Suggestions and recommendations for a new fitness path sought

  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Aug 25, 2007 10:39 PM GMT
    Back in early January I set a bunch of fitness goals for myself. I went with a mix of weight training goals (such as bench pressing my body weight), some timed runs (such as 2 miles in 16:00), and some overall fitness ones (such as meeting the Army ROTC requirements). I've met all but one of them now, and am probably only a few weeks away from finishing that last one (a 6 minute mile, and my last mile was 6:20). I was also recently out of the gym for a few weeks due to travel to places without gyms, so I've spent this past week easing back into things.

    What I need now is to figure out what to focus on next. I've got two major avenues to consider:

    a) Focus primarily on my cardio health. Alternate some longer runs with some shorter sprints, push myself up to around 45-60 minutes of cardio per day by cross training across the treadmill, the track, the bike, the elliptical, the rowing machine, stairs, the pool, and jumping rope. If I go this route, I might as well also drop a little fat, and see if I can, for instance, turn a flat stomach into actually visible abs. However, I'll risk losing some muscle if I do this.

    b) Focus primarily on getting stronger. I'd like a little more mass in my chest and upper arms, but I know enough to also work my back and legs for balance. However, I know that the mass I gain will include some degree of fat as well. For me to gain weight, I've found that the recommendations of the From Scrawny to Brawny book work relatively well--eat a ton, work a small number of compound exercises at high weight in a 5 sets of 5 reps combination, exercise 3 times a week, and make all cardio work along the lines of a series of wind sprints rather than any endurance work.

    The one bit of my exercise routine which won't be changing is that I play volleyball for several hours once a week. Whichever route I go with my workouts, the fun of volleyball trumps any detriment it would cause to my other fitness goals. I'm still hoping to get my vertical leap a bit better for volleyball as well.

    I'm not looking to become particularly large, and I absolutely do not want to become vascular. To me, taking a supplement means a multivitamin and a protein shake--I will not touch steroids. My ideal would be to end up with the build of a diver or a beach volleyball player, but I believe that it'll take a lot of work to add up to that level of muscle and I know that such a goal is a long way in the future. There's also a limit to how strictly I'm willing to control my diet, as I will not be eliminating bread, cheese, or pasta entirely (though I may be willing to change their frequencies).

    I'm 26, roughly 6 foot tall, and currently about 160 (a few pounds more than I was in most of the pictures from my profile, which are somewhere between 1 and 2 months old). I've largely got the build of a long distance runner, even though I'm actually not very good at endurance events. I have a very high metabolism, so it's a lot harder for me to gain weight than to lose it--2 years ago, before I began working with weights, I was the same height and only 135 pounds despite eating absolutely whatever I felt like. As far as general fitness, my current VO max is roughly 46 (what it registered as earlier this week on the elliptical machine), and it's my breathing that's limiting my mile run, not my legs. My pulse as I sit on the couch typing this is 70 beats per minute. At 5 sets of 5 reps each, I can handle 160 pounds for a bench press, my body weight and a 20 pound dumb bell for pull ups, 155 pounds for a squat (and it's my back that impedes my squats, not my legs--my legs can take over 400 pounds on a leg press machine), and 35 pounds for a hammer bicep curl.

    Opinions and recommendations are welcome--that's why I created this post, after all. Which route would you guys suggest I take, and why?
  • collegeguy06

    Posts: 7

    Aug 28, 2007 3:17 AM GMT
    Which do you want more? Personally I would suggest to build some more muscle mass. Not saying that you look bad, but that's just the avenue that I would pick.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 06, 2007 11:31 PM GMT
    I would focus primarily on getting stronger with a good bodyweight exercise routine.

    I think a guy with your body type could get hella strong and build some decent lean muscle fairly quick with a good bodyweight routine.

    Just an idea ;o)