Diving into the world of training

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    Question Diving into the world of training

    Hello, I'm a 17 year old guy new to this forum and my story is as follows:

    Until the age of 15 I was somewhat chubby, not much to say about that. By oversleeping and missing some meals I managed to lose weight, eventually becoming underweight (around 54kg at age 15.5-16+). Last year I focused on gaining weight and now I'm well in the normal zone (about 70kg), still owning a skinny physique (by the way, I forgot to mention it sooner, I'm about 183-185cm tall).

    Anyway, I want to go into a training schedule with the goal of gaining a somewhat muscular look (though I'm not really interested in a hardcore-bodybuilder muscular physique). My main goals are bigger arms, a bigger chest and a 6 pack. You know, basic beach-body dreams.

    I don't intend to go to the gym because I know I'll quit training faster than you can read this post, thus I intend to go and buy me a pair of dumbbells and work out at home. This leads to my question: What kind of workout program should I adopt? I've gone over numerous programs but I'm not really sure how I should go about it. As for my overall fitness: I can do around 40+ pushups, can hardly do 2 pullups and I can run...kinda.

    So...this is it. Give me any tips you can, any link you've stumbled upon or any advice you can think of - any contribution will be helpful.

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    Do you have access to a gym? Because you're going to run out of options pretty fast with a set of dumbbells.

    What are your legs like? Because those need to be worked, too - and running won't cut it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Built View Post
    Do you have access to a gym? Because you're going to run out of options pretty fast with a set of dumbbells.

    What are your legs like? Because those need to be worked, too - and running won't cut it.
    I do have access to a gym, but as I said I'm not really the persistent type. I prefer trying to train on my own for a while. As for my legs, yeah, they do need work.

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    Well, you will need to invest in a bit more equipment than a pair of dumbbells then.

    What is your budget?
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    Probably start out with some bodyweight exercises and compound movements(push-ups, pull-ups, squats, etc.). Based on what you're saying it seems like you need to build up a better base of strength or you might hurt yourself by overloading your muscles.

    The 6 pack will come mostly through maintaining a proper diet and doing enough of the right cardio. There are some good bodyweight core exercises like planks, pikes (v-ups), bird dogs, etc. that would probably be good to do a few times a week.

    People are going to tell you to concentrate more on movements and less on individual muscles - they're correct. When grouping your exercises, focus more on what the types of movements are and you'll probably work similar groups of muscles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Built View Post
    Well, you will need to invest in a bit more equipment than a pair of dumbbells then.

    What is your budget?
    I haven't really decided on one. I'm going to a sports equipment shop this friday to look around and buy my stuff. For discussion's sake, assume I have an infinite budget.

    Quote Originally Posted by gtbmed View Post
    Probably start out with some bodyweight exercises and compound movements(push-ups, pull-ups, squats, etc.). Based on what you're saying it seems like you need to build up a better base of strength or you might hurt yourself by overloading your muscles.

    The 6 pack will come mostly through maintaining a proper diet and doing enough of the right cardio. There are some good bodyweight core exercises like planks, pikes (v-ups), bird dogs, etc. that would probably be good to do a few times a week.

    People are going to tell you to concentrate more on movements and less on individual muscles - they're correct. When grouping your exercises, focus more on what the types of movements are and you'll probably work similar groups of muscles.
    I know in theory what I need to do. My main problem is really designing my schedule and deciding what I'm gonna do. The obvious things are...well...obvious - the hard part is to really organize it all into a training program.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JiminyJones View Post
    I do have access to a gym, but as I said I'm not really the persistent type. I prefer trying to train on my own for a while. As for my legs, yeah, they do need work.
    Then get ready to change. Results dont come without persistence. If you're gonna do it for a week and then quit you may as well save your money for a pizza or something.

    That said, the same rules for setting up a program apply to whatever equipment you have. Dumbells are fine and good, but youll out progress them pretty quickely. The amount of equipment in a gym for the price is usually a good return.

    If you're apprehensive about going to a gym because of the "im a newbie" factor, dont sweat it. Everybody in there was a newbie at one point and theyre lying if they say otherwise. Besides, im concentrating on what im doing in the gym so much, i barely notice anybody else in there anyway.

    Like Built said, you should train your legs as well as your upper body. Cardio is fine for general fitness, but in terms of development and balance its not enough to have that as all your leg training.

    Stick to compound movements (multi-joint, big movements) rather than isolation movements (single joint, smaller movements).

    Always try and keep a balance between pushing movements, pulling movements, and a balance between upper body and lower body. Everything should get the same amount of time because its all equally important.

    I would take a little time to read the stickied topics in the training section on how to put something together program-wise, as well as general training info.
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    Design the schedule around your own pre-existing personal schedule. Most bodybuilding programs try something like this, I believe:

    Monday - Push
    Tuesday - Off
    Wednesday - Legs
    Thursday - Off
    Friday - Pull

    with Sat. and Sun. off. I think some people do this as well:

    Day 1 - Push
    Day 2 - Legs
    Day 3 - Off
    Day 4 - Pull
    Day 5 - Off

    and repeat that every 5 days.

    There are plenty of threads "stickied" at the top of the forum detailing the various options for lifts, cadences, volume, etc. I would advise to read a lot of that info as it will help you design the kind of program you're looking for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gazhole View Post
    Then get ready to change. Results dont come without persistence. If you're gonna do it for a week and then quit you may as well save your money for a pizza or something.
    Maybe I wasn't explaining myself well enough. When the activity in question is kinda far and demands me to get dressed etc, I tend to quit quickly. It happened when I was learning to play the guitar with a teacher (I quit fast, then I started training alone and now i'm pretty damn good=o) and the same thing happened with my girlfriend (heh). Anyway, i just fell like i'll be better off starting alone, i'm ruling out going to the gym altogether.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gtbmed View Post
    Design the schedule around your own pre-existing personal schedule. Most bodybuilding programs try something like this, I believe:

    Monday - Push
    Tuesday - Off
    Wednesday - Legs
    Thursday - Off
    Friday - Pull

    with Sat. and Sun. off. I think some people do this as well:

    Day 1 - Push
    Day 2 - Legs
    Day 3 - Off
    Day 4 - Pull
    Day 5 - Off

    and repeat that every 5 days.

    There are plenty of threads "stickied" at the top of the forum detailing the various options for lifts, cadences, volume, etc. I would advise to read a lot of that info as it will help you design the kind of program you're looking for.
    Yeah i've seen such programs. My only difficulty is understanding what the hell push and pull is =o. It's much less intuitive than just saying chest/abs/legs.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JiminyJones View Post
    Maybe I wasn't explaining myself well enough. When the activity in question is kinda far and demands me to get dressed etc, I tend to quit quickly. It happened when I was learning to play the guitar with a teacher (I quit fast, then I started training alone and now i'm pretty damn good=o) and the same thing happened with my girlfriend (heh). Anyway, i just fell like i'll be better off starting alone, i'm ruling out going to the gym altogether.
    Youre ruling it our or not ruling it out?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Merkaba View Post
    Youre ruling it our or not ruling it out?

    Ruling it out for the meanwhile, not indefinitely.

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    A "Push" is an exercise where you do just that, push the weight in any direction. Normal push movements are dips, pushups, bench presses, military presses, etc. A "Pull" is an exercise where you pull the weight, like pull-ups, rows, etc.

    If you're talking about knowing which body parts to do with which days, I'm telling you to forget that kind of thinking. Focus on the movements and you'll be doing the right things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gtbmed View Post
    A "Push" is an exercise where you do just that, push the weight in any direction. Normal push movements are dips, pushups, bench presses, military presses, etc. A "Pull" is an exercise where you pull the weight, like pull-ups, rows, etc.

    If you're talking about knowing which body parts to do with which days, I'm telling you to forget that kind of thinking. Focus on the movements and you'll be doing the right things.
    Okay, that's pretty straightforward. A question about your split though: I've read on several sites that doing 20-30 minutes of cardio on rest days is a good thing. It is really something I should do?

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    Cardio depends on your goals entirely in my opinion. If your goal is to reduce body fat then you'll need a bit more cardio and a small caloric deficit (you have to balance your cardio with your diet so that you end up burning a few more calories than you eat every day). If you're goal is to gain muscle mass then I'd say doing a bit of HIIT on a bike or treadmill could help you, but I wouldn't overdo cardio. If your goal is to gain mass you'll need to consume excess calories.

    From what I can tell, your goal is to gain muscle mass. To accomplish that the main thing you need to do is: 1) train to failure; 2) eat a lot; and 3) rest a lot. Above all, make sure you take care of the last 2 things so that the 1st one will produce results. It sucks to be training hard and see no results because you're overtraining or not eating enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gtbmed View Post
    Cardio depends on your goals entirely in my opinion. If your goal is to reduce body fat then you'll need a bit more cardio and a small caloric deficit (you have to balance your cardio with your diet so that you end up burning a few more calories than you eat every day). If you're goal is to gain muscle mass then I'd say doing a bit of HIIT on a bike or treadmill could help you, but I wouldn't overdo cardio. If your goal is to gain mass you'll need to consume excess calories.

    From what I can tell, your goal is to gain muscle mass. To accomplish that the main thing you need to do is: 1) train to failure; 2) eat a lot; and 3) rest a lot. Above all, make sure you take care of the last 2 things so that the 1st one will produce results. It sucks to be training hard and see no results because you're overtraining or not eating enough.
    Then again, if i eat a lot and cut back on cardio won't i have a harder time losing fat? getting a six pack is my top priority at the moment.

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    If you do those things, you won't lose fat. In fact you'll probably gain some as part of the process of building muscle (but that all depends on how well you regulate your diet). If you want the six pack now, you'll want to go on a "cut" where you strictly monitor your diet and calories, do enough cardio to put yourself in a small caloric deficit, and make sure your training doesn't have too much volume in it.

    I'd advise though that sometimes gaining a bit of good weight can help the appearance of your midsection. A six pack with no muscle behind it isn't really that impressive to me I guess...

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    Quote Originally Posted by gtbmed View Post
    Cardio depends on your goals entirely in my opinion. If your goal is to reduce body fat then you'll need a bit more cardio and a small caloric deficit (you have to balance your cardio with your diet so that you end up burning a few more calories than you eat every day). If you're goal is to gain muscle mass then I'd say doing a bit of HIIT on a bike or treadmill could help you, but I wouldn't overdo cardio. If your goal is to gain mass you'll need to consume excess calories.
    Sort of. You don't need any cardio to lose fat - but you do need a caloric deficit, at least to lose WEIGHT. You need to simultaneously retain muscle in order to lose FAT. That's where resistance training comes in, but we aren't talking fat loss at the moment.

    To the OP - a little cardio is good for your heart and for active recovery. Eat a little more to account for the small caloric expenditure from the cardio and don't worry about it.
    Quote Originally Posted by gtbmed View Post

    From what I can tell, your goal is to gain muscle mass. To accomplish that the main thing you need to do is: 1) train to failure; 2) eat a lot; and 3) rest a lot. Above all, make sure you take care of the last 2 things so that the 1st one will produce results. It sucks to be training hard and see no results because you're overtraining or not eating enough.
    Again, sort-of. To gain muscle, you need progressive overload and a caloric excess, plus suffient rest to allow for recovery, to be sure. But I'd hardly recommend failure-training as a preferred modality. The demand on the CNS from repeatedly pushing to muscular failure can essentially train the CNS to crap out before you hit muscular fatigue, acting much like a circuit breaker. Over time, this can hamper gains because it will limit your training.

    Quote Originally Posted by gtbmed View Post
    If you do those things, you won't lose fat. In fact you'll probably gain some as part of the process of building muscle (but that all depends on how well you regulate your diet). If you want the six pack now, you'll want to go on a "cut" where you strictly monitor your diet and calories, do enough cardio to put yourself in a small caloric deficit, and make sure your training doesn't have too much volume in it.
    As above, just a caloric deficit and heavy lifting will produce the "cut". Cardio is optional, and not something I'd focus on for cutting.
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    Hmm, let me rephrase my original question in a clearer, simpler form:

    I want to have a six pack, bigger chest and bigger arms. Those are my primary objectives, all other progress is secondary. I'd prefer developing the above as fast as possible (my senior year trip's in about 3-4 monthes, would be nice to look better with a shirt off). I am aware that it takes more time than that. I'm willing to go on any diet/training program necessary to achieve this, my problem is that I'm kinda stuck in the crossfire of conflicting opinions about training.

    What do i do to get the above? what's the best way to accomplish my goals as fast as possible?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JiminyJones View Post
    Maybe I wasn't explaining myself well enough. When the activity in question is kinda far and demands me to get dressed etc, I tend to quit quickly. It happened when I was learning to play the guitar with a teacher (I quit fast, then I started training alone and now i'm pretty damn good=o) and the same thing happened with my girlfriend (heh). Anyway, i just fell like i'll be better off starting alone, i'm ruling out going to the gym altogether.

    How far away is the gym?

    Getting dressed isn't that hard......

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    Quote Originally Posted by RasPlasch View Post
    How far away is the gym?

    Getting dressed isn't that hard......
    That's really far from being the point. The point is that i've made an arbitrary decision to start off alone, that's all.

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    Well to simply answer your question. You could buy a cheap benchpress set with weights. With the barbell that comes with it you could do curls and skullcrushers. There are your big arms. Bench to get your pecks. With the weights that come from the benchpress set you can do weighted crunches etc etc. Just look up some ab exercises.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RasPlasch View Post
    Well to simply answer your question. You could buy a cheap benchpress set with weights. With the barbell that comes with it you could do curls and skullcrushers. There are your big arms. Bench to get your pecks. With the weights that come from the benchpress set you can do weighted crunches etc etc. Just look up some ab exercises.
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but you can do the exact same with dumbbells, can't you? I mean, if I'm gonna train like that wouldn't dumbbells provide me with a greater range of possibilities? Anyway, the part I'm struggling with is the basics. You don't just exercise randomly and get great results, i need to know how I'm gonna need to eat and how I'll need to train. Saying "well...buy weights and train" is kinda unhelpful.

    When i think about it, the hardest thing to decide on is my diet: if i wanna get a 6 pack I'm gonna have to diet in order to lose fat etc, but then i won't really be developing muscles. I need to sort that out

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    You're going to have to figure out a way to increase the weight you press. Are your dumbbells adjustable?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Built View Post
    You're going to have to figure out a way to increase the weight you press. Are your dumbbells adjustable?

    Which is why I suggested a benchpress set with weights

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    Exactly!
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    I'll obviously buy dumbbells that you screw plates on, so, yeah, adjustable. My main question, though, is yet to be answered - do I diet and lose weight or do I wanna gain weight? Can you lose fat while gaining weight? is losing weight the only way to get that six pack (visible)?

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    How about you go for slow recomposition? You're still a novice, you'll enjoy some newbie gains - just get a good lifting programme going and monitor your diet. You start gaining too fast, pull back. You drop weight too fast, eat a little more.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Built View Post
    How about you go for slow recomposition? You're still a novice, you'll enjoy some newbie gains - just get a good lifting programme going and monitor your diet. You start gaining too fast, pull back. You drop weight too fast, eat a little more.
    That's a decent strategy, assuming i was going for a full-body muscle-up kinda routine. Thing is, i kinda want to go hardcore on the abs-chest-arm area for the trip in 3 monthes (90% of time will be spent topless) and then I'll have the time to go for a full-body even workout. Is there a better way? (sorry for nagging btw)

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    Quote Originally Posted by JiminyJones View Post
    That's a decent strategy, assuming i was going for a full-body muscle-up kinda routine. Thing is, i kinda want to go hardcore on the abs-chest-arm area for the trip in 3 monthes (90% of time will be spent topless) and then I'll have the time to go for a full-body even workout. Is there a better way? (sorry for nagging btw)
    There is a better way lol!

    Listen, tell me something. What is your calf measurement, and what is your bicep measurement?
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