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Help me with my work-out

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Help me with my work-out

Old 08-24-06, 04:02 PM
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Help me with my work-out

Well, about two months ago, I joined a gym nearby my home. I've been working out on average about five days a week since then - although I didn't work out about two of those weeks due to travel obligations. My goal then was to be in the best shape of my life by Christmas. That hasn't changed necessarily, but I'm not so sure it's really feasable anymore.

I was never "out of shape" to begin with, but I definitely wanted to improve myself - mostly to boost self-esteem. I'm 20 years old, and I'm cursed (some would say blessed) with a fast metabolism. Being quite skinny and tall (6'4" and 175-180 lbs before working out), I've always found it incredibly hard to put on weight of any kind. I'd say my body type would best be described as skinny fat - meaning I'm soft, but not fat in the sense that I don't have rolls or anything like that.

Anyway, my goal is still to get in really good shape. So far, I've only been doing weights. My plan was to work on building some muscle mass, and then working on cardio and cutting excess body fat. I also read that it is counter-productive to do cardio and weights at the same time if your goal is to bulk up. My first month was mostly tinkering with different routines to see what felt most natural and effective to me. Now, here's what I'm doing.

Incline chest press - 3 sets of 15 reps
Rear deltoids - 3 sets of 15 reps
Incline chest press - 3 sets of 15 reps
Rear deltoids - 3 sets of 15 reps
Bicep curls - 3 sets of 15 reps
Tricep curls - 3 sets of 15 reps
Bicep curls - 3 sets of 15 reps
Tricep curls - 3 sets of 15 reps
Seated chest press - 3 sets of 15 reps
Seated row - 3 sets of 15 reps
Seated chest press - 3 sets of 15 reps
Seated row - 3 sets of 15 reps

As you can see, I do alternating exercises totalling 90 reps each. Obviously, there are no lower body exercises here. I found doing both at the same time to be too overwhelming. The weight is selected according to the 90 reps. One of my questions: is doing 90 reps a waste of time? I could definitely add more weight if I reduced the number of reps/sets. What is more effective - short exercises of a lot of weight, or longer, more taxing exercises with a little less weight?

I ask because, while I have seen a slight increase in muscle mass (primarily in my arms, but I do fill out a t-shirt better), and I've definitely gotten stronger, I just don't really look different. I mean, when I flex, my muscles are noticeably stronger, but my arms don't look bigger normally. I've also been trying to eat more protein (since I'm usually a pasta kind of guy), but it's getting kind of expensive with all the food I have to buy. Any suggestions for inexpensive and strong sources of protein would be helpful! Anyway, right now I weight about 185 pounds. So, I've gained about 5 pounds.

Any general suggestions would be very much appreciated.
Old 08-24-06, 04:11 PM
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I would totally look at your diet. If you want cheap protein, you can't go wrong with soy products like tofu. Take a block of tofu and blend it with some frozen bananas and toss in some other frozen fruits. Add in some melted honey if you want. It's a great way to get some much needed protein. I do this for my oldest boy who refuses to eat meat that isn't a "Mcnugget". Good luck and please post pictures so we can drool over you.
Old 08-24-06, 04:21 PM
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Definitely lower the number of reps (to 6-10 per set) and start to increase the weight.

Others will probably tell you to start mainlining protein. I'd recommend just eating a balanced diet but consuming more calories than you do now.

Also, I'm assuming you're not doing all of those in one day....
Old 08-24-06, 04:26 PM
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1) eat
2) do squats and deadlifts. forget iso
3) high weight, low rep (4-6)
4) rest
5) eat
6) eat
7) separate bodyparts into different days. or do push/pull program
Old 08-24-06, 04:39 PM
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dont set christmas as your goal date, especially if your goal is to build muscles.

just make a lifestyle change, and keep with it for the next 10-15 years.

as for what to do, continue what you are doing, and tweak it as you go. oh, and start working on your lower body too. dont neglect it.
Old 08-24-06, 04:40 PM
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Those are all on the same day. It's about a 45-50 minute workout. I'm assuming by the responses that this is bad!

I was thinking of looking into soy products, thanks for the advice Kitty. The meat is really starting to get expensive since I consume so much of it.

I'll definitely up the weight and lower the reps. Is 6 sets a good amount though?

Nodoubt, for number 2, what is iso? Do you mean stop doing workouts that isolate one or a group of muscles? Also, what is a push/pull program?

Should I rotate days to lower and upper body?

I might post pics if the thread takes off. I'm really serious about getting into really good shape. I'm so tired of my lifestyle which, with the exception of tennis, has been pretty sedentary up to this point!
Old 08-24-06, 04:45 PM
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sorry yeah iso = isolation. like how all the kids at my gym ever do is bicep curls. 6 sets is too much imo. 4 is probably good if you are using the maximum weight. or you can do a 5x5 program, google it, there's tons of sites out there that can give you a better explanation than i can here. push/pull is when you set a day where you only do exercises that you push (like bench press, shoulder press, etc) and you set another day where you only pull (deadlifts, bar curls). yeah like the other guy said, don't forget legs. the bigger your lower body is the more weight you can lift, the bigger you get. oh and don't do all the exercises in one day, split them out. you shouldn't be in the gym for more than 30-40 minutes. good luck
Old 08-24-06, 04:46 PM
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You have to understand that this isn't really a science. People find what works for them and then insist that everyone else follow the same regimen, as if handed down from above.

Having said that, I still think 6 sets per body part is too much. And definitely limit yourself to a few muscle groups per day -- your body needs to recover. Also, vary your routine from time to time.
Old 08-24-06, 04:50 PM
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buy some of this: http://www23.netrition.com/champion_...tack_page.html and start adding a couple of scoops/glasses per day (maybe one in the morning, and one immediately post workout), an easy and cheap way to add good quantity and quality protein to your diet.

Edit: Seriously, protein powders are the cheapest and most effective way to get more protein into your diet. You may have to play around with different brands and flavors to see what works for you. Lots of people will do stuff like make smoothies or put the powder into things, but I just mix some into a glass of water and chug. Just make sure to buy ones that have few ingredients, and not a lot of sweetener. No need to introduce crap into your system, you just want clean protein.

And the protein you consume should be spread out over the day. I don't think your body can process 50g of protein consumed at one sitting (I have heard that 25g is a good number), so you can't just load up all at once.

Last edited by LurkerDan; 08-24-06 at 05:04 PM.
Old 08-24-06, 08:43 PM
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good lord, that's WAYYY to many sets in one day. Just a suggestion is only work 1 to 2 muscle groups at a time...your trying to work your back, chest, biceps, triceps all at once, which is counterproductive if your trying to get bigger. I used to do back and bi's one day, chest and tri's another, legs another, chest another. That way your focusing on working and fatiguing only a certain part of your body instead of everything at once. ALso add more weights...by the 8-10th set, you should be straining to get it instead of saying "i could do another 5". I've since changed up my routine where i now do only one set per day. so it's back one day, chest another, legs another, shoulders another etc. It's just a preference thing but see what works for you. I guarantee if you add more weights, lower your reps and focus on one or two body parts you'll feel it a lot more. Also make sure you don't mix up your workout by trying to work out your body parts that are tied together or 2 large muscles groups one the same day. So for example don't do back and tri's together b/c you use your tri's a lot when your working your back and you'll just tire yourself out more since your essentially using a lot of the same muscles back to back even though they are different body parts, hence why people do their back and bi's together. ANd don't try to do chest and legs on the same day. They are both big muscle groups and you'll just tire yourself out by spending to much time in the gym. For large muscle groups it should take you at least 45 minute to an hour to finish. Any longer and it's almost counterproductive. If you do it right and don't dawdle you shouldn't have ANY probelm getting done within that time frame.

My routine is 4 different exercise for one body part with 8-10 reps per set. So it's around 40 reps total. But i always add a weight as i go so by the last rep of each set, Im' really grunting to get it up. Hope that helps. Also liek someone else said, get some Optimum Nutrion 100% whey protein....it's the best bang for your buck and you can get it at places like bulk nutrition or muscleshoppe.com. Don't bother looking elsewhere for better prices b/c I've checked about 30 different sites. ANd Optimum Nutrtion is considered by many body builders and regular folks to be one of, if not the best protein sources out there cuz it's got decent taste and has good proteins per serving ratio.

Last edited by phatboy; 08-24-06 at 08:53 PM.
Old 08-24-06, 09:15 PM
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this may sound redundant by now so take it as driving the point home:
that routine has way too many sets and body parts for one day. and you did that 5 days a week? too much.

your body will grow on your off days. it is recovering from the workout that you did previously. if you did that workout 5 days straight, your body had too little time to recover those parts that were worked.

Focus on FORM. don't worry if you have to lower reps or weights. if you're breaking form by jerking the weights, or bending awkwardly, or whatever else, you are not fully using the muscles you intend to work (i.e. you're introducing outside force to help you which does not work the muscle). Plus, you are more likely to injure yourself if you are not lifting properly. so, focus on FORM.

i used to workout (upper body) every other day and alternating routines and thought i was doing ok. i switched to a pull / push:
back, biceps, shoulders on monday
legs on wednesday
chest, triceps, squats on fridays

and have seen much more gains. my sets are 3 x 6. if i'm feeling it, i'll do one more rep; if i can't get the 6th, so be it.

that's it for now.

Last edited by HN; 08-25-06 at 03:00 PM.
Old 08-24-06, 10:54 PM
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I've been lifting for nearly 18 years and I gained the most muscle doing a 3 day per week Bench press, Squat and deadlift routine. Pretty much focusing on those 3 lifts with one secondary exercise per workout. Pound the food, drink your shakes in between. Don't worry about gaining fat if you're training hard in the gym. Us tall guys (I'm 6'2") take a while to show the muscle. Also, find someone to train with - helps BIG TIME to have someone there waiting on you, pushing you to do anothert rep as hard as you push them. Good luck man!
Old 08-24-06, 11:02 PM
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You really have to find what works for you. (as already stated) In general, in order to build muscle, you need to fatigue the muscle, and this can be done with light weight/max reps or much more quickly with heavy weight/low reps. Some people have to build up to the higher weights, and thus it can take them quite a while to see results.

As for diet, that requires a bit of research on your part, what you like, what you don't. There are lots of healthy high calorie foods out there to implement into your diet. Avocados for example have 300-350 calories. 16 oz of juice is 200+, adding nuts/raisins to your cereal can get you up to 500-600 calories.

Figure out what you consume for calories on an average day, (probably around 2000) then devise a plan where you consume 2500-3000 calories a day. Example- Break it down to 4 600 calorie meals a day with 3 200 calorie snacks.

If you are a picky eater, this could be difficult, if not, then all it takes is a solid plan and a little discipline and you WILL see the scale go up.

Last edited by bballing; 08-24-06 at 11:06 PM.
Old 08-25-06, 12:51 PM
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Thanks a lot for all of the advice everyone. I'm going to start modifying my work-out today and I'll report back in a few weeks!
Old 08-25-06, 01:10 PM
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Make sure you vary your workout. I didn't and after 20 years of not doings so, I'm paying the price. (bad back, tore something in my elbow, etc...)
Old 08-25-06, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by heavywear
I've been lifting for nearly 18 years and I gained the most muscle doing a 3 day per week Bench press, Squat and deadlift routine. Pretty much focusing on those 3 lifts with one secondary exercise per workout. Pound the food, drink your shakes in between. Don't worry about gaining fat if you're training hard in the gym. Us tall guys (I'm 6'2") take a while to show the muscle. Also, find someone to train with - helps BIG TIME to have someone there waiting on you, pushing you to do anothert rep as hard as you push them. Good luck man!
This is probably the closest advice to what I do (not necessesarily recommend). I usually add some shoulder (military press) work to it also.
Old 08-25-06, 01:34 PM
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also, be wary of exercises that isolate a muscle too much. The reason that free weights are better than machines is because they force surrounding muscles to assist. Make sure to do core exercises, it will save you troubles in the long run.

And whoever said to focus on form is dead on. As soon as you feel your form going, that's when to end the set. Just because you jerk the weight up 2 more times is irrelevant.

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