T Nation

Tracking Progress

I thought I’d post this on the T/N board rather than the Dog Pound so that we could get a wider variety of responses.

As I read through some of the numbers reported for JB’s study, I paid specific attention to the relationships between training age and strength and training age and body weight. Obviously, the greatest improvements generally occur in the first 1-2 years of training. Then, more well-designed programs and nutritional become far more important in determining further success. Given that I’m coming up on my third year of organized training (about two of it intelligently), I’m now realizing that I’m at this point. Essentially, like many, I need to come to grips with the fact that you can’t just grow like a weed indefinitely; I need to just bust my ass and let the chips fall where they may.

That being said, I think that it would be beneficial for a lot of people in my position to hear about how those of you who have been in the iron game for longer have continued to make progress. Specifically, I’m interested more in actual quantifiable changes in relation to training age rather than in recommended approaches. I’m 21 now, and I’m curious to see where all my hard work will leave me when I’m 25-26.

Obviously, not everyone keeps detailed records of where their body weights and lifts were year-by-year, but something along the lines of “I gained 30 pounds in my first two years and 6-7 in the three years thereafter” would be an example. Certainly, one must consider the impact of androgens, other supplements, body type, and a variety of other factors on these changes, but I’m just looking for some ballpark info. If we don’t actually reach any earth-shattering conclusions, I’m sure that it will at least make for good discussion. Any thoughts?

EC: I’ve been lifting for about 10 years. When I started I was maybe one or two inches shorter than I am now, and I weighed 125 pounds. Between eigth grade and my high school graduation, I got up to about 180 lbs. Since then, which has been almost 7 years, I’ve put on about another 20-25 pounds. So my progress has slowed to a few pounds a year; less, in fact, if you subtract the considerable portion of that that came from 3 MAG-10 cycles. Honestly, I’m to the point now where I think 3 lbs. a year (without androgens) would be good. 6+ with androgens seems feasible. I dunno – is that more or less what you were looking for?

Great stuff, Zev! Anyone else?

Easy-E: I’m in about the same boat as you, brutha, in terms of training age. I’ve been getting at the iron for about six years, but the first two were more for fun and athletics, while the third was in the absence of (any) nutrition. So I’ve got about 3.5 years of solid training and improving nutrition under my belt.

However, I came across DNS (i.e. Delayed Newbie Syndrome), which means I didn’t make my newbie gains until just this past 6-8 months! This is when I finally decided to beat my metabolism and make everyday a trip to the Bodybuilding Buffet. Since June 1 of just this past year, I’ve managed to pack on about 45 pounds of high-quality mass.

Gains like this won’t obviously live on forever.

I have been active in soccer, basketball, and snowboarding all my life but just in the last year began lifting seriously. I began at 165 lbs and probably 12 % BF. I went through depression and two serious injurys that aggravated my depression quite a bit and balooned up to 205 lbs and more than 20 % bf. Now I’ve been lifting for a year knowing what I am doing and am at 185-187 lbs and a little under 8 % BF. I’m 24 years old. I expect to be over 200 lbs in 18 months or less with the same bf%. I’m also 5’10 and have a narrow heavy boned frame. After 200 lbs I believe it is going to be very slow. Maybe a couple of pounds a year at most. We’ll see. Hope my input helped though I have limited years in the BB department.

im not totally sure on this but im going to take a stab at it anyway. eric, at your age you should still be able to make great gains for a few more years based simply on your hormone levels (assuming they are normal). obviously your late teen and early twenties are the best years for training because of high test levels. i only wish i would have started training seriously at that age. ive been training seriously for about 2.5 years and have put on about 30lbs of muscle. i am 26 now, and still making great progress. i would think that even though you have a few years lifting experience you should continue to grow pretty well for a few more years.

Timbo - interesting theory you have with the DNS. But along the same lines, the gains don’t only have to come once during the “newbie” stages. If you go that hard consistently, I believe you could continue to make impressive gains, albeit not quite as impressive, but still gains that would be nothing to shake a stick at.

It’s a myth that in your late teen and early 20’s you have “higher test levels”. Yes, compared to what you will have when you are 45 of course. However, I believe the research shows that most men’s levels don’t see significant drop until their 30’s. So your test levels might be the same when you’re 30 as they are now at 21.

275 pounds of fat basteard in high school. cut that down to 165 in the first few years of college i.e. 3 yrs ago. weighing in at 210 and 10%.
who you callin stout?

How does this sound? A pudgy 185 in November 1998. Overtrained like crazy, got sick. Was about 115 by June 1999. Dropped to 97.5 lbs. (taken during one of three hospitalizations) in January 2000 with essential fat (~3-4%). Now: 168 at <8%. I’ve been as high as 178 at about 12.5%. If this hasn’t been a life of extremes, I’m not sure what is.

Agree with Machine’s comments.

I’ll also say that you can make decent gains well into your 40s and 50s, even if you’ve been training consistently for a long time.

I started at age 15 weighing about 140-145 at 6’ tall. I gained about 15 pounds over the first two years, nothing for a while after that. But then again, I wasn’t paying too much attention to my diet at the time, and as well all know, that’s a no-no.

I now weigh 180 or so and keep the weight on without any problem whatsoever. Doesn’t sound like much, I know, but for a guy who thought for a long time that he’d never see the heavy side of 160 (without being fat), it has some meaning. These last 20 pounds have come in spurts, directly related to changing up training/diets. While I find at this point that I can put on muscle fairly easily with the help of something like MAG-10, what happens is that I can’t keep most of it after I cycle off. So like Zev, I find that 3-4 quality pounds a year to be about the most I can hope for.

Not that that’s bad, mind you. 3-4 pounds shows up very clearly on my physique.