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Hey guys,

I just signed up on T Nation because you guys seem really cool and helpful. I've trained for about 1 year before, but I've had a 6 months break. I finally had the resources to build a home gym a couple of weeks back and we're about to open :wink: just waiting on my olympic bar and dumbbells! I'd like you guys to help me out a little bit. I've done quite a bit of reading (Book of Muscle by Ian King and this Men's Health Power Training book) and I really like Ian King's training philosophy. I'm actually looking to do a 10 month bulk but I'm very curious about your opinions on where to go!

My stats are:
18 years old
6 feet tall
170 pounds

My lifts were up to this 6 months ago, but I must've lost a lot of strength:
Bench: 165 lbs
Deadlift: 280 lbs
Squat: 220 lbs

My diet is always very clean, I love cooking and I only eat meat, veggies, bread, fruits, nuts and tons of dairy! Supplements I have taken are whey protein (just post-workout) and weight gainer (in the evening for some extra cals) as well as creatine (post-workout).

Let me know if I forgot anything! And I'm a huge ecto btw, I was even skinnier before I started lifting :wink: I'll look for a photo

Thanks guys!


the side, I know this probably isn't a real pose but I'm trying to give some more visual data


I always envy you guys coming from a skinny background... you all can eat big. That being said, you def. look like you have room to "soften up" a bit without worrying. I'm not going to spoon feed the nutrition (pun intended), but read up on that and make sure you're getting plenty of protein and carbs; I just say carbs because you're skinny and can eat plenty and I'm jealous.

- You don't need the weight gainer. By all means, finish what you have, but you're better off just eating more.
-What is your lifting routine like?
-How are your macros/cals ? IF you don't know, no worries, but how much protein do you eat?


Meat and taters, son.


Merci bien for the replies guys!

I am just starting up with the lifting again so right now I´m focused on gaining balance (left/right), improving my weakest links (calves/forearms) and just overall getting my body ready for the heaveier lifting :slight_smile: First I will focus on Hypertrophy for 6 weeks, then on strength (also 6 weeks) and finally six weeks on power and max-strength. The hypertrophy workouts will look as following:

Ab circuit (consisting of 5 exercises) (Monday: focus on speed/power) (Wednesday: control) (Friday: strength(loaded))


Barbell Seated Shoulder Press [tempo 211, rest 120-180 secs]
Warm-up set 1: 10 reps
Warm-up set 2: 8 reps
Set 1: 8 reps
Set 2: 6 reps
Set 3: 4 reps
Back-off set: 12-15

Barbell Squat, High Bar [tempo 201, rest 120-180 sec]
Warm-up set 1: 10 reps
Warm-up set 2: 8 reps
Set 1: 8 reps
Set 2: 6 reps
Set 3: 4 reps
Back-off set: 12-15

Barbell Shrug, explosive [tempo 10*(explosive), rest 60-120 sec]
Set 1: 8
Set 2: 8

Wednesday will look similar except
Bent-over Row
Bench Press
Seated hammer curl

And Friday will be:
Calf Raise (with bar)

So thats going to be just 3/6 weeks of the Hypertrophy phase, the other half will be higher volume and a little more isolation.

I would quess I currently consume around 160 grams of protein a day, but that brings me to my next topic...
I am considering to kickstart the Hypertrophy & Strength phases with a GOMAD diet (Gallon of Milk a Day) at least 2 months. That´ll hopefully take care of my weight which will then help me in my powerlifts. What are your opinions on doing GOMAD? Do you think it will help me more than e.g. a 10-month steady bulk? And what would I do after the GOMAD, will I immediately cut back and GOMAD again? Or maintain the weight and cut the fat off, slowly gaining muscle in the process? Also would you advice me to do something like Starting Strength instead of my current workout-plan when on the GOMAD diet?

My short-term goal is definitely to execute a good bulk
My long-term goal is the body of Micheal O´Hearn along with strength ofcourse, but mass+aesthetics definitely seem to matter more to me as of now (I know that requires insane genetics and/or juice, but I´m nowhere close and still very young so we´ll worry about that later :wink: )

Thanks a lot guys,
Love from the Netherlands!


up your protein and get on 5/3/1 or a 5x5 template like madcow


Thank you for the advice RampantBadger,

I´ve heard similar advice before, basically starting with a strength-type workout. Is this because you believe that in order to gain size (see: my long-term goal) one must first aquire adequate strength? Please elaborate on your philosophies! I´m not questioning your advice, I´m just very curious :slight_smile:



10 reps on bench with 200 lbs will do more to develop size than 100 lbs.
In the beginning, you can gain strength significantly faster than size (though, you'll gain size as well); this is the main logic behind beginners focusing on strength first.


Among other things heavy lifting (say 8rm or heavier) will activate the biggest fibers in the muscle most effectively and elicit the strongest hormonal response from the body.

The routines are also mapped out to minimize plateaus and stop you burning out which happens with many people over the long term.


They just work. All the very best bodybuilders like Arnold, levrone, Ronnie Coleman etc were really strong on the big lifts.


What others have said before. Getting strong as fuck first will give you a base for the next steps; you will be able to use heavier weights, your tissue will be hardened - oh, and initially it will be all you'll need to grow muscle.


Thanks guys!

Based on the advice given I will start with some general conditioning for 6 weeks, and follow it up by:

A Bulk:
GOMAD DIET doing a
Starting Strength workout
(I will do the GOMAD diet for a maximum of 2 months mainly to ensure my lifts are shooting up nicely for the best strength befenits followed by a clean bulk)
(Starting strength I will do untill I am stalling in progress)

Next, I will go through a maintenance phase:
Diet will be appropriate to keep my mass, neither gaining nor losing weight, doing a
Ian King-style Hypertrophy workout for 6 months

Then I will Cut down using a strength-based workout (maybe 5/3/1), with added cardio

Total span of this bulk/maintenance/cut cycle will probably take around 14 months I would guess.
What are your thoughts? Can I follow up the cutting on a strength-based workout by an immediate GOMAD+Strength bulk again? Should I do a maintenance phase after the cut? Is hypertrophy-type training (Higher Time under Tension) effective while on a maintanence diet? Will my bodyfat percentage affect the effectivity of doing hypertrophy training? ( read: should I do the hypertrophy after the bulk or cut? )

Gracias! And much love for all the people who take time to help others <3


Do not do GOMAD. Eat as much as you have to but do not add 2700 cals to your meals for no reason. You'll gain more fat than necessary.


Eat as much as possible but keep it clean. Don't do to much outdoor cardio, hit the stair master 4 times a week for HIIT.


There are times when GOMAD makes sense, but this doesn't seem to be one of them. Up your protein and calories via food -- you say you're already getting around 160g of protein, so just do a little more of what you've been doing. Adding some milk is fine, but a gallon will be too much.

Watch the scale, the mirror, and your current lifts; if those are all moving in the right direction you're doing things right.


Actually, I think you're getting too caught up in the planning. You don't know how your body is going to respond to things yet to make decisions even 3 months down the road yet.

Yes... if you want. It depends on where you are at that time, and where you want to go from that point.

The answers are yes and yes, but there are a lot of factors.

One of the biggest struggles is that strength/size and leanness are competing goals. Both strength and size come from a caloric surplus; whereas leanness comes from a caloric deficit. You can cycle between those two, or you can try and find a balance where you stay lean and get both stronger and bigger... by eating "just enough".


Haha, that´s me man. Thanks for all the advice everyone! One question remains currently, why is GOMAD not suitable in my case. My metabolism is high, my bodyfat is low and I´m desperately looking to gain some strenth+size while I don´t care about staying lean (for now). Isn´t that an ideal GOMAD scenario?


I just don't think GOMAD is a good idea unless you are really skinny + a teenager. Everyone else should just ramp up the calories until they start to see progress, not blindly chug a whole gallon of milk. Eating more than you need to grow will not give you more muscle, it will just make you fat.


If you want to do GOMAD I suggest you do it 10 days at a time and evaluate. One huge cheat meal a week would be a safer strategy


Will 1 huge cheat meal a week offer me appropriate strength benenifts, or will it just make me fat? I know GOMAD makes me fat but it will also help strength gains.

Thanks! :slight_smile: