Taking it to the next level

  • djzilla

    Posts: 138

    Oct 13, 2011 1:34 PM GMT
    Hey guys can you some advice, guidance and need some general help.

    So 5 years ago I weighed 350 and started on a weight loss journey. A year and 1/2 later I had cut my weight in 1/2 which left me a skinny rail with no muscle whatsoever but I was a lot healthier. Got into a good relationship and got comfortable and got lazy. Gained some weight back and just this year said ok enough is enough so I'm back on a journey to fitness. I've been doing great for over 90 days and lost 35 pounds I had put back on and am bound to keep it off. I want to take my fitness routine to the next level though!

    Problem. I feel so lost in the gym. I end up doing cardio most of the time. All the weight machines and equipment are usually taken up by guys twice as big or stronger than I am and I feel really intimidated by them. I'm not sure what weights I should be doing. I don't feel like I have a program but even if I did I don't know that I could get the workout in.

    I really want to take my fitness routine to the next level but I don't know how to do it being really such a newbie to having weight training routines.

    Any suggestions or ideas.

    Thanks in advance!
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    Oct 13, 2011 2:07 PM GMT
    djzilla saidHey guys can you some advice, guidance and need some general help.

    So 5 years ago I weighed 350 and started on a weight loss journey. A year and 1/2 later I had cut my weight in 1/2 which left me a skinny rail with no muscle whatsoever but I was a lot healthier. Got into a good relationship and got comfortable and got lazy. Gained some weight back and just this year said ok enough is enough so I'm back on a journey to fitness. I've been doing great for over 90 days and lost 35 pounds I had put back on and am bound to keep it off. I want to take my fitness routine to the next level though!

    Problem. I feel so lost in the gym. I end up doing cardio most of the time. All the weight machines and equipment are usually taken up by guys twice as big or stronger than I am and I feel really intimidated by them. I'm not sure what weights I should be doing. I don't feel like I have a program but even if I did I don't know that I could get the workout in.

    I really want to take my fitness routine to the next level but I don't know how to do it being really such a newbie to having weight training routines.

    Any suggestions or ideas.

    Thanks in advance!


    1. You are a stud!! Anyone who can accomplish what you have accomplished is amazing and I will stand and applaud you all day long, my friend!! Great job!!

    2. Yes, the loss of bodyfat is an entirely different mindset than replacing muscle. Start reading some good fitness magazines for help. The best one out there is Men's Health... without question. Most of the others one are designed as eyecandy supplement ads. Most fitness magazines are owned by a supplement company. Men's Health is owned by a magazine company and they are more about journalism. As a trainer, I am always impressed at the quality information in there. I would recommend you get a subscription and start paying attention to the muscle building routines in there.

    3. Finally... ASK THE BIG GUYS!!! Get advice from them! Dont be intimidate, just follow these guidelines. In the gym there are two kinds of muscle guys....

    A. The wannabe: he wants everyone to think he is the biggest strongest guy in the gym... he is insecure, he walks around all pumped up trying to see who is looking at him, his goal is to prove to everyone how strong and badass he is. he is a douche. And unlike me, he will NEVER COMPETE AT ANYTHING BECUASE HE IS AFRAID TO FAIL. You, my friend, addressed your weight and beat its ass. AVOID THE WANNABE!! If a guy is a douche to you when you talk to him, forget and move on.

    B. The Badass: He is big. He is strong. He wears whatever he wants to the gym because he is there to work. He does care who is watching because he enjoys training and because usually, he is the biggest, strongest guy and he doesn't have to work for it. That man loves to compete. That man doesn't worry if he fails becuase they only person he is competing against is the iron. Himself. This guy will ALWAYS be willing to give advice to you about training. The secret is that he is harassed all the time by guys who just want to waste his time. If you have specific questions or if you say something like, "Listen, I am new to strength training because I have been focused on weightloss... can I ask you for some advice from time to time?" He will be pleased! He wont' care a bit! Be specific and ask what you want and he will tell you. Dont hit on him, but you will find that straight guys like this are not homophobic... the wannabe is (because he questions his own masculinity) but a man who benches 500 doesn't question his masculinity. As long as you are non-sexual with him, he wont care who you sleep with.
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    Oct 13, 2011 2:12 PM GMT
    Great advise Alpha, and congrats dj on your success so far...
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    Oct 13, 2011 2:16 PM GMT
    Or you could just get a personal trainer and train at a pace that suits you best instead of trying to keep up with The Jones'.

    Don't ask a big guy. Ask a FIT guy and stay away from stereotyping labels like "Wannabe" and "Badass" since those are subjective. You'll be better for it. Some of the advice given above is pretty good expect for A & B. It has some flaws in it.

    Kudos to losing the weight though. I know the feeling from being a skinny guy to ballooning up to a hideous weight and then losing it again and now at a comfortable stage with my body (still improving). It's tough but once you get to where you want you feel so good about yourself and all the hard work you put into getting there will be worth it.
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    Oct 13, 2011 2:38 PM GMT
    Guy101 said: Or you could just get a personal trainer and train at a pace that suits you best instead of trying to keep up with The Jones'.

    I agree with this. A personal trainer seems the most valuable for what you're looking for, someone to encourage, train, setup and validate your program. Someone who can explain the what, how and when to use the equipment to accomplish your goals.

    Don't ask a big guy. Ask a FIT guy and stay away from stereotyping labels like "Wannabe" and "Badass" since those are subjective. You'll be better for it. Some of the advice given above is pretty good expect for A & B. It has some flaws in it.

    The problem with the 'big guy' is that just because they're big doesn't tell you how they got that way. You want to do your building right and including your nutrition. I suspect that Alpha is thinking this based on his training experience but at my gym there seems a lot of guys that are big with poor form and, I speculate, use of something besides just working out.

    Kudos to losing the weight though. I know the feeling from being a skinny guy to ballooning up to a hideous weight and then losing it again. It's tough but once you get to where you want to you feel so good about yourself.

    Congrats on the successes. Getting burned out or feeling like you're stuck is easy. I'm there with you now and trying to force myself to maintain what I've accomplished (although it's not that significant). Keep going, you clearly have the self discipline and have changed who you are so don't go back to where you were, maintain or challenge yourself to a new level.
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    Oct 13, 2011 2:47 PM GMT
    eb925guy saidGuy101 said: Or you could just get a personal trainer and train at a pace that suits you best instead of trying to keep up with The Jones'.

    I agree with this. A personal trainer seems the most valuable for what you're looking for, someone to encourage, train, setup and validate your program. Someone who can explain the what, how and when to use the equipment to accomplish your goals.

    Don't ask a big guy. Ask a FIT guy and stay away from stereotyping labels like "Wannabe" and "Badass" since those are subjective. You'll be better for it. Some of the advice given above is pretty good expect for A & B. It has some flaws in it.

    The problem with the 'big guy' is that just because they're big doesn't tell you how they got that way. You want to do your building right and including your nutrition. I suspect that Alpha is thinking this based on his training experience but at my gym there seems a lot of guys that are big with poor form and, I speculate, use of something besides just working out.

    Kudos to losing the weight though. I know the feeling from being a skinny guy to ballooning up to a hideous weight and then losing it again. It's tough but once you get to where you want to you feel so good about yourself.

    Congrats on the successes. Getting burned out or feeling like you're stuck is easy. I'm there with you now and trying to force myself to maintain what I've accomplished (although it's not that significant). Keep going, you clearly have the self discipline and have changed who you are so don't go back to where you were, maintain or challenge yourself to a new level.


    Dude, dont listen to Guy101... he is a knowitall... I have trained guys like you for years. I was a nationally ranked strength athlete and held 4 national records. Guy101 is just a guy with a lot of talk and opinions and no substance. He disagrees with every post on put on Realjock, regardless of the subject. Let me ask you candidly,... look at him and look at me... who knows more about muscle building?

    I told you to go to the "big" guy because you stated in your original post that you wanted more muscle... the big guy is the guy who HAS muscle. And you will find that those guys very, very, very often started as very skinny guys or very overweight guys. They are connected to your struggle and that is a reason they will help you. You can hire a personal trainer, or you can educate yourself. "Give a man a fish and eats for a day, teach a man to fish and eats for a lifetime." - You took responsiblity for your own weight loss.... take responsiblity for this as well... learn what you can and apply it. I have seen lots and lot of really bad personal trainers. If you find a good one who knows what he is doing, then hire him to help teach you form and routines.

    You are obviously smart and self-motivated. I dont back down from any of my previous advice.

    Guy101 has had issues with me from the moment we connected... he is the only guy I have blocked on all of Realjock. You can take his advice and that is fine. I am done here. If you want my advice, shoot me a message and we can talk privately whenever you want. Either way... I am pulling for you, man!
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    Oct 13, 2011 3:24 PM GMT
    Alpha MuscleDude, dont listen to Guy101... he is a knowitall... I have trained guys like you for years. I was a nationally ranked strength athlete and held 4 national records. Guy101 is just a guy with a lot of talk and opinions and no substance. He disagrees with every post on put on Realjock, regardless of the subject. Let me ask you candidly,... look at him and look at me... who knows more about muscle building?

    I told you to go to the "big" guy because you stated in your original post that you wanted more muscle... the big guy is the guy who HAS muscle. And you will find that those guys very, very, very often started as very skinny guys or very overweight guys. They are connected to your struggle and that is a reason they will help you. You can hire a personal trainer, or you can educate yourself. "Give a man a fish and eats for a day, teach a man to fish and eats for a lifetime." - You took responsiblity for your own weight loss.... take responsiblity for this as well... learn what you can and apply it. I have seen lots and lot of really bad personal trainers. If you find a good one who knows what he is doing, then hire him to help teach you form and routines.

    You are obviously smart and self-motivated. I dont back down from any of my previous advice.

    Guy101 has had issues with me from the moment we connected... he is the only guy I have blocked on all of Realjock. You can take his advice and that is fine. I am done here. If you want my advice, shoot me a message and we can talk privately whenever you want. Either way... I am pulling for you, man!


    WOW! So it's ok for him to listen to you but not to me. That hilarious. I don't and never have claimed to be a know it all but I do know enough. There's a difference and I'm sorry if you are intimidated by my confidence. I find your post even more hilarious because you know absolutely NOTHING ABOUT ME and haven't made any attempt to do so and for you to just come out of nowhere and tell someone not to listen to me based off of just your accomplishments and to compare yourself to me when you don't even know what I look like or what I've done is just sad. That's very untactful and a total rookie move. Yes, candidlly please do ask yourself who knows more about muscle based off of appearance since no one on here knows what I currently look like. Sound advice, Alpha. Bravo.

    I thought I was being nice but I guess I'll have to go the "real route" now.

    You said you are a trainer, Alpha_Muscle, and yet you just gave the OP some shoty advice. Let's break it down. You basically told him to go read a magazine and to just ask random strangers in the gym based off of appearance and attitude (The badass). Really? There's no direction in that advice. Logic would dictate that you'd tell him to speak to someone who can actually help him like say maybe a trainer who will give him what he needs instead of relying on the good graces of some random person in the gym who merely looks big. Yeah...you gave him some solid advice alright." Read a magazine. Stay away from "WANNABES" and talk to "BAD ASSES". Last time I checked anyone who goes to the gym or engages in fitness of any kind is a wannabe as in they wanna be better than what they are now. But hey...I'm just a know it all (your words, not mine) so what do i know. LOL.

    Correction. YOU have issues with me which is why you blocked me (not the other way around) because I called you out (like I'm doing now) and you couldn't handle it so let's just get that straight. Let me also correct you in saying that we've never connected (again, you've never really spoken to me and are just going pot thread comments...typical rookie move there) and I don't disagree with every post I decide to comment on. Shows how much attention you pay to me. Quite interesting really.

    If you bothered being an adult had the ability to read you'd see that I did say you give some good advice but had some flaws but you seem clouded by your own personal hatred of me to see that. Whatever I guess.

    Since you have me blocked/ignored and since I'm the only one you did this to (had to make a thread about that too for some reason. Was it for validation?) then I guess you'll never see this post. Also what does telling him you have me blocked and being the only one that you've blocked prove? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING but once again someone felt the need to validate himself by saying such a thing.

    Meh! The world keeps on turning and the sun keeps on burning.

    OP, I would suggest you go and find a personal trainer who is gonna meet your needs and push you further than what you expected. Find a trainer who will work with you in developing a routine that suits you best for what you need and want to accomplish with your body. You have some homework to do because not every trainer is gonna be suited for you. Don't go for the flashy ones who just boast about training people for years and have competed and have just ranked (Ranked as what?) Get one with some some cred and one you feel comfortable with. Simple as that. Also don't just rely on them. Believe in yourself and your abilities to get over that hill and you should be fine.

    Unlike some people I'm not gonna tell you who you should or shouldn't listen to. That's a decision best left for you to decide. I wish you the best in quest.
  • natertots

    Posts: 30

    Oct 13, 2011 4:08 PM GMT
    Hey OP,

    I can totally relate to you about being intimidated by big guys in the gym. Until you get going on a program and see your own strength increases, it can be really tough. I've got two pieces of advice in addition to what's provided to you.

    1. Train with a goal in mind. If you're looking to start lifting hard, focus on a particular weight that you want to be able to rep so many times. For me, I've been trying to notch up my dumbell flat bench press. My ultimate goal is to max out on my gym's dumbells (100lb), but each time I train I look at them, remind them (mentally) that one day they'll be my bitches, and lift what I can until absolute failure to make sure my muscles keep growing. Yesterday that looked like putting up 50x12, 50x12, 80x5, 65x8, 65x8. I was a little pissed about having to drop after the 80's, but feeling muscle fatigue is the one way you'll know you're doing work. Keep going to failure and you'll definitely start gaining strength/muscle.

    2.Don't compare your lifting to others. I'm doing the bodybuilding.com 12 week trainer right now... the dude who does the videos (Kris Gethin) leg presses somewhere like 600 lbs... a little heavy for me icon_razz.gif He made a good point the other week though... even though HE lifts heavy, lifting that heavy isn't going to be possible for everyone (aka me). To pick a weight that will make your muscle fail is more important than the number on the machine/dumbell/bar.

    One last thing--take some earphones with you and listen to some music that gets you psyched up. For me, its metal/hxc, for others its GaGa... whatever floats your boat. Lose yourself in it and get something out of every moment in the gym. Be deliberate, stay strong.

    Good luck, man!
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    Oct 13, 2011 6:37 PM GMT
    You have already made some amazing fitness accomplishments. Most people can never achieve what you have done and continue to do.

    Remember that 99% of the guys at the gym are there for an individual experience. They aren't there to compete with you or compare themselves to you. A trainer is a good start and if you can afford it, to stay motivated. I found a lot of confidence in just knowing I was doing the exercise correctly and with good form. It's really not about the weight. I'm 5'8 and about 150lbs and I've never been intimidated even though most of the guys are a pretty far beyond me. Also, remember that if you talked to them almost all of them are going to tell you they have been working out for a really long time comparatively.



    I wish you the best of luck icon_smile.gif
  • djzilla

    Posts: 138

    Oct 17, 2011 12:52 PM GMT
    Thanks guys!!! I really appreciate the advice and support.

    I work out at my work gym so personal trainer might be out cause they generally don't let outsiders into it. However, I'll look into that. We're planning on moving sometime next year so maybe we'll join a gym I can find one at. I've gotten a couple of books on weight training but I'm still feeling a bit overwhelmed.

    Random questions if you don't mind.

    Do you guys rotate muscle groups you train on certain days? Like do you do chest and back one day then arms and shoulders another?

    Do you lift a little at a heavy weight or a lot at a lower weight? I don't know which is going to see my muscle grow but I don't necessarily want to get large. I'd like a defined body.

    Thanks for the encouragement guys. Been back on program for 100 days so far and getting back in shape and I'm more motivated than ever to keep going.
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    Oct 17, 2011 1:09 PM GMT
    There are some good workouts here (up in the top nav bar) and loads of them over at www.BodyBuilding.com. Pick one, do it faithfully for 12 weeks, then switch to another one. Read the Forums there too. icon_cool.gif
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    Oct 17, 2011 3:43 PM GMT
    I'm not a big fan of the magazines because while there is some good advice, there is a lot of garbage, and it is hard separating one from the other if you're not in to it. The other problem with the magazines is they generally cover a specific topic rather than presenting a complete program, which I think you need most.

    I recommend you look at the following books - you can read about them on Amazon, and see what makes best sense to you:

    1. Several books by Stuart McRobert - his most basic is Build Muscle, Lose Fat, Look Great.

    2. The New Power Program, Protocols for Maximum Strength, by Dr. Michael Colgan

    3. Maximum Strength by Eric Cressey

    4. Starting Strength Basic Barbell Training by Mark Rippetoe

    5. The New Rules of Lifting by Lou Schuler
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Oct 17, 2011 3:52 PM GMT
    Well first, congrats for such an awesome achievement. You know you can really do it, you just need some guidance and input. My suggestion is certainly a personal trainer, but from what I've read about you, maybe a gym buddy who helps and works with you...... at least in the beginning. I also think it is very helpful for you to be able to share this important life experience with friends and family. Not sure where you are at with that part of it.

    Make sure and change it up. Adopt a plan and work it for 2 or 3 months, then change it and that can be a real challenge for most people, including me! You can do a complete body workout, then change it up, working on specific body areas.. just don't overtrain. Make sure to continue your cardio as well. Just make sure you feel comfortable with the use of the machines. Way too many people use them incorrectly (and never feel dumb about asking questions!) I learn something almost everyday that I'm working at the gym.

    Again, awesome! Keep up the amazing work, no matter if you move or if you stay where you are now. Success is making it a part of your lifestyle.
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    Oct 17, 2011 4:00 PM GMT
    Hey man, I was the same way. I spent all my time doing cardio, I was in shape but didn't look it. I was awkward and timid to lift.

    My number one suggestion. GET A TRAINER. They can get you into a routine and get you familiar with the weight floor. He can also make sure you have correct form. I see so many guys hyper-extending their joints at the gym I cry a little inside. My trainer got me started gaining muscle over 6 months. He moved but now I am confident enough to do it on my own. However, its not all just a trainer 99% is your motivation and drive to make the change, trainer is there to support and help.

    Remember to be patient, muscle takes A LOT longer to build. Also, don't let the lifters intimmidate you. They were beginners at one time too. Most are happy to spot and provide suggestions. True there are those epic d-bags, just put your blinders on and ignore them.