Newbie Questions

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 04, 2008 1:20 PM GMT
    I'm 136 pounds, 5'6" and skinny as hell. So noob questions for someone looking to gain, tell me what I'm doing wrong:

    1) I keep hearing about reps and sets. What are they? I just count. :S (e.g. 30 squats etc.)

    2) I do full body workouts everyday, is that advisable? (I mean I try to exercise ALL muscles, squats, pushups, benchpresses, curlups, standing lifts)

    3) Are rest days where you do nothing advisable? How many days should they be if at all?

    4) I usually try to flex my muscles even when not working out, does this help?

    e.g.
    a) when working in front of the PC, I clench and unclench my biceps sometimes
    b) when reading stuff from my laptop and sitting crosslegged on my bed I would lift a liter bottle of water, not counting, just lifting until I get tired then switch arms. I usually switch from straight bicep curls to rotates etc. also.

    5) I have a list of to-dos everyday. I stick to them, but I usually try to outdo them. For example, I have a budget of 30 squats everyday (with a barbell held below chin level), I would do the 30 then if I can still go on, I usually push myself past it, sometimes htiing 45 before I couldn't take it anymore. Is this advisable?

    6) I have very bad appetite. When I eat, I would try to lessen rice (a part of every Filipino meal) and just eat the viand (meat mostly).

    7) I am not very active. My work is computer based (3d modeling and mapping) so is my workout enough? I'm afraid sports is out of the question in our town.

    icon_cool.gif I drink a lot of milk chocolate drinks and coffee. Also powdered milk if there are any (real milk is hard to get here).

    9) What is the ideal workout for my build? Can anyone make a list for me that utilizes only a barbell and a liter water bottle? No gym stuff and no money to buy the supplements/protein shakes etc.

    10) I'm already starting to see changes. But very minor. Should I measure arm width, etc to keep track of growth? Or would it be too discouraging?

    11) What exercises should I avoid (i.e. primarily weight loss exercises which I should NOT do?)

    Ok that's all I can think of now. :S Help please!
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Feb 04, 2008 4:45 PM GMT
    1) Reps are the repetitions of an exercise. Sets are collections of repetitions. So, for instance, if you're doing 3 sets of 8 repetitions, you do the exercise 8 times, you rest for anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes, then you do it 8 more times, rest again, and then do a final set of 8.

    2) You do not want to work the same muscles every day. Your muscles will respond better if you give them time to rest and recover between work outs. You want to work a given muscle no more often than every other day to see the fastest results. So, you might instead develop a pair of workout days: one day for your chest, back, abs, and the other for your arms and legs. Other pairings are totally reasonable too. If you wanted to work out every day, you'd just alternate between these two.

    3) Flexing without the weights is unlikely to do anything at all except possibly make you look silly while you do so.

    4) If you want to focus on gaining weight, make your cardio exercise (running, stairs, jumping rope, etc) into intervals instead of distance. That means, instead of running for half an hour, jog for 3 minutes to warm up, then make a cycle of sprint for 30 seconds, jog for 90 seconds, sprint for 30, jog for 90, etc for 5-7 cycles. It'll help condition your heart without getting into sustained calorie burn.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 04, 2008 5:05 PM GMT
    oh my god...where to begin?

    ok, here's my take on some of this.

    Full body workouts are great if your goal is to burn a lot of calories. That is not your goal. You run the risk of not only eating through your glycogen stores, but alos into your fat and muscle stores. Fat is fine, but you don't want to be burning muscle if you're trying to gain size.

    If you can do five to six days a week, which it sounds like you can, then do a cycle where you hit each body part once a week...or twice a week (with a heavy day and a light day). Here's an example:

    Monday - Chest (monday is always chest for some reason)
    Tuesday - Back
    Wednesday - Legs
    Thursday - Triceps
    Friday - Biceps
    Saturday - Shoulders

    With this split, chest and triceps have two days between them to fully rest. (When you do chest, your triceps are also engaged, so they need a day or two off before you hit them again...same with back and biceps...same with shoulders and triceps).

    Now, if you want to do each body part twice a weekm here's a split for you

    Monday - Chest/Triceps/Shoulders( heavy chest, light triceps, light shoulders)
    Tuesday - Back/Biceps (heavy back, light biceps)
    Wednesday - Legs (heavy)
    Thursday - Chest/Triceps/Shoulders (light chest, heavy triceps and shoulders)
    Friday - Back/Biceps (light back, heavy biceps)
    Saturday - light legs.

    Its not perfect, but it'll give your body parts a chance to rest before you tire them out again.

    The next big thing is eating...You've got to eat a lot of protein if you're gonna gain. meat is better than milk...milk is better than rice....rice is better than chocolate and coffee, which is not good at all.

    There are tons of exercises you can do with a barbell, and other stuff around the house. Look for places you can do pullups. running up stairs with weight in a backpack is good for your legs...pushups..on the floor, with your legs on a chair...upside down with your feet against a wall, and finally do a hand stand and try a pushup that way....

    once you understand the basics of what you're trying to do and set a routine, exercises will be easier to come by. figure that out and then hit us back for more info...

    good luck.

    j
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 05, 2008 12:50 AM GMT
    Regarding your protein intake, if supplements are not feasible consider incorporating vegetative sources like beans.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 05, 2008 7:29 AM GMT
    LOL, I know. Total noob.

    Thank you very much for your replies guys. icon_biggrin.gif