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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 6:45 pm 
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Hi, everybody.

I used to lift weights when I was around 15 to 17 but stopped because of a large amount of school work mid last year! I've kind of let myself go since then, and have got a bit of fat around my stomach, although a good amount of my muscle seems to have stayed. I'm now nearly 18 and would like to get built back up and ripped for the summer!

I would like to know whether it is advisable to lose the fat first using cardio and then build up the muscle, or to build up the muscle and then lose the fat. Or maybe I am going about this the wrong way and you can do the same at once, or lose fat by using high-weight low-reps (I heard this 'cuts' your body)... I don't know.

Anyway, I would like it if somebody could point me in the right direction as to what to do - what sort of work-outs to do (full body 3 days a week, split, etc.), what sort of foods to eat, and how often to eat (6 small meals a dat, 3 big meals a day, etc.). I also used to mainly work out my upper body and so would like to now also build up my lower body, so please include lower body lifts in any lift programmes you suggest. Also I'm really short (about 5' 8"/5' 9") and hope to do some more growing so would like to know what sort of lifts release the most growth hormone.

Sorry if this is a long, silly post, but basically I would like to get nice and built but really defined so I'm kind of lean, and would like to know how to achieve this while keeping my growth hormone up. I heard HIIT is good for this as well? Could this be included in my programme?

Thanks in advance for any responces! :)


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 7:04 pm 
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Well,

The short answer is, it doesnt matter, just start doing something and stick with it until you reach your goal. 99% of people fail (including myself at times) because they lack the determination to just finish a program. The greatest program in the world is useless if you never do it.

To your specific questions, diet is the overwhelming factor in losing fat. If you havent trained seriously for a while, then the addition of weighttraining in just about any form will help you achieve your goal by enlarging muscles a small bit and increasing calories burned when you are just sitting around on the couch.

Full body routines are almost always best for beginners or those coming off an extended layoff from lifting. Choose 4-8 compound moves and don't spend too much time on the isolation type stuff (bicep curls, calve raises etc).

Squats, deadlifts, overhead pressing, rows, pullups and bench press are all good candidates. Eventually, weighted ab work will give you the protruding athletic abs so you should include those at some point. These will also vastly increase your health and reduce risk of injury through strengthening your core muscles. Back extensions are also a great exercise and can be done alternated with weighted abs.

To keep things simple I would recommend something like the following:

Workout A
A1:Squats
A2:Bent Over Row or DB Row
A3:Straight Leg Deadlifts
A4:Incline Bench Press or DB Incline Bench Press

B1:Abs
B2:Back Extensions

Workout B
A1:Deadlifts
A2:Pullups
A3:Leg Curls
A4:Military Press or DB Shoulder Press

B1:Abs (different exercise than workout A)
B2:back Extensions

I would do all exercises with 1 warm up set and then 2-3 sets of 6-12 reps. Only increasing weight when you can do 3 sets of 12 reps with the weight. Do them as circuits according to their labeling of A1-A4 for example done one after another with no more than 60 seconds rest between each exercise and then take a 2-3 minute break after each rotation.

I would lift 3 times per week as follows:
Week 1 A B A
Week 2 B A B
Week 3 A BA etc.

If you feel execessively energetic after the sessions I might add some isolation work like biceps and triceps and calves.

If it is getting to be nice weather where you are, I suggest doing some form of cardio/running outside or getting a medicine ball and throwing it around for 15 minutes straight (still one of the best workouts I have ever done). 1-3 sessions of this should probably be enough if you have a moderately active life so far. Combine the above with a clean diet and you should be cut plenty in time for summer.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 7:30 pm 
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The post above mine is really good and probably covers everything I'm about to say. You've been on a long enough layoff that you'll see beginner gains, so just pick a program and stick to it. Other than that, generally you should worry about dropping the fat before you worry about putting on the mass. Unless you're a body builder, which is a totally different story.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 9:21 pm 
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If you eat mostly fast foods, snack foods, candy, soft drinks or convenience foods, be aware that your efforts to get cut are doomed to failure.

It is extremely hard for people to eat clean. In most cases, nobody in their immediate circle does, which brings up the problem of peer pressure. And it takes time to plan meals and cook foods that can make you fit. But you've heard the expression "garbage in, garbage out." If you put crap into your body, expect to have a crappy physique.

Before you start, you should honestly evaluate your attitudes towards food, and how far you are willing to go towards changing them.

As for advice about what to eat and when to eat, you can start here.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 3:54 am 
dont forget to periodize too, dont just keep doing the exact same thing, change it up when you notice a plateau or ever month-two months, change something wether it be exeriszes, rep range, sets,rest periods, exersize order etc

i wouldnt advise sticking to 3 sets of 10 or anything like that forever, change it up different rep ranges have different effects on your body and some people respond better to higher volume than low volume


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 9:52 am 
Ok well first off, if you wanna build muscle you cant expect to do that while dieting. Its a common mistake, majority of people think working out and eating less is the route to go...wrong! I'm not saying eat crappy but you if want muscle you have to eat ALOT. And yes, with that may come a bit of fat gain as well. Then when you feel you've added a significant amount of muscle over time, you go into a cutting phase...thats when you seriously focus on your diet to shed that fat and let the muscle show. If summer is your goal then you're getting a really late start however. The goal of becoming built AND ripped in 2 months is just not practical.

With myself i dont really care about my diet, with the amount of beer i consume every week i know a washboard stomach will never be in my future anyway lol...bring on the twinkies! ;)


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 10:32 am 
Actually Jeff, I do both at the same time. Granted I could gain muscle twice as fast if I did typical bulking, but I am still gaining at a decent rate. If you do your cut right you can spare all your muscle and even gain just a slight bit.

I think it could be because I eat a low carb high protein diet and my calories are fairly high. I wonder if it can be done on other diets or if this is the only one. I do know that low carb and HIIT is the tried and true method to cut and keep all your muscle.

I actually got into bodybuilding to lose weight. Later I got to be more of an ironhead and I learned more about bodybuilding and talked other people online. They always said what I was doing couldn't be done at all. I would just say " Well, my body doesn't seem to know that. So don't tell it." Putting on muscle is the only thing that has gotten my jacked up metabolism going really.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 11:40 am 
Yeah but he's talking getting built and cut in only a couple months...im sure over the long haul you could do what you're talking about, but not short term like this wanting an improvement in both areas. It just really doesnt make alot of sense for someone who hasnt worked out in a year or 2 to come back and start out cutting, unless you are really overweight..which it doesnt sound like he is.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 12:11 pm 
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That is why I thought he should focus mostly on relearning the lifts and doing quality movements.

He said he has some fat, so he cant be that skinny. I agree nobody can make a significant change in muscle mass in 2 months. So his best bet to look cut is to lose a little fat and do his best to make the muscles grow a bit.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 8:11 pm 
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Thanks for all the responces!

So is the idea that I should just start working out again, and hopefully I'll gain a bit of muscle but also lose a bit of fat from the fact that I'll be exercising? I don't really have too much fat, so I'm always wondering whether it's worth ultra-focusing on cardio more than weights to begin with to lose it, and then work on the muscle. What do you think?

Anyway, if I, say, run in the morning and then do my work-outs in the afternoon, will this help me lose the fat? Here's what I'm thinking of doing at the moment: running (low intensity, long distance) in the morning and weight-lifting in the afternoon on mondays, wednsdays and fridays, and then doing HIIT on tuesdays, thursdays and saturdays. Rest on sundays. That is, as so:

Monday: Jogging in the morning, work-out in the afternoon
Tuesday: HIIT in the afternoon (should this be morning?)
Wednsday: Jogging in the morning, work-out in the afternoon
Thursday: HIIT in the afternoon
Friday: Joggin in the morning, work-out in the afternoon
Saturday: HIIT in the afternoon
Sunday: Rest

How does this sound? Oh and the work-outs will consist of combo-moves as per Ryan A's post (thank you by the way). And regarding diet, Stephen Johnson, I know I can eat well, because I am serious about this. When I was lifting before, for example, I went for a year without a single piece of chocolate, soda, etc., and ate wholesome foods. What sort of diet should I be on now? I'm thinking low-carb, high-protein, lots of fruit and vegetables... ? And 6 small meals a day?


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 8:58 pm 
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Ryan put up an extrordinarily good program with weights for fat loss / muscle building (read toning as per this webistes definition-look under "Toning with weights" and "Fat Loss myths" in the Weight Training section. I doubt if you would even need the extra cardio or HIIT if using his suggested time constraints, but they wouldn't hurt. A bit of running in the morning, and weights in the afternoon is not a ba idea at all, and will keep your heart in check to a degree, but so will fast paced workouts. As to having to do cardio in the morning, well, last I heard, the jury was out on that one. The idea is that glycogen levels are down, and the cardio gets you into fat burning quicker, but on the other hand, you get into a catabolic state quicker with glycogen levels being down. I.E. HIIT cardio first thing on an empty stomach could start eating your muscles up due to gluconeogenisis (or a similar fancy scientific term). Personally, when I was shipping out, working shifts, I'd get up and workout, with weights, and it never had an adverse effect as far as muscle strengt/size went, but then again, I'm like Ironman (guest poster), and have a tendency to be a bit stocky.
Tim


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 9:48 pm 
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Conner wrote:
I know I can eat well, because I am serious about this. When I was lifting before, for example, I went for a year without a single piece of chocolate, soda, etc., and ate wholesome foods.


Now you're talking! With that kind of commitment to diet you're halfway home.

I'm not a dietician by trade, so you should take what I'm about to say with a grain of salt. My suggestions are based on my own personal experiences with dieting. Sadly, one size doesn't fit all, as human beings are idiosyncratic in their responses to a given diet. With that in mind:

Aim for 5 (and if possible 6) small meals spaced about 2.5 - 3 hours apart. Try to avoid going more than 4 hours without food, or eating really large meals. The aim is to avoid large fluctuations in blood sugar levels.

Low carb = High fat
Low fat = High carb


Low carb diets work in the short run, so you might consider one for your crash efforts to get in shape. Personally, low carb diets made me feel sluggish and gave me chronic bad breath. Also, there is evidence that ketosis - the state induced by a low carb diet - has serious long term negative effects.

Rather than worry about ratios of carbs/protein/fats, it's easier to select foods based on their nutrient density. Meats and poultry should be lean, while fish can be either lean or fatty - indeed, fatty fish are to be preferred over lean fish due to omega-3 fatty acids. Most of the old-time bodybuilders avoided dairy products, fruits and bread during cutting cycles, but most people would go mad eating the typical bodybuilder's daily menu:

Meal 1 : Oatmeal mixed with egg whites
Meal 2 - 6: Broiled chicken breast, baked potato and steamed broccoli

....so use your own judgement when coming up with meals


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 11:47 pm 
Yea you're right about that Jeff. Doing both at the same time, 5 pounds is the most you could hope for, 9 if you do the bulking. It's not going to make much difference. If he does some real hard core cutting he might be able to drop 10 pounds of fat which should make a difference. Or just shoot for dramatic results for next year.

There are actually no long term studies on low carb diets. So there is no evidence of long term porblems. In fact the response to the positive results of short term studies was more or less "There were no long term studies so this proves nothing." Most people who had energy problems did one of 2 things, either did not take a multivitimin or they lost weight too fast. The fast weight loss only happened on Atkins and the book says to eat more salad to get your carbs up to slow it down. Bad breath or "ketone breath" is caused by not drinking enough water like it tells you to do in the book. You probably had cramps too, which people got for the same reasons.

Besides that, the extreme part of the diet is only temporary anyway. Most of the ketosis and rapid weight loss happens on the induction phase of Atkins which is 2 weeks to maybe a few months at the most. After that weight loss isn't fast enough.

Ratios can be important. The zone and some cutting diets are based on ratios. The type of carbs are also very important. A potatoe or white bread digest much more quickly then beans or whole grain porducts. The former spikes your insulin levels which increase your ability to store fat.

Egg yokes are not really considered negative anymore. There is a lot of benefit. Enough to outweigh a small ammount of saturated fat. You're better off just eating eggs and having the oatmeal on the side.

There is actually evidence that diets that rely on calorie cutting alone slow your metabolism down. In fact I experienced this first hand. The 6 meals can help but it will only do so much.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 8:27 am 
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Ironman wrote:
Bad breath or "ketone breath" is caused by not drinking enough water like it tells you to do in the book. You probably had cramps too, which people got for the same reasons.


I was drinking up to 6 quarts of water a day, yet the problem persisted. I didn't have problems with cramping, BTW

Rather than get caught up with religious wars over diet, I'll just ask the readers of this thread to ponder this:

Quote:
Atkins died in April 2003 of complications of a head injury [9]. At that time, and following a hospitalization for cardiac arrest a year earlier, skeptics wondered whether his health problems could have been related to long-term use of his diet. Although one person's experience is not enough to evaluate a diet, the Atkins organization's responses have been contradictory.


According to his autopsy, Atkins weighed 258 lbs at the time of his death. Whether that was due to fluid accumulation during his coma isn't clear .Neither is the state of his cardiovascular system known for certain at the time of his death.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 9:28 am 
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Hi Stephen. We'll , I've done the Atkins thing way back when, and it worked fine for me, however, I don't consider it optimal. I prefer a cleaned up version, leaning more towards the Zone or South Beach . And I also agree that if you know yourself, and know what works for you, it really doesn't matter a lot about what the "gurus" tell you. Just do it. Anyway, in defense of Atkins, I saw an interview he did on the View a few months before he died, and he was at that time stressing to keep the saturated fats down, and NOT to avoid the more fibrous vegetables and the occasional piece of fruit. He also stressed the difference between what he called the induction phase, and the more moderate "maint" phase, which made a lot of sense. BTW, in that interview, he was nowhere close to 258, leading me to suspect he may have blown up due to complications of the trauma.
Tim


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