Okay. I'm ready to take some advice.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 21, 2010 8:30 AM GMT
    I'm 21, 5'7 and 165lbs and it's a bit more than a year since I really became serious about making changes in my life and getting in better shape. A year and a half ago I was sitting around most of the day drinking soda, eating pizza rolls, and not giving much concern to health.

    A year and a half later I'm now a complete health food nut. I eat entirely natural, no simple carbs, no processed sugar. Great balance of complex carbs, proteins, fiber, all that good stuff. I eat on average 1900-2200 calories a day. I spend most of my time out of the house and am active just about every day of the week. I spend a lot of days in the gym, on days that I don't I'm out running, biking, hiking, swimming, getting some form of activity.

    I've already made a huge transition in my life and tracking it over time I guess I am improving. It's hard to see the progress sometimes when you see your body every day. It's really the last half year that I've -really- gotten serious about the gym, and in that time I've gained maybe 10-15lbs of muscle.

    So what I'm looking for going forward is a sense of direction, some guidance. I feel like I'm getting to the point that I could use some smarter focus to my efforts.

    I have a thick build, and my body doesn't have too much difficulty putting on muscle. Other side of that is that if I do get lazy or binge I can put on a pound or two fairly easily, and it proves very hard to get rid of that last couple pounds on the sides you know?

    My goal here is to eventually lose about five pounds of bodyfat. ( probably, I'm not sure on the exact ) Rather than bulk up I'd like to put on a bit more lean muscle, and get some definition going in the areas I've already built up some strength. I'm not sure exactly how to go forward with this. So the question I pose to you good forum folks is:

    How much strength training, of what intensity? How much cardio? What are some good guidelines to go by here?
    Am I eating too much, too little? I know you're supposed to eat a lot when working on strength training, but I'm really hesitant because I'm trying to some bodyfat at the same time. But when I don't eat enough I just end up binging and skewing up my totals anyway. What's a good solid number of calories that I should be eating if I want to build up lean muscle but lose weight at the same time?

    Long post I know. Thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time to offer some input.
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    Feb 21, 2010 8:50 AM GMT
    based on the little bit of information about you that i can gleen from this, i am going to assume you are an endomorph. this means you have a massive, heavy frame that adds muscle easily but sheds fat with difficulty. keep your diet clean, as food is 75% of success.

    in general: eat the number of grams of protein/day that you want to weigh in pounds. if you want to weigh 170 pounds, consume 170 grams of protein. that's a gross oversimplification, but examin your protein intake. also, be certain that you are drinking way, way, way more water while eating this way. you need it for digestion and elimination.

    as for the regimen itself: if you already put on muscle easily, you could probably get by on breaking the body into three zones and working each one only once in a week (e.g. weight training 3x/week). to add mass you will want to use weights that exhaust you at 6-8 reps, 3 sets, 3 exercises/muscle (90 - 120 seconds of rest between sets). for cardio you will want to meet and maintain 60-70% of your maximum heart rate for 30-40 minutes. do not exceed 40 minutes or you will burn protein, rather than fat (you will lose muscle, not flab). depending on your results, you should probably do your cardio 4x/week, so that you are active each day, alternating weights and aerobic activity each day.

    also: YOU MUST USE VARIETY. avoid a routine at all costs. the more new skills you force upon your central nervous system, musculo-skeletal system, and cardiovascular system the better. remember that you should not be losing more than two pounds in any seven day period. eat six meals per day that are half portions. space them every 3 hours, rather than three large meals spaced every 6 hours. this will keep your metabolism up, even when you are at rest, and you will avoid going into famine mode (which happens when the body panics during long bouts without food and then holds tenaciously onto EVERYTHING you eat next).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 21, 2010 6:35 PM GMT
    Thanks for replying.

    I'm working right now on upping the protein. I'll give your other tips a try too. You say there's not much you can get from my post; what information am I not giving that would be helpful? I'm going to try and get some body pics taken and up in the next couple days.

    Should I -not- do any cardio on days that I strength train then? I usually finish a workout up with some.

    Endomorph eh? I was afraid of that. I've read up on it a bit, and it seems like the worst body type to get saddled with. What else should I keep in mind about that? Can someone who's endomorphic successfully get to a point of being lean and fit?
    If I'm an endomorph though I don't think I'm at the extreme end of that spectrum. Most of the traits only half apply to me.
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    Feb 21, 2010 7:26 PM GMT
    A lot of sports and fitness experts advocate taking a functional approach to setting and pursuing your objectives. That is, identify physical and athletic activities you want to participate in, then set goals you'd like to achieve for those sports.

    For example: run a marathon, climb Mt. Whitney and Mt. Shasta in the same month, win a seat on a rowing team, etc.

    Those performance goals will drive your fitness goals because you'll have to work on your physical weaknesses, including body fat and weight distribution. For example, I got back in shape in '09 and set goals in mountain biking and surfing. So I had to redistribute weight out of my abdomen and chest and more it into larger legs, shoulders, arms and upper back. And I had to work on upper and lower body explosive power, and all around endurance. I still wanted some tone and muscle for the beach, so I do basic bench and curl type exercises for that.

    This approach produces two virtuous cycles. One is a cycle of motivation, because I can feel changes in my strengths and weaknesses during my performance, and that motivates me to keep working out with a practical focus. The other is the typical cross-training cycle which builds strength and condition faster. Work in the gym mainly builds muscles and it basic functions of firing strength and stabilizing joints. And the sports toughen the muscle and do much more strength building because you're calling on the muscles for a wider variety of activities with a more irregular and confusing set of demands.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!