T Nation

Training volume...a natural's limits

Hi guys…here is the deal. I have been trying to put on some appreciable lean mass after dieting down this summer and losing a bit too much muscle. I was down to 165 at around 7% bodyfat. I’m 5’9 19 years old…and am that hardgainer that has trouble w/o putting on lots of quality muscle without bodyfat ballooning up.I used to be obese. I planned out a meso cyle 6 weeks ago that has me leading up until mid December. I kind of modeled it after John Berardi’s program. I started off at 24 sets per workout 4 days per week. I know this is high but I thought it would be a good shock and thought with proper nutrition I could pul it off. I put on about 5 lbs(mostly water initially off a low carb diet)and I even leaned out a bit…but soreness was persitent four 5 weeks(i take the 1week rest week every four) so i dropped sets back to 18 per workout. also droped the cardio I had been doing(15 min after workout). the thing is…I appear pretty smooth(will be weighing myself after i get a new scale tonight…and check bf next week). What i’m wondering is if I drop sets further will this hurt my body comp even more.is 18 sets wayyy too much for a natty trainer? I’m thinking of bumpin it down to 16 but I’m a little leary of dropping volume even further…and still dunno what to do about cardio. Any sugestions on what route to go regarding training volume specifics and cardio? For some diet specs. I’m at 2800 cals a day follwing massive eating guidelines…all my carbs come from oats an surge(250 grams) fat from oas fih ols and flax , CLA…some from lean beef and chicken also(80 grms) protein is at 270-280 grams a day. I’m using the new methoxy7 and CLA for nutrient partioning effect…also glutacene for recovery. Any help as to what route to go or suggestions on how I can make progress would be greatly appreciated from everyone on the forum and the staf if possible. thanks alot guys…sorry for the length of this post…Mike

Why not start out at the lowest amount of sets any work your way up. I currently do only an average 8 sets per workout 3 days a week. I do this for 4 weeks then I take a week off. During this period of low volume I work on loosing fat and increasing strength. Each week I will increase intensity by adding more weight, so that by the end of this cycle I am going all out. After this cycle I will bump up the volume to about 20 sets per workout for 4 workouts a week. During this time I do not worry about strength and I increase my calories. I am averaging about 2 low volume cycles to every high volume cycle. I am working on loosing body fat while keeping my muscle mass. When I want to bulk up again I will try going with high volume everyother cycle. Or maybe I will even try going with 2 high vol. cycles for every low vol. cycle. If you have any questions or have anything to add to this please do so. As I am always looking to add to my knowledge of building a better body.

Thanks for the reply Max…anyone else out there with any suggestions or criticisms…any staffers?..thanks Mike