T Nation

T-Nation Going Old School?

When I first started reading these forums, about 3-4 years ago, it seemed like T-Nation/T-Mag was pretty old-school. Every post seemed to clown someone for not eating lots of food and lifting a lot. Keep It Simple Stupid.

Slowly I noticed the forum getting more and more complicated wrt the advice given. Lots of formulas, lots of don’t eat X for Y hours after activity or within Z minutes of eating A. There were more and more “exotic” lifts being discussed. It seemed like everyone under the sun was overtraining. Kettleballs were where it was at, and the guy doing squats on the medicine ball wasn’t an idiot anymore. We all needed “functional”, “lateral” strength.

Now, over the course of the last 6 months or so, it’s like I’m starting to see a backlash. I’m seeing more and more people getting clowned for worrying about the temperature they store their proteins, worrying about the angle the pencil they write with makes, worrying about “functional strength”. It just seems like the forum is trending more and more back to “eat a lot of clean foods, and perform the complex lifts with heavy weights.”

Is it just me, or is anyone noticing this??

Some things never change. You can only polish a turd so many ways as the saying goes.

Old School is New School, with a few tweaks and much ado about minutia.


It seems to me that people are always looking for the newest, best way to do this stuff. Like you said, people were planning their diet and training down to the gram of water, .001 pounds on their bench, etc. But when it comes down to it, people have more things to worry about than minute details in their training/nutrition. They start looking back to the old eat and lift way. I know that is the way I always go back to.


I think there actually is some sort of “evolution back to the basics”. This process definitely was boosted by some posters who disclosed their diets consisting of fractions of fruit or who are afraid to eat veggies with their P+F meals. Well, that is my opinion. Gotta go prepare my 0.8769 of a banana, I’m feeling kinda catabolic.

I think this is a GREAT post and very true in part.

It reminds me of Staleys Double Tap in which he talks about the transition from newbie to veteran. One starts training very, for lack of a better term lax in their organization. just going by feel with training as well as diet. Then we transition to breaking down every single damn detail. Then eventually we revert back to a more relaxed approach much like that when we first started.

The HUGE difference being all the education and experience we received from our time spent being anal about every aspect. You use this time to learn how different stimulus in all aspects, diet, training, and recovery, effect oneself.

After a certain amount of time one seems to have learned enough. They get burned out on tracking every macro and rep. and then back off on the analysis. Though they still carry with them a HUGE amount of knowledge compiled from the time spent doing all that over analysis.

I for one enjoyed tracking EVERYTHING. Learned a LOT, and have just recently in the last year+ became much more lax. Have the ability to simply just eat, and move some damn weight in line with my current goals, but have the confidence built from my individual study to know how things effect me.

In short I think it is sort of an evolution. For some it take slonger than others. Going from clueless, to paralysis by analysis, to making real gains and enjoyment backed by time under the bar, and in the kitchen.

Not to say I dont continue to learn and evolve, just that now I have a rather large vocabulary to fall back on when soemthing new goes to the shit house.

Just my take,

“Before I studied the art, a punch to me is just like a punch, a kick just like a kick. After I’ve studied the art, a punch is no longer a punch, a kick no longer a kick. Now that I understand the art, a punch is just a punch, a kick is just a kick.”
Bruce Lee

What kligor said, it totally sums it up.

It is like a finger, pointing to the moon. Don’t concentrate on the finger and miss all that heavenly glory.

/nerd off

Concentrate on the minutae and you’ll miss the big picture. Work hard, work short. Control the weight. Eat big. Sleep big. Vary the program.

WHOA, guys!

I’m not disagreeing with the sentiments…but there are certain groups of people where the “eat big/get big/don’t worry with the minutia” mantra is a recipe for disaster…

I’m not suggesting that people measure out “the sqaure root of 0.8675 bananas raised to the power of pie” like our resident diety Al (where has Al been anyway? Probably on Mount Sinai getting translated or something…)

But the following groups have to be more careful…“picky” if you may… most especially about their nutrition…and to a certain extent their training…

I’ll begin with “my group” first:

  1. The Obese and Those With a High Tendency to Put On Fat

Everyday of their lives, eating is a question of control and whether or not it is the food doing the controlling or the person doing the eating. When I measure (which I do much less of, as I’ve come to be able to “eyeball” serving sizes), follow a “plan” and treat food almost as a “medicine” that can help me change my body composition, keep fat at bay and/or become healthier…then I’M the one in controll…and have never looked back at the fat kid from High School.

2)Ectomorphs Making No Progress

“Eat Big” is an abstract for many, guys…putting it in measurable quantities (at least initially)puts it into reality…(How many Skinny Bastards “complained” about ME when it first came out…especially when they realized what it took to really put on some mass?)

3) The Older Lifter

JB (and others) could probably tell you that a 20 year old running back at UT can eat like crap, train like shit and still put on mass and weight…while if that trainee 20,30 of 50 years older ate and trained the the same, they would get nowhere. It’s a fact…as you get older, one has to be much more meticulous about their training and nutrition in order to obtain comparable results.

4)The Physique Athlete/Bodybuilder/Model

This is especially true for those who train without the benefit of Androgens. These people are literally “sculpters” of their own bodies…and this will not come about without a certain degree careful control over both their diets and training.

There are other groups…but you guys get the point…

General advice works in some cases…but in others it can lead to nothing but failure and diappointment…


Sorry, Al…

That’s the power of “pi”…

(My bad…!)


Mmmmmmm, Pi…

Actually, I don’t think it’s necessarily beneficial to over-simply simplification.

I like Phill’s take on it. Bruce Lee’s quote doesn’t minimize the minutiae, either. It simply says he moved past it.

I didn’t know enough when I started. Now I’m learning every frickin think I can stick in my head. I am concentrating on the minutiae. I need to. Yes, sometimes it gets in the way.

But I’m not going to be able to “just lift” effectively until I know some stuff. My experience is not yet deep enough.

Let’s use racing a car as an example. You won’t be really fast on a track until you can make the necessary moves subconsciously. They need to be automatic, muscle memory. In effect, you need to stop “trying” so much and just drive.

But you can’t do that until you learn the skills, the minutiae, first. If you don’t, and you try to go out there and “just drive”, you’re either going to be very slow, or you’re going to crash. Maybe both. But until it all becomes automatic, so you CAN “just drive”, you still won’t be fast.

Bottom line: you want people to not make things too complicated, and you want to move them to the point where they can “just lift”. But you can’t minimize the learning that needs to take place, and sometimes people just want to know stuff.

[quote]michaelv wrote:
But you can’t do that until you learn the skills, the minutiae, first. If you don’t, and you try to go out there and “just drive”, you’re either going to be very slow, or you’re going to crash. Maybe both. But until it all becomes automatic, so you CAN “just drive”, you still won’t be fast.[/quote]

So what if you are very slow? So what if you make a mistake? All of that is a part of learning as well. If you expect to jump into this and avoid ever dealing with a negative situation simply because you examined the “minutia” to death, you are sadly mistaken. I would like you to show me one pro basketball player who took classes on basketball for years before they ever jumped on a court. I want you to show me one professional tennis player who sat around and read tennis theory for years before they grabbed a racket and began to learn technique by being in situations that called on it. This is weightlifting/bodybuilding/powerlifting/sports training. You don’t analyze the minutia to death before you begin to put your heart into it. You put your heart into it WHILE you learn more. You head to the gym even on days when you could be doing something else because you want it that badly, not because it is written in a book.

Not one person on this site has ever said that you should stop learning. However, the true winners in any physical activity have never been the ones who were so afraid to get hurt that they hid in books expecting to bypass any bruises or skid marks. They were the ones who would often fly into the air for the ball and worry about how to land after they knocked it out of their opponents hand. No offense, but you sound very afraid to ever get off the ground like that.

It’s a real slap in the face to some people to learn that what made people big and strong 50 years ago, still makes them big and strong today! There is a sort of Science worship mentality that currently pervades most corners of our culture. Any sort of reference to what used to work can somehow be taken as an insult to today’s youth. However, That should not be the case in my opinion.

Naturally we can always learn more. It’s fun to read about the “science” of muscle growth and why what we do works. However, the overwhelming majority of everything that we need to know to get big and strong is already known. The people (usually kids, not always)looking for that something extra special are waisting their time. These are also the people who spend money on “Nitric Oxide muscle boosters” and other worthless supplements of the same ilk.

Don’t get me wrong science and research are great. One reason I hang around this site is to grab all the latest “science” that is freely offered. However, nothing no matter how new will replace the Squat, Deadlift, Pull-up, Press and all of the other full body movements that will make you big and strong, just like the oldtimers from a bygone era.