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Tips on working out...


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31 replies to this topic

#1 of 32 NickSo

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Posted September 24 2002 - 01:11 PM

hey guys, i know there are other fitness threads out there, but i had some more personal questions to ask.

I just started working out for real at a gym in late august, but i have been lifting occasionally before that.

Well, so right now i think im doing fine, but i just want some advice on some stuff. When i started going to the gym, i was about 109lbs (Posted Image i know), the last two or three times i checked i was 111lbs (I go about 2 times a week)

Im SUPER skinny, and super light-weight. I can eat SO MUCH, and not gain a pound. I try to gain weight, but to no avail. I really dont wanna be gaining weight by fat, but rather muscle. I know this is hard, but i've been trying and it just hasnt been working.

1. Whats the best way and time to build muscle? Like after a big meat meal (Steak, chicken, fish the whole bamboozle) when my body's high in Amino Acids?

2. What stuff can i eat to stay healthy and help build muscle (like i dont want a STRICT protein diet)? How bout like that powder stuff you mix with water to make a protein shake? Or nutritional supplements?

3. What kinds of workouts or techniques will give more visible results (to look less like a skeleton with skin)?

Thanks alot, i appreciate it.. Expect more questions however :b


#2 of 32 Max Leung

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Posted September 24 2002 - 02:30 PM

Well, I haven't been working out so I have no experience in that area other then losing weight when I don't mean to. Ooops!

So, be careful with your workout...you could actually LOSE weight with your high metabolism.

From what I briefly read on the USENET fitness groups and the body building sites on the web (unfortunately most try to sell you something, but most say the same thing), you'd be classified as a "hard-gainer", meaning that you'll have difficulty building muscle mass regardless of the number of reps you do.

The recommended program for hard-gainers is to massively increase your food intake, high in carbohydrates and protein, followed by an exercise program involving mostly free weights. However, the idea is to work out, once or twice a week (3 maximum) in such a way that you experience near-total muscle failure after a dozen reps. In other words, when it hurts by the 12th lift, than you know for certain that you are tearing up the muscle enough to encourage muscle growth (but not so much that you injure yourself!). Running and aerobics will likely cause you to LOSE weight, as practicing endurance exercises will tend to burn your (meager) stores of fat quickly, unlike hard-core body-building.

That's the gist of it. I'm hoping other people will have more info on this. Myself, I'm just trying to gain weight the old-fashioned way: Eat lots of fast food and sit on my ass all day. Posted Image

Then, when I have a safe deposit of fat on my body, I can convert them to muscle by working out. Exercising increases my metabolism, so I will lose weight with my current food consumption. I'd probably have to add an extra meal per day if I start a body-building program.
Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him...a super-callused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

Gamesh....

#3 of 32 NickSo

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Posted September 24 2002 - 02:57 PM

Okay, so like heavy weights, less reps? Lotsa carbos and protein? No running/swimming/aerobic workout... aight cool, anybody else?

#4 of 32 Jagan Seshadri

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Posted September 24 2002 - 03:19 PM

Nick,

Max's advice sounds good. I would not bother with protein shakes and the like, but I'd rather focus on eating a balanced diet and staying away from "quick-fix" solutions. Think "lifestyle change"m emphasis on "life" because it takes determination and patience. I am still working on making my exercise more routine (and I started working out 10 years ago, with a lot of interruptions in the meantime but a lot of learning too).

The 109 to 111 pound difference is most likely water weight, but bear in mind that your age, height, genetics, and even ethnicity will play a part in your body type. There are online BMI (body mass index) calculators, so it is easy to see if you are underweight, normal, or overweight.

These things take time and sometimes your body won't be ready to put on a lot of mass. When I was 14 I weighed 140lbs and I couldn't do a thing to change it. When I was 16 I hit a new plateau - 160lbs and couldn't do a thing to change it. At 21 I jumped to 170lbs...same story. Now at 26 I vary between 175 and 180lbs and I can finally do things to change it. The ability to put on muscle just came with age (around my 25th birthday in my case). I'm still no muscle-man, but if I wanted to be one, now I could do it, whereas I had no luck when I was in my teens and early twenties.

One important tip is not to worry too much about it, but work to maintain a good self image. Working out is a great idea regardless of if you bulk up or not.

Cheers,
-JNS

#5 of 32 Andrew V

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Posted September 24 2002 - 03:37 PM

The Following is a link to an Online BMI Calculator that Jagan talked about in his post: Essent Medical Library- HC Body Mass Index Calculator
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#6 of 32 Jeffrey Noel

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Posted September 24 2002 - 04:22 PM

Nick,
If you do ever choose to buy a protein shake mix, I highly recommend Nature's Best Isopure, any flavor. I have tried many different brands and this is by far the best tasting. Also, if you were to ever choose to buy protein bars, I recommend Protein Plus by Powerbar, vanilla yogurt is my favorite. Yeah they're hard to chew just like any other protein bar but taste a helluva lot better!!!

I'd agree that you should lift heavier weights with less reps if you're looking at adding muscle mass. It worked for me until I stopped working out! Posted Image College has made me LAZY!

Best of luck!
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#7 of 32 Max Leung

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Posted September 24 2002 - 04:25 PM

Oh, one thing about protein shakes...some of them contain a lot of lactose. A really bad idea if you're lactose intolerant!

Also, some protein shakes, even those with very low lactose, make you feel bloated. If you decided to do protein shakes, see if you can get samples or buy very small quantities to see if your digestive system can take them. Although, sometimes your body gets used to it and you stop bloating. Hard to tell sometimes.
Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him...a super-callused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

Gamesh....

#8 of 32 NickSo

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Posted September 24 2002 - 04:26 PM

Do these protein shakes also have the extra carbos? Or will i needa pack up on that as well before the workout?

#9 of 32 Brian Harnish

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Posted September 24 2002 - 08:22 PM

Nick- Here's a site that may help you out tremendously:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/

While they do have an online store with weight gain/weight loss/what-have-you products, they also have a section that contains numerous articles on gaining muscle mass (including a lot of information for hard-gainers such as yourself). I highly recommend it.

Also, you can visit their discussion forums as well if you have additional questions.

#10 of 32 Bruce Hedtke

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Posted September 24 2002 - 10:54 PM

I use the "Pyramid" technique. Nothing too challenging-You have 5 sets of reps. With the first set, you lift a light weight that you can do 10 times. Second, heavier-8 times and so on until you get down to whatever weight you can only do 2 reps on. The usual increments in weights is between 10-20 lbs. Upper body three times a week, lower body twice per week, alternating and one day of cardiovascular. With this system, you can use all free weights, all machines or combine. Really a great, intense muscle-building regime.

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#11 of 32 Mike__D

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Posted September 25 2002 - 12:46 AM

Quote:
I use the "Pyramid" technique


That's a great technique to use. I used that back in High School. By my senior year, I weighed 165lbs and benched pressed about 300lbs. I strictly used the Pyramid. Do at least 3 different excersises for each body part, making sure you hit your muscles from different angles. Form is also very important. For example, it's better to keep your back flat when benching using a lighter weight, than using a heavier weight and arching your back.

Also, vary your excersises, and the order you do them. Say for a week or two your routine includes flat bench, decline bench & incline. Once you start to get comfortable, do your worse one first and best one last. Then another few weeks, substitute dumbells for one or two excersises. Don't ignore the dumbbells! They are great for muscle building. They help build your supporting muscles, since it's tougher to balance two dumbells independantly than one bar bell of the comparable weight.

Also, trying going more than twice a week. Focus on 2 major body parts, and vary those as well. Say for a month you do back and biceps on the same day, and triceps and chest on another. Switch it next month with back and triceps, and biceps and chest.

Variation is a big part as you can see. While these are all general guidlines, in time you'll learn what best works for you. Everybody is different, so no one techinque works for everyone.

Mike D.

#12 of 32 Paul_D

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Posted September 25 2002 - 12:57 AM

Quote:
I used that back in High School. By my senior year, I weighed 165lbs and benched pressed about 300lbs.

How many reps were you doing at 300? That's some serious strength, especially for a high-schooler.
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#13 of 32 JamieD

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Posted September 25 2002 - 01:26 AM

I've never been a huge fan of the BMI. I was about 5'11 and weighed 215 to 220 from grade 9 up until my third year of university. In that last term my weight shot up to 240. Since then I've joined a gym, two floor hockey teams, an ice hockey team, a softball team, and etc. I've worked like crazy, increased my muscle mass considerably, decreased the "abs O flab", and though few ever thought I was as heavy as I was, now no one can guess my weight accurately. Right now I'm about 6 feet tall, and weight 240ish pounds. Notice how the weight hasn't dropped any?

I swear I ate an anchor as a child or something. I honestly believe I have dense bones or something, because I've also always found I had great difficulty floating in pools. *L*

Anyways, like Jagen said, it varies from person to person. I've just been slowly increasing the weight I use for a set number of reps, but I think I'll give the pyramid technique a try.

Oh yeah, and with all these sports, I think I soon need to find a physiotherapist! Posted Image

Good luck Nick.
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#14 of 32 Mike__D

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Posted September 25 2002 - 01:30 AM

Quote:
How many reps were you doing at 300? That's some serious strength, especially for a high-schooler.


1 rep. When I was lifting at the wieght, I'd do a warmup of 225lbs for 12 to 14 reps, 235 for about 8 to 10, 245 for 4 to 6, 275 or 280 for 2 to 4, then go for around 290 or 300. I never really went in and tried just to max out. I always did my workout first. I believe I could have exceeded 300lbs with just warmup.

Many people thought myself and my friend of similar height, weight and strenght did steriods. In reality, we worked out religiously 5 to 6 times week, from freshman year on up. And we never touched any drugs. We were very strong for our age. I squated around 500lbs and my friend did about 600lbs. Dumbell presses with about 100+ in each hand. I miss those times... I had no body fat to speak of, was ripped beyond belief. Then came college and the abuse I did through my 20's w/ partying... < sigh > I'd like to get back to at least half of what I was.

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#15 of 32 Jason Co

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Posted September 25 2002 - 01:30 AM

Nick,

First things first:
1. How old are you?
2. Define what you mean by "eat a lot"
3. How many times a day do you eat?
4. When is your biggest meal of the day?
5. What is you activity level like?
6. Stop reading body huilding magazines.
7. Don't spend a dime on supplements until you answer these questions.

I have extensive experience with physical fitness (I don't play one on tv). If you get back to me I can get you some material to work with.

Jason

#16 of 32 Dennis Reno

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Posted September 25 2002 - 01:33 AM

I had problems as a teen gaining weight as well Nick, but don't fret, all things work out in the end! A combination of consistently working out, eating A LOT and a slightly slower metabolism alleviated my "problem".

For me the pyramid technique provided the best results too. When I was 15 years old I was 5'6" weighed 125 pounds and could not bench my own weight. By the time I was 19 I was 6'0", weighed 165 and could bench 305 twice (after properly warming up.) I didn't use any protein or weight gain drinks nor did I constantly monitor my caloric or fat intake. The only thing I did try to limit was how much junk food I consumed. BTW, at 32 I'm still 6'0" but the weight is approx. 175-180 and gaining weight is no longer a problem *sigh*.

I used a system similar to what Mike D described. A friend and I would lift four times a week. An example of a weekly work out schedule would be two days (never in a row) we would focus on two or three areas (arms, quads/calves and neck for example), the other two we would work on other areas (chest, hams, shoulders and stomach). We usually spent approx. 90 minutes working out. Make sure you don't get into a routine of always working out the same parts in the same order.

Also, as Mike D mentions FORM IS EVERYTHING!!! Sorry for yelling, but it bothers me to see people using poor form in order to lift more. They are only fooling themselves and are risking injury. Whether it is arching your back so you can bench 20# more or curl another 10# your chest or biceps aren't doing the work, your back is!

Another bit o' advice (and possibly the best) find a buddy to work out with! Even after you have been working out for years, it is easy to "just take a day off" which leads to a week, then a month... With a friend there are times where you will push him to go and there are times he will push to make sure you go. Also, a buddy gives you an automatic spotter. No more:

"could........you.........get........this.........o ff.......my.........chest.......puhhhhlease?!?!"

Don't completely ignore cardio. Sure, doing too much can cause you to lose weight, but I would hit the bike or treadmill for 20 minutes after lifting with no negative effect.

Most of all have fun! My buddy and I still laugh at all the goofy things we would do or say at the gym. Now if the SOB would move back so I could start working out again. Its all his fault Posted Image

#17 of 32 Mike__D

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Posted September 25 2002 - 01:45 AM

Quote:
find a buddy to work out with


Yes, I forgot to mention that! Once you do start doing pyramid scheme, you'll need a spotter to help you squeeze out an extra rep or two. And the motivation factor is much higher too, especially if you are both competitive.

That reminds me of a funny story. Our gym had 2 flat benches back to back. My buddy was lifting, and the other was spotting him. There was another guy on the other bench by himself. So my friend lifting need help, so the other squatted down to help... the poor guy on the other bench got a face full of a$$ Posted Image

Also, I never used any suppliments. I did eat a lot of friggin food though. As an example, I could eat 6 burgers at our cook outs without thinking twice, and not gain a pound. I ate a full bag of Doritos almost every day... Did I say I missed those days? Posted Image

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#18 of 32 Jason Co

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Posted September 25 2002 - 02:17 AM

Nick,
Here are some good articles that you might want to check out.

article 1

article 2

A little self promotion an article I wrote here

Good luck, and most of all, have fun!

Jason

#19 of 32 Dennis Reno

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Posted September 25 2002 - 03:23 AM

Jason - great articles. Your leg workout sounds like a living hell. Leg press, followed by wall sit (for how long?) and THEN the blocks! IMO there is nothing worse than doing Bear Crawls! Do you provide wheelchairs after the workout is completed? Posted Image

When I was in crew during high school our coach had set up a similar system (not all the same workouts). You would walk your partner through the entire set and then he would walk you through. Be to easy on your buddy and the coach would make it tough. Be to hard on your buddy and he would return the favor!

#20 of 32 ShawnF

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Posted September 25 2002 - 03:26 AM

Jason,
I really appreciated your article. I've been wanting to get back into the gym and your workout may just be the inspiration.

I've always done the 3 sets of 10 reps method. Most of your exercises appear to be to failure. Am I correct?


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