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A little lost - weight training & nutrition.

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Before i write off a fair sized post about what's putting me off, what i'm doing, what i'm wanting to achieve etc i think i should potentially save a bit of time & just ask if there's anyone on this forum who's knowledgable in the areas of weight training & nutrition. A personal trainer would be ideal or even just experienced lifters.



I've switched goals at the gym and now i'm interested in training for hypertrophy. I know that the feedback would really be the same regardless of what language we speak but i would prefer to discuss with English/British people than registering on a predominantly non-British forum (although if you're aware of any good British lifting forums then feel free...) which is why i'm trying here first.


So if anyone feels they'll likely fit the bill then hands up & i'll go ahead :)
«13

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  • Fire_Fox
    Fire_Fox Posts: 26,026 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    edited 25 April 2019 at 2:27AM
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    No reputable fitness professional would advise you on a routine for hypertrophy without a health screening, static posture and/ or movement assessments, and teaching you proper technique. It simply is not safe. If you are a member of a gym consider attending group exercise classes using free weights. Befriend and pick the brains of the instructors over time.

    Nutrition .... start keeping a detailed food and activity diary, timings, weighed and measured servings rather than guesstimates. Record through the day as you eat and drink not later because memory fades fast. Analyse your diary yourself against the official healthy eating guidelines (min/max not optimal). If you do not have variety and balance and serving sizes correct there is no foundation to work from.

    That is pretty much all that is taught in the PT nutrition module anyway. Or it was a decade ago when I last had a PT student as a colleague.
    Declutterbug-in-progress.⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️
  • JustAnotherSaver
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    Fire_Fox wrote: »
    No reputable fitness professional would advise you on a routine for hypertrophy
    I'm not looking for a workout plan, i'm looking to see if anyone here has the kind of knowledge i want to pick.



    I honestly mean no offence to anyone with this but i was looking in the forum & for people looking to get in shape and lose weight i spotted replies such as "go for a walk" which make me wonder of the depth of knowledge. I'm not saying walking doesn't have its benefits. For a 500lb person who never gets about, simply going for a walk could be beneficial but i'd dare bet the majority of these people would not see significant progress (or at least not on the lines of what they're likely looking for) by simply going for a walk if you get me?




    I'll roll with my issue and hopefully you or anyone else can help...


    I started last year by wanting to feel more comfortable in my clothes. At no point was i bathroom weigh scales focused. I just wanted to feel comfortable. I'd started getting heartburn which i was sure was due to the excess weight. I was self conscious in my clothes which was a new thing to me. I'd gotten to 195lbs and i'm 5ft11. Sorry about it being in lbs but i only know that for entering the info on the gym machines.



    Simply by cutting out:
    takeaways
    alcohol
    chocolate / cakes etc
    pizzas etc (you get the idea)
    and switching them for chicken, fish, rice, veg, pasta, salads (and i didn't go hungry, i just simply changed the type of food i was eating).


    Couple this with 3-4 times per week at the gym doing hard cardio 45-60mins at a time. Cross trainer, step machine, walking at inclines (i can't run with my knees), biking. I know some seem to say cardio is the devils work but i actually enjoy it. You (I) feel instant progress.



    I dropped down to 168lbs and lost around 8-10 inch on my belly. I was happy with the results.


    I'd already planned for year 2 (this year) to cut the cardio massively and spend time weight training for hypertrophy.



    Again, i have no magic bathroom scales number i want to hit. I just want muscle growth, so if it looks bigger then that's progress.



    My problem was i didn't realise at the start you also had to eat at a caloric surplus (it's all new and a learning curve).


    I had increased my protein intake quite an amount. I worked out what i should be hitting roughly and i feel i'm there, but perhaps not on the calories intake. It ends up me just feeling like i'm getting nowhere and a bit despondent.




    Which leads me really to the questions ...


    1) I don't really know what is a realistic expectation in terms of putting on muscle mass. When taking the heavy cardio approach last year for weight loss i saw results quite rapid & continuously.

    This year i've been lifting heavy 3-4 days per week splitting up body parts, increasing the protein intake via various forms and i just feel like i'm getting nowhere .... but as i know muscle growth is a slow process i don't know if i'm being unrealistic & impatient or not.


    2) One i'm really curious about - what if you hit your protein intake for muscle growth but you don't necessarily hit your overall calories/carbs/fats ... what results can you expect?


    I've tried looking in to that online and i just see comments like "u is stupid bro, just eat more 4 gainz" and i think 1) they could've at least also answered the guys question and 2) i really need to chat with British people.



    I mean, will you see progress, just at a much slower rate?

    Will you only build strength but wont put on any size?
    Or are you totally wasting 100% of your time? Which is what i currently feel i may be doing.
  • Fiona_CW
    Fiona_CW Posts: 128 Forumite
    First Anniversary
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    Does your gym have instructors? I am a gym instructor and regularly advise clients about this sort of thing. However to be able to properly advise need to know what you are currently doing in the way of training and eating. As Fire Fox says, the first step is keeping a diary.
  • JustAnotherSaver
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    Fiona_CW wrote: »
    Does your gym have instructors? I am a gym instructor and regularly advise clients about this sort of thing. However to be able to properly advise need to know what you are currently doing in the way of training and eating. As Fire Fox says, the first step is keeping a diary.
    The gym does have instructors yes but it's all extra cost and the gym is already quite expensive as it is. The problem is the cheaper gyms are much much smaller & you end up not being able to get on anything at the times i can go - so i take the hit on the pricey membership as i know i wont do enough outside of a gym.


    The weight training is an easy one to answer. I'll go typically on a 3 or a 4 day split depending on when my work finishing allows. Mostly it's been 4 day. I stick to machines really as to be honest i don't have the confidence to go in to the free weight section with all the Arnold's. Plus that area is always rammed and that forever puts me off anyway. So i stick to machines. I understand incorporating the whole range is ideal so i'm limiting myself that way but as i understand it you can still see gains from machines.



    Monday - nothing.

    Tuesday - chest (example). There's 3 different machines hitting chest (2x push & 1x squeeze) & i'll do 3 sets on each, perhaps 4 on the squeeze as i feel it targeting the chest better & i'll aim for 8-10 reps on each where i can't physically do more (as in i don't just stop at 8-10 just because i feel like it). I'll also do triceps on this day.
    Wednesday - legs & abs. Leg press & leg curl i'll go quite heavy. Leg press i'll do perhaps 5 sets. I don't tend to go heavy on the leg extension as they're not the best for people with knee issues (& i have plenty of that!) so i work within my limits on that machine.
    Thursday - back & biceps. Again there's 3 machines for the back at our gym so i'll do it like i do chest in terms of sets & reps
    Friday - tends to be a day off or if i go to the gym it'll be cardio or cardio with shoulders (i tend to neglect shoulders i know).
    Saturday - swim
    Sunday - chest & legs.
    Monday - nothing
    Tuesday - back & biceps
    Wednesday - legs & abs
    Thursday - chest & triceps.


    Regards eating i don't really keep tabs to be honest. I tend to play it by ear.
    It's a curious one to me because i know many talk about weighing out & being very rigid with what you eat to the gram/calorie and i can see the science behind this - which is also what puts me off.
    But then i'll watch a channel (i take them with pinches of salt but some are very informative) such as Jeff's (Athlean-X) and his approach to serving up food is totally different. He goes against the scales idea & more for the sectioning off your plate approach. This fraction for protein, that fraction for carbs etc. Seems much more 'do-able' for someone like me if that'd work.


    Anyway breakfast is always set - big bowl of porridge with bran, protein powder, flaxseed. I totted it up one morning to see how much protein is in the breakfast & got to about 40g.


    I'll have a midmorning snack of chicken strips in herbs followed by fruit.

    Dinner will, depending on the day, be a big bowl of bean soup or a chicken pasta salad.
    Tea will vary. Chicken/sausage casserole, chicken/fish & rice with veg, stir fry & this will pretty much be the last meal of the day.
  • parking_question_chap
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    Dont have time to write a long post, but the important things to understand are.

    You will achieve much better results if you get into the free weights, hint look at the physiques of those on machines compared to those in the free weights area. Plus they will work your stabilizing muscles as you are not confined to a fixed range of motion. Done correctly free weights are less likely to result in injury. So just try and forget about all the other members, they might be intimidating to begin with but you will soon realise they dont give a damn what you are doing or how fit you are. Train before work or late evening if its too busy after work.

    If you are going down the 4 day split route I would suggest

    1. Chest triceps
    2. Legs
    3. Shoulders and abs
    4. Back and biceps

    Focus on a controlled technique with good form. You will grow more using this compared with picking a weight thats too heavy for you and swinging or bouncing it up and down.
  • JustAnotherSaver
    Options
    You will achieve much better results if you get into the free weights, hint look at the physiques of those on machines compared to those in the free weights area. Plus they will work your stabilizing muscles as you are not confined to a fixed range of motion.
    I agree completely.



    Regards the physiques, where i go there's actually plenty of big guys on the machines too but i do get the point you're making. There's a lot of 'dabblers' on the machines who are just going through the motions. I don't intend to come across as being critical of others as i'm far from perfect myself but when you look at some on the machines you can tell they don't fully understand what they're doing whereas this is less so in the free weights section.

    Done correctly free weights are less likely to result in injury.
    I'm curious about this comment.


    I'm assuming you're doing a fair comparison - so if the free weights are done correctly -vs- if the machines are done correctly ... then free weights are less likely to result in injury.



    Why is that (if both are performed correctly)?


    The whole subject fascinates me so i'm asking this from a genuine question standing rather than a challenging viewpoint.


    So just try and forget about all the other members, they might be intimidating to begin with but you will soon realise they dont give a damn what you are doing or how fit you are.
    True but then it's the classic like - it's not you, it's me. Well it's not them, it's me (& how i feel).

    I once never had the confidence to step in a gym - but then i did it.
    I never had the confidence to get on the weight machines - but then i did it.
    It'll come one day i guess. Or maybe i'll just convert the shed :rotfl:

    Train before work or late evening if its too busy after work.
    If doing at a gym & not home then this one will be a bit of a problem i'm afraid. I just have to do the best i can with what i have to work with.
    By that i mean i'm up at 5:30am to be out the house at 6:30am for work. My gym opens at 6:00am. I'd have to join one of those 24-hour gyms and get up silly-early.
    The earliest i can get to the gym is 6:00pm on weekdays, which while busy is actually ideal. Once i get home around 7:15pm & do the jobs required at home i'm looking at finally getting a sit down around 9:00-9:30pm and although i should really go to bed around 10pm (so not much time) due to the lack of 'downtime' i'm actually going more about 11pm.


    Which presents the other issue of - enough sleep to be ideal for growth.


    Focus on a controlled technique with good form. You will grow more using this compared with picking a weight thats too heavy for you and swinging or bouncing it up and down.
    Agreed 100%.

    I've learned a ton from some YouTube channels. When i was starting out i was 'going through the motions'. Looking back i was making some glaring errors. One of which resulted in a torn rotator cuff (basically loading the shoulder press machine with too much and pushing up way too high like i was reaching for the stars.


    There are a few channels i've learned from, some i've identified as poor info but the two i'd say have taught me the most are Scooby1961 & Athlean-X in terms of correct form. I love the scientific explanations of Jeff on Athlean-X where he shows you the why's and why nots so that you're informed. Looking back, due to channels like those & especially those, i've been able to correct so much of how i was doing things & i'm able to pay more attention while i'm doing specific movements on how i should be doing them, how i should be holding myself etc.
  • Fire_Fox
    Fire_Fox Posts: 26,026 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    edited 29 April 2019 at 8:41AM
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    I'm not looking for a workout plan, i'm looking to see if anyone here has the kind of knowledge i want to pick.

    I honestly mean no offence to anyone with this but i was looking in the forum & for people looking to get in shape and lose weight i spotted replies such as "go for a walk" which make me wonder of the depth of knowledge. I'm not saying walking doesn't have its benefits. For a 500lb person who never gets about, simply going for a walk could be beneficial but i'd dare bet the majority of these people would not see significant progress (or at least not on the lines of what they're likely looking for) by simply going for a walk if you get me?.

    I do (or at least I did) have that kind of knowledge. I studied to degree level BUT am no longer practicing or registered.

    Research shows that lifestyle physical activity - including walking - is a valuable tool in weight management and reduces the risk of a whole host of health conditions. Surprisingly we do not need to get measurably fitter to get measurably healthier.

    Anabolic steroids are rife in many gyms. See the World Natural Bodybuilding competitors for how large you can get IF you are lucky genetically AND are 100% dedicated to diet and training regime. These guys are true athletes.

    That probably reads as flippant or negative without you hearing my tone of voice and seeing my facial expressions. :o
    I'll roll with my issue and hopefully you or anyone else can help..

    I dropped down to 168lbs and lost around 8-10 inch on my belly. I was happy with the results.

    My problem was i didn't realise at the start you also had to eat at a caloric surplus (it's all new and a learning curve).

    I had increased my protein intake quite an amount. I worked out what i should be hitting roughly and i feel i'm there, but perhaps not on the calories intake. It ends up me just feeling like i'm getting nowhere and a bit despondent.

    :T Impressive results. :T
    Which leads me really to the questions ...

    1) I don't really know what is a realistic expectation in terms of putting on muscle mass. When taking the heavy cardio approach last year for weight loss i saw results quite rapid & continuously.

    This year i've been lifting heavy 3-4 days per week splitting up body parts, increasing the protein intake via various forms and i just feel like i'm getting nowhere .... but as i know muscle growth is a slow process i don't know if i'm being unrealistic & impatient or not.

    2) One i'm really curious about - what if you hit your protein intake for muscle growth but you don't necessarily hit your overall calories/carbs/fats ... what results can you expect?

    I mean, will you see progress, just at a much slower rate?

    Will you only build strength but wont put on any size?
    Or are you totally wasting 100% of your time? Which is what i currently feel i may be doing.

    What protein/ carbs/ fat/ calories intake are you referring to? Macros do not trump micros.
    Declutterbug-in-progress.⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️
  • Fire_Fox
    Fire_Fox Posts: 26,026 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    edited 29 April 2019 at 8:36AM
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    The gym does have instructors yes but it's all extra cost and the gym is already quite expensive as it is. The problem is the cheaper gyms are much much smaller & you end up not being able to get on anything at the times i can go - so i take the hit on the pricey membership as i know i wont do enough outside of a gym.

    The weight training is an easy one to answer. I'll go typically on a 3 or a 4 day split depending on when my work finishing allows. Mostly it's been 4 day. I stick to machines really as to be honest i don't have the confidence to go in to the free weight section with all the Arnold's. Plus that area is always rammed and that forever puts me off anyway. So i stick to machines. I understand incorporating the whole range is ideal so i'm limiting myself that way but as i understand it you can still see gains from machines.

    If you are a member of a gym consider attending group exercise classes using free weights. Befriend and pick the brains of the class instructors over time.
    Monday - nothing.

    Tuesday - chest (example). There's 3 different machines hitting chest (2x push & 1x squeeze) & i'll do 3 sets on each, perhaps 4 on the squeeze as i feel it targeting the chest better & i'll aim for 8-10 reps on each where i can't physically do more (as in i don't just stop at 8-10 just because i feel like it). I'll also do triceps on this day.
    Wednesday - legs & abs. Leg press & leg curl i'll go quite heavy. Leg press i'll do perhaps 5 sets. I don't tend to go heavy on the leg extension as they're not the best for people with knee issues (& i have plenty of that!) so i work within my limits on that machine.

    :eek: Your leg routine is totally inappropriate for someone with an (undiagnosed?) knee problem.

    And you do not mention your glutes at all.
    Regards eating i don't really keep tabs to be honest. I tend to play it by ear.
    It's a curious one to me because i know many talk about weighing out & being very rigid with what you eat to the gram/calorie and i can see the science behind this - which is also what puts me off.
    But then i'll watch a channel (i take them with pinches of salt but some are very informative) such as Jeff's (Athlean-X) and his approach to serving up food is totally different. He goes against the scales idea & more for the sectioning off your plate approach. This fraction for protein, that fraction for carbs etc. Seems much more 'do-able' for someone like me if that'd work.

    Anyway breakfast is always set - big bowl of porridge with bran, protein powder, flaxseed. I totted it up one morning to see how much protein is in the breakfast & got to about 40g.

    I'll have a midmorning snack of chicken strips in herbs followed by fruit.

    Dinner will, depending on the day, be a big bowl of bean soup or a chicken pasta salad.
    Tea will vary. Chicken/sausage casserole, chicken/fish & rice with veg, stir fry & this will pretty much be the last meal of the day.

    Sorry but this is so vague as to be borderline useless. :o

    Note that trying to eat a caloric surplus in three healthy meals is incredibly difficult. Empty protein calories are just that: calories. By 'empty' I mean very low in micronutrients (vitamins/ minerals/ essential fatty acids).

    Nutrition .... start keeping a detailed food and activity diary, timings, weighed and measured servings rather than guesstimates. Record through the day as you eat and drink not later because memory fades fast. Analyse your diary yourself against the official healthy eating guidelines (min/max not optimal). If you do not have variety and balance and serving sizes correct there is no foundation to work from.

    Weighing and measuring is not forever: you will soon learn what a portion looks like. If you really do not want to weigh and measure at all you can approximate with some foods: a serving of hard cheese is the size of a matchbox, of meat and fish a serving is the size and thickness of your palm, for example.

    For fruit and vegetables read the weight on the prepacked stuff and eat accordingly (80g is a serving). Compare the volume of an 80g serving of bagged salad to the volume of an 80g serving of carrot or cauliflower.

    As I said that probably reads as flippant or negative without you hearing my tone of voice and seeing my facial expressions. :o I am more than happy to comment/ help further on nutrition where it is safe to do so. Ironically I have a lot of spare time due to chronic health problems! :p
    Declutterbug-in-progress.⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️
  • parking_question_chap
    Options
    I'm curious about this comment.

    I'm assuming you're doing a fair comparison - so if the free weights are done correctly -vs- if the machines are done correctly ... then free weights are less likely to result in injury.

    Why is that (if both are performed correctly)?

    The whole subject fascinates me so i'm asking this from a genuine question standing rather than a challenging viewpoint.


    Without going into the detailed biomechanics, in short its because machines have a fixed range of motion thats designed for the average user. The problems is there isnt really such thing as an average user because we are all so different. We all have different limb dimensions and even our muscles will have slightly different origin and insertion points (point where the muscle attaches via tendons to the bone).

    Taking arms as just one example. Potentially even people with arms of the same length could have their elbows in slightly different positions due to different lengths of humerus compared with raduis and ulna. These people will have different natural ranges of motion for pressing movements but a machine will force them to use the only range of motion it permits. Performing a movement in a fixed plane that doesnt exactly suit your body, over time, will cause problems.

    Contrast this to free weights and you have almost total freedom of the range of motion (ROM) you can move the weight through, only limited by the ROM your body can manage. Next time you are in the gym just subtly observe people doing dumbell bench or shoulder press for example. Same exercise many different slight variations on technique and positioning. Many times purely as a result of where there body is most comfortable.

    All this before we even consider that some machines are badly designed before the user even gets near them. Pec dec? Overhead press machine with a starting position directly to the side of your body? Welcome to a whole world of rotator cuff and shoulder impingement problems.

    So to answer your question I will ask a question. If your body isnt built to naturally track the ROM the machine takes you through, and you are forcing your muscles to adapt to the machine. Is it really being performed correctly?

    This might all sound like I have a huge downer on machines, I dont, indeed I use some of them. But I think a lot of people going in fresh understand the dangers of free weights but dont realise there are are dangers with machines as well. The thing is injuries from free weights are usually caused by ego lifting/poor technique. Injuries from machines can be simply because the machine just isnt suitable for the person using it. You can teach somebody how to lift a free weight correctly but you cannot change the finite movements of a machine.

    Get an instructor to show you how to use free weights, and you wont look back.

    Good luck
  • JustAnotherSaver
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    Fire_Fox wrote: »
    Anabolic steroids are rife in many gyms. See the World Natural Bodybuilding competitors for how large you can get IF you are lucky genetically AND are 100% dedicated to diet and training regime. These guys are true athletes.
    True, and i'm honestly not in to it to be taking anything like that (don't worry i know you wasn't implying anything). Speaking of don't worry...
    That probably reads as flippant or negative without you hearing my tone of voice and seeing my facial expressions. :o
    Honestly, if i felt like i was anywhere close to 'right' then i may take offence to you critiquing but i know, especially as far as nutrition goes, i'm clueless really so when you say this is no good & that wont work etc i don't get offended.

    What protein/ carbs/ fat/ calories intake are you referring to? Macros do not trump micros.
    Ok i understand macros to be a ratio of proteins / carbs / fats etc but what's micros?


    Anyway as for what i'm referring to when talking about protein - i read about various formulas for how much protein you should consume if you want to build muscle (in relation to your body weight). This varies slightly from article to article so i calculated it somewhere around the top 25% on the sliding scale which gave me the grams per day of protein i should be hitting.



    Let's for arguments sake say it was 150g.


    So i then take a look at the packaging. The whey protein for example - 25g in the scoop. The porridge was like 10g for breakfast, the bran and flaxseed could be like 5g combined for the amount i have ... bang, 40g protein, just 110g to go in the rest of the day (which would then mostly come from meats).
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