T Nation

The Quest For Beef


Photos First


after: relaxed after short arm workout




back single bi


another front


Now for the meat of the post. The first photo was taken early last July at 188 pounds. Every photo afterwards was taken recently with me at 202 lbs. I apologize for the quality. I thought they were better than they are. If I need to I can have someone take the photos for me. I began the bulk early last June at about 185 lbs.

Now a little background about me. I have been following this site on and off for about 6 years. I got turned off a while ago when the articles began pumping nothing but supplements, but couldn’t stay away for long! I have been around weights for about six or seven years as well, but have never done any serious lifting until last June when I began lifting exclusively.

My routine has always been legs, chest, and back, doing each twice a week. I have never really done any shoulder or arm work. I’ve been very much in the camp of all the big lifts will improve them, and it’s not worth isolating unless you’re an elite experienced lifter trying to improve symmetry.

However, recently my lifts have stalled so two weeks ago I decided to switch it up and went to a five day split hitting everything once a week. My routine now is Back / Chest/ Legs / Shoulders / Arms / Off / Off. I upped my sets per workout though seeing as how I am only hitting them once a week. I do about 25 sets per workout, 30 for legs.

I’m not particularly looking for my physique to be rated, but more looking for suggestions on body parts I need to improve. In my eyes my clear weakness is my legs, and I hate that they’re undersized. I’m wondering if mayble I should put arms and shoulders together and add an additional leg workout?

Also, I am planning on starting a cut in about a month and I was looking for advice on how to do it. Based on what I have read, I think my plan is take a few days to measure my food and figure out how many calories I actually eat. Then reduce that number by 500 per day aiming for 1.25 g of protein per body weight, 20% fats and the remainder of carbs. Then adjust from there based on results/mood.

Any and all feedback is greatly encouraged! I am just trying to soak in as much knowledge as I can, and I figured posting on this forum would be a great way to reach out and hold myself accountable.

Thanks in advance!


You have a pretty good physique, but why are you wanting to start a cut in a month? You should be building, especially legs. Work them at least twice per week, if you want them to grow.


I sure don’t get the wanting to cut, you need to be eating and working your ass off especially your legs.


A cut right now makes zero sense. I know that sort of decision is a personal preference, but still. I think it’s a poor decision.

Your upper body makes you look like you workout, but you don’t look like you workout your legs. Like, ever. The fact that you said you do legs twice a week worries me, given your results. Maybe you could tell us what you do for your legs. Your upper body makes it look like diet is fine, so something else must be wrong when it comes to legs. My guess is intensity, and possibly exercise choices.

I don’t believe a 3rd leg day is necessary. For most of my lifting career, I’ve only had 1 leg day. I only recently switched to 2, and I have no idea yet if that’s going to yield better results than 1 day.


I’ve been second guessing my cutting strategy. I hate the idea of being soft; in fact, I’ve second guessed this bulk many times already because I noticed I was putting on a little bit of fat. But I’ve stuck through it so far and I think the results will be worth while. My new plan is to try and pack on 15-20 more pounds before I cut. I think my ideal look is one similar to the WBFF Fitness Models.

Yea, I hear you on the leg thing. I’ve taken a strategy from Arnold and prefer to wear shorts on the shorter side because it reminds me how much I hate my legs. The sad thing is, before I started lifting I was a competitive rower, and I could never get growth in my legs even though it is a leg dominant sport. I think I am starting to see some hypertrophy in them though.

My old routine was:

Day One
Back Squat 5 x 10
Deadlift 5 x 10
Single-leg leg press 5 x 10

Day Two
Front Squat 5 x 10
RFE Split Squat 5 x 10
Leg Extension 5 x 10

Sometimes I would throw in hang-cleans into front squat and hack squats just to mix it up or to add sets. I have a new routine though, I started stagnating in a lot of my lifts and wanted to try changing it up. because I’ve recently gone to hitting everything only once a week. My second leg lift with this routine went well so I am pretty happy so far.

Front Squat 5 x 10
Hang Clean into Front Squat 5 x 5
Deadlift 5 x 10
Single-Leg Leg press 5 x 10

Leg Extension 5 x 10
Hamstring Curl 5 x 10

The rep totals are more like 8-12 but I adjust weight accordingly to try and hit 10.

I’m currently only working out five days a week, so I’ve been thinking of throwing a shorter 10-12 set leg workout in on Saturday, or combining shoulders and arms on one day and hitting legs on Friday still keeping the two day rest.


I have pretty good glute development, which has led me to believe that many of the compound leg movements have been targeting my glutes much more than my quads. Hence, why I have ditched the back squat for the time being in favor of the front squat. I also have read that many believe the 15 rep range is ideal for hypertrophy for legs. Has any had any experience with varying rep ranges for legs?

Also, as far as a proper bulk goes. I am about to start counting calories and macros. Is 40/40/20 a safe place to start?


That’s a reasonable place to start with calories. Adjust if you’re not getting the results you want after a few months.

The 15 rep range is pretty good, but I personally work in all rep ranges. I’ll do anything from heavy singles up to sets of 30. As long as you work hard on your legs, and really push yourself, you should see results. It just takes time.


Personally I would not do front squats for more than 5 or 6 reps per set, becuase the back will generally give out before the legs. Maybe try sets of 4-6?


You don’t have a bad physique, especially for someone aiming at MPD competitions. The legs are lagging, which can always be addressed by smart planning during off seasons, but not so much while on a full out cut. I’ve had a couple of my guys actually training their legs twice weekly on cuts, and while it wasn’t fun, it did help somewhat. Would I recommend it if it could be avoided? Most definitely.

I don’t know if I missed you mentioning your height, but everyone can always benefit from more size. A lot of people are truly shocked to realize that a good number of the top placing Physique guys (at competitive shows!) are actually pretty sizable in person. My advice, without nitpicking small details, would be to do more of a recomp as opposed to a hard all out cut. This will slowly solve your ‘softness’ issue, but will also allow you to keep progressing towards your ultimate goal. Have the days where you’re still trying to bring up weak points, and a couple of days where you’re maintaining a slight deficit and trying to keep your metabolism stocked.



squat and dead lift twice a week, eat a ton of carbs and drink gallons of milk. I hope that didn’t sound too opinionated…
Your upper body looks great, but its significantly more well developed than legs, so I would let it take a back seat to developing lower body. You could still do five workouts but I would split them into upper body and lower body days. Something like Mon (upper) Tues (lower) Wed (upper) Thurs (off) Fri (lower) Sat (upper) with lower body days looking something like

Lower 1:
Deadlifts 5x5
Front squats 3x12-15
hamstring curls 3x12-15
seated calf raise 4x12-20

Lower 2:
Squat 5x5
still legged deadlift 3x12-15
leg extension 3x12-15
standing calf raise 4x12-20

Maybe make upper body sessions like Back/Bi’s, Chest/tri’s, Shoulders/traps
Just an outsiders opinion but I think you’re in a great place to really go wherever you want with it, keep it up dude