Dog Pound- Forum Edition

It’s been a while since we’ve done this. You guys and gals ready for a new Pound? Cool. If you’re new to T-mag, it works like this. I ask a question and you give an answer. The best answer wins a prize. It’s that simple. Here we go:

What’s the best bit of advice you have for a person new to weight training and bodybuilding?

The person with the best response will receive one of ANY GOSH DARNED THING HE WANTS from the Biotest store (

Listen up newbies; you’re about to get properly schooled!

Squat, squat, then squat more. You want your arms bigger?.. Squat. Get some muscle eat some protein then squat more. Don’t worry about cutting up until you get some real muscle.

Dear Newbie: Welcome to the life enhancing world of bodybuilding and weight training…what you’re about to embark on is a quest to rise above what ‘average people’ do, but don’t get silly crazy! The most important piece of advice I would give you is to not allow the sport of bodybuilding to sway you from improving other areas of your life. What you’re doing is noble, good, and healthy, but PLEASE use the discipline you will learn in the weight room to enhance other areas of your life as well: education, relationships, friendships, career, health, morality…after all, what good is a 20 inch bicep unless you can use it to help lift somebody else up as well?

I would have to say, forget the bullshit that the popular magazines print and visit T-mag. Buy some books on diets and workouts from respectable folks like Ian King and Polquin.Don’t get stuck into a rut and learn all that you can, so you can apply it to yourself.And remember,that bodybuilding is a lifelong quest, not an overnight thing.

The absolute best advice I’d give someone, is exactly what I would of wanted someone to give me when I first started the iron game. Train hard with the basics, eat lots of good clean food, and get lots of sleep. I have to sound just a bit arrogant with my advice, but then again, I am testosterone driven. There are just so many variables, but generally you want to follow a sound diet geared towards mass development. If you want to get cut and you’re a newbie to bodybuilding, forget it!! Put your mass on first, don’t waste time telling me stories of wanting to look as “toned” as Bruce Lee. If your eating right, you should lose some fat and hopefully add muscle. Focus on technique when you first start training, your body will thank you later. Make sure to include all the core compound movements for each bodybart. Pulls and chins for your back, as well as rows, squats for your legs, benches for your chest. Don’t skip your forearms, calves, shoulders and abs. You want EVERYTHING growing!

Eat the right foods. That part is simple. Pick a good diet to follow for guidance (Get Big, T-Dawg, ABCDE), they all work for mass. Drink lots of water, to the point when your peeing at least once an hour. Choose the right supplements. An MRP is probably the most important because of the protein and vitamin content. Eat at least 6 times a day, and write down everything you eat and which exercises you do.

And, one of the most important, get lots of sleep. I say at least 8 hours a day. If you can, sneak in a nap after your workout (after your post workout meal of course). Sleep will help your body recuperate and make you feel better in the gym.

I could seriously write a book on this topic, and I don’t even consider myself an expert. I’m guessing I have to keep the answer to this question short, but its tough to give a brief answer. My advice seems to work well for so many people, because that’s where I learned it from…other experienced bodybuilders.
Good luck newbies, and keep thinking of what Arnold said “It’s not how fast you can go, it’s how far you can go.”

The most important part of getting bigger and stronger is not the knowledge behind the program, the diet strategy you choose, or the supplements you take.
THE critical factor, which will determine whether or not you are successful at meeting your goals, is how consistent you are in following your plan. If you are persistent and committed, you will not fail.

The first thing that came to mind when I read this question was, “READ!” Read anything and everything you can get your hands on. Then I re-read the question and thought about it again. I thought of what advice I needed when I was first starting out lifting. I would go through splits that went something like 5 days on 2 months of, 1 month on, 3 months off. I see this problem in so many friends and family members when it comes to exercise that I felt it needed to be addressed.

When I went to college last year, I made hordes of new friends. Inevitably, when I mentioned going to the gym one of them would remark, "Tell me when you go to the gym next time, I have to get back into it." Every time I called someone to go to the gym with me I would hear a new excuse. They didn’t get it. The reason they wanted to "get back into it" was for the wrong reason. It is the same reason I started to lift: other people.

Now, almost 2 years after I began, I understand things more clearly. The gym is one place in my life where everything is black and white. There is no room for doing anything half assed. This isn’t school, where you can squeak by without doing your homework. This isn’t your job, where you can show up 15 minutes late and no one will notice. You are in a room full of iron, and the only one who will notice your weakness is you. There is no lying or deceit in this room. The weight does not lie to you. Three hundred pounds is three hundred pounds. It is up to you to decide to lift it. There is nothing wrong with failing in this room. Failure will only result in future strength; the only thing you stand to harm is your ego. It is a room where strength and weakness are tangible things, and you would be hard pressed to find another place like it anywhere in the world.

When you walk into the gym, ask yourself why you are there. If you’re wearing a wife beater and staring at yourself in the mirror, odds are it's the wrong reason. If you want to be strong, be strong for yourself. If you want to be big, be big for yourself. If you allow other people determine your needs you will lose sight of your goals. Lifting will teach you many lessons. The only way to learn, however, is to go into the gym wanting to learn. If you goal is to show off, then you are wasting everyone's time, and you will learn nothing. If your goal is to improve yourself, then each time you leave, you will be a stronger person, in every way.

Keep these things in mind next time you go lift. I have no doubt that you will gain a new respect for the iron, the sport, and yourself.

Being a newbie only about 5 or 6 years ago, I wish someone would have told me to SQUAT, DEADLIFT, and BENCH. Do the basics and forget about the fancy stuff till later on. It’s also not about the supps you take. When I started I wasted hundreds of dollars on supps that I didn’t really need. Just eat right and use MRP’s if you don’t. The other stuff can wait for a while. To close it out just TRAIN YOUR ASS OFF. Go into the gym everyday and work harder than the last. Log your workouts in a journal and keep improving slowly. You’re not going to be Mr. Universe in 2 weeks. P.S. most important listen to Chris Shugart, he’s a genius.

Depends. Did they ask for advice? What are their training objectives? If they readily share their goals, steering them down a particular path is a cinch. Also the length of my answer generally depends on where I am. I avoid lengthy conversations at the gym. Without fail though, I always and I mean always, mention T-mag. Countless times I have e-mailed people who I’ve had longer conversations with, what I consider to be a logical progression of articles from the T-mag archives: Poliquin principles 1 and 2, Chanko, German Body Comp for starters. If I’m asked a question about calves BAM! Very first “Question of Strength”. Legs? BOOYA! “12 weeks of pain” series. Name it-you can find it at T-Mag. As a means of measuring their sincerity, I’ll generally follow up with a question or two to see whether they actually got around to reading anything I recommended. Its there for those commited to bettering themselves if not I haven’t wasted too much time. To paraphrase I guess its analogous to the “teach a man to fish…” idea. I’ve never trained an Olympic or Professional athlete but I have been exposed to many valuable training insights by experts who have, right here at T-Mag. Shameless syncophant? Maybe. But gosh darn it I really mean it.

Although most people on this board seem to disagree the one piece of advice I strongly urge you to follow is to never ever do more than 3 working sets per year. Don’t worry about anything else, just stick to this rule and only this rule and success will come. Except no substitutes because there are none.
Yours Truely, Michael Mentzer

Take Your Time!

I would tell them that it is not just about lifting. Diet - Training - Recovery. They must understand the holy trinity.


Don’t let your ego get in the way. Learn the correct form first and take it from there. Rely on heavy compound movements. There is plenty more to be said but this is the most important as I see it.

i think the best advice is to K.I.S.S.
keep it simple stupid.
basic movements, with close attention paid to form.
form is going to be the most important thing to a newbie not the program.
get information on training and nutrition but don’t over do it.
to many people fall into the program of the week syndrome and never get the benefits of a basic routine.
keep the nutrition simple also.
this has been the worst area for myself.
the diet of the week syndrome. i don’t know what is considered normal eating anymore.
knowledge is power, but too much can be as bad as not enough.

To the Newbies. Remember to pull back on the plunger. If you don’t see any blood enter the syringe, proceed with the injection. So, did I win the prize

You have to have the real desire to get big and strong. Don’t just go to the gym to see that hot chick in the little tight spandex with the big fake boobs and the sports bra do the butt-blaster. Stay focused and train hard, but be sure not to overtrain, as it can be detrimental to your progress. Pay attention to your diet. Don’t skip meals and eat foods that will benefit you and your muscles.

You have to crawl before you walk. Don't worry about impressing people and trying to use too much weight. Learn proper technique and build a solid foundation. Just use a weight that you can handle under control and before you know it you'll be movin' on up like the Jeffersons!

Last, I would listen to what the guys at T-Mag have to say. They know their stuff - read their columns, apply their priciples, use their programs and products. Soon you'll have all the spandex wearin' big boobed ladies at your gym drooling.


Besides the obvious that you need to actually work out and be consitent. I find that most Newbies actually overtrain! To many Sets, To many exercises adapting so many different programs even if they are great T-mag programs.

NEWBIES need to conetrate on building a base foundation of POWER. Concentrating on the technical Lifts,
Squat, Powerclean, Snatch, Deadlift, Bench, Chins. Alternating each lift over periods of time.


for a least a year!
Concetrate on learning to do perfect Powercleans, Squats, Deadlifts and driving up those poundages. Believe me your arms will grow bigger this way than if you did 15 sets of Biceps and triceps every other day. (That is the Hardest part to get past newbies!)

The foundation of power will help them to create a base that never leaves them. Muscle Memory that can only be developed through the explosive lifts. It will have carry over to Athletics as well.


Take advantage of your body’s natural levels of Testosterone, and GH. Which means eat balanced meals often. 5-7 a If your hungary eat. I’m not advocating bulking up, But trust me gains will never come this easy on just food alone. Never Miss breakfast!!!

Don’t try to diet thinking you want to look like brad pitt, but you only weigh 135lbs. Don’t worry about reaching 5% bodyfat until you gain atleast 20 lbs of natural muscle

LAST RULE YOU DONT NEED STEROIDS, I'll bet that a newbie that trains right and eats right without juice will grow faster than someone on juice that has been training for a long time!!!!

First, realize that every person working out in the gym has to start somewhere and for the most part started the same way. Second, understand that whatever goals, you set for yourself, are not going to happen overnight.
Third, which is why most people quit, realize that some soreness is part of the game. Once you get past the first three and feel you are ready to start I recommend starting with a personal trainer (if you have never used weight equipment). For the most part they will show you how to use the equipment and you won’t feel so lost. The reason I say this is because alot of people will come in and try to use the equipment from what they interpret in a picture or off the machine itself.

The most important thing is to learn the basic exercises first. Too many people get caught up in isolation exercises and then say,
I am not making any gains. My main contention is this, If you don’t squat, bench, or deadlift
you are not going to make significant gains as a natural lifter, period. Most people don’t do them because they are alot of hard work and they really don’t know know how to do them properly. I recommend that you get with an experienced powerlifter to learn the proper technique for these exercises.

Leave the supplementation and steriods alone until you learn the limitations of your own body. A good diet with a proper amount of protein is sufficient for at least your first year of continuous training.
Lastly, educate yourself. Read and draw upon the experiences of others. Keep an open mind
on different routines. I have to salute Louie
Simmons, he opened up a whole different dimension and experience to weight training. Experiment with different exercises and see what works best for you because those of us that have been doing this for awhile know that one particular routine does not work for everyone.

I have been lifting for 17 years now and one thing I have learned about training with weights and the human body, anything is possible as long as you stick with it and try different things.
Good luck!!

TRAINING: Progressive poundages in the Squat/Deadlift or Bench/Dip and pullups. Find 3 different % based lifting routines (i.e. The 5% solution) and learn how to milk it dry, then move on.

DIET: Rotate 3 days of high carb, high calories (20 x BW w/1g of protein per lb of LBM) with 3 days of lower carbs and lower calories (10 x bw with 1.5 grams of protein per lb of LBM). You'll learn fast how diet affects you.

REST: 8hours of deep sleep per night + a power nap. Better yet, schedule a squat workout the morning after a late night out. That'll put a good night's sleep in it's proper place!!

SUPPLEMENTS: IF you have the $… Protein powder is #1, fish/flax oil is #2 and ECA is #3. Anything else is just gravy.

Finally, make sure you have the necessary character flaws for this endevour. That is, find something about your appearance/performance that you dislike intensely. There has to be something in your MIND that drives you. Without this (admittedly perverse at times) motivation, you will simply fall short of your potential. It's somewhere inside you. You just need to find it, control it and let lifting become the productive outlet it has become for the rest of us. Some people find the answer in the bible, some find it in booze/drugs. I hope you find your answers to life in the iron, like I did. After you get past the initial narcissism, it humbles you a bit and you appreciate life more. Good Luck.

The biggest mistake a beginner can make is falling into the trap of doing too much. A simple routine of basic exercises, accompanied by a simple diet of quality foods, is more than enough to get you going down the right path.