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Brainstorming Gym/Lifting/Exercise goal

Discussion in 'Fitness' started by Jack, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. Jack

    Jack Member

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    So I started at a Gym a few days ago, signed up and had an induction/personal training session the day before yesterday. I was intending to go back today but I'm still feeling it a lot and I don't know how to tell if my body is ready to get back into it, or if I should wait longer.

    I've never lifted properly before, and I have little to no understanding of how to make the most of my time, the personal trainer guy I spoke to and who showed me some stuff was helpful, but I could tell he was mostly interested in getting me on as a regular client which I don't have the money for. If possible I want to self teach with the help of people from here and online stuff.

    To start with I want to work on core stregnth and learn how to squat with decent weight without injuring myself, also how to bench press properly would be good. I remember people talking about a specific way you hold your shoulders to avoid injury?

    Assuming I feel well rested tomorrow I will go back and do another workout, my intention is to build a lighter full body exercise plan I can complete every other day by then, give it a shot and iterate on it as I go on.

    I'm also open to ideas on how I can best turn this into a goal, also how/when I should work cardio into my plan.
     
  2. James

    James Host

    Yes it hits pretty hard if you've been doing nothing for a while. I made the mistake a while ago of, after I had been away for several months, going back into the gym and hitting it the same as usual. The delayed onset muscle soreness was so bad I couldn't use my arms properly for a week. So yes, you do need to ease into it, not just hit it full bore.

    As I see it, using a personal trainer has two purposes: teaching correct technique and motivation.

    The motivation one is for the plebs. Go-getters go into the gym, do the work, and go home. Their motivation is getting ripped, and hence getting more respected, getting glints in the eyes of women, and getting more "ok!" answers to "want to watch netflix?".

    As for teaching correct technique, this is important. It's not obvious as to how to do each motion correctly, and it matters for effectiveness.

    In gyms all round the world after new years:

    (my favourite was 1:56)

    You can't learn it from us because we're not qualified (there are no professional bodybuilders here that I know of), and online is laden with junk (as you can see from reddit). Maybe you can learn it from a book or a proper course. But you can't beat an in-person lesson from a guy who knows what he's doing, simply due to the nature of the work.



    For routine, the basic is: StrongLifts 5x5. That's enough for any beginner (although I personally add Lat Pull-down too).

    Then find a personal trainer who's got some evidence he knows what he's doing (e.g. has competed in a bodybuilding competition), and ask him "I want lessons on these ^ movements, only". Consider those lessons an investment in yourself. They're enough to get you on a good start.

    What are your aims? How is your physique now and how do you want to modify it?

    If you want to make this a really solid goal, see if you can find and afford "DEXA scans" in your area. These give full body composition statistics, and make for a maximally powerful "before and after".
     
  3. Fundinn

    Fundinn Active Member

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    Is your goal to gain mass or to look lean and mean? As far as benching, do it without any weights. Hold the bar and simply do a couple of repetitions to see what feels right. You can try wide-grip and close-grip. Feel out the muscles that are solicited. When I was 16 I simply found someone at the gym who knew what he was doing, he taught me all of it and we were spotting each other. It was a win-win. If you can, find anyone who looks like he's got results(physically) and ask him for advice.
     
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  4. Jack

    Jack Member

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    Yeah this is part of why I couldn't justify booking a second session, I don't want to rely on someone else for my training, the trainer claimed he participated in competitions so maybe I should give it another shot and just specifically ask for him to teach me rather than motivate.

    Haha that was highly entertaining, although a couple didn't look that weird to me, specifically 1:29, 1:40 what am I missing?

    I'm reading a recommended book on lifting called Starting Strength which is apparently pretty good, but It could be easy to misunderstand learning just from text so I'll have to find something else as well.

    Currently I have some size, but not much. I have broad shoulders and a good even mix of legs and upper body strength due to general lifestyle. I'm a tiny bit overweight 12.5 stone for my 6ft height so I'm planning on tackling that at the same time with keto if I can hack, and plain calorie counting if keto becomes unrealistic.

    I want to get bigger and slim down, not sure how far I want to take it yet, I'm not interested in a bodybuilder size physique as I would love to get an even mix of speed and stregnth, but maybe the idea that those are mutually exclusive isn't correct?

    Yeah this will be huge, but it seems quite tough. The gym I joined is a small basement bodybuilding gym so there definitely seems like a bit of a community exists, but I don't feel like it's appropriate to interrupt peoples workouts as most people I see there are really in the zone. I'll look for an opportunity to ask someone for advice.

    This sounds like a great plan, I may give it a shot today just to feel it out.

    I'm going to go back today and use the standard machines I was shown last time, lost of pull downs and arm/shoulder work which I have a solid idea of how to do correctly, no bench or squats unless I get the opportunity to ask someone for advice.

    Maybe for now the best goal would be an attendance based one. Since I'm just trying to get into a groove of going regularly and working on everything so I have a good base before targeting specific workouts?
     
  5. Jack

    Jack Member

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    This sounds amazing, but at the moment I'm saving to go travelling in march so it might have to wait until I get back, the ones near me are upwards of £150 which won't break the bank, but will make a dent in how much I can do while travelling. I love the idea of it though so I'll make it a priority once I have more disposable income.
     
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  6. Tom

    Tom Active Member

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    Beware of the surprisingly high amount of juicers. It's easy to give advice when sat on a stack of dianabol, winstrol, decca and anavar with a side of test. Their bodies would respond to any kind of training but the drug free lifter would struggle on their bro splits.

    Alpha destiny has some good tips on youtube. He has a beginner program for free. Seems very high volume though. Beware of his 1 rep max and cheating style though. I don't see the need to 1rm when an average Joe, seems like an unnecessary risk.

    Maybe look at highish rep leg press? 12 reps? See if you build up to 250kg+. Minimal technique, you sit and move your legs. Easy to start, easy gains for now.

    Leg press,
    deadlift/rack pull (Consider, it is arguably safer)
    Bench/machine chest press
    shoulder press/machine overhead press
    Pulldown
    Row

    Full body once/twice a week? Most people will tell you to get strong on the above (standard progressive overload stuff). There's probably 20 lbs of gains getting strong on the above. Then focus on week points with accessory. Curls for gurls ect.

    What's the standard rep scheme up to these days? Jeff nippard had a video on 3 sets of 10? Always 5x5 too.
     
  7. Fundinn

    Fundinn Active Member

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    @Jack I don't think that mass, speed and strength are mutually exclusive. Especially if I look at GSP's last weight-in for the belt against Bisping. That being said, it's easy to become sluggish and inflexible if you avoid cardio(which GSP certainly didn't hehe).

    About asking for advice, check to see who is taking breaks between sets and then ask them to spot you if you don't think you have any specific question. If they're the least bit interested and you think they have their shit together then it's easier to ask for input later or even after another gym session. @Tom makes a good point that some of these guys have no idea what they are doing. Having someone spot you won't take more than 5 minutes of their time.
     
  8. James

    James Host

    For the time being, you could use a cruder measure like the US Navy calculation method to estimate body fat percentage.
    http://www.calculator.net/body-fat-calculator.html

    Just sounds like getting lean. If you're lighter but more muscular, sounds like faster and stronger together. I wouldn't worry about getting a bodybuilder size physique: it's not like it can happen by accident.

    So as for this brainstorming, have you shaped a plan yet for how you're going to proceed?
     
  9. mikimica

    mikimica New Member

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    Post your pics from several poses - front, back, side, I need to see your bf%. You are 80kg at 182cm height, am I right? I have to convert it, sorry.
    Post some pics of your goal physique or goal numbers for weight and bf%.

    Regardless of your goal, Starting Strenght program is probably the best option for the first two or three months of your lifting career. It's important to learn this fundamental movements. You will experience quick improvement in strength, as beginners always do, so I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Read the book. You will also have to learn through trial and error. If you feel something's wrong with your lower back or knees, stop and reconsider your form.

    On squat don't go deeper than you have to, just under parallel is all you need. Keep your lumbal spine in normal anatomical position. Push your knees out, don't let them cave in.
    On bench press retract your shoulder blades (back and down). You'll have to figure out what your shoulders prefere, elbows more flared out or more inside.
    Don't ask bodybuilders about your exercise form. If you have some doubts, record yourself and ask for a check at some powerlifting forum, there is Starting Strength forum also.

    After 2-3 months when you reach a plateau in strength, find some intermediate program that is according to your goal.

    Post your pics and goal pics, and I'll tell you how to manipulate nutrition according to it.
     
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  10. Tom

    Tom Active Member

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    is it normal after the first rep to lose this? Should I retract my shoulder blades between each rep? I always pop out of that initial starting position. How do I prevent it?

    Sorry to hijack the post xD
     
  11. Jack

    Jack Member

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    Right, sorry for taking ages to reply. @mikimica Thanks for the offer, I'll PM you some current pictures of where I am at, and where I would like to be.

    Rough estimate using the calculator James linked
    [​IMG]

    Currently I have been going every other day doing 3 x 15 delt raise, 3 x 15 front raise then mixing up a few different lat pull downs. Not 100% on names, I did two variants one with a wide grip and one with a tighter grip. Then some tricep push downs. For all of these I would do 3 sets with a 4th set on a lower weight, the personal trainer I tried recommended this as "active recovery". I'm not sure if it's a good idea or not but it feels great to immediately push out another set on a lower weight, It feels like I'm pushing myself harder because I can keep better form and finish that set rather than failing on a higher weight. Mix in some seated dips/running and whatever you call the reverse of a push down.

    All in all, although what I've listed above feels like a good start it's very directionless, I'm doing these exercises but not in a particular order, and with little idea of what I'm missing.

    Yeah that makes sense, I'll focus on slimming down and developing some basic muscle while mixing in cardio on my off days to keep mobility in check.

    Sounds like a plan, I'll make sure I read a couple hours of the book each day so I can start ASAP.

    So I think for now, I'm thinking I go with an attendance goal, form the habit then refine my focus as I feel it out. I'll spend a good chunk of time today writing a basic weekly work out plan, post it here once it's done and get feedback. Once you all clear it I'll post it as a goal to do that every other day, doing cardio (running/cycling) on my off days. I haven't been paying attention to how much weight I'm putting on machines so I'll write down what I'm doing when I go tomorrow and use that to track progress/improvement for lifting, I'll also track progress for cardio days recording time spent and distance covered submitting all that data plus progress pictures each week.

    So "stick to submitted weekly work out plan" as an action commitment, and something like "Get into shape before I go travelling" as a goal title?

    Not at all! I was wondering exactly the same thing. I had a similar problem while I was using a machine (I think it was a vertical chest press). Had my shoulders pinched together but when I got to full extension it pulls my shoulders out and the weight pushes my back onto the seat.
     
  12. James

    James Host

    Yes, but you'd have to qualify "in shape" with concrete numbers.
     
  13. Jack

    Jack Member

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    Good point. I'm not sure how to quantify progress here though, lifting a certain amount? I also have no idea how much progress is reasonable in a month and a half, or if progress as raw physical stregnth is even particularly important to me right now, it's definitely a factor, but a larger part of this goal is to give myself a confidence boost. So I could use a target BF %, but then that sounds more like a dieting goal rather than a general fitness/lifting goal.

    How about "Reach x body fat % and be able to lift and extra y kg on each of my lifts"? The problem here again is I lack the knowledge to judge how much I could improve and what the corresponding numbers would be.
     
  14. James

    James Host

    Yes sounds like something that needs research.

    E.g.
    https://completehumanperformance.com/2013/10/29/realistic-fat-loss/
    https://stronglifts.com/build-muscle/#Rate_of_Muscle_Gain

    Visuals:
    [​IMG]

    "Around 10% body fat" is the basic aesthetic & health/fitness target I hear people throw around.

    So you could try and triangulate that with the typical rates of muscle gain & fat loss (probably erring on the lower side as it's your first run), to work out if it's doable by the time of your holiday. Otherwise you could set a smaller improvement goal to match that time frame.
     
  15. Tom

    Tom Active Member

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    10 lbs muscle gain would be very noticeable if you are sat at 15% bf.
     
  16. Shaney96

    Shaney96 Active Member

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    The most important thing is diet. I assume you've got some diet sorted out? Yeah, Keto's great, but fucking hard until you form a lifestyle out of it. I did keto for a while, but eventually went low-carb, which is easier, more flexible, and allows for a greater variety of meals. When I went keto, and was on ~1500 calories, I saw food purely as fuel. It made cutting much easier, but extracted all enjoyment out of eating. I advise transitioning slowly into a low-carb diet and making a habit out of substituting high-carb food for low-carb alternatives.

    It sucks when you experience that these are mutually exclusive, hence the need for bulking and cutting.
    If you want something gradual, you could do one month bulking, one month cutting, however I advise going for a cut of 1lb per week, which means being in a 500 calorie deficit per day. Do this until you've little fat to lose, then proceed to do a bulk. I wouldn't go for a dirty bulk, but you'll be pretty satisfied when you start bulking and start racking up the weight.

    5x5 is great for starting off. After doing this for a few months, look into Ice-Cream 5x5, which is essentially just 5x5 with more accessory movements. After this, look into things like PHUL and PHAT.

    I do advise practising squats, deadlifts and bench press, since these are core, compound movements that will induce growth in many areas, and will mean you won't have to worry about doing as many sit-ups. Even if you're just starting with the bar, it doesn't matter. Ensure you get that form on point, then very gradually up the weight.
     
  17. Jack

    Jack Member

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    Multiple people are saying 5x5 is a very solid start, so this is where I'll begin. Tomorrow I'll try Workout A with an empty bar to practice form, I'll keep practising it until I get a feeling for how my body is reacting and ask advice from other members of the gym if I have any questions.

    So it seems like I need to focus on lowering body fat first by counting calories, before I then try to put on muscle. doing some research allegedly I could lose 1% a month which would mean if I focused entirely on that I could get to 12% if the calculator I used is accurate. Since If this is true I won't be able to reach 10% by march, I think the best bet will be to have a goal that runs until the 15th March "Reach 12% body fat before I go travelling using an agreed upon exercise plan" with the action commitment being "Alternate cardio (running/cycling) and weights (5x5) each day while maintaining a calorie deficit relative to body weight".

    Assuming all goes well trying out the workout tomorrow, and no one has any complaints with this plan, I'll post the goal thread when I get home along with details on how and what I will track so I have a format for my weekly updates. I will also work out my required calorie defecit/daily cap.

    As you say @Shaney96 I think a low-carb diet rather than keto seems like a better bet, although i managed keto for a week and while I only just started to see it affect my weight, I felt fantastic after the first day or two so perhaps once my exercise has become routine I could explore that further.

    Thanks for taking the time guys, already this thread is a goldmine of info for me through the next couple of months.
     
  18. Shaney96

    Shaney96 Active Member

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    Once your body adapts to drilling into your fat stores for energy, it becomes much easier, and I remember easily turning down anything that had too many carbs/sugars in it.

    Getting down to 10% will be insane, and I'd be impressed if you could do it. I would advise getting to around 12%, since that's definitely lean as fuck, and I believe you'll plateau around this mark. Also, unless you've got a decent amount of muscle on you already, you'll begin to look skinny, rather than ripped, at this point, so it's most likely a good idea to just go for the lean bulk when you get to this stage.
     
  19. Jack

    Jack Member

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    Yeah fair enough, Maybe I should aim to get to 13% (lose 1% in a month) then put on 10lbs the following month so I can get a bit of mass after slimming down, then work on getting to 12% after I get back from travelling? I wonder if it is realistic to do a month to month switch of slimming down then bulking up, or if its also achievable to put on 10lbs of muscle mass in a month...

    edit: No okay I was doing research at the same time, the estimate I'm looking at on strong lifts is suggesting 2lbs a month during the first year of training. So the goal would be to loose 1% body fat between now and mid feb then gain 2lbs of muscle from mid feb to mid march when I set off.
     
  20. mikimica

    mikimica New Member

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    Keeping your scapulae retrackted and depressed during the bench press is done to protect your shoulders from going into unfavorable positions.

    Your goal should be turned into measurable by doing something like this:
    (It needs to have strength and diet component as they are both necessary)

    Two months goal (for example):
    1) lose 4kg of fat
    2) improve strength as much as you can (you don't know how much exactly can you gain)

    which turns into weekly goals:
    1) eat at 3500kcal deficit weekly, or 500 daily. As your maintenance is about 2600-2700 (bw in lbs x15kcal) that means daily intake of 2100-2200kcal.
    2) adding 2.5kg every training on your OHP, 2.5-5kg on BP, and 5kg on SQ and DL (maybe even 10kg on DL for a couple of trainings)

    On more advanced level when you are cutting, your strength goal will usualy be only to maintain it because your recovery capacities are lowered on diet and it makes strength gains hard. But you are beginner so you'll probably be able to do both at the same time, for some time.

    After that concentrate on very slow cutting or bulking. If you try to lose fat rapidly you'll lose a lot of muscles, and if you try to gain a lot of weight fast you'll gain a lot more fat than muscles. 1750kcal of weekly +/- is slow but secure way to do everything right.

    Every two weeks you check your weight progress and readjust kcal intake if needed.

    I'll post some useful articles as everything is on the internet already.
    https://leangains.com/fuckarounditis/ one of the best fitness articles ever. Written by Martin Berkhan, it's about minimalism and no bullshit approach
    https://www.t-nation.com/training/who-wants-to-be-a-novice-you-do Rippetoe explains what should beginners do, progressions etc.

    there is also one extremely useful reddit ama by Berkhan's former client, it explains a lot about training and nutrition. I'll put it here in form of pdf attachment

    Rippetoe's books Starting Strength and Practical Programming are what everyone interested in lifting needs to read. Greg Nuckols has some great info also.
     

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