T Nation

3 Days a Week. Full Body? Upper/Lower? PPL?

Hey friends!

I’ve been going to gym for a year, yet I consider myself a beginner. I am 6’1 (186cm) and 196pounds(89kg). I recently lost 37pounds(17kg) while going to gym 3 times a weeek, and running 3 times/week. I’d say that I’m at around 20% BF now. My lifts are as follow:

Squats: 190lbs(95kg) 5x5
Bench Press: 143lbs(65kg) 5x5 - I really suck at this
OHP: 88lbs (44kg) 5x5

My goal is to reach 10-12% BF

So, my question is this: Should I even try a PPL or Upper Lower routine if I can only go at gym 3 times/week?

I’m trying to find a good workout routine that will help me put on some muscle without having to give up cardio.

Eventually, if going 4x/week would increase my results in a much faster time than 3x/week, then I could possibly give up one day of cardio in favor of this.

These are the options I think I have at the moment:

  1. Since my lifts are low, I could just follow a full body workout routine 3 times week. This will allow me to also run 3 times/week. But is this the best choice for my situation?
  2. I could follow Upper/Lower or PPL 3 times a week. I’ve read that PPL is not exactly designed for 3 times/week and the gains will be minimal.
  3. I could give up one cardio day and do PPL/upper lower 4 times a week. I’m sure this would be much better than option 2, but is it better than option 1?

So, what do you guys think? I would appreciate your input.

All the options you mentioned can work as long as you put the work in. Nothing wrong with three days

In a nutshell.

Add a three-day setup for 531 to your options if you like.

Don’t drop cardio/conditioning whatever you do. So option 1 and 2 are fine.

I would personally do full body with 2-3 cconditioning sessions. Works perfectly.

Ps. 3 days a week is plenty. You can get results even with 2 days a week.

Like the guys have all said, any of those templates could work in this situation and there are plenty of routines on the site.

Good work on the weight loss. Just wondering though, were you (roughly) the same bodyfat when you started? I don’t put much stock into bodyfat percentage measurements, but that’s a large amount of weight loss to still be “around 20%”.

Unless you were very, very fat to begin with, I’m wondering how much muscle you built/burned to get to where you are now. Did your strength levels consistently increase while dropping the weight?

Double-check your nutrition and ensure ample quality protein and get on a well-designed program ASAP. Doesn’t matter what kind of split it is, but it needs to be a good plan.

Thanks for reply everyone. Really appreciate your input.

No, I suppose I was at 30% bodyfat. I was considerably fatter. Basically, I went from 40 pants size to 32.

As for strength/muscle–I actually gained some serious muscle during this period. But again, newbie gains in action. I had no muscle, as I was pretty much sedentary for the past decade (I’m 22 years old now).

I started running 3 times/week and went to gym 3 times a week. I actually started doing this one year ago, however I stalled because I was eating poorly. Three, four months ago I decided to give up junk food. Since then, I haven’t had a single cheat meal, and honestly, I’ve lose the appetite for chips, pizza, fast food. Who would’ve though!

I haven’t eaten a lot of protein either, which I will try to add in the future. My meal plan looked something like this:

Morning: Green smoothie -half avocado, banana, apple, kiwi, spinach
Snacks: 50g almonds
Lunch: Salad (bell peppers, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, kidney beans)
Dinner: Meat --usually salmon as I can’t find gass-fed meat here + vegetables.

My strength levels definitely increased, but what I’m more pleased about running. When I first started, running 8-10 minutes (1.5km) was really a chore. I would get out of breath and really couldn’t push more. Now I can do 5k, ~30 minutes no problem.

In the future, I need to think about how I will manage my cardio. I don’t want to get too skinny, so I will probably have to cut down cardio to 2 times/week or add sprints. Time will tell.

Dude you really need to eat more protein than that.

Have a serving with every meal.

1 Like