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Posted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 7:56 pm
by pushECX
Alright, this is my first post here, so hello everyone!

I am 18 years of age, 5' 6", and I've been working out (off and on) for the past 2 years. I would go for a couple of months, then stop for another couple of months, etc. I used to weigh 210 lbs., but just changing up my diet a little (Eating healthier/cutting out fast food, drinking water only), and exercising, I cut my weight down to ~175-180 lbs.

Well, within the past month and a half, I've been hitting the gym pretty hard, lifting at least 3 days a week, and I've been doing about 20 mins. of HIIT once or twice a week. I also started taking Lean System 7 about a week ago. I weighed in this morning at 171 lbs.

I really think that it's time that I get on a serious diet and eating schedule, as well as improve my workouts. I'm tired of being in the 170-180 lbs. range, and I really, really want to get ripped by the time summer rolls around. I'm tired of seeing me (this body) every time I look in the mirror, and I'm tired of everyone else seeing me like this, too.

So, I've come here for some help in developing a diet plan, and developing better workouts. I'm willing to answer whatever questions you have (assuming anyone has any for me), and do whatever I need to do to reach my goal.

About a week ago my friend measured my body fat percentage (though the calipers he used aren't very good) and it was at 24.936. We did use the calculator found on ExRx. It said that my density was 1.042 with 132.112 lbs. of lean weight and 43.887 lbs. of fat weight.

I'm not entirely sure what kind of numbers I should be shooting for here as a goal. Any ideas?

Any help what-so-ever is very much appreciated. Thanks a lot for even reading this!

Posted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 8:06 pm
by stuward
Congratulations on the progress so far. If I were you I wouldn't bother with the fat burner. You need to have patience. You are getting to a healthy weight and progress will get slower. Keep eating healthy and keep active. Doing a combination of healthy eating, (lots of protein, good fats, vegetables, no grains or sugar) and weight training and HIIT, you should be able to lose about 1/2% BF per week. You'll be looking good this summer. If you need specifics on your diet or training go ahead.


Posted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 8:09 pm
by pushECX
Yeah, forgot to mention I've been in the 170 range for at least 4 months's like I just can't lose anymore weight. It's so frustrating!

Posted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:19 pm
by pdellorto
It'll be easier for people here to help if we know what you're doing now. Your goals are clear, but we don't really know specifically what you're doing now for workouts or eating.

You might want to post over in the Diet & Nutrition section with what you're eating now.

Post here - in this thread - on what your current training regimen is.

Various folks here will jump in with suggestions.

Sounds like you made a lot of progress already, even if you're stuck right now.


Posted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 10:34 pm
by hoosegow
I'm not trying to rain on your parade, but you will not be "ripped" by summer time. That usually takes years of dedication to both your exercise regime and diet. Your goal, in my opinion is a little unrealistic. Having said that, you, at your age, can make some significant improvements. The quickest way you can appear more "ripped" is to lose weight. This will better define the muscle you do have.

I'm going to make some assumptions here so throw out the ones that don't fit. Your diet is probably horrible. Partly it is due to your schedule and the inability to eat regular meals, partly because of school food, and partly because you probably don't know what you are doing.

Go to the caloric intake requirement caculator on this site. Do not over estimate your activity level. Take the number it gives you and drop 500 calories per day. That is a net reduction in calories of 45,000 over the course of the next 90 days. In theory (somebody correct me if I'm wrong) this will result in a loss of around 22 pounds. Do recalculate about every two weeks to keep up with your weight loss.

As for nutrition, take your lunch to school and pack snacks. They should be devoid of any white foods (bread, pasta, potatoes, white rice, etc.), sodas, juices, alcohol (if you are drinking) and processed foods (sugar - twinkies, candy, cookies, etc). There are several ratios out there people like for macronutrients. Some like a 1:1:1 carb/protein/fat. I prefer a 2:2:1 ratio for fat loss. If you can afford it, I say this because a lot of kids can't get their parents to buy it for them, you could take protein bars to snack on. Try to eat at regular intervals 5-6 times a day.

Your training sessions don't sound too bad for a beginner. Just don't cheat yourself ath the gym. Try lifting/cardio 5 times a week. You can do HIIT for weight lifting as well. Drop the weight and decrease the time you rest between sets to a minute or less. It sucks, but it works. If you don't want to go to the gym 5 days a week, play basketball, football or (and I can't believe I'm recommending it) soccer one day.

Don't be disappointed if you don't see the progress you want to see in 90 days. The important thing is to work hard and develop healthy habits. With hard work and dedication, the physique will come. It aint easy. If you get stuck, change everything you are doing at the gym. We can give you help and advice there.

Posted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 2:07 am
by brook011
I would note that if your weightloss has stopped, check your carb intake. If you're taking in carbs, stop them now. If you've been on the same workout program for awhile, change it, or add to it. You have to keep your body guessing. And yeah stuff like that "Lean System" is garbage. Spend your money on fish oil caps and take 1g per % of body fat.

Posted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 4:52 pm
by stuward

Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:07 pm
by pushECX
Mk, sorry it's taken me so long to reply to your responses.

Um, to kind of add onto my previous post: My schedule is a bit weird.
1. I'm not in school. Finished early, haven't been for a couple of years.
2. I work third-ish shift. Normally anywhere from 11:00 PM to 5:00 AM Tuesday through Saturday ("Monday to Friday"). Because of this, I need more sleep to actually feel rested, but I've been having insomnia problems recently, and that's completely messed up everything. Also, I'm a web developer, so a good part of my day is devoted to that as well. (By the way, would anyone know if is looking for anyone for web development? I'd definitely be interested!)

Now, being that I don't work very much, I don't have very much money. While I do still live with my parents, I'm pretty much living on my own. I pay for all of my own stuff (for the most part: gas, cell phone, internet, etc.), just not rent, though I probably will here in a little bit. I do buy my own groceries, however, I don't have a lot of money to spend.

For workouts, I'm going to go ahead and embarrass myself and tell you that I have nothing worth noting for a leg workout. I know, I know, I know, I'm an idiot. I have fridays set aside for it, currently, but I've just never done anything with it. Primarily because I've been too lazy to start (obviously this isn't the case anymore since I've come here asking for help). Any help with developing a leg workout would be much appreciated. I have everything else split into 2 days (sort of).

For most of my exercises, I do 4 sets. The first with 10 reps, then increase and do second set of 8 reps, then increase and do third set of 6 reps, and finally increase and do last set with 4 reps. My friend who went to the gym with me a long time ago got me started on that. He read somewhere that it is effective, so I just went with it. I'm obviously a serious noob, so, correct me if I'm doing something stupid. Also, everything listed below is in order.

Exercise [weight] (Method of exercise) - Any changes to note

On Monday:
Arnold Press [35/40/45/50] (Dumbbells)
Front Raise [15/20/25/30] (Dumbbells)
Rear Delt Row [40/45/50/55] [ (Dumbbells)
Lateral Raise [15/20/25/30] (Dumbbells)
Upright Row [85/85/85] (Cables) - Sets of 10

Preacher Curls [20/30/40/50] (Curvy Barbell...)
Curls [20/25/30/35] (Dumbbells)
Hammer Curls [15/20/25/30] (Dumbbells)
Concentration Curls [15/15/15] (Dumbbells) - Sets of 10

Wrist Curls [15/15/15] (Dumbbells) - First set: 20 reps; Second: 25; Third: 30;
Reverse Wrist Curls [10/10/10] (Dumbbells) - First set: 20 reps; Second: 25; Third: 30;
Reverse Curls [30/30/30] (Barbell)

On Wednesday:
Incline Bench Press [40/45/50/55] (Dumbbells)
Bench Press [40/45/50/55] (Dumbbells)
Decline Bench Press [40/45/50/55] (Dumbbells)

Seated Close Grip Lat Pulldown [85/85/85] (Cables) - Sets of 10
Seated Wide Grip Lat Pulldown [85/85/85] (Cables) - Sets of 10
Seated Row [105/105105] (Cables) - Sets of 10
Straight Arm Pulldown [32.5/37.5/42.5/47.5] (Cables)

Assisted Dips [55/55/55] - Sets of 10; That's 55lbs. off of my weight that I'm doing;
Skull Crushers [30/30/30] (Barbell)

All of the above weights, etc., are from the most current notes I've taken. Meaning this is up-to-date for this week. The weights for each exercise do change each week, almost.

On all of the odd numbered days (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) I currently do cardio, but I guess I'll be stepping that up to every day. Until today, I was doing HIIT for 30 minutes on level 1 on the elliptical. Today I put the elliptical on level 5, and went for 20 minutes. Is this fine to be doing every day?

Also, if I were to go to the gym 5 days a week, how should I split up my workout?

Once again, any help is very much appreciated. I also thank you a lot for actually reading this stuff. Please suggest any changes that you may feel I need to make. I will also post a link to my diet thread. It's probably terrible, too. Anyways, hopefully you all don't laugh at me too much...

Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:17 pm
by pushECX
Here's my diet thread:

I weighed in today at 169 lbs.

Posted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 10:50 am
by pdellorto
Thanks for the details. I'm not a trainer but I'm an enthusiastic trainee. Plus I survived having my own workout saved here a while back and got stronger for it.

I put in a Long Answer and a Short Answer.

Long Answer

Your workout is a bodypart split - chest/back/tris, shoulders/biceps/forearms. Like you said yourself, you're not doing any legs.

Unless you're a relatively advanced bodybuilder, splitting by body parts isn't really something I'd recommend. Same with the other posters here, I'm sure. You want something that will hit your whole body. This helps for a few reasons. A full-body routine burns more energy, builds muscle across a larger portion of your body, and gets you stronger.

You've got some good exercises in there, but you're doing too many (3 kinds of curls one day, 3 kinds of bench pressing another day) and a few are isolation exercises (single-joint, like forearm curls and bicep curls). The compound exercises (multi-joint, like squats and bench presses) work a lot more of your body at once (saves you time), allow you to work with heavier weights (builds your strength, burns more calories), and take a lot of the complication out of your workout.

What I'd suggest is switching to a full-body routine of some kind. You might want to just go for one of the beginner strength routines here. They're all full-body and centered on compound lifts.

From the beginner's routines sticky
The following starters are more strength focused, with more sets focusing on fewer exercises for building push,pull and squat strength.
Edit- my comment, I highly advise this one as it even covers the tabata cardio routine setup for offday cardio-Tim
The inclusion of Tabata cardio in that one might make it really good for you, since you are also worried about losing weight. I refer to this one as "the Mahler workout" for lack of a better name.
-Rippetoe's Starting Strength

- New- There is a new Starting Strength wiki that's been constructed:"
Starting Strength is an updated version of an older routine by Bill Starr.

It's also worth checking out Stronglifts 5 x 5, in my opinion. ... g-program/

...and if you're comfortable selecting your own lifts but need a framework for them, and if you REALLY want to make sure you get to do curls, trying Westside for Skinny Bastards 3:

(Full disclose - I did a version of WS4SB3 on my own for a while, and then when I moved to NJ I started training at the gym run by the guy who wrote it. So I'm partial to it, based on my own success.)

There is also a bodyweight routine, Simplefit. It's based on bodyweight circuits.

It's all squats, pullups, and pushups, done in circuits for time. All you need is a stopwatch and a pullup bar. I've done some of these circuits (or almost exactly the same) and they are real work.

I've also been really impressed with the workouts in the books The New Rules of Lifting and Built for Show. If you'd rather have a workout that varies up and a book to follow, those are both good. NROL has some workouts specifically designed for fat loss that seem excellent.

You'll have to do some homework here, no matter what. I could just write up a routine for you here but those links all lead to better ones with proven results.

And by the way, that wavy barbell is called an EZ Curl Bar. Ironically, it's not always the best tool for curls, but it's great for some other exercises.


Short Answer

I know this is a lot of information, but I want to give you a lot of options. If you'd rather a simple answer, ignore everything above and go with this:

"Dude, ditch your routine. You've clearly been working out hard on it, but it's not what you need. It's not going to get you where you are trying to go. Do one of the basic routines like the Mahler one or Starting Strength. Learn to squat and deadlift, you'll get stronger and lose fat in the process."

Hope that helps,