The subtitle of this column used to be "Basic training for beginners." I've dropped it because of one simple fact: You don't have to be a newbie to be making newbie mistakes. I've known a lot of guys who've been training for years, yet still screw up the most basic elements of program design, diet, and supplementation. And their physiques reflect it.

There's no excuse for ignorance and no reason why a person should hit the gym every day for years, yet still look the same as the day he started. Dawg School is here to fix that problem. So whether you're a true beginner or someone whose progress has stalled after years of training, this column is for you.

Ring the bell. School is in session.

The School of Experience: T-mag Readers Drop Some Knowledge

Wanna make the fastest progress possible in the gym? Feel like you're spinning your wheels with what you're doing now? One of best ways to fix your problem is to seek the wisdom of someone who's been training properly for years. An experienced bodybuilder can often spot what you're doing wrong and point you in the right direction.

With that in mind, I logged onto the T-mag Forum and asked a simple question: What advice would you give someone who's just getting involved in weight training? The answers came pouring in. I've summarized them for you here:

Pretty solid advice. Sure, it's basic, but leaving out one or two of these gems is like pissing against the wind. Not knowing what to do in the beginning is forgivable. Staying ignorant or, even worse, knowing what to do and not doing it, is just plain lazy.

Now for this month's questions and answers.

You'll Gain Exactly 7.3499 Pounds

Q: I'm thinking of trying the German Volume Training 2000 program and wanted to know how much weight I can expect to gain. What do most people gain on this program?


Cardio: The Final Word?

Q: Okay, some of you T-mag guys write about doing cardio and others say not to do it at all. I'm confused. What's the freakin' answer?


A Better "Weight Gainer" Shake

Q: No matter what I do, I just can't seem to gain any weight. I'm about as skinny and bony as they come. Weight training helps, but now I only look like a slighted more buff skeleton. I know you guys have trashed weight gainer shakes before, but I'm thinking about trying one anyway. I'm desperate! Any good ones on the market? Have they improved the quality of these things?


BFL Just BS?

Q: My friend wants me to get on the Body for Life program with him. Is this program any good or just a bunch of hype?


I Just Bumped My Head on the Genetic Ceiling

Q: I think I've hit my genetic peak or "ceiling" as they say and was wondering what to do about it. Is my only choice steroids? I started out at just 145, now I'm 175. Any advice?


Baby's Got a Big Ol' Butt

Q: My girlfriend is getting ready to quit going to the gym with me. She says that no matter how hard she trains and diets, her ass and thighs are still too big. She's afraid to do squats and lunges because they might make her butt even bigger. Any advice?