T Nation

Stuck. Not Reaching Potential


Ok so I have been lifting for about 4 years, and i have found myself in a rut. Ive been changing up the workouts, but it has been relatively the same type of training. 4 sets of an exercise.. go up in weight each time.. yada yada yada, you know how it works. I need to change this up and need suggestions and advice! my current workout split is chest/tris, Legs/Shoulders, Back/bis...i do this split 6 days straight resting once a week.

While i am looking to cut bodyf at, as i have abs, just have about 5lbs of fat covering it... i also want to see size gains! In particular My chest is my one struggling point. ADVICE!?!?

To see the most recent Piture of my progress just go to my profile and pictures. All help, advice, recommended programs appreciated

Is an Upper/Lower split better? What about Push pull? there are so much out there to try, I am not sure what my best bet is. Starting Monday I want to start fresh.. and any good solid foundations for a workout plan would help. thank you


Eat more


If you're not a troll, you haven't been paying attention to anything you've been doing if you look like that after 4 years of lifting. Do a basic program like 5/3/1 or starting strength, eat more food/protein, get stronger, come back in a few months.


Well, there were times i have taken off... most recent is from about 2 months back into lifting. also a college student and go out fri/sat night. dont know if two nights of drinking makes that much of a difference though


2 nights of drinking could be go out with friends and have 2 beers and enjoy the evening. Going out drinking can also mean going out and downing a 12 pack followed by a couple shots and being too hungover to do your workout the next day. It makes a difference in as much as you're not seeing the progress you want to or probably should be seeing.


Its usually one night of a six pack or so.. and the other night can be drinking like you said a 12 pack and a few. Your right, i usually am hungover that Sunday when i am lifting. I didnt think it would make that much of a difference though. Got a lot of learning to do, and guess im going to have to cut back and try a few things differently if i want to see results


To Hungry4more and Lemon man. How would i know exactly how much i should be eating? Here is a sample workout i will do on a chest/Tri day and how i eat for the day.


Barbell Flat Bench 4 sets 8-10 reps (last 2 sets rest pause)

Dumbell Inc Press 3 sets 8-10 reps (last 2 Rest Pause)

Flat Dumbell Flys 3 sets 10-12 Reps (min rest)

Incline dumb flys 3 sets 10-12 reps (min rest)

Cable Pushdown 4 sets 15-12-10-8 (1 1/2 min rest)

Close Grip Bench Press 3 sets 12-10-8

Lying overhead Tri Extens (dumbells) 3 sets 8-10

Weighted Bench Dip 3 sets 8 reps, then drop weight and go to failure after each.

I Will usually Do abs about twice a week.

Eating looks something like this

1 cup organic oats w/ wheatgerm and milk

2 eggs, slice ham, slice cheese on 100 calorie wheat bread thins


Immediatly after lift: Optimum Nutrition Hydrowhey shake w/ Milk and peanut butter for taste

Lunch (1 hour after lift): Tunafish sandwich with 1tblspoon mayo on wheat bread. Apple

Dinner: Stir Fry... Grilled chicken marinated in italian dressing, whole wheat pasta OR quinoa if i have any.. with frozen Veggie stir fry mix. Usually add olive oil or sometimes hot sauce.

Snacks throughout the day: trail mix, cup of yogurt sometimes.

Problems or suggestions with any of this let me know. Once again weekends i do go out, and if thats whats preventing my gains, i guess itll have to stop. It can be so tough in college though!!


I'm not Lemon and certainly not H4M but it sure doesn't look like you're eating near enough protein. Judging by your photo you shouldn't be trying to lose weight, you're not near fat.
Figure out what you protein intake is using a site like fitday.com then adjust to about 1.5-2g's of protein or more. You're diet is pretty carb heavy which doesn't appear to be effecting you so I wouldn't adjust that for now. Over all just eat more.


ok... but does it matter when i have the protein? or as long as i get it throughout the day? or should i be eating the most during breakfast and less for dinner? Also any other tips from my first question?


I'm sure I'll get ripped a new asshole for saying this, but I get shit faced every Saturday night and it hasn't stopped me from making gains. I'd be more inclined to think that your lack of progress is probably mostly due to your workout program. I've been running 5/3/1 for a couple months now with good success, and all last year I was doing a program similar to starting strength that focused on heavy barbell work. I've gone from 165 to 190 in about 1.5 years, and all my lifts have gone through the roof (compared to what they used to be). Make sure you're pushing yourself hard in the gym, and make sure you're eating enough.

There are a lot of people that believe in the "clean bulk", and more power to the people who have the discipline for that. But I started really gaining weight when I stopped concentrating on the macro's so much and just started eating like a champ.

In short, I doubt weekend drinking is going to inhibit your gains, as long as you're pushing yourself hard in the gym and following a good program. I'd really recommend using a proven program instead of trying to design your own if you're not making progress. Track your lifts, as long as they are going up, your body will eventually start looking like it.


Why do I feel like I've seen this before? hmmm...


Thanks, appreciate all the advise! Apparently i haven't gotten the protein intake the intake calculator said. so that's part of it. As to the person above, i did get part of that workout from a muscle & fitness magazine. Is that a problem?


The amount of food needed is very individual. Just focus on eating more; whenever you stop gaining weight add more food to your diet. this doesnt mean that you should be eating cakes and cookie, eat high protein, high calorie foods. it's pretty simple


It was friendly sarcasm, as I feel that practically every male who's been to college and got interested in lifting weights has done pretty much that exact same workout. Bottom line, it's overkill times 10 for your chest and tris...26 sets at 8-12 reps. Are you getting 26 sets in on your back days? Like a few posts above me pointed out...grab a basic program, do it, own it...and stop reading health magazines. You'll gain a clearer perspective on how to program an appropriate volume for your goals.


Holy crap! Yeah. Start doing some more of everything else. Do you do 26 sets of lower body exercises? Back to basics. Build a foundation before you do anything ridiculous like that.


Basically this. Why the hell are you doing that kind of volume for chest and tri's? Try a leg workout of similar proportions, and see if you survive, if you do it with ANY sort of intensity.

And yes, more protein is needed, and WHEN you get it isn't as important as just getting the right amount throughout the day. I'm an advocate of 1.5-2xbodyweight grams protein per day.


i actually hit legs pretty hard,volume wise. I just do a long ass ramp up so by the time i hit my maxes i'm pretty wiped. I don't seem to notice a significant drop in the weights i can use though, fresh or tired i max around the same.

side note, H4M how much do you weigh?


200-205 lbs. What does a normal leg workout look like for you, sets, reps, and weight wise?


ramping shouldn't make you tired. it should get you ready to do your work set, not make it harder.