T Nation

Questions About My Workout


I'll try to be as brief as possible here, but I do have a quite a few things that I would like to cover to clear up some of my confusion.

Height: 6'
Weight: ~180
BF%: N/A (I'm guessing around 13-14)
Goals (by late Spring/early Summer): Weigh around 190-195 with near single digits BF%, work on weaknesses, symmetry.
Supplements (that I intend to use): Whey protein, multi-vitamin, ZMA, fish-Oil, l-glutamine and creatine monohydrate.

Anyways, for the past month and a half or so I had been working out to get back into lifting shape. This mainly consisted of 15-20 HIIT (dynamic warm-up/sprints), then a full-body 3x10 routine (bench press, squat, etc.). I have been eating relatively healthy (actually it seems freakishly healthy to everyone else, but probably not so much to you guys).

I 'd been taking my protein and a multi, and drinking about a gallon a day. I recently moved (for school) and got back into lifting after a LONG hiatus from football at my junior college. I dropped from around 200 lbs. to 173 lbs.(Nov '06 to Aug '07) from a lack of eating properly and little exercise.

Over the course of a month and a half starting late August I've gotten back to into decent shape and now sit at 180 lbs. I have a few questions so let me get into it:

  1. I'm now in shape enough to switch over to a 5x5 type program (as I feel I respond better to this type strength wise), and this is what I've come up with:
    http://bounddatabase.bravehost.com/workout2.html Any advice or changes on this?

  2. I've got a few weak spots, namely my shoulders, traps, arms and back. Now, I'm not sure if this is purely genetics, or just a lack of working them seriously enough. To make matters worse, I have always had a SOLID lower body. I could not lift for half a year, then come back and start right back to repping off 315 lbs. in the squat after 1 month month of working out.

Unfortunately, this makes my upper body appear even less developed and inferior. Can you guys possibly give me some tips on catching up these lagging areas?

  1. BODYFAT. I know that everyone wants it lower, and some are just gifted with a low percent, I for one, am not. I don't know if it's because I was chubby kid and developed large fat cells, but tend to carry a higher amount, even when I'm thin.

Also, I carry it in the worst of places (i.e. lower stomach and chest). It makes me just look undefined (of course) which is aggravating at such low weight and lean mass for my height. I haven't actually measured, but I think I'm somewhere around the 13-14% mark. My concern is, over the last month it seems like my BF has INCREASED more than I'd like.

Granted, I've been putting on roughly 1 lb. per week, but how do I know this is not mainly bodyfat? Should my BF at least be staying the same if I'm doing some form of cardio with resistance training and eating clean on top of that? This leads me to believe that could this be related to a caloric deficit?

I also have a slight case of gyno (from puberty) that sadly probably won't go away on its own. It has caused my posture to go to shit (hunched shoulders, tilted pelvis), besides the main back lifts, what else should I add to my workout to combat this?

  1. I think my nutrition may be slightly out of wack. Not that it isn't clean (actually it could be a little stricter), but that I'm not getting enough calories (which seems like a paradox because I feel like I'm putting on too much BF alongside my LBM gains). My diet so far looks something like this:

8:30AM - Protein shake (2 scoops) + 1 cup of oats

11:30AM - 6 eggs (1 yolk + 5 whites) + 2 pieces of whole wheat toast + 1 slice of turkey

12:30 - Workout

2:00 - Homemade weight gainer (2 scoops protein + 1 cup oats)

5:00 - Handful of almonds + turkey sandwich (meat + bread)

7:30 - Usually a meat dish (chicken, ahi tuna, salmon) + bowl of salad and veggies.

10:00 - Protein shake (1 scoop) + almonds

I haven't gotten the macros down, but can anyone make any notes on that above?

  1. Supplements. I'm starting a cycle of creatine alongside this new program, and I've see some decent gains. Unfortunately, I'm also seeing a lot of bloating, but that's to be expected isn't it?

  2. Intensity. I feel like I'm working hard enough (ex. sweat literally dripping onto the floor after a set of squats or cleans), but then I look around and get frustrated. Is intensity why certain parts of me may be undeveloped?

Anyways, I know it's hard to explain, so I'll try to include some pictures tomorrow. Thanks!


Lower 1
Squat 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps
Glute-ham/Pullthrough/RDL/some posterior chain movement
Unilateral Quad dominant movement

Upper 1
Bench/Incline Bench/some heavy bench work
Bent-over Row
DB Shoulder Press/Push Press/Military Press
Dips/CG Bench

Lower 2
Bulgarian Squat/some different posterior chain movement
Unilateral Quad Dominant movement

Upper 2
DB Incline/Flat/Decline/Floor
Face Pulls/DB Rows/Seated Rows
SkullCrushers/Pushdowns/Tate Presses

To sum it up:
1. Too many goals
2. Unrealistic goals
3. Bodyfat is higher than you probably think
4. Change workout to above, yours is atrocious.
5. Intensity is NOT why you havee lacking body parrts, you are a beginner, you are weak all over. Intensity is not measured by how much sweat is dripping off your face, but it's good to see you are.
6. Bad posture? Read Neanderthal No More by Mike Robertson
7. A beginner can gain 10-25lb of muscle in a years time holding everything perfect, so you tell me how much of that 1 lb per week is muscle.
8. Focus on one or two goals at a time, not losing fat, gaining muscle, and for God's sake, you are not even close to the level of development necessary to be worrying about symmetry, you are weak all over.
9. What are your lifts?


First, where are all the vegetables and fruit? That should be in just about every diet.

Next, yes, creatine may make you feel bloated. It will also cause you to add some quick weight (about 5 lbs) from water retention.

Third, you can track your macros using:
http://www.nutritiondata.com/ or any number of websites (fitday is a popular one).

Finally, what type of measurements are you taking (measureing tape, calipers, scale, all)? This is how you track if you are gaining fat or LBM primarily. If you waist is getting a bit smaller while your scale weight goes up...


I forgot to put my fruit, but I do eat eat a couple bananas a day usually when I walk past the fruit bowl. The only time I really get my veggies is at night with my dinner.

I just ordered the AccuMeasure calipers, so right now I'm pretty much guessing. My waist size hasn't increased at all its seems, I was was a 33 at 173 and I still am at 180.


Squat - 325 (x3)
Bench - 205 (x3)
Dead - 275 (x3)

Those were my maxes as of last week.


Here are some pictures. Could I really be higher than say, 14%?


I retract my statement regarding losing fat, because obviously you are fairly lean. However, I strongly stand by my statement that you have no definition because you have very little muscle mass. Also, you have no weak parts, and I say this because you are weak all over. This is not being said with any animosity, merely an observation. Eat more fruits and veggies, lift hard, stick to 4-5 exercises a day, lift heavy.


Oh, no worries man, I know you are only trying to help. Are my goals that unrealistic if I'm around 180 now and I'm shooting to be around 190 in ~8 months? I've already added MORE veggies and fruit, but how does my diet look otherwise?


Your diet looks okay, you just need to eat more of it in order to gain! More veggies, more good fats (whole eggs, natural peanut butter, raw nuts, olive oil, fish oil caps, etc.) and a variety of lean meats.


No, your goals, now seeing your physique, are not unrealistic. 10lb within 8 months while maintaining your current body fat percentage is well within reason. I trained a college student for 6 months who gained 30lb within 8 months. He maintained his washboard abs throughout. Granted, upon observation of his strength progression and physique, his genetics were far above average. I illustrate this merely to say that it is indeed possible.

On you diet: it appears from my humble approximations that you are only eating around 165 carbs per day. That is taken by guesstimating 60 carbs for 1 cup of oats and 13 carbs per slice of bread. Try to get around 250-300 grams of protein per day. If you have been gaining weight on what you have been eating, then by all means continue the coarse. Only add carbs when your weight slows. I would not worry about gaining fat when you are eating as clean as you are. Weighh yourself every week. If you have not gained any scale weight, up your carbs


I'm too lazy to read your post and give any thoughts but I just wanted to say the way your covered your face in the picture made me laugh.


Really? While my genetics aren't freakish, I do however have a rather large frame. That's why even now at 180 lbs, I still appear to be a "stick" when I have clothes on. I want to note that I have actually started eating more than what is posted, but unfortunately, I've noticed that the scale weight is coming much slower.

I think I lost some retention now that I'm done loading up on creatine, but this may mean I have to up my calories even further. It's a PITA to eat so lean, since I hae to eat double the portions to equal 1/2 a chessburger.

Starting next week I'll try to REALLY nail down what I'm eating so that I can calculate some macros, I just didn't want to do it too soon. Overall (especially with the help or creatine/extra recovery) my lifts skyrocketed since I started back up almost 2 months ago, which makes me happy.

Haha, oh well. The face is from "Shoop Da Whoop" (not sure if you've seen it.)


Just wanted to post back and follow up. This week I've finally broke down the macros of my nutrition, please take a look here:


Anyways, I didn't gain a pound last week, and I'm still stuck at 180.5 lbs. As I mentioned earlier in this thread, my weight shot up considerably quick (understandable since I had been undernourished and lacking resistance training), but has leveled off now. I've also tweaked my workout to have a few less exercises , so that I may put forth more strength on each rep with a 5x5 type workout.


I have found one of the best meals to eat is sweet potatoes broccoli and chicken or another lean and occasionally not so lean protein. Broccoli is especially key because IMO it is the easiest way to get some good veggie mass down the pipe. Spinach and lettuce etc, while it is still good to use has nothing to it.

Eating like this you will find putting muscle on may not come very quickly but you dont have to worry too much about putting on fat eating this way, I would argue that you would make yourself sick eating like this before you could put on much fat.


I WAS actually thinking about adding a yam to my dinner, instead of peas and carrots. Calorie wise is this alright? I did my BMR and I got a value of 1978.5, is almost 800 calories over too much?


Can someone please look my diet over, it would be a great help!


Something is going wrong here.

Over the last two to three weeks, I've hit a plateu. I've gained some strength, my new maxes are:

Bench: 225x1
Squat: 345x1
Dead: 265x1


For some reason sinced I've stopped putting on weight, I've slowly noticed a what looks like a body fat increase. Actually, It almost looks like it's gone up a full % or 2. WHAT THE HELL? Could this be due to loss of mass? Or am I actually just gaining BF and no lean mass for some weird reason?


WTF is your goal? If you're hitting 1RMs and looking to do a 5x5, then you're training for strength.

So what's your problem? You're getting stronger, therefore your training is working.


You're getting (or sounding) paranoid on the BF% thing. It's V diff to gain muscle & loose BF concurrently! Do one or the other (aim to gain muscle!) and try not to fret over a % or three of BF. Pound the lifts get stronger all over. Remember the higher your lean weight the higher your metabolic rate. I'd advise not worrying until you looses sight of your abs completely. It might be longer than you think if you stick with +1lb per week target.


Goals are up top. I know that I'm training for strength, but I would think that size should at least follow strength a little bit, shouldn't it? The reason I'm frustrated is that I've hit a plateau strength wise

You probably right that a lot of it is psychological, and I don't have a problem gaining a little fat while on a slower bulk like this, but I don't want to let it get out of control.

Any ideas how I can spur growth again? Change things up maybe? More rest? I'm gonna go head over to the articles for a minute...