T Nation

28 y/o Beginner

I’ve been in the military for five years and always thought I was in great shape and knew how to exercise. I would go to the gym occasionally and workout with guys who I thought knew a lot and I finally realized after discovering this website what a total beginner I am. I am fascinated with what I have been learning here and I have a few questions.

Stats:
Height: 6’2
Weight: 215lbs
Bodyfat: The army test said 18% but I did it with calipers at my house and came up with 22%
Goals: Increase muscle and strength, be healthy, decrease bodyfat

My diet has always been inconsistent. I ate whatever I wanted through college and when I got in the army I would try to eat better at times but lack of discipline and motivation always led me back to eating out probably 60% of my meals. I am really focusing on my diet and I’m sure it needs a lot of tweaking but I used to eat like the poster boy for diabetes.

Typical Daily Diet:
Breakfast - 3 eggs, bacon, oatmeal, fruit
Midmeal - Protein shake or protein bar
Lunch - Chicken, vegetables, wheat bread
Midmeal - Protein shake or protein bar
Dinner - Salmon, sweet potato, vegetables
Before Bed - protein shake

During the day my protein shake is just two scoops of whey protein or nitrotech with water. Before bed I’ll add natural peanut butter. On the weekends I’ll make smoothies in the morning with frozen fruit and protein powder. Sometimes for post workout I’ll have a scoop of ice cream, skim milk, ice, and protein powder.

I would like to be somewhere around 220lbs but more muscular, so I am trying to eat to acheive that goal. I also have to do quite a bit of running in the mornings with the Army. I try to spend those times sprinting but usually I’ll have to run at least 3-5 miles at an 8 min/mile pace. I usually don’t eat before I show up for PT, but maybe I should if I’m trying to build muscle?

Workout:
I was really wanting to start with one of Waterbury’s workouts because I liked what he said but I realized I really don’t know anything about form and I have no partner so I got a personal trainer from my local Gold’s Gym. This leads to my question about my workout:

Currently we are doing this:
Monday - Chest/Back
Tuesday - Shoulders
Thursday - Legs
Friday - Arms

I don’t want to make this post any longer than it already is but if there’s any more information that would be helpful to include let me know. My question is whether or not a workout like my trainer is taking me through is optimal or if I should talk to him about putting me on a different workout like ones mentioned here.

I have told him that I wanted to do deadlifts, squats, bench press, pullups, and snatches and have him look at my form and he has included these exercises. The workouts are hard and I am noticing results and I’m wondering if I continue with his program for eight weeks while focusing on form if I could choose another program afterwards after I had a “base” and had worked with someone on proper form.

As long as I am doing something and working hard, does it matter as much what I’m doing or is that more of a concern for those who have been lifting for a while?

[quote]mstott25 wrote:
I’ve been in the military for five years and always thought I was in great shape and knew how to exercise. I would go to the gym occasionally and workout with guys who I thought knew a lot and I finally realized after discovering this website what a total beginner I am. I am fascinated with what I have been learning here and I have a few questions.

Stats:
Height: 6’2
Weight: 215lbs
Bodyfat: The army test said 18% but I did it with calipers at my house and came up with 22%
Goals: Increase muscle and strength, be healthy, decrease bodyfat

My diet has always been inconsistent. I ate whatever I wanted through college and when I got in the army I would try to eat better at times but lack of discipline and motivation always led me back to eating out probably 60% of my meals. I am really focusing on my diet and I’m sure it needs a lot of tweaking but I used to eat like the poster boy for diabetes.

Typical Daily Diet:
Breakfast - 3 eggs, bacon, oatmeal, fruit
Midmeal - Protein shake or protein bar
Lunch - Chicken, vegetables, wheat bread
Midmeal - Protein shake or protein bar
Dinner - Salmon, sweet potato, vegetables
Before Bed - protein shake

During the day my protein shake is just two scoops of whey protein or nitrotech with water. Before bed I’ll add natural peanut butter. On the weekends I’ll make smoothies in the morning with frozen fruit and protein powder. Sometimes for post workout I’ll have a scoop of ice cream, skim milk, ice, and protein powder.
[/quote]

thats doesnt look bad just get some variety and if you can the more real food the better though I know I use protein shakes a lot just for ease and Im busy Id get some good fats in there as well. fish oils, butter, oilve oil on veggies etc

[quote]
I would like to be somewhere around 220lbs but more muscular, so I am trying to eat to acheive that goal. I also have to do quite a bit of running in the mornings with the Army. I try to spend those times sprinting but usually I’ll have to run at least 3-5 miles at an 8 min/mile pace. I usually don’t eat before I show up for PT, but maybe I should if I’m trying to build muscle? [/quote]

no you should no matter what if your cutting bulking, maintaining you need to eat prior to PT for hell just performance sake let alone top not just eat away hard earned muscle

[quote]

Workout:
I was really wanting to start with one of Waterbury’s workouts because I liked what he said but I realized I really don’t know anything about form and I have no partner so I got a personal trainer from my local Gold’s Gym. This leads to my question about my workout:

Currently we are doing this:
Monday - Chest/Back
Tuesday - Shoulders
Thursday - Legs
Friday - Arms

I don’t want to make this post any longer than it already is but if there’s any more information that would be helpful to include let me know. My question is whether or not a workout like my trainer is taking me through is optimal or if I should talk to him about putting me on a different workout like ones mentioned here. [/quote]

we need to know what your doing all you gave us was some body part could be damn good could suck. be detailed

yes in the end work hard and you will see results. A shit program done INTENSE is better then the perfect program lolled though. Yes get acquainted with the moves and sure do a diff program

Come on back hope this helped

Phill

"we need to know what your doing all you gave us was some body part could be damn good could suck. be detailed "

All right, this is a typical week of my workouts. I do three sets of every exercise for 12-15 reps. Weight is kind of arbitrary, my trainer tells me not to worry about how much I lift and he will add resistance or spot me when I’m having trouble. I tried to remember the weight from last week as best I could. I go from exercise to exercise with a 30-60 second rest between sets.

Mondays (chest/back) - Bench Press 135lbs 3 sets of 12,
Incline Press Machine (Hammer Machine) 3 sets of 12,
Pec Deck 3 sets of 12,
Dip Machine 3 sets of 12,
Pull Ups my max x3 (6, 5, 4) with 30 second rest between sets,
Hammer Machine Rows 3 sets of 15

Tuesdays (shoulders) - Dumbbell Presses,
Lateral raises with Cable and Dumbbell,
some other raises with two 10lb plates. I’m not sure what they’re called but I hold the plates out in front of me and raise them for 15 reps then immediately bring them up in front of me and spin them like they’re a steering wheel (for lack of a better description) for about 30 seconds, then immediately do 15 overhead presses. I’ll do three sets of those to end the workout.

Wednesdays - Off

Thursdays (Legs) - Walking lunges with dumbbells 30lb dumbbells approximately 30ft for one set,
leg presses (3 sets of 13 reps approx 180lbs),
Leg extensions,
Hamstring Curls,
and wall squats where I’m timed for 90 seconds holding the squat position with my back against the wall 3 times

Fridays (Arms) - hammer curls three sets of 13 with 20lbs,
preacher curls three sets of 13 with 45lbs,
skull crushers same weight as preacher curls with him spotting me,
tricep extensions with cable 3 sets of 13 with 70lbs.

All reps are between 12 and 15 and the weight has fluctuated over the past two weeks. I’ve worked out with the trainer for two weeks now and I still have eight weeks with him. The weight is pretty low but with the amount of reps and lack of rest my arms get tired and if it is too easy he will add more weight or add resistance.

hope that helps.

Thanks for the other advice!

I personally do not like the routine and would be asked to be put onto something else.

Hopefully your trainer is just introducing you to the weights so thats why he has so many sets of high reps. If you want to gain that much weight then sooner or later you will have to up the weight. At least enough to maybe 6 - 8 reps specially for the compound exercises(bench press).

The program he has you on is not horrible and can build some size but probably not as much as you like. A lot of trainers are put through a standard program to achieve the GQ magazine cover goal. If your really trying to gain some size as fast as possible you will be better off with some deadlifts and squats added.

If your pt is first thing in the morning I doubt you want to put too much into your stomach before your run. If you have an hour before hand then go ahead and do a little carbs and protein not enough to cramp up though. Otherwise maybe a little juice or fruit before will be ok. A protein shake with carbs right after would is more important. Carbs to restock your stores and the whole time your getting big you should be taking protein.

Thanks for the advice guys.

I went into the gym today and the first thing the trainer asked me was “So what do you want to do today?” I’ve already finished two weeks with this guy and last week I thought we put a plan together so we had a discussion. I told him the only reason that I have a trainer is because I don’t have a workout partner and I need somebody to help me with my form. I also expected him to come up with a plan based on everything we had talked about but I told him today I’ll come up with my own plan if I’m just going to get half ass planning on his part. He started to back pedal and say “Well I could come up with a plan for you right now” but I don’t want some half ass impromptu plan. He said I should go home and list my weakest to strongest body parts and then we’ll structure a plan around that but that method seemed a little suspect to me.

I told him I’d bring in my own plan tomorrow and discuss it with him. There is so much information out there and so many different opinions that I figured that I would trust a trainer to lead me into my first eight weeks.
I’m leaning towards Waterbury’s anti-body building hypertrophy workout. This way I can have a plan to follow and somebody to make sure I do the movements correctly and I can focus more on my diet and getting that down. I work a lot and I have a family so I don’t have hours and hours to spend researching without heading in some sort of direction. I figure this will get me pointed in the right direction while I’m still learning.

Any advice on starting the ABBH Program or is there any other workouts that may be more suitable for a beginner?

Been reading as much as I can about the workouts and diet here and I have a couple more questions.

I came to the conclusion that since I’m really just starting out I will see results from nearly any lifting program as long as I perform it with intensity and consistency. I was spending a lot of time trying to find the perfect one but I think I want to make a priority on learning the most important exercises right now and setting up a good base.

The reason being is that I’ll be in Iraq at the end of September. I have at least eight weeks left here with a personal trainer and then I’m out of here. I do know that where I’m going I have access to a gym that has collected an extensive set of free weights. After my reading and studying I’m feeling like I’d really like to learn the proper form and technique for the exercises powerlifters and olympic lifters perform. I am asking my personal trainer to take me through two more weeks of training to establish a base and then to really work with me on the following exercises:

Deadlifts, Squats, Overhead Presses, Snatch High Pull, Clean High Pull, Push Press, and Jerks.

My goals are to be stronger and to have the strength to perform whatever my job may entail over there, which will more than likely involve pushing people around, pulling people out, sprinting etc.

I would like my workouts to keep me in good shape for my job and I would also like to see my bodyfat go from the 22% I measured to about 10% and keep it there.

Are there any more exercises I should add to my list and will 4 weeks of lifting weights be enough of a base to get into the exercises I’m interested in? This is not the first time I’ve lifted weights in my life, but I’ve only lifted at the most 3-4 months at a time in the past with ex-college athletes and buddies, nothing serious.

My other question is regarding nutrition and breakfast. Should I eat really clean for breakfast or is it okay to have jelly on my toast or brown sugar in my oatmeal? I’ve heard that your body burns everything from breakfast pretty easily but I was wondering how true this was. Thanks.

[quote]mstott25 wrote:
Are there any more exercises I should add to my list and will 4 weeks of lifting weights be enough of a base to get into the exercises I’m interested in?[/quote]
That’s a very good list you’ve got. You can turn the high pulls into power cleans and power snatches later. About the only thing I might add would be bentover rows - they’re not that easy to do with good form.

[quote]mstott25 wrote:
My other question is regarding nutrition and breakfast. Should I eat really clean for breakfast or is it okay to have jelly on my toast or brown sugar in my oatmeal? I’ve heard that your body burns everything from breakfast pretty easily but I was wondering how true this was. Thanks. [/quote]
After you wake up you want to get your metabolism going. The bigger your breakfast is the better. Though if you’ll be doing PT right after breakfast then you want to eat stuff that will digest easily and not take up room in your stomach for long - so jelly is great but skip that pound of bacon.