T Nation

Newbie Looking for Tips

Greetings T-Nationers. Long time lurker, first time poster.

I only just recently developed an interest in getting in shape (six or seven months ago) and was looking for some advice. I’m in my senior year of high school and starting off, was about 130lbs. at 5’8 (pathetic, I know). Then one day I decided I was tired of being a little bitch and was going to do something about it. I bought a mediocre bench with a preacher curl/leg extension attachment and for a time, was working out everyday in my garage. At the time I thought that if I did the exact same exercises every single day and ate everything in sight I would attain my goals. I did make SOME progress (20lbs.) but after a few months I succumbed to the effects of over training and have spent the past month or so doing as much research as possible.

In a few days I plan on getting a gym membership and have drawn up my workout plans and diet, so ANY tips would be greatly appreciated. Ultimately, I’d like to get up to 200lbs. I know that’s a bit of pipe dream, but I figure if I shoot for the stars I’ll at least end up in space.

Here’s the workout:

Day 1: upper body
-Bench Press 5x5
-dumbbell flys and/or cable crossovers 3x10
-tricep pulldowns and/or skull crushers 3x10

-Military press 5x5

-Pull-ups (palms facing away) 5x5
-T-bar rows and/or seated rows 3x10
-bicep curls 3x10

Day 2: Lower body
-Squats 5x5
-seated calf raises 3x10
-hamstring curl 3x10

-Deadlifts 5x5
-leg press 3x10

Day 3: Off

From what I gather, a compound exercise followed by one or two isolation exercises is a good starting point.

As for my diet:

Weekdays:

-breakfast
malt-o-meal
hard boiled egg
banana
milk + protein
vitamins (multi, vitamin E, fish/flaxseed oil)

-lunch
light yogurt
banana
unsalted peanuts
can of tuna
strawberries (or grapes)

-workout-

water+protein
chicken breast

-dinner
salad
chicken breast (or steak/hamburger patties)

Weekends:

-breakfast
malt-o-meal
hard boiled egg
banana
milk+protein
vitamins (multi, vitamin E, fish/flaxseed oil)

-snack
fiber cereal
yogurt

-lunch
brown rice
two potatoes
chicken breast

-workout-

water + protein

-dinner
salad
chicken breast (or steak/hamburger patties)

So what do ya think?

Eating looks awfully clean. And somewhat devoid of fat.

Add in some healthy fats like fish oils, coconut oil, olive oil, or peanut butter.

They’ll add calories without being terrible for you.

And I would avoid deadlifting and squatting on the same day.

You could do a variation of the deadlift like Stiff leg DL or do something like a Good Morning or a front squat.

It just generally looks like you’ve got too much volume in your days. Do few things in the gym but go in their and give it your all.

Intensity will give you progress more often than the “perfect” plan.

Pardon me for the stupid question, but why do I need fats? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to get calories from protein and carbs?

[quote]B. wrote:
Pardon me for the stupid question, but why do I need fats? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to get calories from protein and carbs?[/quote]

Fats are the building blocks of cells in the body, as well as hormones. Also one of the main energy sources the body uses. The ‘healthy’ fats are very, well, healthy for you as far as heart health, inflammation, etc. From a eating perspective, fats also help keep you full longer and help slow down digestion and the insulin surge involved so you can maintain better blood glucose levels.

Some saturated fat from meat, coconut oil, and butter/milk is necessary because it can raise your testosterone.

Unsaturated fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated) are one of the most healthy things you can get into your body. They transport vitamins/minerals, protects organs, benefits metabolism/blood/heart/brain, can BURN fat by increasing metabolic rate, and is necessary for your hormones to act efficiently.

Good choices – Olives, olive oil, fish, fish oil, flax seeds, various nuts, avocado

I’ve heard that carbs should be eaten mostly in the morning. So is there a specific time frame for fats, too? Would regular brand name peanut butter on rye bread be sufficient?

Also, thank you very much for the responses.

[quote]B. wrote:
I’ve heard that carbs should be eaten mostly in the morning. So is there a specific time frame for fats, too? Would regular brand name peanut butter on rye bread be sufficient? [/quote]

Dude, your 150lbs @ 5’8". Just eat, LIFT like you mean it, and sleep. Rinse repeat for now.

Don’t be an idiot and live off of chips and corn dogs, but there is no need to avoid red meat and eggs and eat 100% “clean” at this point either.

Shoot for whatever you want, but don’t be afraid to eat a burger or a PB&J.

Just my .02

EAT
i recommend food
and a big breakfast with a large amount of carbs is a good idea. Generally keeping fats a little lower on your higher carb meals and higher on your lower carb meals is a good idea, but at this point your priority should be learning how to perform those lifts correctly and make gains on them. Read about counting macro nutrients, it makes gaining cleanly much easier. After you have put some time in at the gym you can worry about getting more complicated.

OP: As far as your fats go, low fat diets have been shown to have a reduction in testosterone. Also as 1g of fat has 9 cals as opposed to the 4 from carbs, if you’re skinny and just “can’t” eat big because of how it makes you feel then high fats are good for you.

I suggest turkey burgers, pepperoni, whole milk or even cream, olive oil, coconut oil, peanut butter, fish, and nuts for your fat sources.

An easy way to do this is to make sure your first meal is carbs + protein and your PWO meal is fast acting carbs + protein. The rest of your meals are fats + protein, shooting for 1.5gprotein per lb. of bodyweight.

As far as your routine goes…I don’t like it. It is possible to deadlift and squat in the same workout session, but it’s not for everyone. I would suggest doing a lower/upper split. Mon. and Tues. are 5x5 and Thurs. and Fri. are 4x10. Big compound movements on the 5x5 and more isolation with some compounds on the 4x10 days. Just my opinion.

Bottom line: Eat big, lift big and the newbie gains will flow in.

OK so I’ve revised my diet plan to a 3g’s of carbs per pound of bodyweight, 1.5g’s protein, and about 1g per pound for fats.

So,

Carbs - 3 grams per pound of bodyweight = 450g
Protein - 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight = 225g
Fat - 1 gram per pound of bodyweight = 150g

150lbs. = 4050 calories

Breakfast:
malt-o-meal 1/3 cup (2 servings)
hard boiled egg
1 and a 1/2 cups 2% milk + whey protein
multi-vitamins
vitamin-E
Omega 3 (434mg),6 (276mg),9 (170mg) fatty acid capsules

fat = 16.25
protein = 50.25
carbs = 87.25

Snack:
unsalted peanuts 1/2 cup
can of tuna

fat = 57g
protein = 57g
carbs = 20g

Lunch:
2 Tablespoons peanut butter between two slices of rye bread
light yogurt

fat = 18g
protein = 18g
carbs = 54g

PWO:
Water + Whey Protein
banana
1 cup strawberry halves

fat = 2g
protein = 23g
carbs = 37g

PPWO:
1/2 cup Brown Rice
two Potatoes
chicken breast

fat = 7g
protein = 52g
carbs = 124g

Dinner:
Marie Callendar’s Meat Lasagna

fat = 25g
protein = 25g
carbs = 80g

Snack:
malt-o-meal 1/3 cup

fat = 1.25g
protein = 11.25g
carbs = 60.75g

All in all-

fat = 126.50g
protein = 236.50g
carbs = 463g

Calories = 3936

[quote]fireflyz wrote:
As far as your routine goes…I don’t like it. It is possible to deadlift and squat in the same workout session, but it’s not for everyone. I would suggest doing a lower/upper split. Mon. and Tues. are 5x5 and Thurs. and Fri. are 4x10. Big compound movements on the 5x5 and more isolation with some compounds on the 4x10 days. Just my opinion.[/quote]

What about this?

Day 1: upper body
-Bench Press 5x5
-Military press 5x5
-Pull-ups (palms facing away) 5x5

Day 2: Lower body
-Squats 5x5
-Deadlifts 5x5
-Leg raises 4x20
-Crunches 4x20

Day 3: off

Day 4:
-dumbbell flys and/or cable crossovers 4x10
-tricep pulldowns and/or skull crushers 4x10
-T-bar rows and/or seated rows 4x10
-bicep curls 4x10

Day 5:
-seated calf raises 4x10
-hamstring curl 4x10
-leg press 4x10

Day 6: Cardio

Day 7: off

One more thing, on the days that I take off, should I reduce my calories to:

Carbs - 2 grams per pound of bodyweight = 300g
Protein - 1 gram per pound of bodyweight = 150g
Fat - .5 grams per pound of bodyweight = 75g

150lbs. = 2475 calories

?

Just a suggestion, based on what you posted:

Day 1: upper body
-T-bar rows and/or seated rows 5x5
-Bench Press 5x5
-Rear Delt Flyes 4x10
-dumbbell flys and/or cable crossovers 4x10 (if you really want to do them :slight_smile:

Day 2: Lower body
-Squats 5x5
-Leg press 4x10
-STANDING calf raise 4x10
-Leg raises 4x20 (if you can keep good form on each and every rep…)

Day 3: OFF

Day 4:
-Pull-ups (palms facing away) 5x5
-Military press 5x5
-bicep curls 4x10
-tricep pulldowns and/or skull crushers 4x10 (try to do close grip dips instead…)

Day 5:
-Deadlifts 5x5
-hamstring curl 4x10
-seated calf raises 4x20
-Kneeling abs roll 4x how much you can do in good form

Day 6: OFF

Day 7: OFF

You don’t really need any cardio! Keep your calories the same on days off (that’s when your body builds muscle…). Hope it helped.

[quote]B. wrote:

What about this?

Day 1: upper body
-Bench Press 5x5
-Military press 5x5
-Pull-ups (palms facing away) 5x5

Day 2: Lower body
-Squats 5x5
-Deadlifts 5x5
-Leg raises 4x20
-Crunches 4x20

Day 3: off

Day 4:
-dumbbell flys and/or cable crossovers 4x10
-tricep pulldowns and/or skull crushers 4x10
-T-bar rows and/or seated rows 4x10
-bicep curls 4x10

Day 5:
-seated calf raises 4x10
-hamstring curl 4x10
-leg press 4x10

Day 6: Cardio

Day 7: off

[/quote]

I didn’t look at your diet in detail, but the macrobreakdown you had in the beginning looks alright.

I like Day 1, but I would do it with pairings.

A1) Bench Press
A2) Wide-grip Pullups
B)Military press

also…the advantage to an upper/lower split is that you can do more exercises so IMO three is not enough. You have chest, back, and shoulders in there which is good, but I’d throw at least one if not two more exercises in there. Stick to the compound movements and use them to bring up whatever lagging muscle groups you have.

I don’t like Day 2. Again not enough exercises IMO.

If you must do deadlifts and squats in the same workout do this.

A1)Front Squat
A2)Romainian Deadlift

B1)Weighted Lunge
B2)Good morning

Day 4 isn’t bad, but I’d mix some different compounds in. Maybe

A1)Incline Bench Press
A2)T-bar rows

B1)Chest flys
B2)1 arm db row

C1) Decline skullcrushers
C2) Incline hammer curls

D1) Seated lateral raises (optional)

Day 5 depends on your recovery. I have good recovery time and can hammer my legs into the ground with no injuries. If you’re like that then maybe something like this

A1)Back Squat
A2) Reverse lunge emphasizing the hamstring

B1)Leg extension
B2)Lying Hamstring Curl

C)Standing calf raises

If your recover sucks then

A)Step-ups

B1)Leg extension
B2)Lying Hamstring Curl

C)Standing calf raises.

Day 6…if you’re going for mass then one day of cardio won’t kill you, but if you’re truly looking for mass then I would suggest some incline walking at a decent pace starting at 20 min. and adding five min. a week. I’ve found inline walking improves my calfs.

*This is all my opinion. The rep schemes upper/lower with 5x5 and 4x10 are solid for strength and hypertrophy, but the volume and intensity have to be there. Especially for a newbie, I like this program a lot. The exercise selection will vary depending on your strengths and weaknesses. For example, my traps get huge just from deadlifting and they overpower my delts, which makes me look not as wide as I’d like. So I do a lot of extra shoulder work to combat that.

*As to lowering cals on non-lifting days. Why??? You’re looking to gain mass, right? You’re in highschool and are 150 at 5’8 so this is the time to start hammering the shit out of your body and eating a ton to grow.

*I would reccomend following this for 4 weeks…6 tops before switching to a different body part split routine.

Hope this helps…

Oh and no need to use water in your shakes…just saw that. You’re not trying to lose weight man, you have to kick that mentality. Milk does a body good…

[quote]fireflyz wrote:
I didn’t look at your diet in detail, but the macrobreakdown you had in the beginning looks alright.

I like Day 1, but I would do it with pairings.

A1) Bench Press
A2) Wide-grip Pullups
B)Military press

also…the advantage to an upper/lower split is that you can do more exercises so IMO three is not enough. You have chest, back, and shoulders in there which is good, but I’d throw at least one if not two more exercises in there. Stick to the compound movements and use them to bring up whatever lagging muscle groups you have.
[/quote]

What else would you recommend? Also, what do you mean by pairings? Not taking a break between the exercises?

[quote]fireflyz wrote:
I don’t like Day 2. Again not enough exercises IMO.

If you must do deadlifts and squats in the same workout do this.

A1)Front Squat
A2)Romainian Deadlift

B1)Weighted Lunge
B2)Good morning
[/quote]

I’m not really fixated on doing squats and deads in the same day, it’s just that I don’t know a whole lot of different exercises. So should I add more to what you’ve written, or…?

[quote]fireflyz wrote:
Day 4 isn’t bad, but I’d mix some different compounds in. Maybe

A1)Incline Bench Press
A2)T-bar rows

B1)Chest flys
B2)1 arm db row

C1) Decline skullcrushers
C2) Incline hammer curls

D1) Seated lateral raises (optional)

Day 5 depends on your recovery. I have good recovery time and can hammer my legs into the ground with no injuries. If you’re like that then maybe something like this

A1)Back Squat
A2) Reverse lunge emphasizing the hamstring

B1)Leg extension
B2)Lying Hamstring Curl

C)Standing calf raises

If your recover sucks then

A)Step-ups

B1)Leg extension
B2)Lying Hamstring Curl

C)Standing calf raises.

Day 6…if you’re going for mass then one day of cardio won’t kill you, but if you’re truly looking for mass then I would suggest some incline walking at a decent pace starting at 20 min. and adding five min. a week. I’ve found inline walking improves my calfs.

*This is all my opinion. The rep schemes upper/lower with 5x5 and 4x10 are solid for strength and hypertrophy, but the volume and intensity have to be there. Especially for a newbie, I like this program a lot. The exercise selection will vary depending on your strengths and weaknesses. For example, my traps get huge just from deadlifting and they overpower my delts, which makes me look not as wide as I’d like. So I do a lot of extra shoulder work to combat that.

*As to lowering cals on non-lifting days. Why??? You’re looking to gain mass, right? You’re in highschool and are 150 at 5’8 so this is the time to start hammering the shit out of your body and eating a ton to grow.

*I would reccomend following this for 4 weeks…6 tops before switching to a different body part split routine.

Hope this helps…
[/quote]

yes, thank you very much bro.

By pairings I mean atagonist(sp?) pairings. In other words A1) and A2) for day one are chest and back muscles respectively as well as push and pull. So you do one set of A1) rest 45-60s, do one set of A2) rest…repeat. Comprende?

Day 1

If it were me it would look like this:

A1)Dumbbell bench
A2)Weighted, wide-grip pullup

B1) Weighted Dips, not leaning forward
B2) Standing Biceps curl

C) Military Press

For Day 2…I think those are fine, if you’re truly going heavy with those exercises that’s a lot of CNS intensive work so you don’t need as many exercises.

I was roughly the same size as you,dont go straight into 3 gramms of carbs per 1lb of body weight;ideally you want to add a piece of food every so often when you stop making gains and peak at that 3:1 ratio.This will prevent you from putting on to much unnecessary bf.
Others will tell you just to start eating all out 3:1 its upto you.
In my experience my way worked best and I have tried both ways.
Hope that helps.

Sosruko I agree with you, but I think it’s based on a person’s metabolism and their carb tolerance. If the OP is having issues gaining mass…as his post indicates he stalled out after 20lbs. then I doubt that he has that issue.

If someone is underweight and having trouble gaining weight I’m going to guess they have a high metabolism. Assuming that is correct, and their carb tolerance isn’t absolute shit then 3:1 isn’t bad.

I suggested two carb meals during the day because of that issue, but if the OP feels he isn’t gaining and has no significant carb issues then more meals are fine, imo.

You shouldn’t be overcomplicating things until you get past 185, maybe more. If you have a food log and follow a training program meticulously, and have trouble getting up from 150, then something more basic is wrong.

Lift progressively heavy, eat plenty and healthy, add some whey and creatine, rest properly, and muscle should come along.