Beginner advice?

Discussion in 'Lifestyle, Health, Fitness & Food' started by JosephAOI, Sep 21, 2014.

  1. JosephAOI

    JosephAOI Thinks Jazz = Metal

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    Hey guys, I've decided to get into working out and trying to eat healthier and I could use a little bit of help. I've read through some of the threads on here and done some research on my own across the interwebs but a lot of it is going over my head :lol: Science was never my strong suit, which some of this feels like haha

    Right now, I'm 6'0", 158 lbs and 20 years old. I checked out that basic caloric intake formula that's stickied and based on that, I need roughly 2200 calories a day to maintain my current weight. I'm not looking to get totally ripped or muscled out or anything, just trying to get fit and put on a little bit of muscle to fill out my frame. Also, I'm trying to lose some belly fat and I'm unsure of how to do that while gaining weight (Seems a little counter-intuitive).

    So, what I'm wondering is like the absolute basics, cause this is completely new to me and I'm having a little trouble grasping some of it. Like, obviously I understand you have to take in calories and work out to gain muscle. I guess what I'm more wondering about is the dieting and supplement side. I'm not really clear on what simple and complex carbs are, what you need them for and what other things like protein, calories and supplements do for you exactly.

    I appreciate the help, dudes :)
     
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  2. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    Me, too. All the same stuff he said. I'm even going to join the gym today after work haha.
     
  3. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    Like, what are you supposed to eat before you work out? I know it's good to eat protein after you work out, but what about right before?

    Half the reason I'm thinking to join a gym is because traffic is so terrible when my work gets out that I'd rather not get in the highway for a while. I had been killing time by drinking at a bar... but really, what am I getting out of that?

    Point being, after work is... you know, dinner time. But like, common sense tells me it's probably not a very good idea to eat A LOT before you work out, but probably something light will help you with your workout?

    But protein is after, so what's before? Is protein before and after?
     
  4. UnderTheSign

    UnderTheSign SS.org Regular

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    You don't magically get ripped or muscled out by looking at a barbell so don't worry about that. Just train to get bigger/stronger. Find a good beginner routine (Starting Strength is a good choice), roll with it, eat properly and be patient.

    There are a bunch of stickies on nutrition and I'm too lazy to type it all out but protein is a good thing to have in every meal. For pre-workout meals (an hour before training) probably consists out of more complex carbs and protein. After training, protein and simple carbs.
     
  5. MemphisHawk

    MemphisHawk Japan's One And Only

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    You don't need to start out by using supplements (NaNo Nuclear Explosion, test booster, blah blah blah) all of that stuff is just designed to stand between you and more money in your wallet. Focus on learning proper lifting techniques from someone who is knowledgeable. Make your way around a gym and get comfortable with everything. Eat more than you are eating now, but don't eat trash food.

    A lot of the food stuff will be learn as you go, especially if you don't have a solid understanding of what protein is and the difference between simple/complex carbs. You can do that research on your own quite easily these days with wikipedia or something. That's a start, I would type more but I gotta run
     
  6. asher

    asher So Did We

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    I'm four years older and 4-5 pounds heavier, but we're basically the same :lol: so I'm curious what advice is given here! I don't have too much time to go to a proper gym, but that's mostly because I fence three or four times a week and have been for something like six years now. I try to eat alright, probably have too many lattes because I work a 9-5 now, my legs are in pretty damn good shape from all the fencing and core is alright, but wouldn't mind shedding some extra stomach building (see aforementioned lattes and sitting). I could probably add some body weight stuff in at practice, but I'm not sure about full weights and stuff. Cardio could do a bit better too.
     
  7. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear Vendor

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    Yeah - no need to dive in at the deep end at all. Just jump on Starting Strength with somebody to teach you good form and eat a decent amount of healthy food - just use your brain there :)
     
  8. TheKindred

    TheKindred TimeTravel Innovator

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    First thing to learn ... you can't shed fat from a specific area, only overall. If you want your belly tight (especially the lower abs), you have to lose overall weight. You can do a million situps and still not have a six-pack showing unless you lower your Body Fat %. Unfortunately with a lot of dudes, the belly fat is some of the last to shed.

    As for the eating, a good rule of thumb when starting is try to get about a 40/40/20 mix of macro-nutrients. That's 40% Protein, 40% Carbs and 20% Fat. I try to hit those numbers per meal where I can.

    Bulking up and cutting simultaneously is the great white shark. The best way that I personally found to most effective was Intermittent Fasting. I tweaked it a bit to work from me, but as long as I strictly adhered to it, the results were really inspiring. I actually felt a lot better by consuming all my calories within the eating window. There is some solid science behind it and it worked really well for me, but as with anything YMMV. Check it out for yourself and see if it makes sense for your body/lifestyle.
     
  9. asher

    asher So Did We

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    Makes sense. Just seems to be where I've gained anything since starting to work and such, so I suspect that's where most of it accumulates :lol:
     
  10. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear Vendor

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  11. MikeH

    MikeH Bring the gain

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    Not much more to add here. Find a solid program and stick with it. A lot of people (myself included) like to hop from program to program, expecting fast results from each. In reality, if you find a program with a good reputation and stick with it for a couple months, you absolutely will see results. Secondly, many people think that, to gain weight, they need to eat super clean and eat chicken and rice every day for every meal. Being a small guy like you are, you have a bit of leniency. I started off at 138 lbs in January of this year, and I'm currently sitting at 172 lbs. And fairly lean, at that. Don't eat like a dickhead. 4 burgers and two large shakes from McDonald's for lunch every day will only do bad things. But don't be afraid to indulge once in a while. Have that extra bowl of ice cream, go get a nice cut of steak and mashed potatoes and gravy once in a while, or go to a burger joint and throw on some extra bacon and cheese. Just make sure you hit the gym as hard as you can every day. You will get broken down. I just failed my squat workout last night. But I know I walked out of the gym giving 100% effort, and that's what you should feel every single time you train. Your body may be at 70%, but there's no reason you can't give every bit of effort.
     
  12. JosephAOI

    JosephAOI Thinks Jazz = Metal

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    Thanks for the advice, guys! Just to double check, my friend suggested this program just to get me started this month, I'm just wondering if you guys think it looks about right?

    The 4-Week Beginner's Workout Routine | Muscle & Fitness

    Also, eating healthier is a little tough for me considering I don't know how to cook a lot and there's not usually a lot of food in my house, I used to always get fast food and drink soda every day. But I think a good starting point is switch to water/Vitamin waters and trying not to get anything fried when I can and trying to eat more greens?

    Big pro for me too, I work at a Smoothie King, so I can get as many protein smoothies and what not as I want. They're ....ing hard to drink though :barf:
     
  13. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear Vendor

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    Yup sounds like a good start on the diet :)
    The workout would work. As would many. It covers all areas and would be a solid introduction..but it's a lot of different exercises. A lot of variation to get your head around. Honestly a basic full body strength program like Starting Strength is what I'd recommend to most anyone these days. If I could go back and put myself on a similar program for the past few years rather than the complex bodybuilding splits and things I messed around with..eh...
     
  14. MikeH

    MikeH Bring the gain

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    Vitamin Water isn't necessarily a healthy alternative. Still high in sugar. If you absolutely HAVE to stop for fast food, get grilled chicken and some greens. Avoid fries and soda totally.

    As for the workout, I never recommend a full body workout every day. Not enough recovery time to hit your different body parts when you only have one day of rest in between. Especially being a beginner. I sometimes hit biceps twice in a row just because I don't ever focus on them and they're only targeted in accessory work. But to work legs, chest, and back all in the same day, three days a week is a bit of an overload. Any program that gives you a 3-4 day split is ideal. Something like:
    Bodybuilding.com - Steve Cook's Big Man On Campus 12-Week College Trainer

    I didn't run this for the full cycle, but for about 8 weeks. It splits your workouts into particular muscle groups, and tries to work with a less than relaxed schedule as far as work and school go. I'd look into it and see what you think.
     
  15. UnderTheSign

    UnderTheSign SS.org Regular

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    This, so much. I wouldn't bother with overly complicated splits and whatnot. You should be able to handle a program like Starting Strength, it'll give you a good base, get your technique set and from there you can move on to whatever suits you best.
     
  16. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear Vendor

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    I used to feel this way before having tried it and running splits all the time, but it's been so effective - my training partners are having great results too. If you were hitting a 'leg day' 'chest day' and 'back day' together 3 times a week then I would absolutely agree, but it's generally just up to 5 sets per bodypart - effectively splitting up the typical 10-12 set 'leg day' 'chest day' and 'back day' across the 3 training days. I'm finding frequency to be far far beneficial over volume.
     
  17. shanejohnson02

    shanejohnson02 Hammer of the Gods

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    I'm in the Army, and I'm required to stay in pretty good shape. The BIGGEST thing you can do to help yourself right off the bat is eat right and drink A TON of water. To figure out how much you should be drinking, divide your body weight in half, and that's how many ounces a day. I usually go through 5 16 or 20 ounce bottles in a day.

    We each develop our own routines in the gym after a while, so I won't tell you my routine. I will tell you how you should do it to get some fast and good results. Don't be one of the guys that just sits on the machines / benches after each rep. I pick 4 exercises, and I go through a set of each before I take a 30 second break to chug some water. Then, I repeat to muscle failure. For instance:

    8x Bench Press
    8x Flyes
    8x Dumbbell Press
    20x Push-ups

    THEN take a 30sec to 1min break and drink a good amount of water. Repeat this whole sequence 3 more times.

    I usually work different muscle groups each day. Chest / arms monday, Back / Abs wednesday, and upper / lower legs Friday.

    For running, download a C25K program. They're usually free and are a good starting point for cardio.
     
  18. JosephAOI

    JosephAOI Thinks Jazz = Metal

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    My buddy that I've been going to the gym with took a look at this and realized it was the workout he had actually been looking for haha! So we're gonna finish up what we were doing this week and both start this program starting Monday! :)
     
  19. Decon87

    Decon87 SS.org Regular

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    First off spot training is a myth, so don't try to do a ton of abs trying to reduce your belly fat. Fat is generally lost first from the place it was put on last.

    Judging by your height and weight, your build is probably what we call in the weightlifting world "skinny fat". It's when you're thin but you don't have definition. Luckily for you this is easily remedied. If you just lift and build muscle your skin and that fat will stretch thinner and make that belly go away in no time.

    If you can, I'd find someone you're close with that knows their way around the gym. Maybe a coworker, friend, family member, etc. They can teach you the ropes and get you started on some introductory workouts. Plus it's always good to have a buddy to workout with, it keeps you motivated.

    Before your workout (I usually eat this an hour before) you eat some simple carbs and a little bit of protein. This'll keep the hunger at bay while you're in the gym and the simple carbs will give you a nice little energy boost to get you through your workout. I also like to eat a piece of fruit about 5 mins before I leave for the gym, the sugar gives you an energy boost as well. As for after the gym protein is always good (get whey isolate if you can) and maybe a little bit of simple carbs to re-up your glycogen stores.

    Finding a good schedule is really what's going to keep you in there. For example my schedule is Chest/Bis, Back(Lats)/Tris, Legs, Shoulders/Abs. It's a 4 day schedule and once I finish the 4 days, I go right back to the top. For each muscle group I like to do 3 different workouts for 5 sets each, aiming for the 8-10 rep range. That's a good base for hypertrophy (building muscle).

    If you want to build muscle you NEED to eat over your calorie limit. You won't have any extra fuel to give your muscles if you don't. If you dont want to gain too much fat I would say aim for the 2500-2800 range (if your minimum is 2200 like you said). Also, stay away from fats, eat LOTS of protein and complex carbs. My diet consists of 40% protein, 40% carbs (pretty much all complex except for my pre gym meal), and 20% fats (good stuff like nuts, avocado, etc.)

    If you have any other questions you can PM me.
     
  20. Defi

    Defi SS.org Regular

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    Good advice here and I won't bother reiterating it all but I'll contribute these few things:

    ONE - Don't bother with a whole bunch of exercises.

    -Squat (I would recommend high bar back style, or front if you can knock it but it's harder)
    -Deadlift
    -Press
    -bench press
    -Dips
    -Pull up/Chin up
    -High pull
    -Some row variation (dumbbells, barbell, cables, will take some experimenting)

    With those 8 exercises you get every plane of motion in the upper body (that is, pressing and pull vertically with arms below shoulders, vertically with arms above shoulders, horizontally, and legs get a "push" and a "pull"

    Okay you should also try learning how to clean properly. There's lots to be gained from that as well.


    Until you can squat and deadlift double your weight, bench press 1.5x your weight, and press your own weight there isn't much reason to pursue other goals. ESPECAILLY CURLS. In my opinion curls and flyes are about the biggest waste of time possible in a gym. You're spending valuable energy on something with not very useful return. (you don't use your chest or biceps to get much real shit done in the world, and both of them should get plenty of stimulation from the big compound exercises)

    TWO - keep the workouts simple

    I've been lifting weights on and off for several years. I just started again a few months ago and have gone from 185-215 at 5'11". For 3 rep maxes I have hit deadlift 415, front squat 300, Press 180, and I don't bench press much but I think I got 260. All of these are better than they ever have been in the past, and the secrets were:

    -keep the exercise selection simple (I usually do 2 or 3 exercises per workout, and they last 45 minutes). Also in my opinion you're far better off keeping the split down to 2 or 3 days and doing the same workout twice a week. People are WAY too concerned with overtraining.
    -as a beginner you won't need assistance exercises to increase your main lifts. you'll have lots of room to grow just by pounding them out. That stuff comes way later (like, past the point that 95% of people stick to their fitness phase)
    -It's still a good idea to incorporate "prehab" stuff that you know will help YOU (but it's hard to recommend without knowing the person well.) For me I do band pull aparts and face pulls because I have a shoulder injury that will haunt me forever, and some glute/hamstring stuff cause my pelvis is tilted anteriorly. I do these exercises either in between big lifts during my workout or just at the end or beginning of the day.

    The way I lift weights for a big exercise is start at a weight 50-70% of what I got a 3RM in last time I did the exercise. Do 3 reps, add 10-20 pounds. Do 3 reps, add 10-20 pounds. Repeat until I have a rep that doesn't go up smoothly (grinds hard, stalls out, doesn't feel powerful). This is NOT to failure. Then take 80% of that weight and do a few sets of as many reps as possible, again not to failure. Usually ends up being 6-10 reps. Then move on to next exercise.

    That's the basic idea. Sometimes I do the 80% 6-10 rep sets at the end of the workout instead (depending on what other exercises I'm doing)

    For example: squat day.

    Front squat
    Set 1: warm up 120 pounds
    2: 170 x3
    3: 190x3
    4: 210x3
    .... x: 300x3 (last rep did not go up smoothly)


    Then maybe I would do a bodyweight superset:

    Dips (8-12 reps), then pullups (3-6 reps), and go back and forth between the two until about 50 pullups and 100 dips are reached.

    Then front squat again:
    240x8
    240x8
    240x6

    end workout.

    Or, another day might be:
    deadlift
    warm up 170
    then 220, 250, 280, 310, 330, 360, 390, 410 (last rep of 410 was a grinder, all 3 reps)
    330 x max reps

    press
    warm up 90
    then 105, 120, 130, 140, 150, 160, 170, 180 (again all 3 reps)
    145 x max reps

    end workout

    This style of lifting works for me very well. Every day I push myself as far as I can go (therefore am not following a formula or piece of paper that says I should be lifting so and so much weight, what if I can lift more that day? what if I can't?) You need to be honest, aware of your body, and free of ego with this route, but doing it this way it is almost impossible to ovetrain.

    THREE- DO SOME FARMERS WALKS!

    I only started doing these this time around giving lifting a shot, and they are incredible. They make you a better human being, to put it simply.

    I spend lots of time reading about this stuff (and trying it out for myself) because I like to learn. I could have lots to contribute I'm sure but I don't even know where to begin.

    FOUR - some nutrition advice

    Eat lots. Here are some tricks to get more calories in: eat more food. k but seriously. oats -> coffee grinder -> in with your protein shake. Boom, good carbs you barely notice. Toss an egg or two in there. Drink whole milk. Do olive oil shots (yes). Get some coconut oil and throw that in whatever you think it will work with.

    I make a big pot of chili or chicken stir fry (both with tons of vegetables) every weekend and eat it for lunch every day with rice, and for supper every day I have an omelette (also with tons of vegetables) and bacon and maybe toast. Every morning is a protein shake as described above, and before bed as well. (I do not need variety). Then for snacks I eat cottage cheese, apples, blueberries mixed with plain yogurt and cinnamon, almonds, toast, all depending on my goals.

    Essential supplements: fish oil, vitamin d, creatine. fish oil is a bit pricy but it is worth it even if you don't lift. vit d and creatine are dirt cheap.
     
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