Suggestions for new T-man

I have been lurking around the site for the past couple weeks, reading back-articles and old posts. All this information is incredible. However, it is all a bit overwhelming. I am now looking for a new routine and I would love some suggestions as to what might be the best fit. I am 24 years old, and 6?4?? / 200 lbs @ 17%. I know, to you guys 17% is lard-ass, but to me it is fine. I have no desire right now to get down to a low percentage. I just want to get big and strong. Anyways, if I were to get down to 10%, I would be so puny that I would start to make fun of myself. As long as I stay below 18 or so, I will stay happy. Maybe once I have gained 30lbs, then I?ll start cutting. Anyhow…
I having been lifting seriously, and following decent self-made meal plans for about 1 year now, and after doing the same routine for the last 4 or 5 months, and over-training/under-eating, I have lost what little strength I had gained. I have been following a MAX-OT style of training as recommended by AST. It basically is 4-6 reps, for around 7 sets per body part, using basic compound exercises, and train that body part hard once per week. I go to failure on every set and lift as heavy as I can. Since my gains have stopped or decreased, I think it is time for a new routine. I am going to start changing routines every month or so. What do you think would be a good routine to switch to that would be different from the MAX-OT routines? I was thinking either GVT 2000 or the Oscillating Wave Program, however I am not sure if it is a good idea to do those without steroids or hardcore supplements like MAG-10. Thanks in advance…

Ok, your post leaves me with some questions.

  1. You say you have been following a decent self made diet for the last year, yet in another statement you say you are losing strength/muscle due to undereating/overtraining?
    That seems like a contradiction to me.

I would say without supps eating anything much less than 2500 calories for you will be too few for sure, and that would only be if you planned on cutting. Gaining is a whole other story.

And if your goal is to gain mass, you need to be eating for that goal. Eating a lot. Search for something like the massive eating diet

  1. You’re inconsistent in your goals and actions. You mention you dont want to trim down - in fact you want to add 30 lbs - but you have been undereating while overtraining…a sure way to promote muscle catabolism.

  2. For your consideration, research has shown at higher BF percentages (14% and higher for your reference), mass gains are likely to include much higher proportions of fat gains. At BF percentages nearing 20% fat gains could be 50% or more of all mass gains. (can somebody confirm wether it was John Berardi who pointed this out, and if possible the actual article? Thanx.)
    As such I, personally, would recommend you trim down to at lest 14% to give yourself some leverage and THEN pursue maximal strength/hypertrophy gains(Poliquin as pointed out very wisely that fat cells need to be oxidized, and as such will negatively impact performance. In fact he always insists his athletes lower their bodyfat % in order to increase both strength and hypertrophy gains.)

  3. GVT is a great choice for Muscle hypertrophy. It will also greatly increase your Strength endurance (I myself saw my P. Bar dips increase from 9 to 25 in 6 weeks, and my chinups go from 4 to 12 in 6 weeks). This is bound to improve your maximal strength, even though it’s geared mostly for hypertrophy.
    I would recommend you also check OVT (Optimized Volume Training - Thibeaudeau’s variation on GVT), as it involves a little more variety.

  4. While overtraining is certainly a factor, I dont see how your previous routine would overtrain you. I understand the weights may have been pretty heavy, but at 7 sets per body part I would say you’re not likely to overwork. Obviously if you’ve been undereating that would make you more likely to be overtrained.

If you seriously want to pursue hypertrophy/strength gains in spite of your bf levels, I would recommend you follow a variation of GVT and EAT TO GAIN. Your results will depend 80% on your diet. If you dont eat enough, what do you expect yuor body to build muscle with? Air?

“I have no desire right now to get down to a low percentage. I just want to get big and strong.”

Easy enough. Increase your calories by 500 per day and go Westside. Problem solved.

Being tall and skinny sux.
if you had been doing MAX-OT and a good diet for a year you should have put on at least 20lb on a frame like yours.
Check out massive eating and do it.
I would use programs like GVT, OVT, MAx-OT, and westside and make sure you form is good.
six weeks and change the program to something totally different.
the taller guys tend to have more coordination problems than the short guys so fix that first.
Oh and read the FAQ

Regarding the under-eating/over-training thing: I guess it would help if I told you my experiences:

I started seriously training in September 2002. I was around 190 pounds at 17% body fat. I started researching proper nutrition and training techniques. I changed my goals to bodybuilder style goals. I decided to ?bulk up? for the fall and winter. I started buying supplements, like whey protein, creatine, and glutamine. I trained 4 days per week one muscle group at a time once per week. I found some websites (not T-Mag) and followed most of the advice on them. I mainly used 5x5 training and I started making great gains. After a while I switched to low-rep one week and high-rep the next based on advice from a personal trainer. I was lifting quite a bit of weight, as I was getting a lot stronger. I did very little cardio at this time. By January, I was around 215 at probably 18% body fat. I was definitely getting big, and I did not feel that fat. I ate 6-7 good meals a day. I ate probably 4000 calories or so, divided by around 300g Protein, 100g fat and around 450g of carbs. I had a lot of fun at this stage and I felt good. Then I f**ked everything up…
In February I started feeling a little fat, so I started to ease up a bit on the big meals. I lost about 10 pounds fairly quickly. In March I started doing more cardio, and eating even less. I continued this technique through till the end of June. I found AST?s website and started MAX-OT training in February and did that all the way through till June. The training worked well for a month or so, but then I started to lose strength. I should have re-evaluated everything then, but I was stuck in the AST mind frame that there was only one way to train. I just attributed my loss of strength to dieting. I was doing weight training every weekday morning, and I did about 4 or 5 cardio sessions per week in the evenings. I was eating around 2500 cals most of the time, but for a while there I was down to 1900 cals or so. By the end of June, I was getting depressed due to the lack of food, and I was very tired, hungry, and sore. However, my weight was down to 192 pounds, so I thought that my body fat percentage must have dropped dramatically. I went for a fitness assessment at the end of June and discovered that my body fat percentage hadn?t budged. Needless to say, I was pissed and I needed a break and I had to start giving this more thought.
Starting in July, I decided to return to the nutritional plans I had in the winter, because that was when I made my best gains. I took a week off and cut cardio down to once a week and weight training to 4 days. I am still doing MAX-OT style training, but my strength has not come back yet. I am currently eating 3800 cals per day, 285g Protein, 450g carbs, 95g fat.
I think that would be enough to make me start gaining again. My weight is now at 200 pounds. I don?t know what percent though.

I checked out the massive eating section but I am having a hard time trying to figure out how to fit in the different meals because I work out in the mornings before breakfast. Also, I think I may not be nutritionally prepared properly before my workouts because I work out so soon after I wake up. Any suggestions? This is my current schedule.

5:00am: Wake up
5:05 - Small Protein Shake (25g Whey and water)
5:30 - Banana (on the way to the gym)
5:40-6:30 - Workout
6:35 Post-Workout Shake (40g P + 40g C)
7:15 - Big Meal (700 cals: 36/90/22 pcf)
9:30 - Regular Meal (500 cals with > 30g Protien)
12:00 - Regular Meal
3:00 - Regular Meal
6:00 - Regular Meal
9:30 - Regular Meal
10:00 - Sleep

As you notice, I currently don’t split meals into PC or PF. I just eat P+C+F at each meal. Splitting macros is a new concept for me, and it seems like a pain. Is it nessessary if you aren’t strictly dieting?

If you have been doing maxOT for this long its probably time to switch to somethjing quite different. Not saying MaxOt is bad, i have used it as a base of training for years and feel it is a great training method, however you cant do it all the time.
try GVT or GVT 2k, as they are very differnt approaches, lower intensity, way higher volume.
give it a bash, even if it is just for a physchological break. I usually feel more motivated when starting a new program.
As for your diet:
1)Make 2 Post workout out shakes and have one as you are going to the gym.
2) Ddo the P+C and P+F thing. you may be able to up the body weight and drop the fat, which has to be a good thing. 17-18% is pretty high BF%, so i dont see why a reasonable diet with good training cant get you leaner and bigger. It not a pain at all once you get used to it.

OK, I have just calculated my Massive Eating recommendations.

Total Calories: 4360 (damn, I’m gonna be big…)

I don’t know much about my insulin sensitivity, so I’ll start out with 30%Protein/40% Carbs/30% Fat and I’ll see how it goes.

JB recommends that each day the total caloric value is the same. The surplus in cals will come from non-training days. I will be having my 2 40p/40c shakes pre and post training. On resting days I sleep in the extra 2 hours and go straight to breakfast. This means that I get 80p and 80c less on resting days. How should I fit those in?

Also, if I start GVT 2000, I will be lifting 4 out of 6 days. Should I do cardio? I was planning on doing 15 minutes of High Intensity Cycling on one of the days off. I would do this at the same time of day. Is this a good idea? Should I still have 40p/40c pre and post cardio?

I will give the PC / PF meals a try for a month and see how it goes. I will probably keep one or two meals PC&F because I usually end up at family or friend’s home for dinner a couple times per week. But the rest of the meals will be separate.

Since I have not had any responses to the above 2 questions yet, I’ll assume the following. Please tell me if I am wrong.

I will do one cardio day as mentioned above. I will have 1/2 shakes before and after.

The pre/post shakes will be only be on the workout days. This means that there will be one day out of 6 where I have 80p/80c less, and one day out of 6 where I have 40g/40c less. This means that those days will not be 30%p/40%c/30%f, because the total protein and carbs will be decreased. This also means that the 3000 calorie/week surplus will be dropped to around a 2000 calorie/week surplus.

Sounds fine. The cardio is up to you, just the eating habits down first then adjust from there.
The cal recommendations seem to be high at first but you either get used to it or adjust to suit. it should be fine if you’re looking to bulk up anyway

Just like others have said you will have to watch out for lots of fat gains too.

Since you are starting at a higher number you are more inclined to add a lot of fat with your muscle gain.

I would guess the best way to avoid too much fat gain would be to keep the meals clean and also keep doing some HIIT in there.
Unless of course you don’t mind adding more fat, then you just need to eat eat eat and keep pumping the iron.

Sorry for all the questions but I want to get this right…

Regarding GVT 2000: ( Strength Training, Bodybuilding & Online Supplement Store - T NATION )

Quad Workout Suggests: 3 Front Squats, 3 Narrow 1 and 1/3 Squats, 3 Medium Squats, and 1 Leg Extension.
I have never done Front or 1 and 1/3 squats before. I would think that there is a bit of a learning curve here. Should I just do regular squats with varied stances and concentrate on learning the other exercises some other time?

Shoulder Workout suggests: 3 Medium Grip Presses (in front of neck), Medium Grip Presses (behind the neck), 3 Very Wide Grip Presses (in front of neck), and 1 Lateral Raises (using dumbbells).
My gym doesn’t have a seated shoulder barbell press station. Should I do them standing, or should I use dumbbells while seated? Both of these options make it hard to do behind the neck.

The 2000 article does not talk about super-setting and the original one does. Would you suggest I alternate body parts, or just do all 10 for the first body part and then all 10 for the second? How would this work for day one, where there is only one body part (quads)?

The article suggests doing calves and abs after the quad workout. I haven’t tried it yet, but I am going to assume that I will be toast after squatting that much. Should I do them before the quad workout? If not, when should I do them? On my cardio day (day 6)? If I do them on day 6, then I will be working out 5/6 days. I think I need more recovery time than that.

Thanks in advance… I want to start this on Monday and I am really excited about it.

Any answers for the above questions? Sorry to rush anyone, but today is the last day I have access to T-Mag till after monday’s workout. I would appreciate any suggestions before today is over… Thanks

I prefer the original GVT to the modified GVT2k version.
I dont know if im in the minority for this one tho.
The suppersetting aspect was a big plus for me. Better efficency, and hard as hell.
You can play around with it too.

I dont think conventional squats were originally used due to the volume the lower back would have to endure, but it could be done. Just dont do SL deadlifts as you 2nd movt!

As for shoulders, do you have a squat/power rack?
Good then! Put a chair in there and start lifting, cause this is you new shoulder station!

do calves and abs after legs

OK, Due to lack of transportaion because of car problems, I am taking a rest week this week before I start this. So GVT is prosponed to next week.

Anyhow, I have decided to do GVT 2000, instead of original GVT.

On the quad workout, I will do 3 sets of 1 and 1/3 squats, 3 sets of narrow squats, 3 sets of regular squats, and then 1 set of leg extensions. I have removed Front Squats because I don’t know how to do them and this is not the time to learn.

For shoulder workout, no I don’t have a power rack, and the squat rack at my gym is for squatting only, so I’ll stick to standing barbell presses.

The 2000 article does not talk about super-setting so I am going to just do all 10 for the first body part and then all 10 for the second. For day one, where there is only one body part (quads), I will do the 10 sets and then do 5 sets of 15 calf raises.

I will do abs (3x15 crunches, 3x15 leg lifts) on a swiss ball before my cardio on day 6.