T Nation

Review My Diet & Training, Please:

How’s it goin’, guys? I’ve followed this 'site for a while and finally decided to join. I joined because Tnation seems to have a more credible, well-informed community than other forums I’ve visited. I’m a beginner looking for any opinions and recommendations on my current routine. I do apologize if these threads and questions are redundant, though.

Before I post my diet and workouts, I’ll give you my stats and goals for reference: I’m 20 years old, 6’4’’ and I fluctuate between 175 to 180 pounds. My max bench is 220, max squat is 275, and max deadlift is 405. (Be gentle, please.) If you consider a scale and calipers reliable, I’m between 7% to 9% body fat. Yes, I have a bitchin’ metabolism and a physical job that shoots my daily calorie expenditure through the roof.

I do, however, have an arguably decent build from high school wrestling and throwing discus, but my goal is much more size and strength. I suppose a long-term goal would be around 215+ pounds with, say, 12% body fat. Let’s focus on short-term, though, shall we? I don’t want to sound like an impressionable kid that assumes their muscles will explode upon a sip of whey.

I am definitely not scared to eat and gasps lose my precious abs 'til I’m at a respectable weight. I want to get as strong as possible. Here’s my diet:

Meal 1)

  • 1c. of oatmeal.
  • 3 whole eggs.
  • 1c. of egg whites.
  • 2 slices of whole wheat/grain bread with 2tbsp. of natural peanut butter.
  • A protein shake consisting of: 2c. of 1% milk, 2 bananas, 1/2c. of fat-free cottage cheese, 1 scoop of whey protein, and 1 scoop of casein protein.

( 1,775 / 150 / 170 / 50 )

Meal 2)

  • 8oz. of grilled salmon or tilapia.
  • 1 whole, baked sweet potato.
  • 1c. of 1% milk.

( 690 / 60 / 100 / 10 )

Meal 3)

  • 10oz. of grilled or baked steak.
  • 1 whole, baked sweet potato.
  • 1c. of green or mixed vegetables.
  • 1c. of 1% milk.

( 910 / 85 / 105 / 25 )

Meal 4)

  • 1/2lb. of lean, pan-fried ground beef.
  • 2c. of whole wheat/grain pasta.
  • 1/2c. of natural, sugar-free spaghetti sauce.
  • 1c. of mixed nuts.
  • 1c. of 1% milk.

( 940 / 65 / 110 / 25 )

Meal 5)

  • 10oz. of boneless, skinless, grilled chicken breast.
  • 1c. of brown rice.
  • 4tbsp. of natural, sugar-free barbeque sauce.
  • Protein shake consisting of: 2c. of 1% milk, 1/2c. of sugar-free Greek yogurt, 1 scoop of whey protein, and 1 scoop of casein protein.

( 865 / 120 / 65 / 15 )

Bringing my daily total to:

( 5,180 / 480 / 540 / 120 )

I’ve managed to retain close to a 40/40/20 ratio with my macros. I’m pretty confident with this diet, but my only concern is whether I’m eating enough. If I do need to eat more, I’ll have to throw in the towel and resort to dirtier sources such as milk, peanut butter, hamburgers, pastas, etc. Believe me, I love food, but I can’t stomach any more clean foods than what I listed above. Also, the first meal is my pre-workout and I alter that meal depending on whether it’s a rest, work, or work and training day. Any opinions will be greatly appreciated. Here’s my 4-day split:

Monday: (Back/Biceps)

  • 5x5 Conventional deadlifts.
  • 3 Sets of weighted pull-ups 'til failure.
  • 2x8 Bent-over rows.
  • 2x8 Pendlay rows.
  • 3x8 Lat’ pull-downs.
  • 2x8 Preacher curls.
  • 2x8 Hammer curls.

Tuesday: (Shoulders/Abs)

  • 3x5 Barbell shoulder press.
  • 3x8 Dumbbell shoulder press.
  • 3x8 Front raises.
  • 3x8 Lying rear-delt raises.
  • Misc’ ab exercises 'til failure. (Crunches, leg raises, windshield wipers, etc.)

Thursday: (Chest/Triceps)

  • 5x8 Bench press.
  • 3x8 Incline dumbbell press.
  • 3 Sets of weighted dips 'til failure.
  • 3 Sets of weighted push-ups 'til failure. (I drop-set these.)
  • 3x8 Incline chest flies.
  • 3x10 Cable crossovers.
  • 5x8 Close-grip bench press.
  • 3x10 Tricep push-downs.

Friday: (Legs/Abs)

  • 5x5 Squats.
  • 3x5 Clean & jerks.
  • 2 Sets of heavily weighted lunges 'til failure.
  • 3 Sets of leg press 'til failure.
  • 2 Sets of leg extensions 'til failure.
  • 2 Sets of leg curls 'til failure.
  • 2 Sets of weighted calf raises 'til failure.
  • Misc’ ab exercises 'til failure. (Crunches, leg raises, windshield wipers, etc.)

I’ve been following this routine for a month and I’m satisfied with it. I’ve gained 4 pounds and my strength has improved.

Admittedly, however, my chicken legs feel overtrained. My leg strength has been decreasing this last week. I think it’s due to deadlifts and squats in the same week. Squats and deadlifts are my favorite lifts, but I won’t be stubborn. I’ll adjust accordingly. I’m going to try removing everything on leg day aside from squats and calf raises. If that doesn’t help, I’ll limit myself to deadlifts or squats once per week 'til I’ve worked up to both lifts within the same week.

For those that are interested, I’m taking the following supplements: Creapure creatine, beta-alanine, whey, casein, multi-vitamins, and fish oil. That’s about it, everyone. Thank you for reading and feel free to ask if you have any questions. I’ll definitely be sticking around!

Hey Z,
As you’re a skinny, tall guy and I’m not, I’ll let others give most of the advice. But it looks like you’ve got a lot of “the basics” worked out well. The best thing is that you know it will be a process and long road. As long as you are keeping track and adjusting as necessary, I think you’ll be successful.

A couple of random things that I might be able to help with: 1) if you haven’t read Bernardi’s Massive Eating yet, I would highly recommend it. http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_diet_mass/massive_eating_reloaded_part_i

  1. Personally, I’ve been successful with squats and deads in the same week (and even in the same workout). But it looks like you are listening to your body, and that’s most important. Make it work for you.

  2. If I were in your shoes, I wouldn’t be overly concerned with “a dirty bulk.” Especially if you are thinking of Natty PB as “dirty”. I’d guess incorporating some of those things into your diet would be a good thing. That said, you’ve made a diet. Stick to it for 2 weeks and re-assess. Adding a tbsp of olive oil here or some natty PB there will be easy. Also, you’re 20, you could probably eat TONS of dirty-dirty foods w/o much negatives. Some posters here will (and have) argued that people in your position NEED TO eat dirty. So find what works for you.

  3. Search around for others who have been where you are and are successful. There are a lot of them on this site. Reading their experiences will help.

Good luck! keep us up to date with how you are doing!

I’d switch the ordering to:


You want some space between chest and delts if you’re going to separate them. One of them being sore will definitely affect the other.

Also, consider the following for shoulder workout:

  • 3x5 Barbell shoulder press.
  • 3x8 Lateral raises.
  • 3x8 Lying rear-delt raises.
  • 3x8 Dumbbell shoulder press.

Front delts will be getting hammered plenty with two presses, so you’re better off throwing in a lateral raise. You start fresh with a BB press so you can focus on progressing week to week. Then perform your second press w/ DBs after side and rear delts are already fatigued and it’ll give a whole new emphasis to the lift.

your training seems to work just fine, so I’ll just add one point to your diet: you could add a lot of calories while still eating clean if you stopped the low fat and low carb stuff. In my opinion, someone who struggles to get enough calories in does not need a 40/40/20 split nor does he need egg whites. Pigging out on pizza may be unhealthy in the long run, but eat whole eggs, switch to whole fat dairy products and add more oatmeal and rice to your diet. That’s an easy way to get an extra, say, 500 cals without really noticing it.

Thanks for the posts.

I read Berardi’s article a few months ago, Gambit, and I enjoyed it. He had me laughing with his condescending, but helpful advice. I’m not a fan of his calculator, though. His formula seems to be a bit exaggerated, in my opinion, but I suppose recommending too many calories is better than too few for skinnier guys. Berardi’s calculator puts my recommended calorie intake well above what the majority of others seem to average. Regardless, I think there are too many variables to account for. (Nutritional label accuracy and true energy expenditure.) I’ll just toy with my calories, monitor strength gains, my weight, and bf% as accurately as possible 'til I’ve found my sweet spot.

Jskrabac, I’ll try adding lateral raises and finishing my day with dumbbells as you recommended. I don’t think I can manage switching my days, though. My legs currently need as much time between my deadlifts and squats as possible. My upper body seems to be recovering at an amazing rate, anyway. Does anyone else have any opinions on my deadlift and squat dilemma? Thanks again.