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workout/diet/fitness tips


southpaw121505

This is somewhat of a spin-off from the diet pills thread since we started going down this route, but I thought this was worthy of it's own topic. I have some specific questions that id appreciate advice or tips on. I've been doing my own research but I've found it more effective doing trial and error so that's why I'd appreciate input from others. I'll ask a few specific questions to my situation and goals.

I'm tall and lanky but still have a layer of fat on my stomach from my recently destroyed beer belly. I want to add bulk to my arms, chest, legs, etc, but I also want to get the rest of that fat off and get some ab action going. It's tough to add bulk/strength when Im also trying to watch my stomach and burn fat there. Any advice on how to go about this? What to eat, what not to eat, workout routines, etc. Any input is appreciated, thanks in advance.

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Read Body-for-Life by Bill Phillips. His advice is sound, and the book will work for a novice. It's now been out for a long time, but it was the first fitness book I read cover-to-cover, and the one that has had the biggest impact on how I eat and exercise.
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southpaw, you've got the same exact problem as me (probably every dude, too). I'm tall and (was?) generally skinny, except for the beer gut. once I hit size 40 pants i knew it was time for a change. But I don't/didn't have much upper-body muscle to begin with, either.

 

When I first started working out, I wanted to do the same thing, build bulk in some areas but lose the gut. I went to a low-calorie/low-fat diet and did :45 of cardio with every workout. I did start losing the gut and gained a little muscle definition with what little muscle I had, but I wasn't building muscle. From everything I've read and my own experiences, you can either gain muscle or lose fat, but not both at the same time.

 

So first thing is to pick what you'd like to get first--abs or muscle growth. Personally, I chose muscle growth because I don't want to be just another skinny guy, plus losing weight is easier when you've got some muscle, but go with what's most important to you.

 

Skinny program: Exercises that would work well are pullups, dips and the like, that work a lot of muscles at the same time and burn some good calories throughout. But doing whatever exercises you like best is fine, too. They'll best define the muscle you have. Finding your Basal Metabolic Rate can help (find it easy online). Eat breakfast, a balanced diet, and just do your best to avoid the calories and fats. All cheese, fatty meats (stick with skinless chicken, turkey, venison and very lean ground beef) and fried foods must disappear. Cheating isn't a total sin so you don't go crazy (like have that lite beer on the nice spring day), but don't make it frequent. It's unfortunate that if you just want to lose the belly fat that you can't target just that area to lose, that you'll just be losing fat in general. But trust me, the benefits will show up in no time. Lifting weights helps, because the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns per hour. But certainly cardio and burning calories is vital. Pick whatever cardio you enjoy doing the most or change it up. It's the calories that you burn that's important, not as much the exercise that you do. Granted, some exercises are more efficient than others (like if you use the treadmill, swing your arms instead of holding the grips). Stick to :30-:45 of cario at a time, though. Note that going on a low-calorie diet does not include skipping meals. Ideally, you'll want to eat 4-5 meals per day. Also, don't skip breakfast, especially. If you skip breakfast, that means you haven't eaten in maybe 12+ hours, so your body goes in starvation mode and starts storing everything as fat, and you won't have energy in the morning. If you don't have much time, even a bag of carrots in your car will do nicely. Otherwise oatmeal or healthy cereal, cream of wheat or fruit is good. Avoid saturated fats like the plague.

 

Bulk Program: This is the phase I'm on now. To grow muscle, your body needs more calories per day than you burn up in everyday living (the Basal Metabolic Rate again). This involves pounding the proteins and calories. So yes, while your muscle grows, unfortunately so does the gut. Try to get about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight and load up on the calories. Although you won't want to gain more than two pounds per week because amounts after that tend to be all fat. I've been gaining about 0.75 lbs. per week and fortunately haven't seen much of an increase in my gut or a sizeable rise in my bodyfat percentage. For exercises, I stick to the standards: biceps, triceps, incline and flat bench, definitely do squats, abs, obliques, traps, lats and two deltoid exercises--so I guess all the major muscles. Do no more or no less than 6-8 reps per set. There are a ton of bulking programs written out online that you'll be able to follow, as far as what to do which days and how often to be lifting. Change your lifting routine up every 4-6 weeks to avoid plateau (your muscles will get used to the routine eventually and will slow in growth and strength gains). These programs will help keep you from overworking your muscles, therefore losing grow-time and increasing the chance of injury. i think it's bodybuilding.com has a bunch of quick videos on proper technique (if you're new to weightlifting, start with low weights so you get the technique down first)--proper technique is all-important or you'll injure yourself right quick. Now even though I still have that gut somewhat, I still do ab exercises. What I've found is that stronger abs, though you can't see them on me, have helped to sorta round my gut off and not have quite that sag around the belly, sort of like the muscles are helping me to permanently suck the gut in. You can do some quick research into those protein and weight-gainer shakes. If you can afford them, they sure make it easier to get the needed protein. Creatine is an issue on it's own with a lot of different opinions.

 

So yeah, I guess I am pushing joining a gym if you can, though it's not totally necessary. It's helped for me to have one place I go to exercise, that it's a part of my day now and part of a routine, which has really helped me keep it up and not make excuses for not going. There are a million and three great routines you can do with a few dumbbells and a bench at home if needs be. Oh, and it might also be helpful to know that 1 pound (whether muscle or fat)=3,500 calories.

 

get a measuring tape to see your results, too. That can be pretty cool.

 

hope any of that diatribe helps at least some.

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It sounds like were in the same boat Game. It is unfortunate that you can't target both of our goals. The last month or so I've been going more towards the abs approach, and its worked great for burning my beer belly off the only problem is im starting to lose weight overall which I dont want. Tough call but I'm leaning towards a bulking approach and biting the bullet on the abs. I've been on a 3 days a week full body lifting program and I can't decide if I want to switch it up to some split (4 days alternating upper/lower, or one body part a day) or stick with the 3 days. Seems like were on the same page for the most part but your post def. helps, appreciate the input.

 

Jim, looked into that book and seems like it covers the nutritional side as well which I think I need more than anything

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It's been awhile since I read it, but I think he gets into glycemic index. He really drives home the point of six small meals per day, proper portion size, having one day per week that's a free day, etc. Pretty sound stuff, even if you're not specifically on a fitness program or exercise plan.
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I've read the Body for Life books myself, and they were life changing for me, but I've moved past them now too. I think the biggest take aways for me was what JimH5 just pointed out, six meals a day, portion size, and a free day. Just doing those things alone you will notice a tremendous difference in your life. However, I did grow to not really agree with his exercise routine or a lot of his meal suggestions. Oddly enough, I bought the accompaning cook book years ago and that kicked off a love of cooking and really wanting to understand food, which lead me to question a lot of his choices. But it was good moment, because it got me down the road. And I still do cook several of the recipes in that book, but I've made some modifications to them.

 

Right now I would highly suggest the site Mark's Daily Apple for exericise, and especially, food tips. There is a lot of great knowledge on that blog.

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for the bulking and trimming phases, eventually i'll have it timed out where i'm trimming for beach season and bulking in winter when a sweater hides it all. my friends who are girls have all had me ask them the question "what do you find more attractive, a dude with muscles but a bit of a gut; or a skinny guy with abs?"

 

on your 3-day, full-body workouts, how long are you working out for? you'll want to keep your lifting to around an hour. there's some particular scientific reason, but the benefits start to decline after that.

 

if you're going for losing weight, repeating a muscle exercise a few times in a weeks is fine, because you'll presumably not be trying to tear the muscle fibers but doing high-rep/low-weight exercises. however if you decide to go for bulk, you may indeed want to start a more-frequent but more-isolated program. if you're powerlifting (bulking), three days a week on the same muscle will prove to be a bit much, and won't allow for much recovery time. me, i usually don't hit the same muscle group until about six days later, but then i also hit the muscles pretty hard on those days. granted, just how much time you have available to exercise can effect that decision.

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So what was their answer Game? Was it the skinny dude with abs, or the strong guy with a bit of a gut. I have to know where I stand. http://forum.brewerfan.net/images/smilies/laugh.gif
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you're right, shouldn't have dangled that and not given the answer:) it ran about 75% muscley guy with a gut over skinny-abs-guy.

Awesome, good news. Now all I have to do is work on getting muscles, I already have the gut.

 

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Game, I've decided to go to a more split routine. One muscle a day, work it hard that one day and give it plenty of recovery time, sound similar to what you're doing. I'm satisfied with where my stomach is now, especially with added bulk.

 

Oh yeah, it also helps that the ladies I've asked also voted for the muscles over the abs. http://forum.brewerfan.net/images/smilies/smile.gif

 

Pretendastronaut, that is a really good site. Tons of good stuff there as you said, thanks for the tip

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cool. i'm glad to hear other people have heard the same results about the bulk vs. abs question, too.

 

 

hope your new routine nets you some good results. plus the longer you go at it, the more you'll be able to change things up according to what's best for you. i don't exactly do one muscle per day, but an arm and lat day, pecs day, legs and abs day, and a shoulder and traps day. but i do have usually two random rest days in there per week for laundry or a good pitching matchup that i don't want to miss.

keep us updated on the progress, too. it'd be cool to see how things progress.

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i'm really in a debate as to whether i should keep bulking up or start losing the belly fat. gaining muscle mass is my ultimate goal, but i'm at 14% bodyfat already and i just hate looking down at this beer gut. plus i'm thinking with the pools opening up, losing the gut might be a little better.

 

a couple things i picked up that i've been doing wrong with my bulking phase. a body can only handle 50g of protein per serving, and the rest is peed out, so then 4-5 meals per day is even more important, especially if i'm to get 215 g of protein in per day. i'm going to start bringing a tub of weight gainer to work.

 

drinking a lot of water is important. i haven't been drinking enough. all the protein you take is incredibly hard on your kidneys, so you need a lot of water to help them out.

 

with all the fatty foods you end up eating when you're bulking, you do need some sort of grain to help manage all that cholesterol, so whole grains like oatmeal each day are really good for you.

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