Starting from Scratch Again...

havent worked out in a little over 2 years. I had started the Indigo workouts, (first month in) when life caused me to stop working out. I am so out of conditioning. Gained over 35 pounds of fat well probably more since I am 35 pounds heavier than I was at the time…

What I the best workout for me to start in again so I can get back into raining my Indigo workouts or others on this site? Same with supplementation and diet, seems a lot has changed regarding protocols, some aren’t here any longer some still are. ANd are bottles of Indigo still good after 2 years? have to have wasted them.

I am looking at a gym that has kettlebells as well as prowler systems, something my old gym didn’t have. where could I have been today had I not stopped haunts me now…

The avatar image is me at that time. I don’t have a current one but I look fat and aweful! What is fastest way for me to get into shape starting from nothing so I can get back on the indigo program I had set out on …

Let me explain the direction I am thinking… My tendons, joints muscles haven’t seen exercise in all this time. So at the very least I need to start off with some higher rep stuff, maybe build some work capacity while strengthening my tendons. If I go lighter, 10-15 reps and in strict form and then start to do some partial rep exercises afer a few weeks to get my muscles used to pushing a lot of weight, would I be ready to go back on the indigo program or should I consider the 6 week (I think) program right now CT that you say you use to hel build muscle and lose fat, in the fastest way possible. I am wondering if the body can get into that much work load starting from scratch…

im surprised noone has written to you yet. ill just give you my opinion from my own experience. first of all, check with customer service to see if the indigo is good. then start your clean eating. you can post question in the Biotest supplement forum and ask chris forum
for training, i would start off light and easy. lite weight, few sets, few reps using the main compound movements. i would train every day.
easy stuff. so my joints get oiled up so to speak. i learned a long time ago, that coming back hard after a big layoff leads to injury, or horrible soreness that keeps me away from taining for a few days. when you ate doing it, it feels fine, but afterwards youll need a bottle of advil. thats no fun.
slowly you can increase weight and/or reps. you gotta see how u feel. thats it.
afterwards, you can figure what program u wanna do.
for now, you just need to get in the gym and do something.

@Carmineb; I was in your situation 5 weeks ago…

Used the Layer System by CT from my first day back (along with Reactive Pump nutrition)

I’ve progressed pretty ok.

Just as an idea :slight_smile:

I would post a sample diet in your log & have Chris go over it. The 6 weeks to super hero program is great for fat loss. If it were me I would make sure every rep is explosive & you push as hard as you possibly can. I personally think the best thing would be a 10 day layer set up push, legs, pull rotated …I like the Deadlift friend or for advice too check that out

Main lifts bench, squat, SGHP
accessory: if you can do it power clean & press would be great

I would do the explosive jumps to activate the nervous system (yesterday’s article)
Then a few days ago the other CT article strength waves
Density work
Deadlift friend or foe
Loaded carries

If you’re not getting results from that your peri & diet needs a serious overhaul

how old areyou anyway?
i’m 55. every year, it takes me a little more time to get into the swing of things

thank you all for saying something :slight_smile:

Well I am 52, the pic is of me when I wsa hmmm, 50. In that shape, I was just making the Indigo program workouts, it took me a while to get into good enough shape, that starting indigo and a course of test to boot, to be able to do the workouts, ps I gained like 12 pounds first month on indigo and test, having come off a challenge and being well, flat ( ihad lost 10 pounds of ft water weight the month before and was at 207, wen to 224 when I started the bulk up with indigo…

I am afraid of doing it wrong but I know I don’t need a year to start off, I figure what the fastest way to start up again , if there is a methodology would work best.

Going lighter for some exercises and maybe adding explosive for core ones might be best of both worlds of muscle fibers and save my joints and tendons initially.

Well I will start out this week upcoming, probably just get familiarized with new gym. and then hopefully I will have something to start positing.

just keep on keeping on.
IMHO. you just gotta start somewhere. you gotta keep the interest going. beating the shit out of yourself to try and do what you used to do right away, is a recipe for disaster. be patient and keep working. your body comp wil change slowly but surely. look for little achievements to keep you going.
like i said before, im 55, im an accountant, im stupid busy for 5 months. i can barely pee, much less train, but, i try muy best to do something during the season, and, i train hard for 6-7 months.
with ct’s programs, i could probably get to my all time pr’s if i trained like the way i do now throughout the year.
just get in there and do something. thats the start
all the best

Mutsanah started a thread (a clean slate) and asked CT about a set up he could use after a layoff.It was not as long as your layoff but he gave him a good template to go with in his response.Maybe check out that thread.As always It was some good Info from CT.

Thanks Dom… u r right…

jp I will thanks

I m going to repost this here for my own benefit and anyone else who wants to see it. Thank you all for your support and help… I think its just the anxiety of starting from scratch, mostly pissed that I let it go for such a long time. Goes to show what not working out and having low testosterone will do, you lose confidence and muscle… and get FAT

HEre is the layered system, seems this system is the nuts and bolts of most all his programs, approach a muscle, hit it hard in a ceryain way, move on to next layer, etc…

All of the info presented here is from Christian Thibaudeaus Livespill Posts.


This first layer is all about activating the nervous system, increasing fast twitch muscle fiber recruitment and building the capacity to showcase strength. You basically ramp up gradually toward your max for the day.

Start at about 40-50% and add 10-20lbs per set until you hit your max. Perform sets of 3 for the first 2-3 sets then switch to singles to reduce fatigue.
We want about 6-9 ramping sets including 3-4 heavy ones (above 90%).


Clusters develop the capacity to recruit AND stimulate more FT fibers. It is a very powerful method to increase size, strength and density (giving the muscles a harder look).
You use 90% of the weight you reached in your ramp.

One set has several reps (3-7) performed 10 seconds of rest between them.
You rest the bar on every rep, which is why it’s best to start from pins or a deadstart. You stop the cluster set when you cannot perform more reps. You do 3 sets.


This is the most effective way to stimulate as many fibers to grow as possible, especially now that the nervous system is “on”.

Each set is as follow:
5 reps/rest 10-15 sec/4 reps/rest 10-15 sec/3 reps/rest 10-15 sec/2 reps/rest 10-15 sec/1 rep

If you were able to get more than 17 total cluster reps over 3 sets, instead of 5-4-3-2-1 for HDL you do 4-4-3-3-2-2-1-1… you start with 65-70% and ideally would eventually be able to use 80%. Do 3 sets.



For this layer we use 80-85% of the max ramp. Each set has two bouts of reps separated by 15 seconds of rest. You start the first bout by doing as many reps you can with 80% without major form breakdown. When you reach a point where you know that you will not be able to complete one more clean rep, you replace the bar on the supports and rest for 15 seconds. After those 15 seconds, you unrack the bar and try to do as many reps as you can again. Then the set is over.

Extended Sets is a layer that can be used instead of the HDL. Both work great and using both (either back and forth during a training cycle) or doing one method for one training cycle and the other for the next works great


This is an optional layer. The layer system is perfectly effective with just the first 3. But if you are using a powerful recovery agent like PLAZMA and want to take the pump to another level (driving more nutrients to the muscles) you can add the pump layer:
One set is: hold the weight in mid range (peak for pulls) 5 sec./do 5 reps/hold 4 sec/do 4 reps/hold 3 sec./do 3 reps/hold 2 sec/do 2 reps/hold 1 sec/do 1 rep…

There is no pause during a max pump set (the “pause” is during the isometric hold… which is actually the hardest part!). Use 40-50% of the ramped max and perform 2-3 sets.


For maximum strength I recommend:
(layer 1) Ramp to max
(layer 2) clusters
(layer 3) extended sets
(layer 4) speed HDL… speed HDL is 8 sets of 3 explosive reps (50% of ramp) with 30 sec. of rest between sets.


The system is One and ONLY one lift a day.

CT is now experimenting with 3 sets of simply rowing as a finisher for the high pull/back days, but ABSOLUTELY NO second exercise after legs or pressing movements!

Answer to a question about pre pump work: I often do a low stress traps/rear delts move right before high pulls (kinda like a superset).

The only style of squatting CT allows is from the safety pins up–set the safety pins at the bottom of the squat, get under the weight, and squat it up, then set it back on the pins for rest between clusters or between each individual rep of the HDL sets.

This system is meant to be either 5 or 6 days a week.

Exercises for the Layer System: front squat, bench LOW incline tilt, high pull, overhead press, deadlift, bench decline tilt. All from pins except high pulls which are from blocks.
The snatch grip high pull, if properly done will do more than any other exercise (or even exercise combos) to give you the power look. It is amazing to build the delts, traps and mid back.

Its fine to do full ROM on the layer system… BUT extend the rest between reps for the cluster to 15 sec.

But many people I (CT) work with are actually doing only 5 weekly training sessions:

Bench incline tilt
High pull
Bench decline tilt
Front squat or TBDL
High pull

In fact the guy with the greatest gains overall so far is doing it like that.

Before doing the next split please read the note about it from CT.

(For a football player doing sprints, the best option for layers might be:)

DAY 1. Bench incline tilt layer
DAY 2. Power cleans or high pull from blocks layer
DAY 4. OH press from pins layer
DAY 6. Squat or TBDL layer
DAY 7. free day… that’s the only split I can recommend when doing sprint work.

CT has stated the following regarding this split: ‘‘I don’t like it… I made the football recommendation in a moment of weakness. The system is so powerful that I want everybody to use it! BUT I now realize that there is a very fine balance that you should not mess up with. When it comes down to it, you can do what you want. But I’ll be less lenient in the future… you do the system the way I do it, or do something else :)’’

For maximum strength I recommend:

(layer 1) Ramp to max
(layer 2) clusters
(layer 3) extended sets
(layer 4) speed HDL… speed HDL is 8 sets of 3 explosive reps (50% of ramp) with 30 sec. of rest between sets.

I personally like doing 2 workouts in a row with the regular HDL, then 2 workouts in a row with extended sets.

I’m talking about 2 workouts in a row of the same movement.


On the ‘‘off days’’ is where you can do some lats and biceps work. These are the only two muscle groups that might need some additional work.

Note on Lats and Biceps work:
(1) I don’t like having lats 2 days in a row (wed/thu)
(2) I don’t like having lats work the day before high pulls (the lats are involved somewhat if you do the movement right)
(3) I don’t like biceps the day before high pulls (for the same reason)
(4) I don’t like 2 biceps workouts a week.

I find that I get all the lats development I want by working them once a week as ‘‘free’’ more ‘‘pump style’’ work.

And with only a small amount of biceps work thrown in there, my arms are bigger than ever.
If your recovery capacity isn’t great it’s probably better to do the biceps and back work at the tail end of an existing workout.

I DO NOT like chin-ups as a whole and much less as a layer movement. The reason I don’t like chin-ups is that it is VERY easy to get “false improvement” by slightly changing body angle, swinging or using most other muscles groups… and this often happens even in those with good form; it happens subconsciously. Chin-ups work OK if you are strong and do not go super heavy, focusing on the perfect contraction. Since the layer system is based on going heavy AND to your limit, it is a poor choice.


The max ramp and cluster are very high intensity, especially for someone who has little training experience. While a scaled down version will not be as effective for an intermediate or advanced lifter, it might be for a beginner.

In that case I recommend ramping to a 5RM for the first 3 weeks and to a 3RM for weeks 4-6 (instead of ramping to a 1RM), then using 90% of that to do the clusters (you will obviously do more than 3-7 reps per cluster, maybe 7-12)

I also recommend 4 cluster sets and 4 HDL sets instead of 3

So you can use either a 3RM or a 5 RM, but not a 1 RM for your ramp.
Cluster sets are still single reps but you can expect to get more than 5 singles per cluster because your top weight is lower. You must still use between 6-9 total sets to reach your max 5RM or 3RM when ramping.

For example: If your max is going to be 200, then you need to reach your top weight on set 6-8 ish. Might look like 80x5, 100x5, 120x5, 140x5, 160x5, 180x5, 200x5 . If it ended up being too light you can take one more set (to be #9) and set a PR. Small jumps of 10-20 ish pounds.