Great question. Growth comes from a combination of proper training and nutrition. People sometimes ask, “what’s the percentage? training to nutrition?” I think it’s 100% of both!
Training - Lower reps (I classify as 5 reps, I don’t ever go below that personally as I feel it’s just begging for injury over time), are helpful for sure and will help improve strength. You work on strength so that you can increase the weight on your mid and higher rep exercises and keep growing. So if you’re able to do lateral shoulder raises with 25lb dumbbells for 15 reps, you want to get stronger so eventually so you can 15 reps with 30lbs, etc.
The vast majority of my training is spent in the 8-12 range, up to 15-20 for certain muscle groups, like shoulders or arms. I go largely by feel for the day, sometimes incorporating 5-6 reps of something, but not always.
Be sure to take pictures to gauge progress as well. My 3rd and 4th shows I came in 8 pounds lighter than my 1st and 2nd shows, but looked way bigger and more proportional. If you lose 5lbs of fat and gain 5lbs of muscle, your weight won’t change but you’ll sure look different!
We’ll start with the king - total calories. IMO to gain muscle with minimal fat (I swear if I hear “clean bulk” one more time I’m gonna pull out the 3 hairs I have left) takes a 10-20% surplus. If you’ve got a naturally fast metabolism, you can get away with the higher end of that spectrum. I usually go 10-15% surplus when trying to gain. Doesn’t take a huge amount of extra calories, and the leaner you are, the easier it is to keep putting on muscle. One of my clients, we’ve been working together 6 months, he started already at around 9-10% body fat, and still is, but he’s gained 12 pounds. We’ve been very meticulous on his nutrition, and training.
Macros - Also largely depends on the individual. I use to think I needed low carbs, only to find after much experimentation that I get leaner and feel way better with more carbs! I can comfortably maintain 9-10% body fat on 180g-200g carbs a day.
My “starting point” recommendation would be:
Protein - 1g per pound of bodyweight.
Carbs - 1g per pound of bodyweight.
Fats - Fill the rest of your cals with good quality fats.
From there, I’d recommend leaving protein as is, and see how you respond. You may find upping carbs even more and lowering fats is where you want to be. For me, I feel and perform great, and can maintain the conditioning I want at these macros:
Protein - 160g
Carbs - 200g
Fats - 50g
Puts me at about 1900 cals a day right now and slowly leaning out more for summer. On a gaining phase, I’d leave protein and fats where they are, and make up the difference in quality carbs.
Thank you for the detailed response. I appreciate it. 9 more days of prep and then it’s time to eat!
I think it’s a “being well over 6 foot” thing. Don’t beat yourself up so much man
@robstein I’ll follow along here as well, you know your stuff.
So put all your gold in here or the other log you replied to yesterday.
Much appreciate your contribution on these forums.
@mortdk thank you very much, I really appreciate that. Always happy to offer anything I can, these forums and T-Nation have had such a significant role in my life. Anything we can do to help each other, I’m all in!
Thank you for all of your free advice! I’m in the middle of detailing my plan based on the workout you shared in @isdatnutty’s log. For those of you that missed it, check it out!
I’m at the gym now. These new rest periods are looooong. I’ll be back later with an update from PT.
Physical therapy was good. I think I learned something. Time will tell. It turn out I’ve been doing my hip exercises a bit wrong and it’s allowed my TFL to do the work instead of the desired muscles. In this case, the target muscle is the glute medius. It turns out that mine is gone. I have a large divot/crater/dimple in my butt cheek where it’s supposed to be. It’s completely dormant right now. I need to roll forward more when I’m on myside so that my TFL can’t kick in and do the work. For a side lying hip abduction move, I actually have to extend my hip and abduct. If I don’t do the extension then my TFL takes over and my leg comes forward.
I’m happy to have learned something, but frustrated that my attempts to get better have actually made me worse. They also showed me a glute bridge variation that I like way better than the old fashioned bridge. I do a bridge and hold it. I pick up my foot so all of my weight shifts to one leg. I just hold that position and alternate feet. It feels much more effective than just moving up and down in terms of hitting my glutes.
The plan moving forward is to do PT twice a week for four to six weeks. My only homework is to do the reverse clams and lying hip abduction correctly as well as the bridge work and some hip flexor stretching. I think this will help with the weakness and dysfunction in my hip, but it won’t cure everything. I can’t deny that I need this work even if it doesn’t cure everything. I’ll pursue this first and then decide what I need to do about my hip pain. I have some severe pinching/pain when my femur is internally rotated and flexed.
My limitations for now are to avoid going to 90 degrees of hip flexion. I can basically do half squats, lunges, etc. I can do rack pulls as long as my IT band pain allows it. Today I couldn’t do hack squats because of my knee and hip pain. I could do glute, hamstring, and calf work with both legs but I only worked the right leg on hack squats and RFESS.
HACK SQUAT MACHINE (r leg only)
180 x 10 (both legs, figured out this hurts)
90 x 6 x 5 sets (2-3 minutes rest)
RFESS (r leg only)
60 x 8 x 4 sets (1 minute rest)
LYING LEG CURL
140 x 8 x 4 sets (1 minute rest)
SEATED LEG CURL
115 x 15 x 3 sets (45 sec rest)
STANDING CALF MACHINE
250 x 10 x 4 sets (1 minute rest)
SEATED CALF RAISE
45 x 15 x 3 sets (45 sec rest)
My new training split isn’t a whole lot different from what I’ve been doing. I chose to go with the four day per week Tried and True Bodybuilding Template. I chose the four day program because it only has me work out on two work days compared to three on the five day plan.
Monday will be Shoulders/Tri’s/Abs, Tuesday or Wednesday is Legs, Thursday is Chest/Bi’s, and Friday or Saturday is Back/Abs. The template is laid out for Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri but I might do it Mon, Wed, Thurs, Sat.
It’s going to take some adjusting on my part because this is forcing me to rest longer than I prefer. I’ve gotten pretty accustomed to setting my timer for 45 seconds and getting after it when it beeps. I’m supposed to rest for 2-5 minutes on the heavy sets, 1-2 minutes on the moderate sets (8-12 rep range), and 30-60 seconds on the lighter stuff (12+ reps). I’m going to rest for 2-3 minutes on heavy stuff, 60 seconds on the moderate stuff, and 45 seconds on the lighter stuff. The articles I read about this program reminded me that rest is there for a purpose and it’s not always time to go just because you feel recovered. The body still has work to do to prepare for the next set. I’m looking forward to this set up, and I know I’ll need to commit to it for a long time.
My only problem with this program is my injuries. As of now I’m scheduled to go see my shoulder doc on April 6th. We’re basically going to discuss my ongoing problems with my biceps tendon and schedule surgery. I’m hoping that PT can right the ship in regards to my hip and let me know if I need to have that bone removed or not. The down side of that procedure is that it can’t be removed until it’s done growing. If it’s removed prior to that point then it will grow back. There’s still a chance it could grow back again. I’m optimistic that mine wouldn’t because it’s a result of surgery. The chronic problems seem to develop on their own or after a severe spinal injury.
All in all today was a good day. My body sucks but I’m still happy. I hope you all had a good one as well!
Just caught up on this, and will definitely be implementing some of this info.
Sorry, it can be tough to keep up in here. I love learning and discussing things and the training log is the perfect place to do it - no need to start a new thread every time something pops into my head. If you take a few days off then you might come back to 50+ new posts. Some of it is gold (like today) and some of it is nonsense.
Why rest longer what does it help? I’m curious
Are you talking about resting longer between sets?
Each rep scheme has a different goal. The heavy sets of 5-6 are for max strength so it’s important to rest until your body is fully recovered and ready to give max effort again.
The moderate reps (8-12) are for hypertrophy and don’t require you to be 100% on each set. These sets are about generating metabolic fatigue so some residual fatigue is ok.
The high rep sets are for endurance and volumization. Here’s an excerpt from Part 2.
6 – Do an Endurance/Volumization Exercise for Each Body Part
While those who like to feel the burn and maximize the pump tend to neglect heavy, low-rep sets, those who like to lift heavy tend to neglect the higher rep-range.
Doing sets of more than 10 or 12 reps is great for increasing endurance, but you probably don’t care. But you do care about the visual effects that occur as a result of doing higher rep sets.
Training in this higher rep range obviously prolongs the Time Under Tension (TUT), and it’s this longer TUT that stimulates hypertrophy very well.
Since this hypertrophy resulting from high-rep sets isn’t primarily coming from an increase in the size of the contractile component of the muscle (i.e., actin & myosin filaments), it’s often called non-functional hypertrophy…a term I don’t care for as it’s very misleading.
When we’re talking specifically about enlargement of a muscle by means other than muscle fibers, I prefer to use the term volumization . Whether you prefer the term non-functional hypertrophy or volumization, we’re talking about an increase in the cross-sectional area of a muscle via an increase in size and/or number of mitochondria, capillaries, enlargement of the sarcoplasmic reticulum, etc.
Generally speaking, doing sets of about 12-20 reps is perfect for stimulating muscle volumization. The cosmetic result tends to be rounder, fuller-looking muscles.
So keep in mind, when your goal is larger muscles, you want to enlarge ALL components of the muscle. Failing to do so is like leaving money on the table.
I suggest reading the two part article if you’re curious about building muscle for looks (it’ll also be functional).
dude you definitely look like you lift…
Woke at 220.4 lbs. I really thought today was the day I’d see 219 because I got up to piss three times between 1040 and midnight. I was beginning to think something was wrong with me. I guess it was the water I drank before bed.
Today would be chest day according to the new split but I hit chest Tuesday. Tomorrow would be back day but I hit that pretty good Monday. I think I’ll do a short combined session tomorrow or Saturday and start fresh Monday.
Woke at 220.4 lbs. I could’ve eaten better yesterday. I went over budget by like 9 calories but dinner was cheap pizza again. We’re going to Taco Bell tonight so I’ll have more sodium and another large meal.
Two days at 220.4 eh… I be you’ll see that elusive 219 tomorrow. Just have a slightly bigger lunch and a shake for dinner. Find an excuse to skip out on Taco Bell!!!
No way, man!!! I eat Taco Bell like once a year. We’re celebrating my nephew’s birthday so he gets to pick the place. He’s picked Taco Bell the last two years and it’s been the only time I’ve eaten there.
I want to get three Cheesy Gordita Crunches but they’re 500 calories a piece. I’m opting for three Chicken or Steak Baja Gordita Supremes. They’re only 260-270 calories a piece. I can hit 219 next week; I gotta live a little
I planned my food for the day though.
- A double shake and two small bananas mid morning.
- 1 cup rice, 3 oz broccoli w/ 2 TBSP zesty Italian dressing, and 6 oz of chicken for lunch.
- The same minus the rice for the afternoon. I’ll be at 1333 cals, 126g carbs, 28g fat, and 140g protein before dinner.
- Dinner will be three Gordita Supremes
Totals for the day: 2113 cals, 213g carbs, 55g fat, 188g protein
It’s more of an IIFYM approach today. I might even have a shake before bed to reach my protein goal of 219 grams.
I would say, in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t such a bad day.
Sounds like a solid plan, your scale might bump up a little tomorrow morning, but it shouldn’t affect your long-term progress.
Of course, one day your nephew’s tastes will grow up a little and he’ll surprise you by picking somewhere else to eat…
Enjoy brother! I’ve been craving French fries as of late… 8 more days!
I’m lucky he didn’t pick Dairy Queen. They have buy one blizzard, get one for $.99 this month! I’m a sucker for cookie dough.