Ready For First Cycle? (Test C, Bloodwork, TRT, Lots Of Research, Lots Of Details)

Sorry if my writing wasn’t clear, just to clarify. My left photo was 6 months into P90x. I then went to the gym for ~18 months and put on just a little bit ( still was doing things wrong and not eating enough ).

The photo on the right was about 4 years into my gym lifting.

Thoughts on this workout split for Hypertrophy? Currently increasing calories slowly (Reverse Dieting):

Day 1 Horizontal Push/Pull
Exercise Name
Bench Press * - 5 Sets - 8 Reps
70% of your max
Barbell Row * -
5 Sets - 8 Reps
Incline Press - 5 Sets - 8 Reps
20% less than bench press
Chest Supported T-Bar Row
5 Sets - 8 Reps
Pec-Deck Flye
3 Sets 10-12 Reps
Rear Lateral on Pec-Deck
3 Sets 10-12 Reps
*** Warm up then do sets!**

Day 2 Legs
Exercise Name
Leg Extension
5 Sets 12-15 Reps
Seated Leg Curl
5 Sets 12-15 Reps
Squat * - 4 Sets - 8 Reps
working up to a ballbuster final set
Romanian Deadlift - 4 Sets - 6 Reps
working up to a final heavy set
Seated calf raises 4 Sets 10 Reps
*** Squat** done alone, without alternating a movement in between.

Day 3 Vertical Push/Pull
Exercise Name
Standing Press - 5 Sets - 6 Reps
working up to a max-weight set
Chin-Up 5 Sets - 6 Reps
add weight if you can
Seated Dumbbell Press
3 Sets 8-10 Reps
Lat Pulldown
3 Sets 8-10 Reps
Plate Front Raise
4 Sets 10-12 Reps
Straight-Arm Lat Pulldown -
4 Sets 10-12 Reps

Day 4 Arms
Exercise Name
Standing Barbell Curl
4 Sets 10-12 Reps
Triceps Pushdown
4 Sets 10-12 Reps
Bent-Over Barbell Concentration Curl - 3 Sets 10-12 Reps
Leaning Triceps Extension with Rope 3 Sets 10-12 Reps
Incline Dumbbell Curl
3 Sets 10-12 Reps
Seated Dumbbell French Press
3 Sets 10-12 Reps
Machine crunch 4 Sets 10 Reps

Thoughts on this workout split for Hypertrophy? Currently increasing calories slowly (Reverse Dieting):

Assuming you’re not going to cycle… I think that’s too much volume for a natural lifter, personally. If you’ve decided to jump on, then maybe that’s okay. I only have a few cycles under my belt and still experimenting with routines while on.



I am not planning to cycle at this time - gonna reassess in another 6 or so months.

Would you say this program is OK overall, if I remove some of the sets?

Christian Thibaudeau posted an excellent natty workout routine on t nation. I’ve had great results with very similar programs. I’m a big advocate of hitting every muscle group multiple times a week with lower volume when natty. Not to say some guys don’t get growth from the traditional once a week stuff

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I will look into Christian Thibaudeau.

However, I am technically NOT a natty lifter - I am on TRT, and my levels are slightly supra-physiological (even at the lowest point / trough).

I must have missed the TRT part, I did not realize that about you. My apologies!


That’s OK - so is the workout I listed above good for hypertrophy or should I do Christian Thibaudeau’s guide? Do you have a link?

I honestly am not the best person to ask about training while on TRT. I like to speak from experience, and what really worked for me and others I have helped when natural.

I would suspect that your body can handle a bit more volume than Thib’s workout while on TRT. So long that your nutrition and sleep are adequate for recovery.

Curious if you decided against keto or not? I’d like to talk to if you went with it. I did it for over 2 years.

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I am planning to start Keto and test it out for 2-3 months when I get back from Mexico at the end of January. I plan to Reverse Diet (add 100-150 calories per week) and then hold calories around 3000 / day (maintenance / slight bulk). Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.

I also recently figured out that Dairy is a no go for me - I took a few weeks off with no dairy or cheese. When I re-added cheese to my diet earlier this week (two 1/4 cup servings of Sharp Cheddar cheese from Walmart), I started getting acne again, constipation, feeling like shit in the mornings, etc. I will still eat dairy, but only as a rare treat or cheat meal.

What type of foods do you find yourself eating the most? Anything you are allergic too, or dislike? I have a ton of keto recipes for different sweets if you crave sweets every now and then… or different foods and meals that are easy to make.

Keto will be tricky to dial in with a large protein intake. I was always told when I ate keto that you have to keep the protein intake moderate or the body can convert it to glycogen and throw you out of ketosis.

I was trying to slim down on keto and it worked well for that. But I do also know some really lean, shredded up guys that live keto. Look up Thomas Delauer on YouTube. He knows so much about the diet and is a fitness expert.


Thanks for the offer on the recipes - I am good for now I believe.

Macro wise I am planning on 140-150g Protein, under 20-30g Carbs, and the remainder as Fats (Daily). Will work up from about 2000 calories to 3200 calories over a month or 2 (Reverse Diet).

I will look up Thomas Delauer!

Basically I am planning to eat 80% or 85% Ground Beef, tons of Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Spinach, and Chicken Broth / Bouillion Cubes. Additionally I will take Magnesium and Potassium supplements. I believe these food choices will allow me to keep protein moderate, calories high, sufficient fiber intake, and sufficient electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium).

I will be using urine strips to test ketone levels.

After 2-3 months, I will assess if Keto is working for me, determine if any changes need to be made, and assess if I have recomped at all / am gaining sufficient muscle mass.

If you mean urine strips they are about as accurate as pissing in your girl’s mouth and having her decipher your ketone levels. One could be more fun that the other too. In all seriousness though, check out Keto-Mojo blood ketone meter. It’s the one I used and it’s relatively cheap and precise. The great thing about it is you can use the same meter for glucose if you buy glucose strips. They are always running sales.

@alldayeveryday has done keto for quite a while now and looks great. He may be the guy to talk to about incorporating it with bodybuilding. I personally felt amazing when on keto once you get over that 2 week hump. The second time I did keto I used exogenous ketones (I used kegenix brand) during that time and didn’t feel like crap.


What was it like taking the exo ketones? I’ve been thinking about going back to keto but the keto flu really screws me bad.

It’s like never having keto flu. It gives you a clean energy boost not like caffeine and makes the transition so much better. I found out about it listening to Dr Dominic D’Agostino (who created exogenous ketones) and is the main guy who studies using ketosis for athletes.

Have you checked SHBG? Have you checked your Thyroid hormones: Free T3, Free T4, Reverse T3? I haven’t gone through everyone’s comments so I don’t know if it’s been said, but no offense you need to establish a baseline after training and dieting correctly before you think about cycling.
You have more than enough advantage on TRT levels to make way more progress than normal people. There is either something wrong with your thyroid hormone levels, SHBG, or cortisol if you are unable to make improvements to your physique with TRT.

You will be spinning your wheels if you cycle prematurely. Just the honest truth.


I’ve heard him on JRE. Smart guy. I’m gonna have to try it this time. I love eating keto… really everything about it, except keto flu.
Thanks for the info


Cortisol was last tested 6 or so months before I started TRT (June/July 2018). I am a fairly stressful person as well.

This Link shows the last time I tested SHBG and Thyroid Hormones (little over a year ago). I am sure they have improved since then, since I have been dialed in on TRT for awhile now (6+ months). Doctor will no longer test SHBG, and they probably won’t test Thyroid hormones again.

I am not going to cycle at this time until I dial in my diet and training more. I will reassess in 6-12 months.

I read through the entire post after being tagged here. Lots of good advice being given. I’m still evolving in my training and nutrition but as dexter said ive been keto for a while. I’m now more keto carnivorish than anything else. The results I saw after just 2 weeks of strict keto made me wish I had started this diet 20 years ago. I am dabbling in cyclical keto right now and using Sunday’s as a carb refeed day but even those daya dont compare to most people’s carb intake. I have a few bowls of oatmeal on Sunday to replenish glycogen stores and support my performance in the gym. Comments have been made about keto not being ideal for muscle building and this is accurate based on orthodox keto. Orthodox keto at 25% protein is not sufficient. Keto cultist will tell you that to much protein will cause gluconeogenesis to occur throwing you out of ketosis. This is false and many studies done can easily be found proving that gluconeogenesis has been greatly exaggerated and does not effect circulating blood glucose levels. EAT YOUR PROTEIN. High fat high protein and ultra low carbs. Piss strips are worthless. If your dead set on testing ketones then get the keto mojo meter. I have one and its a good tool for measuring glycemic response to certain tools and if you want to verify that your in ketosis but if you keep your carbs ultra low you have no choice but to be in ketosis. Do whatever training split you want. If your training intensity is sufficient you will get the stimulation you need for growth. I’m a terrible person to ask about whether or not you should cycle. I say go for it. Your numbers look good on your bloodwork so just keep up with that.