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I need some experts to breakdown my planned workout routine and diet. My goals are to put on size without putting on too much fat. I have been training for about 14yrs (with a 2yr break), and have a decent understanding of lifting however, my workouts for the past 9 months as well as my diet (not enough calories) have not been very focused or intense. The result is a loss of 25lbs of muscle and fat. I need to put the muscle back on as I am now at a very low 150lbs. I have already put on 1.5lbs in 2 days and feel like I can get back to 175lbs by the end of the year, but I don't want to stop there, so any positive advice will be much appreciated.




Day 1 Upper Body

Warmup- TRX Circuit: Single Arm Press, Single Arm Santa Throw, Single Leg Burpees;1set; 5reps

each side.

Power move- Hang Cleans: 5sets; 5reps; 60sec rest

Back- DB Bent-over Row: 2sets; reps 12,6,10,5,8,4; 30sec rest

Chest-DB Incline Press: 2sets; reps 12,6,10,5,8,4; 30sec rest

Shoulders-DB Shoulder Press: 2sets; reps 12,6,10,5,8,4; 30sec rest

Traps-DB Shrugs: 2sets; reps 12,6,10,5,8,4; 30sec rest

Biceps-Barbell Curl: 2sets; reps 12,6,10,5,8,4; 30sec rest

Triceps-Skull Crushers: 2sets; reps 12,6,10,5,8,4; 30sec rest


Day 2 Lower Body

Warmup- TRX Circuit: Single Leg Jump Squats, Single Leg Jump Lunges, Single Leg Burpees; 1set;5 reps each side.

Power Move-Squats: 5sets; 5 reps; 60sec rest

Quads/Hamstrings-Leg Press: 2sets; reps 12,6,10,5,8,4; 30sec rest

Calves-Calve Raises on Cable Leg Press or Calve Raise Machine: 2sets; reps 12,6,10,5,8,4; 30sec rest

Abs/Core-Hanging Leg Raises: 2sets; 10reps; 60sec rest

Abs/Core-Side Hanging Leg Raises: 2sets; 10reps each side; 60sec rest

Abs/Core-Crunch Machine: 2sets; reps 12,6,10,5,8,4; 30sec rest



Day 3 Cardio

Cardio- Heavy Bag: Work 20 min

HIIT- row machine, treadmill, stairs, elliptical: 1min high intensity 1min low intensity


Day 4 Upper Body

Warmup- TRX Circuit: Single Arm Press, Single Arm Santa Throw, Single Leg Burpees; 1set 5 reps each side.

Power move- Deadlift: 5sets; 5reps; 60sec rest

Back- DB Bent-over Row 2sets; reps 12,6,10,5,8,4; 30sec rest

Chest- DB Incline Press: 2sets; reps 12,6,10,5,8,4; 30sec rest

Shoulders- DB Shoulder Press: 2sets; reps 12,6,10,5,8,4; 30sec rest

Traps- DB Shrugs: 2sets; reps 12,6,10,5,8,4; 30sec reps

Biceps- Barbell Curl: 2sets; reps 12,6,10,5,8,4; 30sec rest

Triceps-Skull Crushers: 2sets; reps 12,6,10,5,8,4; 30sec rest


Day 5 Lower Body

Warmup- TRX Circuit: Single Leg Jump Squats, Single Leg Jump Lunges, Single Leg Burpees; 1set; 5reps each side.

Power Move- Stiff Leg Deadlift: 5sets; 5reps; 60sec rest

Quads/Hamstrings- Leg Press: 2sets; reps 12,6,10,5,8,4; 30sec rest

Calves-Calve Raises on Cable Leg Press or Calve Raise Machine: 2sets; reps 12,6,10,5,8,4; 30sec rest

Abs/Core- TRX knees to chest tuck: 2sets; 20reps; 30sec rest

Abs/Core- TRX Knee to shoulder tuck: 2sets; 20reps each side; 30sec rest

Abs/Core- TRX Plank: 2sets; Fatigue reps: 30sec rest


Day 6 Play-Rest

Day 7 Rest




8:45am Breakfast: Smoothie- 8oz organic almond milk, 1 organic banana, 2 tbs organic peanut butter, 1/3 cup oatmeal, half tray of ice.

11:45am Snack: Half a Sweet Potato

2:45pm Lunch: 16 oz Organic Stew- black beans, brown rice, kale, tomatoes, quinoa, carrots, parsley, broccoli, onions, garlic, any leftover vegs.

5:45pm Snack: Organic granola bar smothered in 2 tbs of organic peanut butter

7:30pm Din/Post workout: Same as lunch

10:00pm Snack: 1 avocado with organic ultra thin unsalted tortilla chips


I do not mind eating the same thing 6 days a week, Drink 96 oz of water daily, 1 cup of green tea in the morning.

Saturday is my rest and cheat day, so I will eat whatever I want as long as its plant strong, drink a couple of premium/craft beer or wine.

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A bit confused on the set/rep scheme as you have it listed. For example:


"2sets; reps 12,6,10,5,8,4; 30sec rest"


It notes 2 sets, but has 6 different rep schemes, so I can't tell exactly what you'd do for something like this. If it's just 2 sets for a major body part, what exactly are the reps you're doing for each set? Or, is this some sort of super-set concept? If you can clarify on that, it'll definitely help understand what you're doing better. That being said....


If you're just getting back to training after a longer layoff, hitting all major groups twice within a few days of each other is probably more than you need. Coming back to training after time off usually means you get more return for less time spent training vs. someone who has not taken a break in some time and is stuck at a plateau for progress. I'd consider something easier for the comeback that revolves around the main compound lifts that yield the best returns with more rest time. For example:


Day 1 - Leg training, throw in a few sets of ab work if you feel compelled, but it's not really necessary when just getting back to normal training again

Day 2 - rest

Day 3 - Upper back and chest training

Day 4 - rest

Day 5 - Lower back and shoulder work

Day 6 - rest

Repeat cycle after day 6, if needing more recovery time, add an extra rest day in on day 7.


For lifts, I'd suggest something more of the following -


Leg training -

- Squats done at least to parallel (preferably a few inches deeper), 2-3 warmup sets, then 5 sets of 8-10 reps (I normally like to suggest lower rep sets, but for getting back to regaining proper form after a break, better to go lighter with more reps than heavy with potentially bad form). Rest at least 2.5 minutes between sets, up to 4 minutes if necessary. It's not about sucking wind between and during your sets, it's about doing quality work for maximum results, and longer rest periods vs. shorter ones will make your sets more effective, you'll definitely have more energy to lift heavier. Remember, you say you want to put on weight, and making your lifting sessions into cardio-esque training with short rest periods will be contradictory to your goal.

- Glute/ham raises (if your gym has a glute/ham setup), 3x15 @ bodyweight (or, as many as you can manage per set, making sure to get at least 10 reps). If no glute/ham machine is available, do either leg curls seated or lying down, 3 sets of 10-12 reps or 1-legged Romanian deadlifts, 3 sets of 10-12 reps per leg

- Calf work is only needed if you have really small or underdeveloped calves. Unless that's the case, don't bother spending time on them. If you do them, just 2-3 sets will be plenty.

After proper deep squats done to near failure (or, maybe failure on the last set, but not on all sets) and some good hamstring work, most people should have little urge to do anything but crawl out of the gym if they give it 100%. Should you find that you have ANY energy left and want do do more, then thrown in some lighter leg presses, using only the bottom half of your foot to press the weight with legs shoulder width or slightly wider. 2-3 final sets of 15-20 reps and that should cure any feeling of needing to do more.


Upper back / chest training -

- Barbell or dumbbell rows, 2-3 warm up sets, then 4 sets @ 8-10 reps/set, rest 2-3 minutes between sets

- Close-grip (hands about 18" apart, close to torso width) flat barbell bench presses with no bounce off chest, 2-3 warm up sets, 3-4 working sets @ 8-10 reps/set, rest 2-3 minutes between sets

- Pull-ups (if you can do them), 4 sets of 8-10 reps, otherwise medium to wide grip pulldowns, same set/rep scheme

- Incline dumbbell bench press, 3 sets of 10-12 reps, 2-3 minutes rest between sets

- Barbell or dumbbell shrugs, 3-4 sets of 10-20 reps (I do better with higher reps, but everyone is different), no excessive "body english" to move the weight, if you can't shrug it without a bounce each time, it's too damned heavy for you, so drop the weight.

Forget adding in arm work, if you're doing the lifts here you won't need to do anything for triceps (torso width grip benching will take care of that part), and biceps will get plenty from the upper back work. Some of the guys I know with the biggest arms don't ever do any direct work, so if you hit the compound lifts hard and heavy, there's little to no need for most people to waste their time on arm stuff.


Lower back/shoulder training -

- Barbell deadlifts, 3-4 warm-up sets, then 5 sets of 8-10 reps to work on keeping proper form without going too heavy initially

- Standing barbell overhead press (use the power rack for this one, or, power clean the weight into position if you wish) - 2-3 warm-up sets, then 4 sets of 8-10 reps. Press to the front of the body, lower bar to clavicles on each rep (none of that "lower-to-the-ears-only" garbage here), start each rep from a dead stop on your collarbone. Use a hand position just with hands just outside shoulder width, where your thumbs would be close to touching your front delts at the start of each press.

- Lower back hyperextensions or lower back extension machine (either will be fine), 3 sets of 15-20 reps

- 1-arm dumbbell power clean (one power clean only) and press for each arm, 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps

After these sets, you will find your lower back, core, shoulders and triceps will be taken care of, another reason why there's little to no need for direct ab or arm work in this routine.


Not much more to say about this sort of plan other than that it leaves out the b.s., saves you time from spending a good portion of your sessions wasting it on direct ab/arm work, and gives plenty of bang for the buck. If you're short on time and your endurance is good, it's laid out in a way that on the chest/back and lower back/shoulder days, you can speed things up (if you feel compelled) by alternating the sets for each body part (such as, one set of pull-ups followed by a set of close-grip bench presses) and shortening rest periods down to 60-90 seconds. I don't recommend that at first, perhaps after a few weeks to get acclimated, but that's how I structure my own training, working non-conflicting body parts so I can occasionally shorten rest periods and keep things moving if I'm rushed. Just another option for a program of this sort.


Only other thing to mention is intensity, the most common lacking factor in a LOT of people's programs. Not every set needs to be to failure, rather, every set should be where you don't hold back anything, and give it your all. My sets usually go like this -


Say I'm doing barbell rows, 5 sets of 8 reps with the same weight, warm-up light sets are already over and done. My first working set, I'll get through the 8 reps pretty well, and feel like I might be good for 2-3 more if I fought with everything I had. 2nd set, I get through the 8 reps well enough, probably good for 1-2 more reps if I really fought for them. 3rd set, I get through the 8 reps, but know that one more at most is all I'd have been good for. 4th set, it's a bit of a fight to get that 8th rep in, an extra rep would be a 50/50 chance of completion at best if I'd tried it. 5th and final set, it's a killer to get that last rep in, no chance in hell of making another unless I rested about 10-20 seconds before giving it a try, nothing left in the tank to give to that lift at that point. For lifts with fewer sets (such as 3 sets total), just look at my notes for sets 1, 3 and 5 and that'll give a clear picture of how you should be feeling at that point. I mention intensity as most people gauge their true workout intensity moreso by what they THINK they are capable of giving vs. what they actually are capable of (usually based moreso on one's idea of not wanting to be "too uncomfortable" rather than going all-out and battling to make optimal progress), and many times, they sell themselves short. Basically, if you can converse with someone during your set or have any urge to do so for the first 20-30 seconds or so after your set is done, you're most likely not giving it your all, and proper focus and intensity should be a bigger concern.


It's a long reply, but that's what I'm known for Keep it simple, use effective lifts done well with good form, eat plenty, get enough sleep, and good things will happen.

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I should have explained the rep scheme in my original post, here is an example:

Incline Press- Get 2 sets of dumbbells, one set heavy and one set light. Begin with light weight first for 12reps, immediately get the heavy dumbbells and do 6reps, immediately get the light dumbbells and do 10reps, immediately get the heavy dumbbells and do 5reps, immediately get light dumbbells and do 8reps, immediately get the heavy dumbbells and do 4reps. That is 1set, rest for 30sec and repeat for 2sets.

Its a very challenging rep and set scheme that really leaves me pumped and feels like I get to work on my endurance a bit as well. Originally the workout program came from a very popular muscle magazine (I know I know), but the full program gave me great results in the past, just left me feeling a little tired the next morning for a couple of hours. So I modified it to what you see now.

Although I have not been to the actual gym in 2yrs, I was still working-out using my Ironmaster dumbbell setup for 1.5yrs and TRX Suspension Trainer for the last 6months, with a sprinkle of gym here and there. I was trying to reach for optimum health, which was/is becoming very successful, thanks to my plant strong diet and the TRX being very low impact on my joints and for the first time in a long time (except after a therapeutic massage) I would wake up in the morning without shoulder and/or neck pain. The negative was I also lost 25lbs, and it wasn't all fat. Basically I became a 150lb version of myself at 175, minus muscle mass. So now my goal is to keep my current mobility, put on 25lbs of weight without effecting my body fat percentage, keeping my workouts under 1hr, all while on a plant strong diet and supplement free (trying to be minimally processed when possible). I know its a "I want it all" type of goal, but its worth a shot.

The only reason I choose to go with the upper body lower body split is because I travel for work and don't always have access to a gym, so knocking-out an upper body or lower body workout in my room feels more balanced than just a chest and shoulder workout in a hotel room with only a TRX setup and body weight as my gym.

I agree I should take more rest between my heavy sets so that I can hit the next set with much more intensity.

You are 100% correct on the intensity factor, something that has been missing from my workout for the past 6months, but now that I'm back in a gym environment I can really tell a difference. So far I have been on the above workout and diet regimen for 1 week and have gained 3lbs, I can really feel it in my legs, upper back, shoulders, and even core.

Thanks for the reply, and I will incorporate some of your suggestions and eliminate some of my own to see how my body reacts. Any more advice would be greatly appreciated

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