T Nation

Some Direction and/or Advice?

Hey everyone, my name’s John and I live in London, Ontario. I’ve been lifting weights for the past 10 years, but only the past year and a half have been for aesthetic purposes. I played varsity football in university as a DE/DT, and got up as high as 280 lbs (but wasn’t overly “round” b/c I’m 6’5"). I was much stronger back then, but I’ve currently been able to drop to 220 over the last year or so.

Currently, I’m almost done my 6th week of Thibaudeau’s “Destroying Fat” program, which I’m using along side the ideas in his “Refined Physique Transformation”. This is probably the leanest I’ve ever been (although I’m not sure of my bf %), although I’d like to get leaner. Clearly by the photos, putting on some quality mass is also a concern of mine.

My plan was to continue with what I’m doing for another couple months, and then begin a slow mass gain phase. I was looking for help in terms of what my weak points are, and whether or not I’m heading in the right direction. I feel I’m stuck in the middle: I’ve got too much body fat to be “lean”, yet I’m lacking muscle mass to be considered “big”. Any and all comments welcome. If you need any further info, please just ask! (I feel like this post is excessively long already!)…Thanks.

A few more pics…

one more…

I’m sure that you can find great sample diets on this site to adopt and use in order to put on quality weight. You look strong, but I see a lack of mass, really. Eat more quality foods and keep hitting the gym. What kind of diet plan are you following now?

Chest and upper back need work from what I can see. Leg shots? BF looks good, though.

I really appreciate the constructive criticism guys…I’ll have to get someone to take a leg shot for me…my leg mass isn’t too bad since it’s something I’ve always had to train hard (b/c of football). I agree Rugby, I’ve always felt I’ve lacked in the chest area…arms too. Putting on muscle mass in these areas is a big priority for me, but I felt I needed to get my body fat down farther before I started to address muscle mass.

I want to be able to slowly put muscle on without gaining any BF. That’s kind of what I was wondering: how far should I drop my BF% before I should switch to a clean (and slow) bulk? Will this goal be easier to obtain if I start out leaner? Or will getting that lean before addressing muscle mass be counter productive sorta?

Currently, I’m following the no/low carb and hight fat approach outlined in Thib’s “Refined Physique Tranformation” in order to accomplish my body re-composition. This is the end of week 6, and I’ve gone from about 233 to my current 221 lbs. I “think” I’ve gone from around 15% BF to close to 10% maybe (I still have yet to get a caliper test, and I don’t really trust the electric current method).

My calories are around 2400/day, and my macronutrient split is about 45% P, 45% F, 10% C. It’s worked well thus far, but I feel as if I’m NEVER going to get as lean as I desire(6-7%). My progress has slowed and I’m not longer noticing any changes.

As for a proper nutritional program to add quality mass, I’ve found a few decent ones on this site (Massive Eating by Berardi for one), so I’m not too concerned about finding one - I’m more just concerned about WHEN to switch “mindsets” from fat loss to muscle gain. Any more comments/advice are appreciated.

Do more pull-ups, rows, and dead lifts. And work your chest more.

Looking good though man, keep it up.

you look pretty toned, just the overall mass of your muscles is not that impressive. Your def on your way, keep up the good work, and keep us updated.

You should def look into doing some pull ups, works the lats, biceps, forearms, builds quick muscle.

[quote]csoborko wrote:
Putting on muscle mass in these areas is a big priority for me, but I felt I needed to get my body fat down farther before I started to address muscle mass.


I think this process will be counterproductive. If it’s a big priority for you to gain MASS, then you must have a diet to support that goal.

You have 2 choices.

  1. Lower calories and carbs and slowly add on mass without gaing bodyfat.

  2. Increase calories and carbs and add mass quickly and gain some bodyfat, then lose the bodyfat. This process is faster overall, but you need to accept parting with any ab tone you have during the bulk.

Many of the newer T-Nations articles focus on gaining mass without any fat gain. This seems to be the trend of late. If you chose this trend, you will have a lot of support here with articles, supplements and T-Nation users…


Eating like a pig gets you there faster in the long run. Maybe even 3 times faster from my experience.

It’s a catch 22, but you are the only one who can decide the route you chose.

Back and arms ain’t too bad. Work in some more rows and definately work your chest more.


I really appreciate everyone’s advice and constructive criticism…although I don’t have any pics of them up, I think my legs are better off than my upper body…I do a lot of back work, namely bent over rows and different pull up variations, but I’m sure these will be more fruitful once I begin eating enough to substantiate mass gain…
I’ve tried doing “mass phases” in the past (the most recent was from November 2006 to May 2007), and while I do gain size and strength (albeit at a slow rate), I feel that the gains i get aren’t substantial enough compared to the amount of fat I gain…I figured that it was maybe b/c my body fat was too high at the time of my “mass phase”, hence meaning I was more insulin resistant…so this time around I thought I’d try to get pretty lean first, THEN attempt to put on muscle as clean as possible…
I just know I definitely don’t ever want to do strictly a “mass phase” again, since I end up having to shed all that fat again…it’s too much of a vicious cycle for me, plus, I’d rather stay somewhat lean year-round (I’ve already been fat for most of my life, and don’t want to go back!)…anyone else have any thoughts/experience with this?