T Nation

Program Review Help


Ok, first off i just signed up on T-Nation and this is my first post.

I've been on and off at the gym for about 2 years now with some severe weight loss due to an operation about a year and a half ago (lost 15kg's in the space of two weeks lying on a hospital bed) In anycase i've been struggling to get my weight back up since then, but since my last phase of training it's finally gone up (5kg in 4 weeks)

Here's the program i just finished:

workout A:

Squats 5x5
DB bench press 5x5 (no spotter so i stick to DB's)
Military Press 5x5
EZ bar Skull crushers 5x5
Decline sit ups 5x5

Workout B:

Deadlift 5x5
45 bent over rows 5x5
high pulls 5x5
EZ bar curls 5x5
Plank (increase 15 seconds each week)

So after four weeks of that and 5kg's later my progression has slowed down dramatically (strength wise) so i'm thinking it's time for a change. Was thinking of doing a 3 week GVT program starting on monday (i have one week where i won't be able to train at the end of these 3 weeks so high volume seemed like the way to go)

I have an intake of roughly 3,200 calories a day
150g of protein
low fat intake (other than the good ones, i'm on fish oil)
high carb intake (not to sure what it is, but it involves a lot of oatmeal porridge and whole grain german bread)
i eat a lot of fruits and since i'm in asia at the moment, a lot of rice as well

had a body composition check up 2 days ago from one of those in body machines but some how don't think the results are very good. had me at 8.4% which i know i'm not at (from previous measurements i know to be accurate and the mirror) so i'm guestimating i'm around 12.

for the next GVT program i was going to start on monday was thinking of doing this


Pull ups 10x10 (a little more than shoulder width)
Dips 10x10

Military press 10x10 (wide)
incline curls 10x10

then some complimentary exercises with 3x12 all in the vertical push pull department as well as calve exercises


snatch grip deadlift 10x10
Hanging leg raises 10x10

Lunges 10x10
Tourque? 10x10 (barbell loaded on one side, unloaded side in a corner, hold it over my head and rotate to one side, then to the other)

then some complimentary exercises with 3x12 all in the core and hip dominant department


Facepulls 10x10
Bench press 10x10

Overhead tricep extensions 10x10
pronated curls 10x10

then some complimentary exercises with 3x12 all in the horizontal push pull deparment as well as calve exercises


Front squats 10x10 (full ROM)
weighted sit ups 10x10

One-leg hip extension with cross-knee drive from plank position 10x10 (picked this up from the recent functional ab training for body builders)
Step Up 10x10

then some complimentary exercises with 3x12 all in the knee dominant and core department

and that's it. realize this is a long first post. i've been literally spending hours reading through all the material on this site for the past couple of months and thought it was about time i became pro active!

thanks in advance for any help!


A few things to consider:
a) Have you increased your food intake yet? If you keep eating the same amount and have "maxed" out on it (so to speak), then no great strength gains (in the moderate rep ranges or above) will come, no matter what program.

b)Your progress may have been faster due to muscle-memory (lost 15 kgs, gained back some) as well as beginner gains in general (what numbers are you putting up in the gym now, how tall are you and how much do you weigh?)

c)Instead of throwing your complete training approach into the bin... Why not just change exercises (the ones which stalled) and keep progressing?
Or take a deload (you were doing 5*5 after all, not standard bb, so deloading is probably necessary every now and again).

d)You can keep switching from 5*5 to super-high volume and back etc... That may give you some "fast" gains, half an inch on the arms or whatever... But if you want to get big someday, consider sticking with some approach which allows for continuous strength progression in the moderate rep ranges (or the slightly higher ones).
Depends on your goals...

A lot of people think that whenever something's wrong, it must be their routine... That's the easiest aspect to change and there are so many excitingly cutting-edge ones out there, right?

But honestly, unless you're putting up some really big numbers already, then it's more than likely diet (150 grams of protein per day only? That's not enough for anyone but max charles to sustain constant strength gain) and, in some cases, other factors such as constant partying etc... Or too much volume past the beginner stage.

Whatever you decide to do, good luck.


The 'slow down' of the progress you're talking about has been caused because it has been more time since you came back to training. Those 5 kgs were gained by the main factor of returning to the gym and training again. So why freaking out? I don't see time for a change, this is just natural.

Your body fat seems really good, but I wouldn't mess with bodyfat percentages, I don't accuse you of anything, but most people seem to think they are lower than they actually are. 150grams of protein is not going to do a damn thing for hypertrophy, unless you weigh from 100 to 150lbs. Eat about 1.5grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. Why is the fat low?
C_C gave hell of a better advice than I could give, so I would follow his guidelines regarding the training program.


Thanks for the quick replies.

some more specific facts:

It's been a year and a half since the massive weight loss, and my weight has been at a constant 73kg's since ( i know, that's really light, take my word on it, i don't look 73kg's) been training consistently since then but with what i can now see were the wrong methods. 4 weeks ago i decided to do a back to the basics 5x5 (was first introduced to it with rugby training back in my 80kg days) which worked out well with a 5kg up.

i also upped the protiens a lot in the last four weeks (previously i was victim to the high protein = bad propaganda and was only taking in about 70g)

1.5g / kg would equal 265. i'll try and slowly bring myself to that level over the coming few weeks (don't want to shock my system too much)

also: i'm 183 cm
currently weighing 79kg

pretty healthy lifestyle, i get my sleep hours in every night, and even a nap every now and again when i have time.

since i'm in a foreign country at the moment doing an intensive studying course partying isn't really a problem. max 1 every 2 weeks.

for the fat should i bring in some extra virgin olive oil?

My Lifts so far are (5RM):

Deadlift: 300lb
Squat: 225lb ( i realize this is lagging, the hospital was a knee surgery, so just started doing heavy loading on the squats again)
DB bench: 85lb per db
Mil press: 140lb
High Pull: 125lb
bent over row: 220lb
EZ curl: 100lb
Skull cursher: 100lb
Decline situp: 70lb
Plank: 3 mins

My goal at the moment is to get to 85kg's without putting on too much fat. (1 or 2 percentage points max) will probably go for 90kg after that. but one step at a time. i should probably mention that for the summer holidays (2 months) i'm on a farm in the french country side with a power rack and a barbell for a gym , as well as a shit load of tree branches to do pull ups from and rope climbs. so my reasoning was to vary up the exercises a little now pre-summer, mainly looking for muscle size. will work on strength over the summer.

Thanks again for the replies.


The protein increase... increases the probabilities of gaining more muscle tissue and less fat tissue. Bro, I'm 1.73 and consuming 300~grams of protein, just give it a thought. The ones who claim low protein diets 1)aren't striving for maximal muscle size, 2)don't know shit about hypertrophy, and aren't jacked themselves. It's good to see people wanting to gain size before and/or during the summer.


pics of where i am. will keep taking them after every 4 weeks


Oh well, bf guess could be right, and your carb tolerance could be high. Strive for something like 200-250grams of protein, 500~grams of carbs? I'm asking 'cause you're gonna be the judge on this one, do you know how this works?
And take about 100g fat, counting the fish oil.


ok for the fat i'll need to bring in the olive oil then. otherwise there's no way i'll be able to get that much.

not sure about what you mean with the carbs? so i guess i'll let you explain how that works!

will add an extra two cans of canned tuna a day that'll get me up to 200 for the proteins. i'll see about getting an extra shake in the morning to get to 50 (they're a little rough on the wallet tis all!)



Keep the 5x5 and strive to add as much weight as possible while keeping good form. The GVT is a good way to burn out.


The GVT you listed isn't even the original program but some retarded bastard child program. The fact that you want to do 10x10 deadlifts (a good way for your spine to liquefy and shoot out of your ass) and 10x10 front squats (don't even want to comment here) shows you just need to stick to the basics.


Point taken on the GVT.

should i keep the 5x5 as it is or do as Cephalic_Carnage mentioned and change up the exercises. and if so, what would be some good recommendations?


Start from 500 grams, which I wouldn't consider excessive for anyone trying to add serious muscle. Wait 3-4 weeks:
If you're gaining too much fat decrease, if you're not gaining muscle at a decent pace, increase slightly and wait another 3-4w.