45kg(100lbs) of the 1RM of a small girl, done when losing weight during a 3 month period.

Ok, yes she “only” lost ~1kg (2lbs) during the three months, but her waist went down by 10cm(4 inches), so I wouldn’t say it wasn’t a successful diet.


Something I have noticed about nutrition

Your body is quite stupid in a way, it can’t do many things at once.
For example, you can’t focus on 30 movements at a time if you want to get strong. You have to pick few key lifts and do a little bit of accessory work with them.
I’d say you can really focus on 6-8 main movements at once if you are running something else than a full body split, with the goal of muscle growth and strength.
For best strength gains I would stick to 3-5 main movements plus a few accessories.

Your body works in similar fashion when it comes to nutrition. You have to pick a few good foods and eat a ton of those, and a little bit of supplementing foods/supplements.

Let’s put it this way:
In training you would focus on, say overhead press, deadlift, front squat and pullups, with accessories such as rows, hamstring curls and close-grip bench

So why not focus on beef, potatoes and eggs in nutrition with a side of fish oil and whey?

Just something to think about

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1st welcome and IN!!! But I am going to have to know your PRs and training program :smiley:

really just because I am nosy.

Daniel Craig? I love Bond too!!!


This definitely makes tracking macros exponentially easier but I think as long as you stay away from the junk (anything processed) your body does great.

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My PR’s are nothing to be proud of, to be honest
I do have a weird muscle-fiber makeup, to say at least. Be it almost any lift, I can’t do more than 3-5 reps with 70% of my 1RM (unless it’s squat)

That being said, I don’t try my own 1RMs very often but here are some of my weights

Squat (not super deep, but definitely under parallel 20x125kg(275lbs) which would in my case equal to a 220-240kg 1RM (485-530lbs)
Bent-over rows (at about 60 degrees, 90 being parallel to floor and 0 being standing straight) 18x120kg(265lbs), 8x150kg (330lbs)
Dumbbell rows 10x70kg(155lbs)
Stiff-legged deadlift “padilla style(?)” (aka. very slow and controlled, chest held high, stretches like crazy) 17x130kg (375lbs)
Pull-ups 20xBW
Chin-ups 30xBW

As you may be able to conclude, I like to do my leg movements very slow and controlled, while I don’t focus so much on form while doing back

Program-wise at the moment I’m doing a 3+2 day hit program (that I wrote myself, so no links to fancy articles here)

It goes like this:
Monday: Chest and Back
Tuesday: Calves, Hamstrings, Quads
Wednesday: Shoulders, Triceps, Biceps and Forearms
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps, Back
Saturday: Biceps, Forearms, Calves, Hamstrings, Quads
Sunday: Rest

I mainly do one movement per muscle group (for back I do one for width, one for thickness and for quads I do one heavy and one “light” set I also have an isolation movement for shoulders, which is seated lateral raise at the moment) and I do only one set.
on the off days I walk for an hour

Oh yeah, I hope Daniel is not coming after me for stealing


I saw the log yesterday and postponed commenting for today.DAMN I could have been the 1st welcome

:rage: :rage: :rage:

In too


Thanks guys! I Appreciate it!


That is very impressive progressive if his form was good.

Also IN.

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I make almost all of my “clients” squat below parallel, not necessarily to a ass-to-grass depth, but quite a bit below. His depth was actually even better now at the 1x132.5 and 3x127.5 than it was at he 5x80 he did 10 weeks ago. (mainly because I got him to work on his mobility and to take it easy when it comes to weight increasements. Before yesterday he hadn’t squatted over 100kg (225lbs) ever, because I like to work with lighter weight when it comes to beginners as they can gain strength even in the 40-60% range of 1RM.


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Damn, man, that’s impressive.

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Just to keep the log active; a quick tip for lat pulldowns and dumbbell bench press (nothing special, you probably are already doing this)

Okay, so for the lat pulldowns (I prefer pull-ups over pulldowns, but if you like pulldowns, you will like this)

  1. Flare your lats before the set and try to keep them flared during the set
  2. Lats love stretch, just keep that in mind
  3. Instead of having your knees at 90 degree angle, have them at about 120 degrees (so move your feet forward a bit)
  4. If you are doing reverse grip (palms facing you) pull down towards your sternum and really lean back during the positive phase of the exercise.
  5. If you are doing the movement with palms facing away from you, take a false grip (no thumb). If that doesn’t help, take a pistol grip (no thumb, no index finger) use straps if necessary. (I don’t use straps on any back width exercises)

Don’t try to do all at once, especially if you have trouble feeling your lats working. Try one or two at a time, leave out a step if it doesn’t work for you.

Now, for the dumbbell bench.
Really I only have a couple of things to say about this one

  1. Lift your feet up onto the bench. Not in the air, but onto the bench.
    Don’t worry, this wont destroy your pressing power on the particular movement, actually it will maybe even increase it a little bit.
    (If you haven’t been arching like crazy with your feet on the ground and you ass coming off the bench. Why would you even do that in such exercise? DB Bench is meant to build up your pec strength and size, not your ego)
    Remember to keep a slight arch in your back.

  2. Stop pointing your elbows straight to your sides. Move them in a little bit. I feel that this protects your shoulders and prevents chest tearing as the stretch is a bit less intensive during the set.
    When you point your elbows straight to your sides (an angle of 90 degrees between your body and your upper arm), you would look like the letter T if you were observed from above.
    When you move your elbows in you should almost look like this /|\ (pardon my artistic skills) (that is supposed to be about an angle of 45-55 degrees between your body and your upper arm.)

  3. Lower the weight at least as low as you would lower the bar in bench press.
    So, if there was an imaginary bar between the dumbbells it would touch your chest or maybe even sink into it a little bit.

I like to use dumbbell bench press for guys who want
A) bigger chest
B) A stronger bench
as it is a great tool for chest size & strength

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I always enjoy helping my friends and other people out in any way I can, and I hope they “pay it forward” by helping someone else in need.

Nice log.

Im in.


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Nice log, I’m in and great progress with your clients.
I’ve taken my squat from 80kg x5 to around a 100kg single (it’ll be tested in the next few weeks) in 8-9 weeks. You must be doing something good.
How much body weight did your friend gain? The first one you mentioned.

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Thanks man… bird… manbird?
I’ll try to keep it that way

Let’s have another go at exercise tweaks, this time for guys who are after big forearms and calves

Fist for the forearms: I call this the “fat roll”. No. I’m not saying you should bulk up to 350lbs to obtain big forearms.
Before I tell you how to perform the exercise I want to tell you that I would suggest you to do some grip work (Pinching plates, hanging from a bar, doing pulling exercises without straps) to see if that is enough for your forearms to begin growing. If not, enter the fat roll:

  1. I want you to find a lat pulldown machine
  2. Attach a V- shaped handle to it
  3. Put fat grips onto the handle. (if your gym doesn’t have them, buy a pair, they are not very expensive)
  4. Sit onto the pulldown and pull the handle to nose level, just the way you would if you were doing back
  5. Now, just start doing wrist curls (make sure that the fat grips can rotate around the handle) you can add a static hold in the end of the set to get the most out of it.

After doing your fat roll set, get onto a bench with a barbell (I load it up to 90lbs, you don’t need much weight for this)
Sit at the end of the bench, with your forearms on your thighs, palms up. (just like you would do if you were to perform a wrist curl) let the bar sink to the tips of your fingers and hold it there, it will stretch like crazy. Don’t let your hands touch your legs, it destroys the purpose of this stretch. Try to hold it for a minute, then cry.

It should look like this, just let the bar sink even lower to the tips of your fingers.

It is important that you have done a forearm exercise before doing this stretch, otherwise it will hurt in the wrong way.

Now, for the calves.
Two things: Massive contraction and massive stretch.

First, for the contraction:
I noticed this when I was about to stretch my back (I hang from a bar with 45-55kg (100-120lbs) hanging from my waist with a dipping belt)
As I was trying to reach the bar in order to strap myself to it, I had to stand on my toes and hold it there for a while. I got maybe one of the biggest calf pumps ever.

So what I would suggest is this:
Simply hang 45kg (100lbs) from your waist with a belt and get on the tips of your toes. Then begin to walk with small steps. With each step, contract your calves as hard as you can. Do that for a minute or two and tell me that your calves aren’t full of blood.

After doing that, move on to the seated calf raise machine.
Do one set in the regular DC-fashion. So a fast positive, a 5 second negative, and a 15 second stretch at the bottom. Really push that stretch to be as deep as possible.
Do a straight set to failure (which should come at about 12 reps).

The set will take about four minutes to perform, but don’t go light. You have to go lighter than usually but don’t be the guy who pushes baby weight (for themselves) and thinks it’s brutal.

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Thanks man, you seem to be doing well too

About 3kg (6.6lbs), he may have even lost some fat in the process
He had to buy a new pair of jeans already as his legs got too big for the old ones.


How to get better at pull-ups (or pretty much any bodyweight exercise)

Okay, I’ll give you this: the way I got my chin-ups from two reps to 30 reps in the matter of 12 weeks

  1. I want you to test how many pull-ups you can do with just your bodyweight
    (Let’s say you can do 4)

  2. Divide that number by two
    (So 4/2=2)

  3. Perform 10 sets of N reps (N being whatever was the number you got) once a week (or once in the amount of days you training cycle lasts)
    Note: if your max was 3 reps, do 10x1
    If it was 5, do 10x3
    7: 10x4
    and so on

  4. When you can do the required amount of reps for every set, add a rep.
    So when you can do 10x4, you start chasing 10x5 and so on.

These sets can be performed between the sets of your regular training (in the case of pull-ups, don’t do them between sets of back exercises) or they can be performed in a traditional set-rest-another set -manner.
When you get to 10x6 you should be able to do 10-12 reps straight

  1. Once you can do 10x10 (or once you begin to feel that ten sets is too much) drop the amount of sets to 5 and continue adding the reps in the same fashion as before. So do 5x11, 5x12…
    At this point I would recommend doing pull-ups twice per week.

  2. When you get to 5x15 (or, again, when you feel that five sets is too much) drop the amount of sets to three and continue adding reps.
    Note: at this point, if you want, you can begin doing pull-ups before every training session.

  3. At 3x20 drop the amount of sets to two. And continue adding reps

  4. At 25 reps, drop the amount of sets to one

This is simple and effective.

For some reason the numbering of steps is a bit off, well, maybe we can deal with it.


Im starting that pull-up routine today.

Ill let you know how it goes.


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