T Nation

Where to Go For Info?


So i've read through a couple posts to get the feel for this forum and its pretty obvious my workout goals differ from the norm of you guys. So my question is, where is the best place to find information for more of a sculpting muscle building type goal? My goal is very simple and is best put using the American Beauty quote by Kevin Spacey, "I want to look good naked"

Shallow maybe, but its the truth. I feel if I start asking the questions I want to ask here I'll just give you guys aneurysms, and I would hate to do that.

Any advice would be much appreciated, thank you.


As long as you don't post this in the BB forum you'll be fine.

There is nothing wrong with your goal. It is the people that try and use goals like this to demean or putdown those of us who want big arms and to stand out in a crowd, like they are better than those who want more, that cause shit storms.

But honestly, you're goal isn't that far from a beginner BB either, just less "hardcore" or ambitious if you will. You should look to gain a good amount of lean mass, proportionally, and stay at a leaner BF.

You would train roughtly the same, just eat less I suppose.


Like Beansy said, there's no problem at all if you post here in the Beginners forum while you're a beginner. The Bodybuilding and Strength Sports forums can be a bit more... cranky... but in general, you should have no major problems getting answers to any aneurism-provoking questions in Beginners or Supplements & Nutrition.

And also like Beansy mentioned, you don't necessarily have to aspire to be 280-pounds with a six-pack or squat 700 pounds in order to "belong" on T-Nation. Though, for future reference, around these parts your goal is called "lookin' good nekkid" (a opposed to "naked", which creates a more vivid mental picture of you in your birthday suit) and I'd bet it's the underlying goal of the vast majority of people on the site. So no worries.

What are your stats (age, height, weight, how long have you been training) and what's your current training and nutrition like?


ok, I'll just go ahead and ask it here then.

So when I originally started working out I found this site. I liked the info here so I started roughly following the starting strength program. I need to develop some specific routines because right now I just go to the gym and start doing the workouts he lists in starting strength without a very good rotation. Fast forward to now and I'm way off starting strength and am just kind of lost. Here is my normal workout:

1.5-2 miles on treadmill
bench press - 4-6 reps 4 sets
squat - 4-6 reps 4 sets
bar curl - 4-6 reps 4 sets
DB row (I don't know what its called) - 4-6 reps 4 sets
declined sit-ups - 75

Ok, now about me. I'm a hard gainer big time. I started working out and in 2 weeks went from 119 to 109, and that was following the starting strength program and warming up by running about half a mile on the treadmill. I really like running, but people keep telling me I need to stop if I want to gain weight. So do I?

My diet is pretty much the same every day. Muscle Milk shake for breakfast, subway for lunch, grilled chicken/pasta/spinach for dinner.

So should I go back to a regulated starting strength workout and cut out the running? Mostly I want to gain weight and build my upper body/abs, but i'm not concerned at all about how much I can lift. The not caring how much I can lift is what makes me say this may not be the best place for me. After doing starting strength for several weeks I got the feeling it was more for building strength and less for making me look better.

My flame retardant suit is on, so lets have it lol. And as always, thanks in advance.


Edit: I saw your post after I had already submitted this. I am 24 years old, 5'6" and as of yesterday 110 lbs.


I'm not sure what you mean by "without a very good rotation." Starting Strength is a solid plan when it's followed to the letter.

How long does this treadmill work take? Are you doing it as a warm-up or as cardio?

It's called a dumbbell row, no worries.

Were you drinking a gallon of whole milk each day, like Rippetoe suggests in Starting Strength? I have a feeling you're not necessarily a hardgainer, you're just not eating. (Assuming, of course, you don't have a legit underlying medical condition.)

Most people can do some light cardio (20-30 minutes a two or three times a week) if their calories are high enough. Yours aren't, so I'd advise you to cool it with the running. Or, if you want to run, eat before, drink a shake during, and eat something after.

? ? ? Dude, if you're eating more than 1,000 calories a day, I'd be surprised. As they say down south, that dog just won't hunt. Your nutrition is what will make or break your progress. Reading assignments for you:

Those should give you some ideas about why your current "two meals and a shake" eating plan isn't helping... at all.

That plan builds both. Rippetoes approach is that size is a byproduct of strength. "Train for strength and the size will follow," as they used to say. If for whatever reason you're not down with that (which is fine), this plan would be a good choice:

You're still working all the big exercises and large bodyparts, with some attention to details work for arms, abs, calves, etc.


Just for reference, MMA champ Urijah Faber is 5'6" and 145 pounds with low bodyfat in this pic. So, you should have in the back of your mind a long-term goal of gaining at least 30 or so pounds of muscle (that's different than 30 pounds of simple "scale weight").


Wow, thats so helpful. I've already starting reading those links. I have a seriously hard time eating a lot. I love working out, going to the gym, running... but the eating part is 20x harder than all that put together for me.

Thanks a ton.

I forgot to answer your question. Yesterday I ran 1.5 miles in 15 minutes on the treadmill. I set it at 6mphs and just run. I do a lot of wakeboarding, so depending on if I wakeboarded recently usually determines how much I run.

And i'm lactose intolerant, so the milk thing is not so much fun. I have to pop a pill every time I drink a shake. I do mix my shakes with milk though. I don't drink anywhere near a gallon a day.


Thats very motivating, thank you.


With that being said, Is this what you want to look like? or more of the "hollywood type"? And there is a HUGE difference.


To be honest I haven't even thought that far ahead. If I looked like Urijah I would be thrilled. I'm sure he does a lot more endurance type training than I would most likely do though. Right now I'm just trying to point myself in a direction, and I'll correct my course as I go.

I am the most fit person I know aside from my female friend who does 10k races. This is why I'm here. I'm at the gym 5 days a week and making up my own diet and buying supplements I think might help at the grocery store. The problem is I have no way of knowing if anything I'm doing is correct lol. I'm just making crap up and roughly following stuff I read. I don't want to continue down a path that is doing me no good is my whole reason for starting this thread.

What do you mean by the "hollywood look"? could you give me an example? I was working out next to a guy the other day that looked exactly how I would like to look, I don't know how to explain it though. In the hour I was in the weight room he did bench, decline, db presses, bb curls and db curls. I just want to be able to go to the beach or lake, take my shirt off and feel good about the way I look.

I just shamelessly googled "hot guy" but I didn't find a good picture of what I would like to look like.

Thanks again guys.


I feel like this is the best way to go about this.

Make a vague overall longterm goal like: Gain Mass, or Move heavy things, etc; without putting any actual numbers on it.

Then make a short term goal like: gain 10lbs of scale weight & 25lbs added to all my lifts. Then work until you get the short term goals, then adjust you next ST goal based off how you feel after getting the last one.

Not everyone will have success like this, but I have approached anything I've ever accomplished in life like this. It was when my LT goal was too specific that i often failed.

(Sorry about my spelling, I'm a work.)


I think in his case, (5'6 110lbs)??, it should be a no brainer that he needs to gain some serious mass. But it still depends on if he wants some fat with the muscle or whatnot.

And by "hollywood look", I mean, lots of abs and not much of anything else really.

I think posting a picture would be in order as well.



Going from 110 pounds to being built and looking good nekkid will definitely require adding muscle and some bodyfat. That's why I specified Faber's look as 145 with low bodyfat, and told the guy to plan on adding 30 or so pounds of muscle, not just scale weight.

Sure, he could do a sloppy bulk, add 50 pounds by the end of this year, and look like crap... or... he could follow the advice in the articles I linked to before, do a clean and consistent bulk, and gradually get where he wants to go.

Hopefully he realizes that it'll probably be best to "overshoot" his goal a bit, so that he can cut down to a great-looking physique when he's ready for it.

Even if that was the dude's goal, it's something we'd persuasively talk him out of and enlighten him as to the benefits of training the entire body, and not just specific bodyparts, right? (That's rhetorical, hopefully.)

And by the by, if you're referring to the "classic" Brad Pitt in Fight Club-look, Pitt was around 160 pounds in the movie (at 5'10"), so even that will require adding significant muscle from where he's starting.

Why, so we can better visualize just how underweight he is? A picture of the dude wouldn't hurt, but I certainly wouldn't say it's "in order" or necessary to give further advice.


Here's the thing though, those "longterm goals" you mentioned aren't goals, they're ideas. A goal is something you're able to accomplish at some point (in the future, obviously). If the "goal"/idea is as vague as "gain mass", when does he know he's reached it, at 140 pounds? 160 pounds? 210?

What you suggested, knowing the underlying reason why you go to the gym day after day, is obviously an essential part of any plan.

I definitely agree with adapting future goals based on progress and what you've achieved so far. If the goal is to hit 130 pounds by October, and it's September and you're 115, you have to change something about your training and/or nutrition (although, in this example, you would've/should've noticed such slow progress well-beforehand.)

I get that this format worked for you, and that's cool, but many people see success following a SMART goal plan: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Based.

Mike Robertson wrote a great piece about it in this Figure Athlete article (yes, it's on FA, TMUSCLE's sister site, but what he has to say is absolutely relevant here.)



That's common. It does take discipline, but if you want it bad enough, you'll tough it out because you know it's worth it, and you're wasting your time in the gym if you don't.

Wait until you read about Joe DeFranco's "Hour of Power" in the "Cure for Skinny" article. Good luck with that. :wink:

That seems like a fairly quick clip. Like I said, too much cardio (especially if it's done before you lift) will negate much of the work your doing with nutrition. For a warm-up, try to stick to 5-10 minutes, tops.

If that's your hobby, that's fine. You don't need to drop it entirely, but like I said, if you have a big/long wakeboard session planned, try to have something to eat before you go, and either drink a protein/carb shake while you're out or have one as soon as you're done to minimize the calories burned.

Fair enough. I can't handle milk in large "doses" either, but I can handle about 12 ounces every few hours. Some people go the Lactaid route, some ditch the milk altogether. Goat milk is also an option, same high calories, protein, and fat, but many people who can't tolerate cow milk can handle it well. Problem is that it's usually at least twice as expensive as traditional milk. If you want to give it a try, it might be worth picking up a quart or two.

The milk is meant to be a convenient source of high-quality calories, protein, fats, and carbs. You can do the same by mixing up a big batch of a homemade weight-gainer shake. I'm not a fan of Muscle Milk, so I'd go for Metabolic Drive Complete, a few pieces of fruit, liquid of choice (coconut milk, juice, water), maybe some peanut butter or nuts. Jot down what you mix in and tally up the numbers, just so you know what you've made, and have it throughout the day.


I don't think you need to post a picture BUT make sure you take some for your own reference. You'll be glad you did.

I also don't think it hurts to read the threads in the bodybuilding forums and the strength forums even if your goals might be different. There is a lot of knowledge to be had there that can really help you out. I am obviously not a bodybuilder but I have learned the most from reading bodybuilding topics while deciding intelligently how to apply it to myself and my goals.


Although it may not seem like it I do read this forum A LOT. I have read all the articles you linked me by the way. Very informative, i'll definitely be changing a lot of my routine. The hour of power seems pretty rough! I'm in this though, an hour of power twice a week? I'm game.

Thank you everyone for your help thus far, I feel much more confident about what I'm doing.

This was taken before I even stepped into the gym for the first time. I believe at this point I am 114 lbs.

I'm not sure how I'm supposed to post a picture here. Linking it from photobucket as an image did not work and uploading it didn't seem to do anything.


I have a picture I took in some shorts, no nekkid pictures though lol. Here is a link to it:



sorry if i'm late to the party.

i'm not sure i understand this rational. why would he eat less? that would just make him reach his goal slower.

while his 'end result' may be before mine (for example) we should both be trying to reach that goal as soon as possible.


Not a bad frame to start with, man. Based on your lats and shoulders so far, if you keep lifting consistently and feed yourself, your body will respond just the way you want.

Just don't skip the leg work. (Noticing the long shorts.)