T Nation

Workout Plan - Need Input

I’m wondering if I can get some advise on my workout plan starting Monday 7/27.
I’d like to focus on building mostly my upper body (chest, back, shoulders) while burning some fat. I’m 6’1" and about 160lbs, probably 17% body fat. I do not tolerate carbs well as they seem to go to fat. I can drop fat quickly on a low carb diet and gain muscle easily on high protein/high carb so I am hoping I can combine those two ideas.

At this point money isn’t really a problem so here’s a quick run down on the supplements I have and my workout plan, hopefully someone can let me know if this will allow me to achieve my goals in a good time frame since I’m willing to put in the effort. My cal maint level (office job) is about 1800-1900 cal.

Mo/We/Fri AM:
Pre: Micro-PA, Indigo3G, 1x Plazma
Workout (Superset): Trap Bar Deadlift Cluster, Farmers Carry, KB Swings, 45s REST, Repeat - includes another 1 or 2 scoops Plazma during, MAG-10 POST 1hr & another MAG-10 an hour after that

Mo/We/Fri PM:
Pre: Micro-PA, Indigo3G, 1x Plazma, 1-2x Plazma during
Post: MAG-10 twice, 2-3 scoops Metabolic Drive & zinc/mag supp. before bed

Now this is where things get a little messy. I’d like to alternate days, like:
Monday: Shoulders - Mil Press, Upright Row, Front Plate Raise, Side Raise, KB Snatch
Wednes: Chest/Back - Pullups, Bench Pullover, Bent Over Row, Dumb Bell Bench, Ring Reverse Row, Dumb Bell Fly, Dips, Ring Pushup Circuit
Friday - Same as Monday

Then Week 2 begins with Chest/Back then Shoulders then Chest/Back.

On Tuesday/Thursday I am wondering if a 24 hour fast or intermittent fast would be a good idea to make sure I don’t gain fat or allow for extra fat loss? I can put down 3000-4000 cal on my workout days because I workout twice those days, but what about my rest days?

I can easily add in a NEPA but am not sure what my diet should be like those days. I can follow something like the V-Diet those days if needed. Any advise on this would be great. To me it sounds like a pretty good plan but I may be out thinking myself here.

Other supplements I have available: Finibars, Metabolic Drive, Carbolin 19, HOT-ROX, Rhodiola Rosea, Krill Oil & CLA, Creatine, Turmeric, L-Glutamine

I think you need to think more about food and basic strength exercises and less about supplements and complicating things.

Just to give you a picture, I’m roughly the same height and lean-ness, approximately 30lbs heavier and am still way, way, way off the point where the big basics have stopped working for me. Unless you are going to surprise me with a 1200lb total or similar, you are a beginner and should embrace it and train as such.

^what this fellow said

Training lower body is very demanding metabolically, and should be a part of most decent programs.

Also ditch those upright rows.

Good morning,

Thank you for the fast reply. I do like the idea of just focusing on the big compound exercises but right now I am at a point where I’d like to put more focus on upper body. I have gained size from programs like super squats in the past when I was already 190-200lbs but even at that weight my upper body is small, especially in the shoulders & chest.

My mindset is if I’m going to put in a lot of effort to put on, say, 20lbs of mass I would rather the bulk of that not be in my legs. I can always focus on that later because I do respond well to squats. My work schedule only allows me to workout 3 days a week or so with limited access to a gym.

At times, I go on the road for a week or two at a time and my only option is to bring a few kettle bells along and use whatever the hotel might have. I can certainly focus on the major exercises and build up strength and size with them, but not until winter when work slows down and I have consistent access to a gym. Thoughts?


Ok - so should I focus on the major compound exercises when I have gym access and do something else when I don’t? The major issues are work, travel and being on call for work.The travel and on call are what kill my gym access for an entire week at a time usually.

In those situations I really only have access to what I have at home or can bring to a hotel. Is it still worth it to focus on major lifts when I may miss two weeks a month sometimes? I guess I’m not sure what to do at this point lol

For advice on a workout plan you would need to actually provide your workout plan.
All you have done is named a list of exercises and named a heap of supplements for some unknown reason.

A workout plan would involve listing the rep ranges that you are working in and whether you are ramping up to a top set or doing straight sets. If straight sets then how many etc…

As for your split it is terrible.

Dump it immediately and do a proper split. Doesn’t mater which split you choose but it needs to be balanced.
Full body
Upper/ lower
Push /pull
Push/pull/ legs
Back/chest, legs, shoulders/arms.
Chest/biceps, legs, shoulders/triceps, back

Train your damn legs .

Forget about fasting. If you are worried about gaining fat then stop eating crap food.
You are 6’1" and 160lbs. focus on growing muscle all over your entire body. If you stay clear of crap food and train hard with a balanced program you will build muscle and burn fat.
Forget trying to make your own program and choose one of the many on this website.

Try this one:


I’d also add that, while it’s theoretically possible to grow a massive, muscular upper body without the wheels to go with it, I’ve rarely seen it work that way in real life.

If you can superset deadlifts, farmers carries, and swings, you’re slacking.

Keep the Plazma and MAG-10, and set the rest aside for now.

You’re overthinking and underworking. Pick a good strength program and give it everything you have for six months. Keep your carbs focused around your workouts (plazma and MAG-10 help with that) to maximize muscle gains while keeping fat gain to a minimum (or to minimize muscle loss while losing fat).

60% of your muscular potential is from the waist down. That means 60% of your metabolic potential is from the waist down. Which means that if you’re not working your legs, you’re spinning your wheels.

You are brutally over thinking this. I would just reiterate what has already been stated, you will likely see marginal progress at best from this training plan. Focus on getting a stable diet of actual real food not a grocery list of supplements, and use any program suggestion thats already been made.

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
You’re overthinking and underworking.[/quote]
This is it in a nutshell.

No way in the world should you be juggling a dozen different supplements when you don’t have a basic well-designed training routine or simple nutrition plan in place.

Your thing about travel is a legit issue, sort of. When it comes up, do the best you can. If that means a halfway-decent workout in the hotel gym, fine. If it means a $10 day pass at the nearest commercial gym, do that 2-3 days a week since money isn’t an issue.

In any case, if travel is a regularly recurring part or your life, you need to be 100% dedicated and consistent to an effective plan (I’m talking training and nutrition) when you’re based at home.

There are tons of simple training routines on here, and absolutely anything is better than how you’re currently training. As far as eating, start with these:

To address the desire to add mass to the upper body and not the lower…

I get it. I had the same goal for a while, and still do to a certain extent. I have narrow clavicles and when I gain weight I store fat in the hips, creating a “pear” shape rather than a “V”. A few years ago this had gotten bad and even though I had developed a pretty strong squat and relatively big legs, I stopped squatting and deadlifting completely for over a year to “focus on the upper body” (and consequently lost a lot of leg size). This was a mistake.

I suggest you keep the lower body movements in your training, just don’t necessarily focus on hypertrophy with them. Train lower body like an athlete – for strength, power, and some conditioning work. You can limit the total volume, hypertrophy techniques, even overall frequency. That’s what I do.

Right now I’m using this split:

Squat/Power Clean/Abs
Back (including deadlift)

I also like to use instead of a typical upper/lower split, something more like this:

Pressing (Bench Focus)
Pulling (back) and Squats
Pressing (OHP Focus)
Pulling (back) and Squats

This allows me to get some lat / upper back and even bicep work on the “lower” days.

As others have mentioned, that’s a TON of supplements. I guess if you’ve got the money for it, it’s not gonna hurt, but damn. I use whey isolate, Plazma, and occasionally z12 to sleep. And creatine about twice a week, which happens to be about how often I remember to take it.

You also don’t need intermittent fasting to stay lean while building muscle. I’ve never been above 12ish percent bodyfat in my life, and I don’t do any weird dieting tricks.

Have you considered getting a gym membership at a national chain, like 24 hour fitness? Or maybe a couple memberships? Like Chris said, if money isn’t an issue, this would probably be worthwhile. And if it is an issue, spend your supplement money on that instead.

As for workouts, keep things simple. When you do have access to a real gym, this should DEFINITELY be your focus. When you don’t (if the options already outlined won’t work), there are substitute exercises you can use with minimal equipment. Pushups are a great compound exercise, and can be manipulated to make them more difficult. Pull ups as well. Pull ups are still my staple back exercise. Handstand pushups if you can do them… dips if you can find a way to make that work. Really, just those things are sufficient to stimulate growth in your upper body, if that’s all you care about.

24 hour fitness is a good idea, I hadn’t considered that. Things like that are the key to what will keep me on track when traveling for work. I have found a workout and diet plan by Jason Ferruggia that I’m going to commit to which included an extra guide to working out while on the road without access to a gym. It seems to match perfectly with what I’m looking for given my inconsistent schedule. I appreciate everyones input.

I’m still a beginner, so take the following with that in mind.

Read Dan John articles, perhaps starting with https://www.T-Nation.com/training/do-this-not-that-dan-john-chris-Shugart

That one especially put things into a better perspective for you, and it backs up what dagill2/TX iron/cparker/Chris Colucci/etc. have told you here. All of Dan’s articles are good (as are the other contributors’ here).

I agree with what everyone here has said. I’m going to share with you some thing that I wish I had known when I first started out. I trained for several years without getting results, because my diet, supplements, and work-outs weren’t done correctly. I finally decided that if I wanted results, I needed a trainer. I learned quite a bit. I don’t use a trainer anymore, but I still see results all the time. I will discuss some things that were flawed in your proposed work-out scheme and give you some pointers on how to develop a plan that works.

In General:
You are 6’1" and 160lbs. You are SKINNY. You do not need to fast. I will discuss diet later. I know you don’t want to train legs, but you have to realize that everything is connected an you do NOT want to develop imbalances, which can lead to injury.

Also, squatting and deadlifting are the two main moves for legs. They are, when done correctly, in and of themselves truly full body exercises. If you want a bigger upper body, squat and deadlift. I have gotten more gains on my back from deadlifting than from anything else. My core strength has gone through the roof from squatting and deadlifting. You are shortchanging yourself and cheating yourself if you are going to skip those in the name of only training your upper body.

Don’t over-think this and don’t spend a ton. Just take what you need to get you through a work-out. Know what is in your supplements and why you are taking them before you take them. Read articles about them. Choose the best ones for you. Take a pre-workout. Many have stimulants in them. If you are working out before bed, you might not want one with a stimulant.

I love the ones with stimulants, but I work-out in the morning. If you want to get big, take creatine. I take mine post-workout because my pre-workout has creatine in it already. Take whey protein to supplement your diet. Know what is in your whey, because not all wheys are created equal. I don’t know how much I like the so-called mass-building wheys. I think they are just a bunch of sugar for the most part. I have taken one before, but I prefer a whey with low carb (I like to cut a lot, although I do cycle between bulking and cutting). Know how much carb you want in your whey, and get the right whey for you. The whey I take has about 4g carb per serving.

You are under-weight. You have the opposite problem of so many people. You do not need to fast. My advice is to eat small meals every 2-3 hours that consist of clean food. So many people like to over-think this. For someone like you, I would not make this any harder than it needs to be. Eat a meal that has a good amount of protein (chicken, eggs, Greek Yogurt, lean beef, fish), clean carbs (fruits and vegetables, sweet potatoes, rice, oatmeal), and clean fats (extra virgin olive oil, omega-3’s). Eat until you don’t feel hungry (but not until you are stuffed/full). Some people have to get really picky and count calories, fat grams, carbs, protein. I would read articles on diet and know what those ranges are for your target weight, just so you know what you are looking for. But, in your case, you do not need to cut and you probably are not prepping for a bodybuilding contest, so just keep it simple, eat foods you like, eat often, know what is in the food you are eating, and keep it clean.

There is a lot to say here, but I will try to keep it as simple and straight-forward as possible. If you are new to lifting, you probably should be doing a full body work-out 3 times a week. The work-out should last probably 30-45 minutes. That is your best bet. Choose compound moves (moves that involve multiple joints: e.g. bench press, squat, deadlift, bent over rows) and do 3-4 sets of 8-10 of each. Have about 90s rest in between sets. Each workout should involve an exercise for chest, back, legs (quads and hammies), shoulders, and abs/core. Know how to do each exercise before you do them. There are videos on youtube and various websites. Watch them. Know your form. If you are doing barbell bench press, have a spotter or use the Smith machine. If you don’t know how to do an exercise, don’t do it. Don’t trust that some other dude in the gym is doing an exercise correctly and copy him. Plan your work-out, watch videos and read articles. There are so many good articles on proper form for bench press, squat, and deadlift. Read them. Watch the videos. On your days off from full-body workouts, if you feel the need to work-out, you can do cardio. If you are trying to bulk, keep the intensity low. When it comes to cutting, high intensity interval training will be your friend. There will come a point where full body workouts won’t cut it for you anymore. You will need to re-visit your split and probably change to more of a 4-day split such as a push/pull split or an upper body/lower body split. You will want to start those work-outs with compound moves and finish it with isolations. Keep the work-out simple, about 6 exercises per workout. Give that time, and it may not be enough for you, and you might then want to change to more of a bodybuilder split where you train one muscle group per day (i.e. Monday-Chest, Tuesday-Legs, Wed-Arms, Thurs-Back, Fri-Shoulders). Once every 6-8 weeks you probably want to deload. I usually change my work-outs up at least once every 6-8 weeks. Sometimes during that period I will treak the rep ranges, rest, or intensity. When you write your work-outs, you should know what your goals are beforehand and plan accordingly. The exercises you choose, the weight you choose, and the rep ranges will all be defined by your goals. Read articles about rep ranges (gaining strength is 1-6 reps, gaining size is about 8-12, gaining endurance is 15+ reps per set) and total amount of reps you should do. But, most important, make sure that you are training every part of your body if you are going to train. If you start skipping major muscle groups, you will develop imbalances, it will affect your physique, and you may develop injuries.

I’ve been training for years and I am constantly reading and watching videos. I am constantly improving my form and learning new things. But, if you want success, that is what you do–keep learning.

I hope this helps.

If youre going to take all those supps might as well get on template witha good amount of volume: look up the kingbeef thread and 5/3/1 beach body challenge