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new lifter

Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 9:23 pm
by zoppi3
I am 23 years old, 6'3", 190-195 lbs. I want to gain muscle mass and just get in good shape for athletic activity and life in general. I just graduated from college so I have been virtually sedentary for the last 5 years so I have a lot of work to do.

I started lifting on a Bill Starr 5x5 routine right around Christmas. I liked it but wanted to focus on each area a little more so I switched to's 3-day split of Chest/Back, Legs, Shoulders/Arms. I have been working 2 days on/one off, but this week I am wanting to start 3 on/1 off. I started drinking whey shakes after workouts last week, but I have not significantly altered my diet b/c I'm married and my wife and I pretty much eat the same things.

(A) Is it safe to use the 5x5 method with the 3-day split exercises? I am still using relatively low weights (maybe 50-60% of MAX?) but I add weight every single workout and it is starting to feel like a real workout.

(B) Am I going to HAVE to alter my diet to get results, or is working out 3 on/1 off going to burn enough calories to "make up" for it?

(C) Is the whey supplement just going to make me fat (or fatter?) if I don't start working a lot closer to my max?

(D) Finally, I don't have a spotter. I am afraid to find out what my true MAX is because I don't want to injure myself. Is it safe to assume that as my resistance increases, so does my MAX?


Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 12:58 am
by Stephen Johnson

Some random thoughts of mine on your comments:

1 - At 6'3" and 190-195 pounds, you don't have a weight problem. Your BMI is below 25, which is good for an untrained individual. The weight might not be spread across your body the way you would prefer, but exercise will change that.

2 - I've always thought of Starr's 5x5 routines as being geared rowards the intermediate to advanced lifter. For beginners, I recommend routines like this one. Most beginners use split routines as a means to avoid doing heavy grunt exercises like squats and deadlifts in favor of a lot of isolation work like bicep curls.

3 - When I started out years ago, I spent the first three months bouncing from routine to routine, and wound up accomplishing very little. Your switching from Starr's routine to a 3 way split so quickly is not a good sign.

4 - No weight training program can compensate for a poor diet. There is no need to endanger your marriage by following an ultra-strict pre-contest bodybuilder diet, but if you eat a lot of junk you'll hinder your progress.

5 - Whey supplements will make you fatter only if they, added to the rest of your diet, results in a calorie surplus. Whey powder is an excellent way to get high quality protein without the fat of most meats and dairy products. How much weight you lift during exercise isn't as important as how many calories you burn during exercise as far as weight gain/loss is concerned.

6 - Free weights aren't as dangerous as some people think, but exercising with them is not without risk. If you're working out in a home gym, be sure someone is within earshot should something go wrong.

Good luck, and happy training.

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 7:17 am
by Matt Z

This may help. It allows you to estimate your 1RM.

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 7:02 pm
by ironmaiden708
Change your diet so you are consuming around 150g of it. Especially right before and after exercising