T Nation

Starting Bulking ?


Hey T-Nation. I am new to the whole body building world. I have never really worked out before in my life. I grew up in a country where people have very little knowledge about body building. After coming to America and looking at such huge guys, I got really interested.

I’ve been on this website for the past 1 month reading what everyone has written and just getting myself in good enough shape to start working out properly. So far I did:

For 6 weeks I did whole body work out with medium weights to just get my body used to the idea of working out. I did a lot cardio to get rid of unnecessary fat. My aim was to just get my body into shape.

After that, I did one 8 week cycle. I was taking Whey protein and vitamins. I was lifting moderately heavy weights and still doing a lot of cardio. By the end of this 8 week cycle I saw a big difference. I started feeling stronger. Could see my body getting some sort of shape. I was a chubby guy and lost most of my fat. Went down from 188 lbs to 170 lbs.
My aim for this cycle was to get myself good enough to start working out hard.

Now I have just started my first bulking cycle. I am taking the following supplements:
Creatine (which I plan to cycle, and only take for 4 weeks in a cycle), L glutamine, Whey, Weight Gainer, Vitamins and Minerals.

Im doing 1 body part/day. 3 exercises/body part 3-4 sets of 5 reps with as heavy weights as I can lift.
I mix in abs 3x/week and do fat burning on the stair master in my fat burning zone (with a heart rate monitor) about twice a week (Is this fine?)

My aim for this cycle is to just build my stregnth up as much as I can. I’m 21 years old. 170 lbs (177 right now because of creatine). My stats as of now (completed 3 weeks) are for 5 reps:
Dumbell Press 70 lbs dumbells x5
Squat 275 lbs x5
Deadlift 245 lbs x5

I’ve been reading a lot on T nation lately and what i’ve gathered so far is that I need to just keep on putting mass before anything. I plan to continue bulking till I hit about 230 lbs. I know its going to take a long time but i’m willing to go the whole way.

I’m completely focused and willing to put in whatever it takes. For my bulking diet right now, I eat my regular 3 meals/day. Ontop of that I have 2 other meals which are 1/2 serving of weight gainer each and then I take 2 servings of whey protein.

This comes to 7 meals/day. I take my meals with 1.5 - 3 hour gaps. I get around 1.5 g of protein/pound of body wight.

My questions to you are:

  1. Am i bulking right? If yes, how long will I need to keep on going with bulking till I hit about say 200 lbs? I know 230 will take a while but just about how long does it take of strict diet and hard exercising to really put on weight?

  2. I’m cycling creatine. Is that right?

  3. I plan to change up my exercises every 8 weeks and not have the two same exercises for 2 cycles in a row. But I do plan to keep lifting heavy. Is this right?

I know my body is not at all developed and definately nothing close to T nation standards. But i’m just starting out and I thought what better site to start out than here. I’ve read a lot on my own and I plan to do everything the right way.

If there is any advise you guys can give me it would be highly appreciated. I will keep you guys posted with my progress over the months and years.
I’m sure most of you have been there done that, and just sharing how you guys did it starting out would be of great help! Thank you in advance.

Fluid

ps. In these pics I weight 177 lbs. I think 7 pounds of it is creatine because i just put this on in the past 3 weeks. I was 170 when i started this cycle. Also this is the last week i’m on creatrine and then i stop.

[quote]Fluid wrote:
Hey T-Nation. I am new to the whole body building world. I have never really worked out before in my life. I grew up in a country where people have very little knowledge about body building. After coming to America and looking at such huge guys, I got really interested.

I’ve been on this website for the past 1 month reading what everyone has written and just getting myself in good enough shape to start working out properly. So far I did:

For 6 weeks I did whole body work out with medium weights to just get my body used to the idea of working out. I did a lot cardio to get rid of unnecessary fat. My aim was to just get my body into shape.

After that, I did one 8 week cycle. I was taking Whey protein and vitamins. I was lifting moderately heavy weights and still doing a lot of cardio. By the end of this 8 week cycle I saw a big difference. I started feeling stronger. Could see my body getting some sort of shape. I was a chubby guy and lost most of my fat. Went down from 188 lbs to 170 lbs.
My aim for this cycle was to get myself good enough to start working out hard.

Now I have just started my first bulking cycle. I am taking the following supplements:
Creatine (which I plan to cycle, and only take for 4 weeks in a cycle), L glutamine, Whey, Weight Gainer, Vitamins and Minerals.

Im doing 1 body part/day. 3 exercises/body part 3-4 sets of 5 reps with as heavy weights as I can lift.
I mix in abs 3x/week and do fat burning on the stair master in my fat burning zone (with a heart rate monitor) about twice a week (Is this fine?)

My aim for this cycle is to just build my stregnth up as much as I can. I’m 21 years old. 170 lbs (177 right now because of creatine). My stats as of now (completed 3 weeks) are for 5 reps:
Dumbell Press 70 lbs dumbells x5
Squat 275 lbs x5
Deadlift 245 lbs x5

I’ve been reading a lot on T nation lately and what i’ve gathered so far is that I need to just keep on putting mass before anything. I plan to continue bulking till I hit about 230 lbs. I know its going to take a long time but i’m willing to go the whole way.

I’m completely focused and willing to put in whatever it takes. For my bulking diet right now, I eat my regular 3 meals/day. Ontop of that I have 2 other meals which are 1/2 serving of weight gainer each and then I take 2 servings of whey protein.

This comes to 7 meals/day. I take my meals with 1.5 - 3 hour gaps. I get around 1.5 g of protein/pound of body wight.

My questions to you are:

  1. Am i bulking right? If yes, how long will I need to keep on going with bulking till I hit about say 200 lbs? I know 230 will take a while but just about how long does it take of strict diet and hard exercising to really put on weight?

  2. I’m cycling creatine. Is that right?

  3. I plan to change up my exercises every 8 weeks and not have the two same exercises for 2 cycles in a row. But I do plan to keep lifting heavy. Is this right?

I know my body is not at all developed and definately nothing close to T nation standards. But i’m just starting out and I thought what better site to start out than here. I’ve read a lot on my own and I plan to do everything the right way.

If there is any advise you guys can give me it would be highly appreciated. I will keep you guys posted with my progress over the months and years.
I’m sure most of you have been there done that, and just sharing how you guys did it starting out would be of great help! Thank you in advance.

Fluid

ps. In these pics I weight 177 lbs. I think 7 pounds of it is creatine because i just put this on in the past 3 weeks. I was 170 when i started this cycle. Also this is the last week i’m on creatrine and then i stop.[/quote]

ad1) I dunno? Do you gain weight?

If you eat like a monster and are a beginner probably 1-1,5 years to 200.

ad2) No. What are you cycling it for?

ad3) I?d use one of Waterburys full body programms. In fact I?d use all of them during the next year and skip the ab training.

PS: your numbers are BS. IF you could squat 275lbs ass to grass you would not feel like training abs 3 tims a week.

[quote]orion wrote:

PS: your numbers are BS. IF you could squat 275lbs ass to grass you would not feel like training abs 3 tims a week.[/quote]

Huh? While I agree his numbers do seem inflated for his physique, I am curious as to how squats would cause you to skip ab training.

OP, it looks like you have a great attitude, and your head in the right place. Btw, how tall are you? My advice to you,

1.) Read, read, read! This website, books, anything you can. The more you know, the bigger you’ll get.

2.) Learn to cook. I know it sounds strange, but knowing your way around the kitchen has a huge impact on the quality of your diet, and thus, your gains.

3.) Remember that it takes time. You might get frustrated, then one day you’ll you’ll look in the mirror, and go “Holy shit!” Those are good days.

4.) Sleep is awesome.

5.) Focus on increasing the weight you lift. Appearance follows function, but it’s not always the reverse.

Oh, and Orion is right, you don’t need to cycle creatine. Just 5g a day. As far as programs, do what you feel like. Waterbury has some good ones, but find what you enjoy doing in the gym, but make sure you see progress on it. If you want to train abs, go for it.

What is your total caloric intake?

Good luck!

Congratulations on your attitude. The fact that you even want to bulk at all has put you ahead of 99% of people who begin to lift weights recreationaly.

However, your diet seems a little off.

If I’m not mistaken 2 of your daily meals consist of whey protein by itself. This is not a good weight gaining strategy.

You will need to be taking in some complex carbs with each of your meals.

Once you’ve finished up your weight gainer I wouldn’t bother buying any more. Just take your whey protein and mix it with oatmeal and maybe some fruit: cheaper and healthier weight gainer.

You haven’t mentioned peri workout nutrition at all. I recommend that you try taking either some Surge or chocolate milk, 1 serving during your workout and another immediately after.

Make sure that you eat a cheat meal every week. The metabolic boost that you get from them can really help your bulking efforts.

Also, as far as creatine is concerned: take it every time you train. I usually take 10g with my post workout drink.

If you aren’t training on a particular day then don’t worry about taking it. Otherwise there is no need to ‘cycle’ the stuff.

Ultimately if it has helped you gain 7lbs already why would you want to stop taking it?

Finally as for the training side of things. I will recommend to you what worked for me:

Westside for Skinny Bastards
Total Body Training

With these two programs and a healthy appetite I went from 143lbs to 215lbs in my first 7 months of training.

If I can do it so can you!

Good luck.

[quote]Brant_Drake wrote:
orion wrote:

PS: your numbers are BS. IF you could squat 275lbs ass to grass you would not feel like training abs 3 tims a week.

Huh? While I agree his numbers do seem inflated for his physique, I am curious as to how squats would cause you to skip ab training. [/quote]

Because if he did them atg with a relatively narrow stance with 275lbs he would allready have developed a pretty solid core, the rest is overhead work and diet.

Abs 3 times a week means you are doing too little squats and overhead work.

Orion,

Thank you for your advise. I will look into Waterbury’s full body programs.

Regarding my numbers, I have no reason to inflate my numbers. I’m not at all trying to prove anything on this website. Just here to get advise, thats all. If by “ass to grass” you mean take my butt all the way to the floor, then you are right, i’m not doing that.

I was not aware that is how I am supposed to do the squats. I keep my stance shoulder legnth and go down till my thighs are parrallel to the floor. If I am doing this wrong please let me know.

Thank you again for taking out the time give your two cents.

Fluid

Brant_Drake,

I appreciate your words of wisdom. I will definately follow them. I have actually bought a couple of books from which I have been designing my own work outs. I feel more devoted to them that way rather than just doing someone elses routines. It’s more fun. I try and keep the workouts as a whole the same but I choose my own exercises etc.

I am not sure of my exact calorie intake. But I eat small meals (7) over the course of the day. Towards the beginning of my weight gain cycle I would write every gram of protein down and it would come to around 240g. Since then, i’ve just stuck to the same diet so I get about the same ammount of grams of protein.

Thanks again

Fluid

ps. I am 6 feet tall. I weight 177 right now but I was weighing 170 at the start. I’m guessing the 7 pounds are from water weight which will be lost once I stop creatine.

Jarvis,

WOW! You went from 143 to 215 lbs in 7 months? Now thats what i’m talking about!

Thanks for the homemade weight gainer recipe, will start on it after this one is finished.
About two of my meals being only whey protein, you are correct. Those are my last two meals of the day that I take at night. The reason I take only protein is because its right before I sleep so I didn’t want my carbs getting converted into fat.

Also I read that the amino acids in the protein help while you are sleeping so its good to take those at night.

As for peri workout nutrition, I have none. I was not aware of the importance of it. I will read more into it. Thanks for recommending it.

The reason i’m cycling creatine is because I want to be safe. I know it puts a strain on your kidneys and I had read that cycling it is good because if it is having any bad effects on your body then it gives your body a chance to clean itself.

But I read this on the internet so this could be complete rubbish.
Also I will definately look into the work out routines you have recommended.

Thank you very much for taking the time to write such a detailed response. It is much appreciated!

Fluid

[quote]Fluid wrote:
Orion,

Thank you for your advise. I will look into Waterbury’s full body programs.

Regarding my numbers, I have no reason to inflate my numbers. I’m not at all trying to prove anything on this website. Just here to get advise, thats all. If by “ass to grass” you mean take my butt all the way to the floor, then you are right, i’m not doing that.

I was not aware that is how I am supposed to do the squats. I keep my stance shoulder legnth and go down till my thighs are parrallel to the floor. If I am doing this wrong please let me know.

Thank you again for taking out the time give your two cents.

Fluid [/quote]

Squat form depends on what you want to do.

Powerlifters only have to hit parrallel for the attempt to count and that is what they do, broad stance and all.

You want to build muscle that preferably looks good on you.

That means narrower stance, which makes it harder and going down, which makes it even harder.

The reward is more overall muscle mass and the beginning of the tear drop shape of your quads.

Maybe in the beginning a broader stance is in order until you can stabilize your core.

The reason I think abs are useless to you is because while you do them you could do overhead work and while you curl you could do heavy pulls and you have only so much time before your training becomes inefficient so why waste it with BS?

[quote]Fluid wrote:
I am not sure of my exact calorie intake. But I eat small meals (7) over the course of the day. Towards the beginning of my weight gain cycle I would write every gram of protein down and it would come to around 240g. Since then, i’ve just stuck to the same diet so I get about the same ammount of grams of protein.
[/quote]

A very basic formula which I really like for gaining is 1g protein per lb body weight, 1g fat per lb bodyweight, and 2g carbs per lb bodyweight.

So if you’re 177 it would breakdown like this;

177g protein = 708 cals
177g fat = 1593 cals
354g carbs = 1416 cals

Total calories = 3717

Hope that helps.

Orion,

Look at any of the top powerlifters and they all regularly do ab work. I am not saying to do 100 crunches 3 times per week.

But doing heavy ab work such as decline situps with a plate behind your head, cable pulldowns or heavy side bencds once or twice per week can yield great benefits, particularly on the squat. And last I checked, squatting 275 doesn’t make anybody strong in any sense, unless they are a 120 pound girl.

To the OP, I do not mean to highjack your thread, so sorry about that. My advice to you would be to stop listening to every poster on the internet, find one trusted source of info (one of the contributors on here would be a decent start) and just do what they say and go balls out for 3-4 months.

After that you will start to develop ideas of your own and slowly start to tweak things. In any case, good luck in your training.

I applaud how serious you are taking this! Kids on here need to follow your lead.

I think whatever you do will work as long as your are lifting heavy and hitting calories over maintenance. No reason to cycle creatine, just keep the maintenance doses going.

for now just keep it simple and heavy…

I know for me every now and again I’ll go off on a tangent and start a new program. I usually end up unhappy with the results and go back to the basics and then I’m right back where I want to be. There is a ton of information out there, use it wisley but don’t over complicate things.

Hey Fluid,

No need to thank me. Helping people out helps me to cement my own knowledge, so by asking questions you’re doing me a favour too!

I can see the reasoning behind you deciding to take plain why protein for your last two meals.

However, you should think of either adding some healthy fats: to slow down the digestion and help raise testosterone etc. (Don’t get caught up in thinking that a low fat diet is good for you, it’s not. You need to eat fat to burn fat as well as to maintain the health of your joints and endocrine system).

OR

you could consider switching to Micellar Casein protein, which is far slower digesting than Whey.

(better still, do both)

During the height of my bulk, I would take a serving of MC which yielded 80g of protein just before bed. This protocol was suggested in an old article here a T-Nation and it worked out pretty damn well. (I’d usually add some Flax Meal and drink some olive oil as well as taking 6g of Fish oil)

Here is a simple breakdown of protein powders:

Whey Isolate/ Hydrolysate = Very fast acting
Whey = Fast acting
Micellar Casein= Slow acting

The trick is knowing which one to take at which time of day.

Isolate/ Hydrolysate is best taken peri-workout. (as found in Surge)

Whey can be taken during the day and is good to mix with carb sources for bulking such as oats, milk and yoghurt.

Micellar Casein is best taken at night to stave off catabolism. It is also good to take during the day whilst cutting as it keeps you feeling full for a long time (as in the Velocity Diet using Metabolic Drive powder).

You should type pre workout nutrition in the article search and read a few articles. There is still some debate as to which is more important, pre or post-workout nutrition.

But you know what? By taking care of both you’ll have all your bases covered.


As far as Squats are concerned, try squatting to parallel. Set records for this type of Squat.

Also try going ATG (ass to grass) set records in this position too.

You can’t go wrong by keeping your training stimulus varied and thus reaping the benefits of different types of Squat.

Also consider:

Different feet spacings
Heels elevated on 5lb plates
Front Squats
Zercher Squats

If you find yourself stagnating on one type of squat move on to another and then re-visit your old squat type after a few weeks.

This is always a good way to break through a plateau.

[quote]jtrinsey wrote:
Orion,

Look at any of the top powerlifters and they all regularly do ab work. I am not saying to do 100 crunches 3 times per week.

But doing heavy ab work such as decline situps with a plate behind your head, cable pulldowns or heavy side bencds once or twice per week can yield great benefits, particularly on the squat. And last I checked, squatting 275 doesn’t make anybody strong in any sense, unless they are a 120 pound girl.

[/quote]

Yes, but what has that to do with a beginner trying to gain weight?

If his squat numbers go up, his abs will grow, while doing no ab work whatsoever.

This is not about fine tuning but slapping on mass.

Pro BB work their bizeps too, does that mean that he should curls instead of heavy pulls?

[quote]orion wrote:
Yes, but what has that to do with a beginner trying to gain weight?

If his squat numbers go up, his abs will grow, while doing no ab work whatsoever.

This is not about fine tuning but slapping on mass.

Pro BB work their bizeps too, does that mean that he should curls instead of heavy pulls?
[/quote]

They aren’t mutually exclusive. He should do squats AND ab work. He should do heavy pulls AND curls.

Doing 3 sets of decline crunches and barbell curls twice a week is not going to sap the life out of him and send him into an overtraining spiral. What it will do is help develop total body strength and build total body mass, which is the goal.

To build a strong squat, one needs strong lower back, strong abs and strong legs. Why neglect part of that equation?

[quote]orion wrote:
Brant_Drake wrote:
orion wrote:

PS: your numbers are BS. IF you could squat 275lbs ass to grass you would not feel like training abs 3 tims a week.

Huh? While I agree his numbers do seem inflated for his physique, I am curious as to how squats would cause you to skip ab training.

Because if he did them atg with a relatively narrow stance with 275lbs he would allready have developed a pretty solid core, the rest is overhead work and diet.

Abs 3 times a week means you are doing too little squats and overhead work.

[/quote]

Hmm I don’t really understand you. You say he should have a pretty solid core already so shouldn’t his abs not be sore? I can back squat 275 ATG at 150 pounds and my abs don’t get too sore. Maybe front squats may be different?

[quote]bernbabybern820 wrote:
orion wrote:
Brant_Drake wrote:
orion wrote:

PS: your numbers are BS. IF you could squat 275lbs ass to grass you would not feel like training abs 3 tims a week.

Huh? While I agree his numbers do seem inflated for his physique, I am curious as to how squats would cause you to skip ab training.

Because if he did them atg with a relatively narrow stance with 275lbs he would allready have developed a pretty solid core, the rest is overhead work and diet.

Abs 3 times a week means you are doing too little squats and overhead work.

Hmm I don’t really understand you. You say he should have a pretty solid core already so shouldn’t his abs not be sore? I can back squat 275 ATG at 150 pounds and my abs don’t get too sore. Maybe front squats may be different?[/quote]

They probably would get sore if the specific stress was new to you.

To get my abs sore I would also use crunches, because that is what I rarely do, so it will induce soreness.

But, since soreness is not really a goal of mine per se…