T Nation

New Member Needing Some Serious Advice

OP, You can count this at motivation or not, but I started where you are, at about 5’11" and 130. Three years later, I’m about 180 (have been up to 190).

My progress has been far from linear, but if I had to stress just a few things it would be to stay consistent (I’ve taken time off and lost weight on 3 different occasions and had to gain in back, totalling 50lbs that I’ve had to regain) and avoid the articles for now as information overload had me very confused on what to do when I started, just read the forums(particularly the best of BB sticky in the BB forum).

Start a basic bodypart split that involves bench, squat, and deadlift.

I think what I did at first was:
Chest/triceps
Back/Biceps
Shoulders/abs
Legs.

If any of these guys (particularly bugeisha, mr popular,Chris, or Holymac) recommends that you do something, do it. They’ve got a lot more experience than I do.

On your program, try doing 3x5 for deadlifts to start.

As Chris is saying, food intake is key. You’re not going to grow if you’re not eating enough. If you’re still in school and have your parents paying for food, take advantage of it. I know that when I started working out I started getting double lunches, and eventually was getting 4 milks with lunch and breakfast.

just my .02

[quote]VTBalla34 wrote:

Weird you mention countless people…because I had a pretty easy time going through the first page and counting the number of people that said Starting Strength was good: 2.5 (Jereth was in between)…that would be me and Mr. Chris Colluci…didn’t even have to multiply by 45 to figure it out! [/quote]

I wasn’t referring to this thread alone, but since you brought it up… I have never agreed with Chris Colluci on anything (in spite of his qualifications, none of which seem very relevant to bodybuilding), and I would never take his advice on bodybuilding either because if I saw him on the street I wouldn’t think he even lifts weights (not intended to be an insult, but that’s the only way I can put it).

Yes I looked at your pictures, and your logs… shockingly I’m not won over by your incredible results.

I want the OP to listen to a guy who has been in his same shoes only a few years ago, instead of a bunch of guys that don’t represent his goals in any way but insist on a program with a track record of causing injury and imbalance to many people (and has yet to turn anyone into “looking like a bodybuilder”)

[quote]mr popular wrote:

[quote]VTBalla34 wrote:

Weird you mention countless people…because I had a pretty easy time going through the first page and counting the number of people that said Starting Strength was good: 2.5 (Jereth was in between)…that would be me and Mr. Chris Colluci…didn’t even have to multiply by 45 to figure it out! [/quote]

I wasn’t referring to this thread alone, but since you brought it up… I have never agreed with Chris Colluci on anything (in spite of his qualifications, none of which seem very relevant to bodybuilding), and I would never take his advice on bodybuilding either because if I saw him on the street I wouldn’t think he even lifts weights (not intended to be an insult, but that’s the only way I can put it).

Yes I looked at your pictures, and your logs… shockingly I’m not won over by your incredible results.

I want the OP to listen to a guy who has been in his same shoes only a few years ago, instead of a bunch of guys that don’t represent his goals in any way but insist on a program with a track record of causing injury and imbalance to many people (and has yet to turn anyone into “looking like a bodybuilder”)[/quote]

Ok monster man

[quote]Fresh13 wrote:
Yeah I just realized what you are talking about by looking at what I’m actually eating. Should I eat like a horse and get my desired calories/protein, or should I make a specific diet plan and stick to it? … What is the amount of calories I should shoot for?[/quote]
Like I said before, don’t get too stressed out about being crazy-analytic about your diet. Follow a few general guidelines will be fine for now. You should feel “full” after each meal, and shouldn’t ever find yourself starving for grub during the day. These articles should help you sort some things out:
Anti-Skinny Fat Manifesto:

The Cure for Skinny:

Protein shakes are fine during the day as long as you’re having them in addition to or inbetween meals, not really instead of meals. Some people will have a “big” 300 calorie shake for breakfast instead of a more substantial solid meal and think they’re on the right track.

If possible, ask your folks for some Grow! Whey from the store here. You can make higher calorie shakes (with milk, fruit, and other goodies) to have through the day and you can mix it with juice to have right around your workout sessions.

Are you training six days a week like the encyclopedia program: chest/back, shoulders/arms, legs, chest/back, shoulders/arms, legs, rest?

If so, that’s a crazy amount of work being done (yes, “even though” it’s in Arnold’s encyclopedia), and doing all that work so often means you’re burning a ton of calories on a regular basis, which means it’s that much more important for your diet to be on point. I’d either tweak that program or find one that has you training four days a week, at most.

A few ways I’d adjust this particular plan:

[quote]Chest/back

-Flat bb bench 5x5 (smith)
-incline bb bench 5x5 (I rotate with decline every other chest day) (smith)
-flys 4 sets of 10
-Chin ups to 50 reps
-Lat pull down 4 sets of 10
-Lat row 4 sets of 10
-Deadlift, been skipping deadlifts (what weight/reps/sets should I start out with?)[/quote]
Each day, do either the flat or the incline bench. Doing both is redundant. The chin-ups and pulldowns are also pretty repetitive, so if you can do more than 10-12 chins in a single set, I’d drop them for now and stick with pulldowns. I’d like to see another rowing exercise, like a dumbbell row, to give the many muscles of the back some more work.

Lastly, I don’t like the idea of squatting in a Smith machine, but I like deadlifting in a Smith machine even less. The bar path is almost-always too unnatural and the chance for unintentional poor form/increased risk of injury is too high. Half-deadlifts/top deadlifts might be alright, but full range of motion deads in a smith are bad mojo.

[quote]Shoulders/arms

-Shoulder smith press 5x5
-arnold db press 4 sets of 10 reps
-dumbell lateral raises
-Barbell curls 5x5
-Seated dumbell curls 4 sets of 10
-7’s
-seated overhead tricep extensions
-skull crushers[/quote]
You only need one type of shoulder press per workout, so either in the smith or with dumbbells (in this case, I’d prefer the dumbbells). Also, the 7’s are unnecessary for now. I know chicks dig the guns, but for now, that’s like putting spinning rims on a car with no engine. (Wait, are spinning rims still cool? I’m kinda out of the loop.)

[quote]Legs

-Squats (My squat is horrific, I have no idea what I should do)
-Leg extensions 4 sets of 10
-Lunges with dumbbells 3 sets of 10 each leg
-Leg curls 4 sets of 10
-Standing Calf raises (Ive done 5 sets of 15, what it said in the encyclopedia, but my calves are incredibly sore to the touch for about 3-4 days, so I’m not sure if this is good.)[/quote]
Again, squats in the Smith aren’t the best exercise from a joint health-perspective. Plus, if you’re already saying your squat is horrific (not sure if you mean technique or weight-wise), you’ll be fine just doing dumbbell squats until you have access to a free weight barbell and a squat rack (hold two DBs at your sides, squat as far down as is possible. No tricks here.) Also, if your calves are that sore for that long, reduce the volume to 2-3x10-12.

Like I said, I think you might be training too much and too often, so I’d either make the tweaks above and stick with the new version of this plan (the sets/reps there aren’t terrible, using 5x5 and 4x10 in the same workout is a fine idea), or look to get on a better program like Starting Strength (only if you have gym access, a Smith machine is no substitute) or Westside for Skinny Bastards.

[quote]mr popular wrote:
Because I dislike the program, I should just shut up or make my own thread about it, but countless other people with no pictures or stats can recommend it at the drop of a hat and you say nothing?[/quote]
To be clear, I don’t think I’ve ever told you to shut up. I’m sincerely suggesting you voice your opinion in a separate thread to have one place to link to for future reference, and to also have a single thread where the pros and cons are discussed instead of hijacking a big chunk of every thread you bash the program in.

Bullshit.

In the past, I have provided examples of guys who’ve gotten solid, tangible results from Starting Strength. You chose to casually dismiss them as “nothing special”, even though the examples are numerous.

First of all, I think we did agree in some thread from 2008. I can check my post history, but I’m pretty sure of it.

And secondly, for whatever it’s worth, here’s the problem with the “Coach doesn’t look jacked, so I’ll dismiss his advice”-mindset. I personally haven’t trained or eaten with appearance as my top priority for quite a while. But that’s really tangential to the current discussion.

I’m wondering why we don’t want the OP listening to a coach who’s made a career out of turning young skinny, weak guys into young muscular, strong guys? In other words, which opinion carries more weight, the cutlery salesman with a training sample of “self” or the professional coach with a training sample of “thousands”?

Saywhatnow? “Many people” as in, whom?

Suffice it to say, that’s debatable.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]mr popular wrote:

I have not seen ANYONE get great results from Starting Strength…[/quote]

Bullshit.

In the past, I have provided examples of guys who’ve gotten solid, tangible results from Starting Strength. You chose to casually dismiss them as “nothing special”, even though the examples are numerous.

[/quote]

Reading through that made me just feel bad for mr. popular. Offering absolutely no evidence of why Starting Strength is “bad” but bashing it mercilessly. It makes me wonder if his creepy Uncle Steve looked a little too much like Rippetoe or something, and this is all just a defense mechanism…

Starting Strength???

Oh god no! Not Starting Strength!

Wahhhhhhh Starting Strength!!!

3x5 will make me injured!

Run from Rippetoe as fast as you can or you will never get HYOOOOOOOOOOOOOGE!


But squats are hard!

Its ok sweetie, you can go on a bodypart split!

.

Ok VT I must admit, I got a few chuckles out of those.

OP (if you haven’t been scared away yet) the most important thing for you is CONSISTENCY. Pick a program that will let you establish a good foundation, and stick with it. People see good results from a variety of programs, but the successful ones all have this one thing in common–consistency.

[quote]jskrabac wrote:
OP (if you haven’t been scared away yet) the most important thing for you is CONSISTENCY. Pick a program that will let you establish a good foundation, and stick with it. People see good results from a variety of programs, but the successful ones all have this one thing in common–consistency. [/quote]

Thanks, will do.

[quote]VTBalla34 wrote:
Chris’s resume speaks for itself, so I can only assume you meant me (or maybe Jereth, who has pics of himself winning competitions in his profile)[/quote]

Whoah whoah whoah…
Thanks for the nice assumption but I certainly had no hand in winning those trophies. I’m a huge rugby fan and those trophies I’m pictured with are The Magners League Trophy(won by professional rugby clubs) and the 6-Nations trophies(a competition between the national teams of Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy).
While I wish I had something to do with them, I sadly didn’t. I was just thrilled to get a chance to hold them when they came to my rugby club.

Since I resurrected this thread, I’ll leave my opinion. I got good strength and size gains from SS, but I wish I read around a bit more before I did it. If I could change one thing, I wish I did some barbell rows. That’s all I would change. I found it to be adequate for a beginner everywhere else.
Mr. Popular has some merit in his argument, but SS is still a damn good programme. Easily adjustable for the vast majority of people. Like I said, not for BB’ing though

Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 for the main lifts then add in standard assistance exercises to those main lifts. Best of both worlds I’d say, never looked at Starting Strength before…

Example.

Back/bi’s:

Deadlift:

5/3/1 (look up the program, you go by percentages and don’t just go by the reps 5/3/1 until week 3)

Barbell Rows:

3x8

Dumbbell Curls:

3x8

Lat Pulldowns:

3x8

Face Pulls:

3x8

EZ Bar Curls:

3x8

Ramp all these sets and the last set can be less than 8 reps, just try and get it next time.

You have your consistent progression for your main lift and assistance lifts for aesthetics, you have a good base to start with.

Diet comes first though, start a food log to make sure your eating enough. This is an easy to use free food tracker, a lot of useful features on it.

http://spaz.ca/cronometer/

very funny thread. lol!