Endurance, soreness and diet

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 28, 2007 4:38 PM GMT
    I've just started trying to get into better shape this year. I was the fat homely kid through most of high school and college and decided it was time to fix that. For some quick background info before asking my questions (in case it's relevant), I started trying to lose weight in February 2007, and went from 178 to 152. In July 2007 I started visiting the gym regularly again and focused mainly on circuit-training style workouts to build general, overall strength before getting into bulking up specific muscle groups. I doubled my starting weights on just about every workout and plateaued about a month ago, so I figured it's time to start focusing on individual muscle groups. I'm not looking to put on serious bulk, by the way, just add a basic, healthy level of overall muscle mass. It's hard to estimate how much, since I don't know what ten pounds of muscle adds as far as size, but I'm thinking I probably just want to add about 20-30 pounds overall (that could be way off though, I'll stop when I'm happy). My current three day a week plan is this:

    Day 1 - Chest and Triceps
    Day 2 - Shoulders and Biceps
    Day 3 - Back and Abdominals

    Cardio is interspersed as well.

    The three areas I would like some advice on are endurance, dealing with muscle soreness and caloric intake.

    Endurance is a factor because I seem to hit muscle fatigue very quickly, often having to significantly reduce my lifting weight in order to finish multiple sets. For instance, I may start off with 70 pounds for the first set, then have to back off to 60 on the second and 45 or 50 on the third. So I'm wondering if this will still get the results I want by decreasing weight like this or if I should start with a medium weight and do the three sets with equal weight or if I should build up muscle endurance first before trying to bulk up specifically.

    My solicitation for advice on muscle soreness revolves around how much is okay to do while still sore. I know you need rest to build muscle, but what's happening, for instance, is my triceps will still be mildly sore from the Day 1 workout when I go to lift for shoulders and biceps two days later. I realize I'm not working triceps on this second workout, but obviously they're still used in balancing weights and general use. I'm just curious if this is problematic enough that I should wait an extra day before going back to the gym or if it's no big deal.

    Thirdly, I wonder if anyone knows some general guidelines for overall caloric intake. I realize it varies from person to person, so a range would be fine. When I lost my 26 pounds earlier this year, I was eating around 1500 calories a day, and was losing at a rate of approximately 1.5 pounds a week. This translates to around a 750 calorie deficit per day (1.5 pounds = 5250 calories / 7 days a week = 750 calories a day). This would seem to indicate to me that I would need to eat approximately 2250 calories a day to maintain my current weight, but that seems kind of high. I realize, however, that I need to eat extra calories (especially extra protein, obviously) in order for my muscles to put on mass, but I have no idea how much. I lift for between 45-75 minutes when I visit the gym (depending on how many sets, exercises, etc.) and hit the cardio for 30 minutes on those days.

    Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 29, 2007 4:18 AM GMT
    No leg work?

    Why so underweight?

    You're 6'1"?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 29, 2007 4:57 AM GMT
    the fast and dirty rule, of which there are variations, is that for every pound you weigh you should eat a gram of protein.

    Many muscles take about 48 hours to recover, depending on the person, their conditioning, and the muscle in question. Your triceps you mentioned in your example should have recovered. Perhaps you are still sore, perhaps you are performing the exercise incorrectly. Check other people out at the gym. See how they are performing the exercise. It also gives you an excuse to look at other guys without feeling guilty.

    How much is in a set? If endurance is a problem you should be working with less weight and more reps per set. Cardio training as well will help with endurance.

    I am just a beginner myself aspiring to be one of the ridiculously stacked studs on this site, but my suggestion as a fellow beginner is to read as much as you can on the topic.

    Two books that were recommended to me were
    1) The Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding by Arnold Swartzeneger (yes, that Arnold)
    2) The Book of Muscle by Men's Health Magazine.

    Also being a beginner you might want to wait for someone to verify if anything I have said is approaching the truth or if I have grossly misunderstood others.

    best of luck
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    Nov 29, 2007 3:45 PM GMT
    Re: chuckystud

    Thanks for the reply. In answer to your questions:

    No leg work?
    I forgot to mention this. I'm happy with my legs as they are, at least as far as size is concerned. I'd like more definition, so I've been doing lower weight with high reps, usually a couple sets at the end of the above-mentioned three workout sessions.

    Why so underweight? You're 6'1"?
    I'm underweight because I have little to no muscle tone in my upper body. (To show just how embarassingly little, the first time I tried doing lateral and front cable raises, I was only able to lift 7.5 pounds for 3 sets of 8 reps). I was a fat, lazy kid, my current job is very sedentary (at least 80% seated), and most of my hobbies are also sedentary. The exception is hiking, which obviously develops legs more than upper body. I also have a small frame size (thanks, Mom), so according to my doctor, my "healthy" weight range (without adding extra muscle weight, of course) is 150-170, so I'm definitely on the low end. It's what I'm trying to fix now.
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    Nov 29, 2007 10:19 PM GMT
    You have to work legs. 2/3 of your lean muscle mass is there. To not do so is to do yourself a huge disservice. There's a whole list reasons: symmetry, balance, metabolic activation, cardio threshold, cardio endurance, VO2 max. You'll never have much if you're to lazy to work legs, and your efforts at gains will be hindered by the fact that you aren't working lower body and besides that fact that you'll become funny looking.