T Nation

Need Advice for Breaking into Intermediate


#1

Hi!

I’m a 24 year old male with a 4ish year training history that has emphasized strength training, running, and bodyweight/kalisthenics at different times.

Currently, I want to really get back into the strength training, and just wanted to get some feedback to make sure I have my head screwed on straight.

My goals are 1) look good without a shirt (I’m an actor), and 2) be functionally strong.

Some stats, just based off of work sets recently. I have also included maxes from when I last focused on the strength training, maybe a year ago.

Height: 5’ 11"
Weight: 162lbs
Bodyfat: ~15-18%
Deadlift: 3x5x235 (previously 305, Sumo)
Squat: 3x5x185 (previously 225)
Bench: 3x5x165 (previously 185)

So, I’m at this point where I’m not really satisfied with my physique. I can see a fuzzy abs outline, but I’ve also got tiny little love handles.

In spite of the extra fat, experience and reading is telling me that what I need to do right now is eat a shitload of food and get more weight on the bar.

I figure if I can be repping 225 for bench, 305 for squat, and 395 for deadlift, plus accessory work for size, I can back off and start cutting to look leaner/tighter at that time.

Game plan is to possibly do Greyskull again, as that helped me get to 3 plates on the deadlift before. I wasn’t super satisfied with my size gains at that time, but that could also be diet.

I was wondering if I could somehow incorporate a 6 day push/pull split, spreading volume throughout the week, so that I can hit quads, hams, back, chest, bis, and tris 2-3 times a week each. I’ve never reallly done a “bro split” like this, but then again I’ve also never gotten big. Especially my arms, which lag a bit.

Thoughts? Criticism? Would pictures be helpful? (chest, back, wheels, and shoe?)

Thank you in advance!

-Jon


#2

Pretty sure there’s no question anywhere in there. Did you want to know something or were you introducing yourself first?


#3

Hey! Using a mobile device, totally hit the post button on accident like an idiot. Re-wrote the post and submitted it.


#4

Quite. I would qualify it as a careful and appropriate shitload, so you’re eating more of what will help in ways that will help. Intra workout will be key. Ideally you’ll get your hands on some Plazma, but otherwise a blend of carbs and protein or BCAAs during training is your friend.

Since it’s mostly aesthetics you want, something by CT would probably fit the bill. The Best Damn Workout For Natural Lifters could do it. Personally, I’m a big fan of Paul Carter’s work, so check his stuff out too. Base Building is a great book.

Chuck up some photos by all means.


#5

Thanks for the feedback!

I’ve never really messed with intra-workout stuff, mostly just post workout nutrition (some sugary carbs and protein, usually). I’ll check out Plazma and some other options/philosophies.

Edit: actually, now that I think about it, I was drinking protein with a little Gatorade powder intra-workout when I was training last year. I’ll get back on that.

I was hoping to do kind of a cross between Greyskull and CT’s Best Damn Program: progressively overloading the big lifts like in Greyskull, and spreading overall volume throughout the week in multiple sessions like CT’s concept.

If I can get some pics up, I will. Just checking myself out in the mirror with an objective eye, and it’s like, damn- I need to put up some weight.

Is it too early to consider programming for size? AKA: Should I still be looking to add strength in Deadlift, Bench, Squat, and Press at this point, to form a base?

Thank you again!!!

-Jon


#6

The two aren’t mutually exclusive. You could do 5/3/1 BBB and do that very well. That’s non negotiable four days a week at most though.


#7

I wouldnt mish-mash the two, you’ll just get mediocre results. do one or the other faithfully. After that can do another run and adjust.

With your strength levels another Thib program like this would be preferable…

Paul Carter or 5/3/1 mentioned above great also


#8

Hey folks! Thank you very much for all of the feedback.

Looking at my options, it seems like this is the gameplan:

Programming: do the 5/3/1 Big But Boring. Put on size/strength, and then re-evaluate in a year or so.

Diet: given my age/bodyweight (24 y/o and 162lbs), and working out intensely 4 days a week, I should consume about 3000 calories daily, with at least 162grams of protein per day. Increase calories as bodyweight increases.

Sound about right?

I do have one final question:

I will be travelling during all of August in southeast Asia, where my access to proper workout equipment and nutrition will be sparse. I’m all set to do calisthenics and work on mobility during that time. My question is this: seeing as how I am dissatisfied with my bodyfat/appearance, would it be worth taking this one month I have before travelling to lose some fat, get rid of love handles, etc?

Essentially: any words of wisdom/encouragement for a skinny bitch trying to not get skinny-fat?

-Jon


#9

Yep all seems fine, shoot for 180g protein and one day a week can crank up to 200-220, will only do good things.

Also after 3-4 cycles of Boring but big move on to one of the newer templates like ‘hardgainers’ or ‘Beach body Challenge’


#10

And for good reference/posterity, some pics. Be gentle.

EDIT: for the record, this is not my room. I’m crashing at a friend’s house in NY. These people are filthy animals.


#11

at least try to do pull ups and push ups when you can while traveling. You could actually build appreciable back mass/strength in a month if you really dedicate yourself to doing a lot of pull ups. As for diet, I would not cut while you’re traveling. It’s hard to retain muscle at a calorie deficit if you aren’t also lifting. If you diet down and don’t hit the gym at all, the overall effect may not be what you want. You’ll likely lose as much muscle as fat if your diet isn’t spot on.


#12

Just train hard with BBB until August, don’t worry about cutting. Go on holiday, do what you can while you’re there, then back to work when you return.


#13

Awesome. This feedback has been really really helpful. Thank you guys.

I will train 5/3/1 BBB hard until I travel, hit the calisthenics hard (with an emphasis on pushups and pullups) while abroad, and return to 5/3/1 again upon returning.

I will eat for size/recovery throughout, doing whatever I can do while travelling to maintain calories.

Thank you guys again!

-Jon