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Thread: Help transitioning from beginner/intermediate to intermediate/beyond

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  1. #1 in progress.
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    University of Tennessee, Knoxville

    Help transitioning from beginner/intermediate to intermediate/beyond


    Hello, and first of all thanks for the read and future help/criticism. I consider myself a mostly-dedicated lifter, and have been the past few years. I'll give you a little history about myself in this section. I started out the "runt" of my group of friends - just a little guy with zero muscle on my entire body. I doubt I weighted 135-140lbs, but I was just a little under 6' tall, so you can imagine my thin-ness. At some point during my junior year of highschool, I decided I was tired of being the little guy. The problem is, the only sport I ever really played in highschool was track, so I didn't have much knowledge of weightlifting. Still, after grabbing a membership to the local YMCA, I started working out with a few friends before school during my senior year. I haven't stopped lifting since, and am entering my sophomore year of college. That means I've been working out a solid two years, my only breaks being one two week vacation to the beach, and maybe a week very sparingly here and there for a family trip. This has caused me to gain about 30lbs over the past two years, to the point I'm now the largest & strongest in my group of friends.. yet, I still feel like I'm virtually knowledgeless in the sport of bodybuilding. I would really like to call myself an intermediate lifter, but I know that's really not the case.. however I'm looking towards gaining this status and eventually progressing into the healthy lifestyle of an advanced lifter at some point in the upcoming future.

    About My Body

    I know that advice can only come from afar via the internet, without really knowing anything about my body, my routine, rest times, etc. I know all any of you can really do is guess when it comes to advice, but I welcome any sort of feedback to this and hopefully the information I give you to work with allows you to at least make those guesses educated. Anyways, I'm now 19 years old - going on 20 in October. I'm 6' even and weigh between 170-175 (it fluctuates). My metabolism is a beast.. I'm that skinny kid who can literally eat whatever I want, and any sign of the fat is gone from my body by the next morning. It has been an uphill battle since the beginning of my lifting to gain the precious pounds that I have, however my diet hasn't been dedicated to say the least. I'll get to that later though. I have horrible arm genetics, but my legs are naturally strong and muscular. I've always felt I have broad shoulders, which have lead me to a wide back and chest - but my arms seem to stay comparatively small. I wish I could give accurate measurements, but I honestly haven't measured anything since the very beginning. The weakpoint and holes in my routine come down to three things I can pinpoint.. the first is my legs. I used to work out six days a week instead of five for the first six months of my training, including a leg day as that sixth day. Again, very good leg genetics, and I was quickly squatting a legit 315 (again, this was only 6th months after never working out in my life). However, as any vain lifter comes to find out.. not many people notice leg gains. So, since I didn't have pencil legs or whatever, I slowly stopped doing legs. This has to change. Next, my stamina is horrendous. I haven't really ran consistently since starting to lift because my metabolism keeps me naturally cut and thin, but my stamina has suffered drastically. And finally, my abs are another hole - again, my metabolism helps.. even doing abs sparingly I can still see definition and get the "oohs" and "aahhs" from people who haven't really seen a well-trained six pack.

    Also, a reason I haven't jumped into one of the premade workouts listed around the site is because I'm scared I'll lose the size/definition of my smaller muscle groups by focusing solely on the larger ones.. and its taken me so long to gain that little size on my arms that I now have.


    So, where do I want to go from here? Well, first of all I'd naturally like to get bigger. I'm going to go ahead and say "as big as possible", just for the hell of it. I want to call myself a member of the 1000lb club - I shouldn't be very far off at all, as my 1RM is likely close to 300 and I'm progressing quickly with deadlifts, but squats.. brings me to my next point. I want to be well rounded, which means incorporating legs into my workout once again as an integral part, as well as working on some cardio to at least allow me the average stamina for an ex-athelte. Most of all, I want to lead a healthy lifestyle throughout college and into my life beyond. I don't know if I've officially tasted the "lifestyle of a bodybuilder", but what I've done so far has greatly - and I mean GREATLY - improved my quality of living.. and I want to improve and increase this with a better appearance and more well-rounded body.

    I want to start this new chapter of my life in two weeks. That's when I move back into my apartment at school - meaning I have more control over what I buy/eat, and a much easier time getting to the gym. I'm looking for a routine that will allow me to accomplish these goals, but will still let me workout between 4-5 days a week. Three seems like far too little (honestly, so does 4), but six is too much for me to manage with all of college's other responsibilities.


    I'm in college, so, alcohol is a part of my life. Its usually only friday-saturday night social thing, but I can put amounts down just like any other college kid on these nights. I'd like to not cut back on this too much, but am more than willing if needed - although I won't completely quit. It's a social thing, you know? Anyways, another constraint is classes/sleep. I aim to get at least 8 hours every night and 10 on weekends, but its not -always- possible.

    Diet and Supplements

    To be honest, my diet blows. I know. I've read and am reading up on it, and plan on turning over a new leaf in two weeks. But for now, my diet really consists of crap. I eat out alot - not necessarily fast food, although KFC/Taco Bell is on the menu at least twice a week. I eat alot of Chilis, cheap mexican restaurants, O'Charlies, stuff like that. But again, in two weeks, this will drastically change. The good parts of my diet are the fact that I really don't eat many sweets or desert - I've lost the taste for it over the past two years. I also don't drink carbonated drinks outside of a mixed drink here and there for alcoholic purposes, and haven't for years. I probably haven't had one sober in at least 7-9 years. I also drink 128oz of water every day, without fail. Water and the occasional sweet tea or koolaid thing is really all I drink. Supplement wise, I take a GNC brand Iso-28 protein shake (28g of whey protein, 4g of carbs, 140 calories) immediately before AND after I work out, as well as a serving of GNC Amplified Creatine 189 each day (on a 6 on, 4 off cycle).

    Workout Routine (all weights in lbs)

    This is more or less the exact same workout routine I've followed in the gym for the past two years, or my entire weightlifting career. I don't think its working anymore - the gains are minimal if at all, although it has single-handedly taken a scrawny little boy and turned him in to a well-muscled man. I've also NEVER deloaded (I've always been to confused/scared to try it), although that's what will happen if that's what needs to happen.

    Triceps Day
    -Close-grip Bench Press 4x8
    -135, 165, 185, 205
    -Unweighted Dips 4x25
    -Skullcrushers (flat & inclined, alternating weekly) 4x8
    -70, 75, 80, 85
    -V-bar Cable Pulldown 4x8
    -160, 170, 180, 190*
    -Palm-down Cable Tricep Pulldowns (one arm at a time) 4x8
    -65, 70, 75, 80*

    Back Day
    -Deadlift 4 sets, 8-6-4-2 reps
    -135, 185, 205, 225
    -Wide-grip Pull Ups 4x8
    -Lat Weighted Pull Downs (not cable, machine you load weight on) 4x8
    -120, 140, 160, 180
    -Seated Cable Rows
    -130, 140, 150, 160*
    -Lat Cable Pull Downs
    -130, 140, 150, 160*

    Shoulder Day
    -Incline Barbell Press 4 sets, 8-6-4-2
    -135, 165, 185, 205
    -Dumbell Seated Shoulder Press 4x8
    -50s, 55s, 60s, 65s
    -Shoulder Press Weighted Machine (not cables, load weight onto) 4x8
    -90, 140, 160, 180
    -Seated "Birds" (two dumbbells at sides, raised outwards arms straight) 4x8
    -20-25lb dumbbells
    -Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Raises (raising straight arms one at a time palm down, weight coming above shoulder)
    -20-25lb dumbbells
    -Smith Machine Shrugs (Front & back supersets) 4x12
    -120, 140, 160, 180

    Biceps Day
    -Seated Ez-bar Curls 4x8
    -70, 75, 80, 85
    -Inclined Dumbbell Curls 4x16 (alternating one arm at a time, 8 reps per arm per set)
    -35lb dumbbells (unless I can't finish a set, in which case I take a few seconds then finish that set with 30lb dumbbells, continuing the next set with 35lbs - usually only happens on second to last or the last set)
    -Arnold Curls (standing weights in hands, pulling it across body to touch upper chest) 4x16 (alternating one arm at a time, 8 reps per arm per set)
    -Palm-up Cable One-armed Curls 4x16 (alternating one arm at a time)
    -60, 65, 70, 75*
    -Forearm Behind the Back Barbell Curls 4x15

    Chest Day
    -Flat Barbell Bench Press 4 sets 8-6-4-2 reps
    -185, 205, 225, 245**
    -Flye Machine 4x8
    -not sure the weight, I just start on the 4th rung from the bottom and end up maxing the machine
    -Flat Dumbbell Press 4x8
    -65lb dumbbells, 70lb, 75lb, 80lb
    -Chest Press Weighted Machine 4x8
    -120, 140, 160, 180

    *Weights probably not accurate, merely what is listed on the cable/machine.
    **I've experienced a recent decrease in my bench weight since I came home from college and reverted back to my highschool-era gym. It was fine for the first year I worked out, but I grew accustomed to my college's fitness center and I thought that was the problem at first.. except I never got back into my groove over the summer. At my peak, right before school got out, my best bench routine was 205x8, 225x8, 245x4, 275x3. I never got a chance to max at this strength, unfortunately.


    All in all, I'm really just looking to put on more muscle and go from above-average into the extraordinary. I want to be big, but healthy.. and strong, but smart and well rounded. I will completely understand if all I get as a response to this is "your routine blows", and if that's the best you can give me then that's what I'll take. I'll also accept -ANY- criticism, but I'll be twice as thankful if it's constructive.

  2. #2
    Wannabebig Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Gloucester, UK
    Seems like a bit of a cookie cutter reply, but id summarise by suggesting SS routine and drink shedloads of whole milk :P.
    My online journal:

    Deadlift: 297.5lbs 1x5
    Squat: 330lbs 2x5
    Bench: 242.5 1rm

    Total: 870lbs

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    I think you should look into Baby Got Back routine which is a premade routine on this site. It is a 4 day split with a mixture of compound and isolation excersizes. I know the feeling of worrying when your doing low volume thinking its not doing anything, so i reakon BGB is a good one for you.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by XMadmanX View Post
    I think you should look into Baby Got Back routine which is a premade routine on this site. It is a 4 day split with a mixture of compound and isolation excersizes. I know the feeling of worrying when your doing low volume thinking its not doing anything, so i reakon BGB is a good one for you.
    I agree, you may like the bgb routine.. give it a look. I have used it before and i liked it. And there is a little room for variation with it too, which you may like..

    Like you said i would continue to research diet, and look for the stickys in the diet section about what a bodybuilder eats.. that could help you out when you are shopping for urself in a few weeks.

    As i'm sure you already may know ur routine really isnt very good at all. But it sounds like you are looking to correct that now which is good. Trust me tho i bet when you start doing squats frequently, you will notice your overall strength increasing.

    It really sounds like you know what you need to do, you just need to start doing it.. I might suggest opening a account and tracking your calories on there for a while so you can get a good idea just what you are eating in regards to pro/carbs/fat. and the amount of calories you take in per day too.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    I think what you should do is try and go on a slow steady bulk, It sounds like you shouldnt have much trouble with fat gain so you shouldnt have to be overly anal eating 100% clean.

    As far as cardio you could look into doing HIIT a couple days a week as well.

    honestly tho it sounds like u have a good head on ur shoulders and you will figure out what you need to do and get it done... Oh and dont worry about the drinking too much, its alright in moderation.
    Last edited by hintsas5; 08-02-2009 at 08:03 PM.

  6. #6
    Squat Heavy, Squat Often Cards's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    i agree with the ss and bgb. the link to the bgb routine is in my sig.
    H: 5'7" W:185
    Goals: 495 -315 -585

    “Persistence Persistence.” - Calvin Coolidge.
    "I'm so pissed at how dumb this thread is that I think I'll go kick my cat. Again"-Belial
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  7. #7 in progress.
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    University of Tennessee, Knoxville
    Ok, so, I've been reading up on a few things pretty aggressively since making this post. First of all, I appreciate all the help and suggestions. I'm definitely looking into using to keep track of my dieting. I'm headed to the gym right after this to go ahead and hit legs this week and next week with my old routine just to knock some of the early soreness out before I hit my new diet/routine/etc when I move. As for this new routine, I've been reading about BGB and it seems like a really interesting and fun program - not to mention an extreme change of pace, which is something I definitely feel I need. But, my only question/concern is that it seems like I'm sacrificing working my arms for my legs/extra back. Will this still promote ample arm growth? Also, the volume seems to be lower than my previous routine.. does that mean I was overtraining?

  8. #8
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    You worry too much about hitting the arms enough to grow. It's been proven over and over that direct arm work is not needed to have impressive arm growth. A friend of mine [and a writer for the old HG magazine] had a very impressive build and was VERY strong. His routines looked something along these lines:

    Squat 3x5
    OH Press 3x5

    Bench 3x5
    Rows 3x5

    He was able to reach 250 lbs, 12% BF, 18" arms, and had incredible strength utilizing these ultra abreviated routines.

    There are numerous examples I can give you, but it's worth trying it for yourself. Have confidence with routines like BGB.

    Off Road Journal

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