T Nation

The Soul Is Greater Than The World


Hey everyone,

New poster here! Came over from the Dave Draper forums (Dan Johns section to be exact). Figured the best way to start getting involved was to introduce myself and ask a few questions...

First off, I was originally a thrower in high school (shot, discus) but ended up at a community college with no teams or anything local. So I moved on to the Highland games training and quite a bit of Strongman work with a local police officer and Strongman by the name of Gerard Benderoth. Unfortunately, he's a busy guy (newborns and new house! /congrats) and our times never work and my interests are slightly different so it's time to go solo and stop relying!

I came here to move towards the body building field which is entirely new to me with a goal of getting back into serious strength training while getting healthy.

:edit: I suppose my biggest motivation and someone I would want to strive to be like is Ricky Bruch! Figured it was important to have that "idea" in my head known before reading on.

So I guess my first question would have to be, how do I set my goals up in this field and how do I make sure I'm tracking progress properly? My idea of a goal at the time would be to get around 225lbs at a 13-15% BF. (I wanna look big and solid for once and let the muscles talk haha!) Enough of those man boobs and roof over the tool shed excuses!

Where would you guys suggest starting off for someone in my shoes? Or setting an appropriate goal based on my stats.

Currently I'm around 222lbs, 21% BF, age 20, and a height of 5'8". (It ain't pretty folks! Not to mention I feel awful all the time, fatigued, grumpy! BLAH!)

My lifting experience seriously lacks outside of what I've done which is really limited to main lifts... squats (front, back, goblet, tabata style), bench, cleans (axle bar too), snatches, dead lift...etc. Basically all your power lifts plus some strong man training I did. (Truck pulls / pushes, tire flips, sleds and so on, you guys get the idea!) Most of this is self taught with some assistance on form. (Never actually used a machine in my life for an actual workout either to be honest. (Give me a bar, some weight, and I was good to go)

Some stats (slightly outdated...I'd assume much lower lifts now and these were around a body weight of 205lbs)

back squat - 405lbs x 1
Bench - 295lbs x 1
Clean and Jerk - 260lbs (by far my favorite type of lift, love the explosive stuff!)
Deadlifts - 415lbs x 1
Jerk (press) - 295lbs

The rest I don't really have recorded to be quite honest, my fault for losing old training journals. I can admit to a weak core though (those squats where you hold the weight above your head are hard for me haha!)

Overall though, I'd say my strength is decent, my cardio is awful, my diet is awful (serious work in progress, cravings cravings cravings!, and my motivation has been down but with school basically at an end spirits have been rising and I'm here! (Also thanks to Ricky Bruch; my go to guy for motivation! (see title)

But! I've been working on these all slowly which bring me to my last two questions!

1.Someone looking to drop body fat but still put on a ton of muscle mass....is a velocity diet wise to start off? Or should I worry about gaining mass and let the training shed the fat than use the diet at a later time (or never possibly)? (Looking nice for the summer would be nice, but I'm looking to start a life style as my main priority)

2.As far as learning other forms of training for body building, is that something I'll learn from those beginner guides on the forum or does someone recommend another source of learning? (books, video, etc) Only problem I have with forums is the amount of information and how spread out it is. I'll admit to overload and a hard time taking it is. (Pictures wanted anyone?)

  1. And just a reminder! goals!? <== This is probably my biggest problem, once I have an idea of where I should be and can be I tend to succeed compared to winging it.

And that's all! Appreciate any comments, remarks, criticism, thoughts, help, all of that good stuff! In the mean time I'll be running to the gym! Hitting those weights! Reading the forums! and hoping I'm doing "it" right since something is better than nothing right!?

Thanks again everyone who takes the time to read this! and sorry if I seem to be like all those other posts you guys get every day! Hard to show that sincerity in text!


For now just clean up your diet, work hard, and see where it gets you. 21% is fairly high, but starting training AND a hard diet at the same time is too much stress on the body. Ease into it and get your body used to lifting again, then worry about shedding fat.

The big compound lifts that you're used to (squat, bench, press, DL, etc...) can be very useful for bodybuilding. Aside from that, there's a big difference in the way a bodybuilder lifts vs the way a powerlifter or strongman would use assistance work. Basically, a SM or PL keeps the mentality of moving the weight. The BB focuses on contracting the target muscle, and the weight moves as a by-product of that contraction. That's why you'll see BB's using 'light' weight; you use the heaviest weight possible while still being able to focus on the target. Put too much weight on the bar, and other muscles start taking over.

For the first couple of months, just focus on getting your diet in check and your strength up. Think of it as getting your bearings. You have to know where you are before you can figure out which way to go.

Plenty of exclamation points should do the trick. :smiley:


Welcome aboard.

If you want to go up in weight yet lower body fat you'll need to harden up. Not sure how it will roll out in terms of #'s once you lean yourself out but cleaning up your eating should do wonders for how you look.

Personally I like having a routine to gauge progress so nothing variable is screwing me over without me knowing it. Stick to the basics of clean eating and everything Jay said.

Reading this makes me excited for my own endeavours as well..!


Thanks for the comments guys! Noted!

I had one question maybe some of you know! A long while back I was reading an article about some power lifters who were also body builders, obviously I wouldn't replicate a workout of a professional athlete :stuck_out_tongue: But I figured those would be the guys to check out as a start.

Thanks again


Some good places to start:



Really enjoyed those links, really cleared up a bit of workout confusion and gave me some insight on lifts to do. Have to say thank god its so easy to watch specific workouts online though since most of those I never heard before. On another note I believe I actually read the one by Dan John. I think it's time I spend a few days reading his material again...own his books and all. Some serious knowledge in one ear and out the other.

I think I'll spend the next few weeks learning these lifts and workouts on a small scale until my body is somewhat athletic again (if you guys saw me in the gym yesterday I looked like a 400lb guy having a heart attack, not good. Was a serious reality check I won't be near my former levels..much needed though)

So what I've gotten so far (thanks to the help guys) would be....

train for a few weeks, get back into the motions, learn the lifts I'm going to do.

Than from there, depending on progress...I'll see if my doctor allows something like the V-Diet which will eventually lead to a bulking phase.

Good to finally have some goals laid out, first few weeks I won't have any number goals but I'll mentally know when I'm ready for the next big step!

Off to find some nutrition info for the broke kid now haha! In the mean time I stocked up on oatmeal, eggs, and chicken since that's all I know. Farewell epicmealtime creations, till bulking that is!