T Nation

Need a Little Help

Hey, T-Men. This isn’t exactly going to be your regular post and if sounds totally full of estrogen, let me know that too. But really, I’m looking for some words of encouragement and any advice. I’ve been in the iron game for probably about four or five years. I started when I was about 16 (now I’m 20). I hit it off awesome–like most–and by the time I was 18 I was 6’, 190, and probably about 12% BF (didn’t really know about that back then). Then I went away to school…I trained at least 6 days a week, usually ran a couple miles, and ate probably a grand total of around 800-1000 cal/day–probably no protein. Afraid of the “Freshman 15” and also some major problems on the homefront, I obviously developed an eating disorder. Hell, I was dropping “weight” like crazy and I didn’t feel that bad. Finally, I started reading bodybuilding mags and at least started to get some protein in me. Of course, the training volume did not decrease. That summer, I was down to about 150 but I was ripped and that’s what mattered (I lost tons of strength and size in the process of course). I ran into the BFL book and trained and fed my body that way. That summer I was also working landscape, so I was taxing my bod pretty hard with less than optimal fueling. That pretty much leads us up to this fall. I’ve since really been on top of the nutrition game and been training balls to the wall, like any T-Man. I am currently about 160 at 5% and struggle to put on an ounce of weight. Of course, I’m still anal as all hell about what goes into my piehole. I’m up to about 3600 cal/day (35% pro, 35% carb, 30% fat, aproximately). As far as training, I did GVT Poliquin-style (13 sets/bodypart/workout) towards the end of the year, training 3 out of 5 days. I then switched to a little higher intensity program mixing rep ranges of 4-6, 6-8 and 10-12 (usually about 11 sets/bodypart, 2 bodyparts/workout). I am now doing Ian’s Limping program for lower body and for upper body I’m sticking in the 4-6 rep range, doing about 10 sets/bodypart/workout (similar to what Poliquin outlined in the first Phase of Maximal Weights). My split is now 4 days out of six (upper, lower, off, upper, lower, off, repeat). I apologize for this being so long but I want to be detailed. I have always approached each day with vigor, passion and intensity and these qualities have passed over to my training without a doubt. Recently though I’ve ran into some difficulties applying that intensity, energy and enthusiasm in the gym. Don’t get me wrong, I love this sport and this lifestyle, but I seem to be losing strength and size! It’s freaking me out. I really don’t know what to do. I am planning on getting some blood work done to test my hormonal profiles, but what else do you guys suggest? Suck it up, check myself at the door, and push like I know I can? Or back off a bit, take a week of drastically lowered volume (I have NOT taken a complete week off, or even more than 2 days probably, in a very, very long time)? Any suggestions or ideas or criticism telling me to shut the hell up are all welcome, respected and appreciated. Thanks for listening, T-Men. I guess I just needed to vent a little bit.

I would take a week or two off and see if it helps any (I’ll bet my last nickel that it will) I know that when I am totally stressed out and needing motivation, a week off from training allows my nervous system some much needed rest. Usually after some rest I am very anxious to get back into training. We live in a frantic society, where we are taught to dissassociate ourselves from our bodies…but the reality is that we ARE our bodies. The brain, nervous system, endocrine system, etc. are all one machine. Do I sound like Deepok Chopra? sorry…but seriously, take a break.

Timbo, sounds like you need a week away from the gym to me. You’ll appreciate it when you go back into the gym-motivation will be up and you will probably see some increased gains once you go back. Your muscle isn’t going to atrophy all away in one week. Take the week off, if there’s any other sports/activities you like doing use them to keep you occupied during your break, maybe even get a massage and do some stretching/flexibility exercises.

Take a week or two off. Forget about the gym. Run a little if you have to. Up your calories to 4,500-5,000/day.

Teddy and maclar…thanks, fellas. I really appreciate your thoughts. I knew I could count a couple solid T-Buddies to push me in the right direction. As you know, I’m sure, staying away from the gym is THE hardest things to do. Psychologically it’s a killer, but I’m sure you’re right and it’s probably for the best. I know that the original post sounded like I was totally messed up, but the fact of the matter is that I had just come back from the gym and had a very unfocused and unintense (not sure if that’s a word) quad-dominant leg session. Well, it’s a few hours later and I’m already to go hit the iron again! However, I know that’s not the thing to do and I will most likely take some time off. I am planning on starting an Androsol cycle in two weeks, and the last thing I want is low motivation, focus and energy. I need to be ready to GROW, baby. As you can see, my enthusiasm is still abound, so I definitely think my body is sending me a message…I must listen.

Anyway, thanks a bunch, fellas. I knew I could count on you guys. Actually I was kind of hoping/expecting the two of you to respond given our previous interactions. If you guys ever have any questions or just want to shoot the shit, I’m game. BTW, are you planning on attending the Arnold Expo? I’d really like to go just to check out the Biotest booth…should kick some major ace!

JRR…thanks, my man. Didn’t mean to leave you out in the former, but
your post wasn’t up at the time. It’s guys like you, Teddy, maclar, and
the rest of the T-Men out there that make this lifestyle so much more
than just the iron. I appreciate the advice.

No problem Timbo buddy. Not only would a week off give you some full-on recovery time but just imagined how pumped and focused you’ll be when your week is up and it’s iron time again. I would up those cals fairly high like the other guy said (maclar or JRR?) If you’re obsessive about diet just try to eat pretty clean. It would almost be like a semi-carbup, and you’ll have glycogen galore when you go back in. I won’t be at the Arnold either. I just moved to a new town and am starting a new job, plus I’m trying to set up a fitness center since they don’t have one. That has always been my dream. The next Biotest seminar or anything else that comes around though, rest assured I WILL BE THERE! Just remember Timbo, train heavy, eat heavy, REST HEAVY and growth will come.

Teddy…you da man, bro! Thanks again, I appreciate it all. I will be reluctant as hell to be outta the gym for even a couple days, but I’ll do my best to resist. It’ll be tough to up the grub that high, ya know, but I see what you guys are saying. I think it will be good for me and I can already imagine the progress that will follow.