Where to start?
I'm new to this forum and really new to the whole building muscle scene anyway! I'm really looking for some advice on where to go and hoping this forum is able to help.
I'm 21 and go to the gym regularly. When I go, I do a mixture of cardio but mostly weight training. I weight about 12st 4pounds and have a bit of a belly on me that I really want to get rid of!
I've done the gym for probably about 8 months now and try to go every other day (usually 3 times a week minimum).
I've built up 'some muscle' but I would still say that my 'flab' as it were covers any lol. I don't use any supplements or anything and I'm really just looking for advice on the following:
1) Whats the best way for me to cut down fat all round? Should I reduce weights and force myself to do more cardio, and if so, why type of cardio (I'm not built to run and I'm pretty shocking at it if truth be told).
2) Should I be looking at the options of supplements? I've been talking to a couple of local shops about it and they keep recommend things but I never know what to do?
Any other help would be great!
Sorry if I sound like someone who has no idea what he's on about!! I'm trying to start somewhere :)
If you want to lose weight you have put your body in a position that it uses more calories than it consumes. There are two sides to the equation:
1) Energy Usage - Depends on your level of activity, gender, age, muscle mass, etc
2) Energy Intake - This is obviously controlled solely by your diet
So you can either increase your level of activity (cardio) or reduce your calorie intake (diet).
You can also increase your muscle mass but in order to do so your energy intake must be greater than your energy consumption. So you can see that having extra muscle mass helps to burn fat but putting on that muscle almost always comes with a little bit of gained fat.
I will assume that losing the fat is your main priority. To do I would suggest building a meal plan so you can keep your calories each day consistent. Follow your meal plan for a week or 2 and if you haven't lost weight then either increase the cardio level or decrease the daily calories slightly.
If you want to ensure the weight you are losing is fat and not muscle mass then you must put a little thought into your meal plan. Your lean protein should be nice and high. 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight is a good place to start. Your carb sources should be from complex carbs such as whole wheat pasta, brown rice, etc. Your fat sources should be from almonds, peanut butter, olive oil, fish oil, etc.
What type of exercises do you do at the gym? I would also suggest moving towards compound exercises with relatively high intensity. The compound movements will force your body to have to repair itself which in and of itself requires a good deal of energy to do so.
Hope this helps,
I forgot to write about supplements but the only supplements I would recommend for a beginner are:
1) Basic protein powder (try to get as much protein from real food as possible)
You can build off of this once you get your exercise and meal plan tuned in but supplements should never be the primary focus IMO.
Thanks for all the advice and sorry for the slow response!
Ok, I'll have a look at building some kind of meal plan and I'll probably stick to some more cardio based exercise for the next couple of months. Like you say, I'd prefer to just get rid of some of the fat and then focus on building the muscle and toning up more afterwards.
Thanks for the tips on the carb and fat sources, I'll bear that in mind.
I assume foods to stay away from are things like bread, potatoes etc? Is there anything else that would be in a normal diet that I should try to avoid?
At the moment, my Gym exercise consists of the following (can vary slightly but pretty much the following)
2km Rowing to start or 15 minute cycling
Flat Bench Flies @ 7kg on each arm - 3 x 10 reps
Bicep Curls @ 10kg on each arm - 3 x 10 reps
Chest Press @ 35kg - 3 x 10 reps
Leg Press @ 60kg - 3 x 10 reps
Shoulder Press @ 20kg - 3 x 10 Reps
10 Minutes Running @ on average 8 km/h (I'm useless at running!)
Lateral Pull Machine @ 30kg - 3 x 10 Reps
Pectoral Machine @ 25kg - 3 x 10 Reps
Smiths Press @ 35kg - 3 x 10 Reps
Then I tend to finish off with:
Plank for 30 seconds (3 times with a short break)
Press Ups - 2 sets of 10
Sit Ups - 3 sets of 10
Leg Lowers - 3 sets of 10
I don't think I've missed anything out on the above..
I try to do all the exercises slowly to get maximum effect. I've noticed if I do that, I find it a lot harder but I'm assuming it's working the muscles a lot more.
What do you mean by compound exercises? Could you explain a little further?
Any other advice you've got would be great. I used to be doing things like squats but I tend to alternate my exercise and add bits in / take them out. That might not be the right thing to do any maybe I should be more rigid with my gym workout!
Thanks for your help!
That's a whole lot of isolation/machine exercises ... Yuck.
Compound exercises: Movements that involves the coordination of many muscles/joints. IE: Bench Press, Deadlifts, Military Press, Squats ... Cleans, Power Cleans, Clean and Jerk, Snatch or Power Snatch are great as well but require serious study/practice of the form to be used effectively.
...These exercises should be done with free weights! Machines should never be the primary focus of your exercise plan. It is much more natural and healthy (IMO) to use free weights in a full range of motion.
If you want to do cardio and weights on the same day I would recommend doing the cardio after the weights. If you want to do a light warmup before the weights then OK but keep it brief and ... light!
For you I would start with the core compound exercises (bench, deads, MP, and squats), start light, practice the form and begin to progress upwards in weight. Gaining strength in these motions will help you to lose weight in the long run... even if you don't gain much/any muscle. Your body will be working hard to recover from these heavy movements and that takes calories.
Hope this helps,
IronWorker has pretty much explained the real basics for you and your workout.
I'm fairly new to the serious side of weightlifting, and I will imput/agree as well, do all the basic compound lifts as described. Alot of seasoned/experienced lifters and trainers will tell you its easy to waste alot of time in a gym first starting out.
Research and learn how to do lifts correctly. I do it all the time to make sure that I'm not going to do something that can cause injury. Youtube it as well. Watch how pros lift and take notes on how to.
Also any knowlegeable person here will tell you as well, eat for what you want your body to look like. Its all pretty simple, just takes practice.
do more high rep low weights so that it becomes more of a cardio workout. this will make it so your body will not gain mass but will become toned. Always make sure to do some sort of cardio also such as running on the treadmill and running stairs.
^^ Please ignore him.
Yeah, you're completely right. At the moment, most of my exercises are on machines apart from the flat bench flies, bicep curls and then the mat exercises like plank, press ups etc.
I'll have to have a look on the net for some more information on some of the exercises you've recommended above and I'll take a look. I've always worked on trying to get form correct before working on increasing the weights. There are some trainers at the gym I go to and they will help out if you need to show you how to do things etc. The only thing I find with them though is that they're usually too busy to give you a proper plan and work something out with you.
I'll update in a couple of weeks once I get back into things and may be back for more help!
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