T Nation

The Bodybuilding Bible

I wrote this bible about 4 times on this board over the course of a few years. I’ve copied and pasted it here because…

… I’m daring, maybe even double or triple or quadruple daring, and urging all on this board–newjacks, T-tards, begginers, veterans, armchair experts, editors, writers–to offer anything else useful for getting as big as possible!

We will now have a thread in which we can put an end to the utter ridiculousness that is running wild on this board - the utter insanity of thinking, speaking of, and doing the dumbest shit ever to infect ALL of physical culture. I’ve limited it to bodybuilding here because of the subject at hand and this is the bodybuilding forum. I do recognize that this virus of stupidity and intellectual weakness has infected ALL of the strength training world - not just bodybuilding, but personal training, powerlifting, Olympic lifting, and even the whole regular “keeping in shape” crowd (a group I respect as well).

Give it up, chumps!

Frequency: 1 to 2 times per week per muscle group.
Body split up over 3 to 6 sessions, depending on frequency and number of muscles trainer per session.
2 to 3 muscles trained at each session.
Sets and reps: Warm up and ramp up to 1 to 2 all-out blast sets of 6 to 15 reps - depending on what you grow best from.
2 to 4 exercises per muscle group, including both compound and isolation exercises. Large muscles usually get 2 compound and 1 or 2 isolation exercises and small ones usually get 1 or 2 compound exercises and 1 or 2 isolation exercises.
STEADY-STATE Cardio as need for in- and off-season for 20 to 60 minutes. YEAH, that’s right - NO fucking intervals, kettlebell complexes, sandbag hauling, or anything else that 240+ pound bodybuilders NEVER do!

Exactly what I do to a “T”, minus the cardio. Fuck that noise haha

Hotness. Sticky please.

How do we sticky stuff? I don’t know how to.

I’m making a new, revised edition by adding a nutrition bible to the bible. It’s not for pre-contest, but for a manageable lifestyle, get-big, feel-good diet.

Protein. Most people set it at 1 to 2 grams per pound of bodyweight, or if going by percentage of a diet, 30 to 40% of total intake -whatever floats your boat. This topic has been beaten to death!

Protein list
pork
beef
chicken
cottage cheese
cheese
protein powder
turkey
eggs
egg whites
all kinds of fish - oily (salmon, trout, sardine, mackerel) and lean (tuna, halibut, cod, flounder, and so on)
yogurt (has carbs too - actually more carbs than protein)
Greek yogurt (less carbs, more protein)

Starcy carbs. Most people set it as 30 to 50 percent of the diet, depending on how good they do with them. I personally do quite shitty with a ton of starchy carbs, but if you do good with them, so be it.

Starchy carb list
quinoa
whole-grain bread
whole-grain pasta
brown rice
oatmeal
oat bran
corn

Fruits, beans, veggies. This is what has been recommended to make up most of your carbs throughout the day, thanks to nutritionists Lonnie Lowery and John Berardi. I’m with them. Eat these with most of your meals and leave the starchy carbs for the post workout and breakfast meals, unless you’re extremely active, have an insane caloric allotment, or do great with them.

List
All veggies
All fruits
All beans

Fats. Make up 30 percent of the diet. 1/3 saturated, 1/3 monounsaturated, 1/3 polyunsaturated. I don’t bother counting this, but make sure I get a blend of fats.

List
olive oil
fish oil (I don’t take caps. I eat a piece of salmon or a can of sardines.)
flaxseeds
flaxseed oil
nuts
coconut oil
macadamia nut oil
egg yolks
full-fat cheese
medium- to high-fat meats

P + C and P + F versus mixed meal war. Do what works for you and what you have faith in. I’m with Berardi and Lowery.

Peri-workout. Whey and/or milk protein or can of tuna and whatever simple carb floats your damn boat! Yeah, it can be a can of coke, low-fat chocolate milk, Surge, OJ, grape juice, or Kool Aid powder. I’ve used all sources and I’ve not noticed one damn difference in my physique, strength, or recuperative ability. Or you can actually live on the edge and go next door to the Chinaman and order a SOLID MEAL (gasp) of brown rice, steamed chicken, and veggies.

Supplements. Most are shit and unnecessary. If you’re eating 6 to 10 servings of veggies and fruits per day and eating enough nutrient-dense food overall, you don’t need much, if any, of them.

Now I fucking dare anyone to tell me what else needs to be here or what else 99 percent of newbies, intermediate, and even some advanced people need!

Edit: I meant to write a frequency of 1 to 2 times per week per muscle group. And I didn’t mean to write "2 to 4 exercises per muscle group twice.

Although I don’t think this particular thread should be stickied, I think this should be the place where we discuss exactly what should be in the final sticky regarding bodybuilding training.

[quote]mr popular wrote:
Although I don’t think this particular thread should be stickied, I think this should be the place where we discuss exactly what should be in the final sticky regarding bodybuilding training. [/quote]

What do you mean?

[quote]Bricknyce wrote:

Now I fucking dare anyone to tell me what else needs to be here or what else 99 percent of newbies, intermediate, and even some advanced people need![/quote]

For newbies atleast: exercise selection, and how-to-not-fuck-up-your-shoulders-when-benching, how to row, how to… well a whole lot of how to’s :slight_smile:

[quote]Bricknyce wrote:

[quote]mr popular wrote:
Although I don’t think this particular thread should be stickied, I think this should be the place where we discuss exactly what should be in the final sticky regarding bodybuilding training. [/quote]

What do you mean? [/quote]

Keep in mind, there is already a Best Thread sticky for this forum. If people too lazy to check that out on the way in, don’t be surprised if they skip over this one, as well.

[quote]Bricknyce wrote:
What do you mean? [/quote]

[quote]anonym wrote:

[quote]Bricknyce wrote:

[quote]mr popular wrote:
Although I don’t think this particular thread should be stickied, I think this should be the place where we discuss exactly what should be in the final sticky regarding bodybuilding training. [/quote]

What do you mean? [/quote]

Keep in mind, there is already a Best Thread sticky for this forum. If people too lazy to check that out on the way in, don’t be surprised if they skip over this one, as well.[/quote]

I disagree. The best of T-Nation thread has A LOT of links to other threads, which are in many cases, very, very big. I would expect far more people to skip that thread, than one that is very concise, and summarizes the key take-away points in just a couple of short posts.

I’m not sure if this should apply to anyone else, but one of my top rules now is to avoid grinding out reps, they are not necassery and kill my progress.

I’ve added a good 30lbs to my bench in the past 2 months (265 for 5 reps to 315lbs for 2-3) and I feel fucking excellent, and it’s from following what Thibs said - treat each rep like it is a 1RM and make sure you always dominate the weight you are using.

Also another ‘rule’ of mine is: Don’t count calories or prot/carbs/fat, just measure out the food you eat, and increase/decrease to lose fat or gain muscle.

I also started training everything 2x a week, I was too worried about doing it before thinking that I’d burn out, but I’m progressing twice as fast. Don’t be afraid to experiment (within reason).

Great thread Brick!

Really sums up the basic newb questions nicely. I do disagree with the cardio suggestion, but that’s coming from someone who’s more interested in nutrient partitioning during a contest prep than burning off a few calories (I do think that a lot of the people take the high intensity cardio thing waaaay too far though). In my own opinion, doing 45 - 60 mins of cardio a day (and I’ve seen some people doing it twice a day) is just silly.

S

[quote]SkyNett wrote:
Great thread Brick! [/quote]

Thanks dude!

Very nice write-up…

A couple things that I’d add:

Protein:
Buffalo/Bison
Deer/Venison
Elk/Moose
Pheasant

The above are for those of us that have access to such meats. All of which are extremely high in protein and low in fat.

Your comment on supps is dead-on… Too many people spend all their cash hoping for the magic “blue pill” that will make them huge overnights… Supps get you the last 10% of your hard work… Nail your diet/rest/workout intensity down and then worry about supps…

One thing missing is adequate rest… 8 hours should be a good guide… You require more as you age…

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
Really sums up the basic newb questions nicely. I do disagree with the cardio suggestion, but that’s coming from someone who’s more interested in nutrient partitioning during a contest prep than burning off a few calories (I do think that a lot of the people take the high intensity cardio thing waaaay too far though). In my own opinion, doing 45 - 60 mins of cardio a day (and I’ve seen some people doing it twice a day) is just silly.

S
[/quote]

I’ve never competed. You have. So you know what works best for you - a concept that people better get a grasp on if they plan to make continuous progress over YEARS.

And let’s get this straight. I PERSONALLY don’t train like this anymore, but it’s the sort of training that lead me to a bodyweight of 250 pounds–a LITTLE soft–at a height of 5’10" and to some impressive numbers. And when I say impressive, I don’t mean world-record shattering. I mean I have a good grasp on this thing and I reached what can be universally considered as GOOD or DECENT - not bad for a guy with average genetics that started this whole thing at a buck-sixty!

Why don’t I train 4 to 5 days per week on a bodybuilding program? Because my priorities have changed. BUT STILL - I don’t ignore what has worked for bodybuilders and I have not lost my admiration and interest in following the sport and scene. I changed my routine because I have other interests and priorities in life that have taken on more importance and value than getting fucking huge now.

BUT STILL–let me repeat that–I’m never going to counter my own guidelines given above with the new shit that’s being touted to counter them - shit like:

  1. “Wendler’s 5-3-1 Program only involves 3 days per week.”
  2. “Defranco’s WS4SB and Built Like a Badass programs only involve 3 days per week”.
  3. “My friend is huge and he only trains 3 days per week.”
  4. “I know some powerlifters that train 3 days per week.”

You see, that’s the sort of this shit that’s being spoken of and is literally derailing the whole goddamn forum.

Want to know what? I’m actually following the Built Like a Badass Program! But I don’t come on here–a bodybuilding forum–and then start trying to shove NON-BODYBUILDING ideas down people’s throats and lead hapless and feckless newjacks down the wrong path - newjacks that want to get fucking huge - like I did up until about a year and a half ago.

I’ll get back to the four jackassy statements above:

  1. Wendler isn’t a bodybuilder currently, never was, and judging from speaking to him PERSONALLY, live, IN PERSON, and on the phone, he has little interest in PURE bodybuilding and would tell anyone that wants to be a successful bodybuilder to follow in the footsteps of–drum roll, please–A SUCCESSFUL BODYBUILDER! Dave Tate says the same shit all the time too: “If you want to have 20-inch arms, speak to a guy who has 20-inch arms”.

At an Elite Fitness seminar I attended, Wendler said, “People better stop ripping on bodybuilders and cut this ‘they’re not that strong’ bullshit out. Many bodybuilders are damn strong, work very hard at what they do, and know what they’re doing.”

  1. Joe Defranco does NOT write programs for bodybuilders, doesn’t train bodybuilders, and has no interest in doing so. He even addresses this in his new e-book and in his articles. In his original WS4SB article, he wrote, “Since I don’t deal with physique geeks…” That’s not an insult; he just meant he doesn’t deal with people who want to get jacked for the sake of getting jacked - you know, bodybuilders. In his new book, he writes, “If you’re someone like a bodybuilder, who wants to just build as much muscle as possible, this program is NOT for you.”

The guy trains and advises athletes and people who want to stay in shape and maintain or develop some athleticism. That’s it!

  1. Show us your friend!

  2. Yes, there are strongmen and powerlifters who only train with weights three days per week. But keep in mind that many strongmen have a competitive bodybuilding background (eg, Svend Karlsen) or have done some serious bodybuilding in the past. Anyway, the rest of their training is spent lifting damn heavy stuff.

Most powerlifters DON’T train three days per week. Yes, some top ones do - Andy Bolton, Brad Gillingham, and Scott Mendelson. Why they schedule their training like that is up to them.

BUT STILL - that’s NOT bodybuilding; that’s powerlifting.

And yes, folks, most powerlifters use isolation exercises for the shoulders and arms! You’re gonna fucking tell me that added direct triceps and biceps work isn’t going to aid in the competitive lifts - that added mass in the arms isn’t going to aid in the bench press or prevent a muscle imbalance or prevent a biceps tear in the deadlift. EVERY goddamn bench press specialist does direct work for the triceps! MOST powerlifters do curls (gasp!). Click on a few You Tube clips or actually get your ass into a hardcore bodybuilding/powerlifting gym to see what the fuck I’m talking about!

Then we’ll have some geniuses who post pics of powerlifters–like the well-known one of Matt Kroc with his bloated buddies and then say, “Oh yeah? These dudes do only the big compound lifts, train really heavy, and they’re fucking huge!” Uh, no fucking shit they’re huge! But all of them, with the exception of Kroc, is anywhere near in shape to win a bodybuilding contest. Huge bellies, near-nonexistent calves, flat pecs, and an utter lack of aesthetic symmetry necessary to win bodybuilding shows doesn’t make you ready for–drum roll again, please–bodybuilding shows!

  1. I’ve added a fifth, and I’m not going back up to add it over there. Here it is: “What if people or I don’t have time to train that much?”

Answer: Then don’t take on the aspiration of trying to be a successful bodybuilder or powerlifter when you CAN’T be one.

See, I don’t want to sound cynical, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized the BRUTAL TRUTH of life. And that is you can’t have it all! One day, every mature adult has to ask themselves, “What do I want to do in life?” or ACCEPT and DEAL WITH the circumstance they’re in. If you’re an investment banker that has to be at his desk at 7 AM, on call, eat on the go (or not think about eating one bit except when you’re presented with a meal), and work like a fucking dog 70 hours per week, then you say goodbye to being jacked–or don’t consider it in the first place–and move on with life! Same goes for many other lifestyles and careers.

So what do people who don’t want to be jacked as possible or compete? Follow a REALISTIC fitness routine they can live with. If you can ONLY go to the gym twice or thrice per week, then make it your business to follow that schedule. Don’t write out or plan a 4 to 5 day per week plan when you can only attend the gym for that amount of time. AND DON’T start trying to change around the Bible I published above or start trying to ram your dumbass ideas that would never work and haven’t worked in COMPETITIVE, HARDCORE bodybuilding down other people’s throats and leading newjacks down the wrong path!

Yes, the stickies in this forum are good. But it appears that newjacks can’t even handle those. The best articles that newjacks will ever need–for the rest of their lives probably–are Thib’s beginner series and his “How to Write a Damn Good Program” series. He had another great basic article that I think was titled, “Your Training Roadmap”, and went over every damn training style ever introduced to mankind.

[quote]Bricknyce wrote:

[quote]mr popular wrote:
Although I don’t think this particular thread should be stickied, I think this should be the place where we discuss exactly what should be in the final sticky regarding bodybuilding training. [/quote]

What do you mean? [/quote]

I mean that I believe there should be another sticky in the bodybuilding forum that explains, in plain english, what it means to train like a bodybuilder, and how you go from skinny to big.

I don’t think this thread is ideal, but I think this thread would be a good place for everyone to throw in their ideas about what would make up the simplest, most concise chunk of text that a novice can actually read and then feel like he knows what to do from there.

[quote]Mr.Purple wrote:

[quote]Bricknyce wrote:

Now I fucking dare anyone to tell me what else needs to be here or what else 99 percent of newbies, intermediate, and even some advanced people need![/quote]

For newbies atleast: exercise selection, and how-to-not-fuck-up-your-shoulders-when-benching, how to row, how to… well a whole lot of how to’s :)[/quote]

Exercise selection is easy. Most of us, including newjacks, know which exercises are big-bangers and which ones are isolation.

Let’s use quads as an example. Because it’s a large muscle group, it calls for 3 to 4 exercises - 1 to 2 compound and 1 to 2 isolation.

Here’s how I work my utter genius:

Squat (compound)
Walking lunges (compound)
Leg extensions (isolation)

Total exercises: 3

Sets and reps: Warm up and ramp up to 1 to 2 all-out blast sets of 6 to 15 reps, whatever rep scheme you grow best off of.

Here’s how to go through the whole damn workout…

Let’s say you squat 300 pounds for 8 to 10 reps. Here’s how it works:

Warm-up sets
95 x 15 (just go get loosened up and the blood flowing)
135 x 12 reps
185 x 8 to 10 reps

Ramp-up sets
215 x 8 to 10 reps
245 x 8 to 10 reps
275 x 8 to 10 reps

All-out blast set
300 x 8 to 10 reps

So you’re done with squats. You move onto lunges with 40 pounds in each hand…

Ramp-up sets
25 x 16 to 20 steps
30 x 16 to 20 steps

All-out blast set
40 x 16 to 20 steps

You move onto leg extensions with 100 pounds…

Ramp-up sets
75 x 8 to 10
85 x 8 to 10

All-out blast set
100 x 8 to 10

Am I a genius or what?