T Nation

Starting Over Properly, Need Help


Been working out a couple of years but never managed to find that "soft spot" in my routine to get desirable gains. Could be genetics but i'd like to hear some opinions from you pros. I have managed to put on some mass but ive gained loads of fat aswell during my bulks and i lose loads of strength during my cuts, read on before you flame.

What i was mostly focused on was diet. I calculated my BMR, included all the energy burned on exercises etc. 500kcal surplus during bulk and 500 kcal deficit during cut.
I started off by counting kcal overall and later i moved on to dividing that to P/C/F and counted them seperatly. Needless to say i was SPOT ON every time. I never ate junk food and kept it as healthy as possible. Last time i counted i was burning 2500kcal a day including exercise, so i ate 3000. Being 6'1 and 187lbs, around 18% bf. Nutrition was divided 40/30/30

As for my workout routine i have also tried everything. I started off by working out full body every other day restricting my sets to 6 and reps to 8 per muscle group. Then i moved on to a upper/lower split(upper/lower/rest/upper/lower/rest etc) and did 8-9 sets 6-8 reps.
Eventually i moved on to a 4 day split and did 8-9 sets 12 reps. Lastly i tried max-ot, which worked quite well if i recall correctly but im not sure why i quit. As for the exercises i wasnt able to include squat or deadlift due to a lower back injury, but im hoping i will be able to soon. My leg routine was mostly lunges and reversed dumbbell lunges.
Both when i bulked and cut i kept the same routine. Never did any cardio.

Now there are a few possibilities
-I ate too little when bulking. Doesnt explain why i put on more fat than than muscle, as i previously said i ate NO junkfood whatsoever.
-I ate too little during cut. This is possible, explains why i was dropping strength more than fat.
-Due to poor compound movements my CNS was not developing enough to sustain the excess muscle so i lost it fast.
-Not enough cardio? Ive read that cardio is useless for all cases when someone already lifts weight.
-I was overtraining the whole time.

Havent been working out for quite some time so i guess ill start over. Current stats is 195lbs, 22% bf, cant even imagine benching my own bodyweight. I currently want to cut because my lovehandles are so large i could knock people over. So far i have been reading others routines and loads of articles but now i am done trying to design my own routines so i was hoping you guys could put me on the right path.




Firstly as you say start over. So quit over-analyzing what may have gone wrong...

Just find a good programme stick to that and go mostly for low rep ranges with heavier weights... Secondly do some cardio if you think it will help... Steady state cardio may be useless for you though at this point. Try sprints?

Also it could be something wrong with your body if you genuinely did everything right, so just try to put this to the back of your mind and in my opinion get a few basic supplements such as fish oils which should be your staple from here on in.

Secondly man, I don't know your age but consider taking some form of t-booster such as tribulus or ZMA since it sounds like your test could be low. See where you get after 2-3 months come back and tell us if there has been any improvement. If not then go see your GP and ask for some tests. It could well be a gland problem or something.




Hey man.

Been to an endo, all hormones are in check. Test was around 500 which isnt super but i guess i could increase it with zma and whatnot. Oh and yea im 21

Im reading around right now for a new program but most of the stuff i see now are things ive already tried.


You ate too little


I really dont get how you guys can eat so much. I spent 3 months stuffing myself just to get to 3000kcal and even then i put on loads of fat.


You should probably go back to MaxOT if it was working, and use a leg press or some other machine that can be substantially loaded for leg work if your lowerback cannot be utilized, lunges can't be the bulk of your lower body work although they're a challenging exercise they simply can't be loaded very efficiently. Try front squats if you can.

Cardio is not your enemy! If you're uncomfortably fat then do it! This will help you eat more also!


I'm going to go out on a limb here and say...

Your intensity in the gym probably sucked.


I thought i my lifting was pretty intense compared to other people in the gym although it could be alot better. This cant be the sole reason can it


were the weight u were lifting increasing steadily? were u consistent going every week?

Right now im on my first clean bulk where my split is almost 55,30,15 (p/c/f) (carbs are prolli higher but i don't really count veggies and i eat quite a bit to prevent passing a brick through a penny sized hole) i've seen really good results from it and all my lifts are up.


crap i cant say i was. never actually focused on increasing the weight unless i actually felt like i could, like on those rare hardcore days when you feel that you could lift anything. in fact i cant recall that i gradually increased the load in any kind of way facepalm

When i actually did increase, it was always by 10-15 lbs and then i start over from low rep and build up to 8-10. Did not happen gradually


that could be a problem there then... consistency




i eat all day n i blaze it helps make u eat more because u get hungry.. works for me.
but i havent been increasing the weight much for the past 2 years is that why i havent like exploded?
i just dont feel like i can steady or push any more than i do =/


I'll give you guys a word of advice and take it for what it's worth...

Go out, spend some hard coin on a $5 notebook and start writing out what your working, when your working, how many sets/reps, weight used per set, and note how you feel.

Next time your in the gym say doing chest (just an example), go to your previous workout to see what weights you were using and increase the poundage by 2.5lbs.

Rinse and repeat each week.

OP - You've way over analyzed stuff down to the minutia... STOP!

Put the same kind of energy and focus into the gym...

Rule of thumb here - if you just finished a set and feel you can come talk to me about the local hottie, or how your having a hard time deciding between an F150 and a Harley, then you're not working hard enough in the gym. If your so friggin gassed after each set you need to get water, can't breathe, want to pass out - then your intensity is good.

Cut your rest time down between sets. If you're following a program that someone did up for you and it calls for 60 seconds rest - cut that down to 30. Imagine you have only 45 minutes to work out in the gym - make it count.

To the dude that said SS cardio isn't going to do crap for him, I completely disagree. SS cardio is perfect, but at the end of your workouts, when your glycogen stores are depleted. Your body needs energy at this point, so it turns to fat for the energy source. Doing SS cardio at the beginning of your workout? That's a different story...

Incorporate 1 day a week for high intensity cardio and nothing else that day. This can be sprints if you got the space, sled work, exercise bike, rowing machine, anything that you can really hit it for 20 mins of all out bursts. Again, if your just 3-4 minutes into the high intensity cardio session and you're not wanting to bag it cause you feel like barfing, then you're doing it wrong.

Lastly, you weren't eating enough. If you can't eat 4-5k calories on a bulk, there's a problem. How many times a day were you eating? How frequently between meals? Try for 6 meals a day, eating every 2-3 hours and getting a boatload of sleep at night.

As for you comments about eating too litting doesn't explain the fat - sure it does. It's exactly WHY. Your body is not stupid. Put it into a severe calorie deficient state and guess what it does? It says "damn, I'm burning off too much energy and not taking in enough. I need to store whatever food comes down the pipe as FAT, so I have energy to burn tomorrow, and the next day and so on"... I could go on and on about this, but you should get the logic as I explained it as it's in easy terms...

Dropping strength in a cut - totally normal... Also depends on a lot of variables...

Overtraining? I doubt it highly... It's a term used by people who think they're overtraining... Only people that will seriously get into an overtaining state are professional athletes that are working out several times a day for hours on end. An good example would be an olympic athlete in a country that pays/sponsors them, so they don't have to work and can concentrate on training 24x7... If that's not you, you're not overtraining...

As for no squats/leg press - what about some deep dumbbell lunges?

Anyways, there's a book for you in all that... Enjoy...



judging by your avatar, this ISNT working for you. so dont give shit advice.


Thanks Smallfry69 you make a good case.

As for the eating statement i cant really say it makes any sense. If the body ends up absorbing excess energy it will store that energy as fat, quite simple. If there is no excess energy, there is no extra fat storing. So if i store plenty of fat at 3500kcal(i gained 6 lbs in a month, plenty around the waist), how is it logical to eat 4-5k and expect little to no fat storage wtf?

There is a limit to how much muscle can be built in a period of time, if there wasnt then plenty of people would fuck up their ligaments and joints from heavy abuse. I had a friend who was blasting heavy on gear and his bench went through the roof until at one session his shoulder got dislocated, its not the same thing but its basically the same principle.

From what i understand, eating 1000kcal surplus will not build twice as much muscle as eating 500 surplus for example. It sure will build more, but the muscle:fat ratio will decrease gradually until the point to where you only start storing fat for the extra kcal intake.

4000-5000kcal a day is fucking rediculous, maybe if i was a long distance skier or ronnie coleman