T Nation

Weakness to Fitness - The Boy Who Just Started Lifting

Good day,

This isn’t my first time lifting but after a few years of hiatus due to medical school, I’m back lifting.

I studied and read a lot about lifting the last week while doing 5x10 of squat, bench and rows to keep wash away the soreness while making a routine. Why make a routine than just following one? Well, because I find it fun to make a routine and be somewhat accountable for the progress that I make.

About the Lifter

Beginner lifter, just out from medical school.
26y.o., 5’ 9.5", 165lbs
Calculated 1RM of SBD - 160/145/245 lbs
Nothing too fancy

Program Details

1. Bodybuilding Program
I made this from the backbone of IronBuff, which was inspired from Renaissance Periodization Men’s Physique Template. The program’s tenet is to work at volumes near your maximal recoverable volume to induce optimum growth.

2. Training split
Transformed it into a 6 Day Chest+Back, Shoulders+Arms, Legs x2.
Supersetting antagonistic muscles seems like a great way to reduce training time and increase work capacity.

3. Strength training
Integrated RTS for the strength exercises.

4. Autoregulation
The program is auto regulated. The back off sets and weights and reps are calculated based on my daily maxes. The number of sets I do per week is dependent on my performance the previous week. If ever I have an off day, the program recalculates everything so that I don’t hit a wall, if ever I have a good day, the program recalculates so that I can capitalize on that.

5. Lots and lots of volume
I’m going to try and aim for 20 sets for each muscle per week and I’ll be sore from it and I’m going to love it.

I’ll just follow what MyFitnessPal recommends for my weight to increase 0.5lbs/week. Supplemented with Athlete whey protein, 2 scoops per day. Going to increase my weight as long as I am satisfied with the way my body looks. Once I become too flabby, I’ll start cutting. Not going to subscribed to any diet programs right now such as renaissance diet. Too early for that.

Going to update the journal every 3 days + once every end of the week.

First 3 days done - Strength Days

Bench Press + Row went smoothly, could have gotten 2 more reps on my daily max set, could barely lift 5 reps on my 5th set though. Deadlifting for 5 sets suck but definitely doable. I think I was hindered by my conditioning more than my muscles. Should get easier to complete all 5 sets as I get my conditioning dialed in.

The next 4 days - Hypertrophy Days

4th day will be conditioning day. Would probably brisk walk for 45-60 minutes.

Will update on the weekly volume after. If you have questions, just fire away. My excel sheet can be quite confusing.


Welcome to the forums!!!

Not to be that dude already buuuut if you find you arent recovering from this split you could switch to a Push, Pull, Legs split done twice a week. You can order it any way that you want (that is just my current order but I did the Legs/Pull/Push order for years).

Edit: reread the fine print more carefully.

Welcome to the forums man.
Another one of “those guys” but just to clarify:

You’re lifting 6 days a week, first 3 strength based, second 3 hypertrophy based? What delineates the two for you?

As a relative beginner, can you recover well without a day off? What does the rest of your life look like?

What does Myfitnesspal put your macros and calories at? And are you including the protein shake in that?

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Some thoughts: My appetite just shot up through the roof. Been eating like a truck.

Day 4-7

Chest+Back day: Chest and Back day went smoothly except for the abs. It was still sore so I didn’t increase the number of sets.
Shoulder+Arms day: All good. Still having trouble with dips but that’s expected since I’m still weak.
Leg day: My glutes and hamstring were still sore. Wasn’t able to increase the number of sets for any of the accessories aside from the calves. Squat felt solid. Sumo deadlift has me winded more than muscularly fail.

This week’s volume

Notes: The values are the number of sets done. The indirect work sets are already red but Mike Israetel said to worry more about the direct work sets than the indirect. Most are still green. Estimated number of sets next week would be current set + 4 sets for each body part. Should put most values at yellow which is the optimum number of sets according to Mike.

Now on to Week 2 Day 1-3 strength workouts


Will take note of the suggestion. I just like hitting the arms when it’s more fresh as compared to PPL when the arms at the end of the workouts and it’s tired.


  1. The weight in the bar + the lower reps for strength days. “Bigger movements” also. While for the hypertrophy based, it’s lesser weights, higher reps, more dumbbell & machine work and the use of rest pause, drop sets and partial reps on the accessory work (chasing the pump).
  2. I think as a relative beginner, It takes me faster to recover since I don’t lift heavy weights yet. Aside from that, the spreadsheet deducts a set from the exercises when you’re still sore/reps performed decreased by 25%/when you fail the “main movement” for the day.
  3. It’s pretty structured right now. 9am-5pm clinic job with night calls which leaves me 6-8 hours of sleep a day.
  4. Decided to do away with MFP recommendation and just do BMR +/- 10-20% depending on whether I want to gain or lose weight. Still tracking with MFP though.
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Week 2 - Day 1-3: Strength Days

Day 1 - Everything feels good, next week would have me at doubled the progression due to hitting more reps than required on both the top set amrap as well as last set amrap. For the accessories, I hit new rep prs for every exercises and nothing was sore. Should be able to hit the top range of the reps next week and increase the weight thereafter.

Day 2 - Changed chin up and to a lat pulldown because I can’t hit enough reps to make them meaningful. Should hit double progression also for day 2 next week. I actually regressed in weighted dips. Would not increase the number of sets for it the next week.

Day 3 - Once again, I was gasping for air when I finished all my deadlift sets so all other exercises suffered because of it. Thinking of some modifications to this day. My conditioning severely limits me.

Working on the spreadsheet again.

On to Week 2, Day 4-7.

Week 2 - Day 4-7: Hypertrophy days

Tweaked the spreadsheet to reward me only an additional set when I earned it. Basically, I need to have a Rep PR + no soreness to have an additional set the next week. This led to the lower volume versus what I expected it to be last week. Given this, I still am doing more volume than most routine.

Good week so far. With many rep prs done this week, should have more volume next week.

Week 3 - Day 1 - 3
What can I say? Strength is going up, volume generally going up. I feel much rested this week than last week. Finally adapting to the routine. Increased my rest times by 30 seconds-1 minute for each superset. Conditioning is up also. By the 20th mark, I was in 80% HR when I was on the elliptical trainer, now I’m at 70%.


Volume actually went down on most of my lifts, AGAIN. Most of my lift’s weight are going up so volume went down. I actually miss the 5 sets of machine press I was doing before. But I’m not complaining. Nothing to report that much about. Just lifts going up.

Bench Press felt heavy but was able to press out 6 reps. Bummed about it but the back off sets felt good. Rows still feel pretty strong. Could have gone for 8 reps probably but wanted to make it equal with Bench Press.

Overhead Press was good, felt pretty solid. Kinda intimidated by the 10lbs increase next week. Hopefully, I could press out at least 6 next week.

Deadlift also was good. Ended the set at 9 reps (RPE 8.5-9). Could have gone for 1 more but was pretty winded from doing 9 reps. Psyched about jumping 20lbs for next week. Front squat is finally recovering.

Most probably waterweight. There’s no way I increased by 2lbs in a week.

Sorry for my leave of absence. The holidays were a bit hectic with all the gatherings, partying and additional workload I had to take on. Forgot all about this log. What I didn’t forget was to work out as religiously as I can.
Here are the logs for Week 4-7.

Workouts - Strength is coming back nicely and in some lifts are going up quite fast. That’s very encouraging, to say the least. My HRV ratings and my subjective feelings never felt bad. I was stressed yes but I was never fatigued during the 3 holiday weeks. The predicted weight and volume were just enough as evidenced by most workouts with a rating of 1. Lots of rep PRS as well as weight PRs. I never felt sore from all the volume that I was doing except for a day or two.

Workout volume is also going up, I have most of my muscle groups at dark yellow now and some with a light red meaning I’m right in the upper end of my maximum adaptive volume and reaching my maximum recoverable volume. (Week 7 is to be determined as I’m just halfway through the week). Glutes and Calves are responding nicely, I had PRs every week leading to a decrease in volume due to the rapid increase in weight. Triceps seem to be resistant as I need lots of volumes to stimulate overload.

I can’t get a trend yet on my response to ever-increasing volume against my REP PRs on my main barbell movements. All of them are on the rise even with an increase in volume. It would be interesting to see how my 1RM moves once I reach my MRV and beyond. I’d like to see a decrease in temporary 1RM just for the sake of curiosity.

I wasn’t as consistent with my cardio as I’d like to be, mostly skipping on it especially when I felt shit or when I was simply lacking time. I think I regressed with my conditioning over the holidays since I put more effort into keeping a 2:30 pace while on the gym bike.

Quite surprised with my body weight. Even though I ate more during the holidays, my weight mostly was stable. There were no massive weight fluctuations or bloating that occurred.

Good fatigue management overall as evidenced by the positive fatigue numbers under each week except for W4.

All said and done, I’m still with beginner numbers and when your diet is on point, just about any training program should work for a trainee. I’m excited to see how I would respond to this training methodology once I reach intermediate numbers.