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6 Months Training, Looking for Advice

A little background…

21 yrs old
6’3"
178 lbs
Body Fat percentage ~ 14% (total guess - Tanita scale reads 20%, but I can see my abs at times…)
Ultimate goal is not to be a bodybuilder, but rather bulk up to where I look fit, and muscular, while maintaining defined abs…

So I have always been active in sports and outdoor activities (baseball, tennis, hiking, backpacking, snowboarding, etc), but never really started lifting in hopes of developing the body I want until about 6 months ago. I started at 170 and probably 20% body fat. I was super skinny yet fat.

I spent 2 months just working out taking whey protein, and then upped the anty by taking a bottle of Tren Extreme from ACL labs for 6 weeks. I was extremely happy with the results, as I went from 175 to 191 in 6 weeks. Most of it being muscle. However, I know that taking it was a mistake at my age at least, and do not intend to take any prohormones again.

My diet was just eat as much as I could. Not necessarily clean, but not fast food and pizza either. Lots of meat, and tried to do the veggie and egg thing too, but definitely not “clean”. My workout was never really perfect, but was something like…

M - Upper Body Pushing
T - Upper Body Pulling
W - Legs (if at all)
Th - Upper Body Pushing (different exercises though)
F - Upper Body Pulling (different exercises again)
S and Su Rest

Admittedly, my leg workout often times were marginal if at all, and that is changing more and more every week. I understand the importance of them, and am trying to at least improve to where it is consistent, but I honestly am not looking for huge legs, rather proportionate legs to my upper body in the long run (oh and I have small calves, always have, can’t seem to gain muscle on them).

Since the cycle ended, I have been cutting, while maintaining my lifting. My lifting schedule is as follows…

M - Upper Body (total) with emphasis on pushing
T - 30 mins HIIT at least in evening with a few ab wrokouts thrown in, sometimes I run in morning as well,
W - Lower Body
Th - Repeat T
F - Upper Body (total) with emphasis on pulling
S - Repeat T
Su - Rest

I have cut calories a ton, and eat very clean (at least compared to how I was. I am now at 178, and can almost see my abs (I can if I flex and stretch the skin a bit… lol). I am close, but seem to have hit a plateau.

I began taking HRX yesterday, with hopes of getting to about 8% body fat before bulking up again. At that point I will just increase protein and calorie intake, while trying to eat clean as I don’t want to lose sight of my abs, even if it takes longer to gain the muscle.

SO, my question for you guys, is what kind of input do you have. Like I said, my ultimate goal is to be like 8% body fat, maybe 190 lbs at 6’3" or so (depending on how I look), but not to be a bodybuilder, just fit.

I am also getting married in 3 months, and will be going to Hawaii for the Honeymoon, so I want to have my six pack then, and be as muscular as possible. Any ideas to get there as fast as possible? I am currently taking…

Current Sups during cutting- Perfect Isopure MRP post workout, HRX, multivitamin, lots o water…
Sups intended for bulking - Prefect Isopure MRP post workout, and early morning, creatine, multivitamin, ZMA, and lots of water, protein, and clean calories.

Thanks for the help, I have learned so much from reading this forum pretty much daily…
Scott


First, at 6’3" and 178, you need more muscle, pronto. Even if you don’t want to look like a bodybuilder, if you can’t see your abs pretty much all the time (without flexing and “stretching” the skin), you’re lacking muscle.

Cutting down even further is just about the last thing I’d suggest, even though I understand you’re getting married in Hawaii (congrats, by the way.)

I’d work on what they call a “clean bulk” to fill out your frame with some solid size. I’m 6’2" and even when I was 190, I still looked kinda skinny. For perspective, Anderson Silva (in the pic above, on the left) in 6’2" and 185 there with probably just under 10% bodyfat.

Fear of growing muscles that spontaneously become “too big” is usually something we hear from girly-girls too scared to let go of their pretty lavender dumbbells.

Dude, if you want proportionate legs, you have to work them at least as hard as you’re working your upper body. Probably moreso since you’ve neglected them in the past.

[quote]M - Upper Body (total) with emphasis on pushing
T - 30 mins HIIT at least in evening with a few ab wrokouts thrown in, sometimes I run in morning as well,
W - Lower Body
Th - Repeat T
F - Upper Body (total) with emphasis on pulling
S - Repeat T
Su - Rest[/quote]

My advice, without even needing to know what you’re doing with the weights, is to chop your HIIT in half (to 15 minutes per session) and switch your nutrition plan to this:

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
First, at 6’3" and 178, you need more muscle, pronto. Even if you don’t want to look like a bodybuilder, if you can’t see your abs pretty much all the time (without flexing and “stretching” the skin), you’re lacking muscle.

Cutting down even further is just about the last thing I’d suggest, even though I understand you’re getting married in Hawaii (congrats, by the way.)
[/quote]

First off, thank you for your input. I really do appreciate it. However, I was afraid you would say something like this. I know I am skinny. I always have been… Heck, when I was 16 (5 years ago), I was 145 lbs at 6’3". Talk about skinny! Anyway, would you suggest then that I try bulking up for maybe the next 8 weeks or so, and then trying to cut for maybe 5 or so leading up to the wedding? I just would rather not be fat, than be more muscular… I honestly am happy with how I look right now, but obviously want a change. I have never looked as good as I do right now, and I know, it isn’t that good. I have large shoulders for my weight (I wear a 42L in a suit, but haven’t measured my shoulders myself), and a small waist (32"). My biceps are only 14" unpumped though.

After the wedding I plan to try bulking for a good 6 months or more, trying to get to 200, and then cutting from there. I may have to do yet another cycle before I will be happy maintaining what I have.

[quote]
I’d work on what they call a “clean bulk” to fill out your frame with some solid size. I’m 6’2" and even when I was 190, I still looked kinda skinny. For perspective, Anderson Silva (in the pic above, on the left) in 6’2" and 185 there with probably just under 10% bodyfat. [/quote]

Yah, I intend to do that, but thought I should maybe get to where I am maybe 10% body fat or so before attempting this…

Lol, that made me laugh. I really am not scared at all about gaining muscle in my legs. I need it, and I admit it. I WANT to gain that mass. My problem is I am an ectomorph, and know it is hard to gain muscle, anywhere. I am sure everyone else struggles with the fact that it is a lot easier to look in the mirror and think, dang, my shoulders and chest are scrawny so I’ll train them harder, than it is to say my hamstrings are lacking, so I’ll train them more.

[quote]
My advice, without even needing to know what you’re doing with the weights, is to chop your HIIT in half (to 15 minutes per session) and switch your nutrition plan to this:

K, I will definitely look into that.

My diet isn’t consistant, as in I have no real steady plan, but I try to eat healthy. I usually eat 2 or 3 egg whites and one whole egg at breakfast around 9 or 10 am, with a bagel on HIIT days. When I work (at 6 am) I have a protein shake when I first wake up, and have breakfast at like 9 or so. Lunch usually is something like a large chicken breast, grilled, and cut in half then placed on two rolls, accumpanied by a salad. Afternoon snack is usually a large portion of broccoli, green beans, or something of the like. I work out between afternoon snack and dinner usually, and have the MRP shake immediately following workout. Dinner varies, but is usually containing some kind of meat, being salmon, poultry, or beef with another veggie. Post dinner snack is often things like almonds, pistachios, or other healthy fat containing food or nut.

My workouts, well, they have changed here and there, as I learn what to do, and what not to do. Right now, this is where I am at…

M - Upper body, pushing emphasis - 3x8 dips at bodyweight (plan to add weight next week)
Chin ups at bodyweight, 8 reps, 7 reps, 5 reps, all to failure
DB seated press at 35 lbs each 8 reps, 7 reps, 4 reps.
DB lateral raise at 20 lbs, 3x8
DB flys, at a surprising 45 lbs each, 3x8
Incline DB press at 60 lbs each, 3x8
Straight Bar Push Downs, at 90 lbs on cable machine, 3x8

T - HIIT on bike for 25 mins, 5 min cooldown, mild ab workout, consisting of woodchops, crunches, leg raises, planks, etc.

W - I really need to work on this workout, as like I said, my leg workouts aren’t consistant, so it really isn’t work posting what I do… it’s never the same, but some variation of leg entensions, leg curls, calf raises, weighted lunges, and squats (though I have bad knees, so the weight is rather low at the time being.).

Th - Repeat T

F - Upper body, pulling emphasis - 3x8 dips at bodyweight (plan to add weight next week)
Chin ups at bodyweight, 8 reps, 7 reps, 5 reps, all to failure
Cable curl, surprising 110 lbs, 3x8
Seated Cable Row, 180 lbs, 3x8
Kneeling DB row, 70 lbs, 3x8
Bench Press, 155 lbs, 3x8, not quite to failure
Incline DB Press, 60 lbs each, 3x8

S - Repeat T
Su - rest

Hopefully that will help, and you can critique my workouts further. I warm up by running 0.5 miles at 7.5 mph, and then stretch, and warm up each exercise as well, before using above mentioned weight.

Thanks for all of your input,
Scott

Yeah, just to echo Chris, you need to gain weight first. At your proportions there is no reason why you can’t gain enough muscle to properly display your body on the beach. If you cut you won’t end up with abs anyway because you don’t have nearly enough muscle mass…you’ll just look emaciated. Also, not training legs is pretty retarded. I know this is the beginner section, but read some articles, read some threads, etc.

If you’re going to do upper/lower I suggest: Monday upper, tuesday lower, wednesday off, thursday uppper, friday lower…if you want to do any cardio do some steady state sunday morning. You’re in a good position to put on some nice muscle mass without having to worry about the fat as long as you A)Don’t eat like complete shit and B)Work your ass off and force your body to grow.

Hope that helps.

And as far as my body fat, I can see my abs by flexing. Without flexing, I can see the definition, just not the separation. As in, I have a 2 pack unflexed, and a very mild 6 pack flexed… I have no clue what body fat percentage that translates to, as my scale reads 20%.

So it’s saying that I have more fat and less muscle than I did 6 months ago when I started, even though everything has gotten bigger, and my mirror agrees… Any idea what I might be at?

Thanks,
Scott

There is no point in bulking for 8 weeks if you’re going to start cutting right after. The best you could hope for in 8 weeks would be something like 6 pounds of muscle, 3-4 pounds of water weight, 1-2 pounds of fat. 12 weeks on the other hand can get that to 10 pounds of muscle, 4-5 pounds of water weight, and if your lucky only 2-4 pounds o fat gain.

15 pounds of lean mass are going to make a much bigger impression than losing 10 pounds and looking emaciated. If you start cutting you’ll probly lose your (little) gains. Post your diet…how may calories are you consuming? There’s generally a reason for why you aren’t putting on weight.

[quote]fireflyz wrote:
Yeah, just to echo Chris, you need to gain weight first. At your proportions there is no reason why you can’t gain enough muscle to properly display your body on the beach. If you cut you won’t end up with abs anyway because you don’t have nearly enough muscle mass…you’ll just look emaciated. Also, not training legs is pretty retarded. I know this is the beginner section, but read some articles, read some threads, etc.

If you’re going to do upper/lower I suggest: Monday upper, tuesday lower, wednesday off, thursday uppper, friday lower…if you want to do any cardio do some steady state sunday morning. You’re in a good position to put on some nice muscle mass without having to worry about the fat as long as you A)Don’t eat like complete shit and B)Work your ass off and force your body to grow.

Hope that helps.[/quote]

Thanks fireflyz… I think I WILL try to gain weight first… I’m going to finish this week of cutting, and then start gaining again on Monday, increasing my diet until then.

Question for everyone, how much should I try to weight before I start cutting again?

And what other supplements should I be taking that will make a noticeable improvement, or am I ok on the supplements right now? I am trying not to go overboard, as I am a student, trying to not spend a huge amount of money on things that will get me minimal gains…

Thanks to everyone,
Scott

BF% doesn’t matter for this…the mirror does. What if you were 10% but carried it all on your abs? No one is gonna walk up to you at the beach and say, “Holy shit, dude…you must be 10%bf.” Similarly some people are high as 12-14% but have no fat on thier abs.

You’re gonna look like you have a flattish stomach with some light definition…combine that with muscle = better than the average joe. Congrats on the wedding btw.

[quote]fireflyz wrote:
There is no point in bulking for 8 weeks if you’re going to start cutting right after. The best you could hope for in 8 weeks would be something like 6 pounds of muscle, 3-4 pounds of water weight, 1-2 pounds of fat. 12 weeks on the other hand can get that to 10 pounds of muscle, 4-5 pounds of water weight, and if your lucky only 2-4 pounds o fat gain.

15 pounds of lean mass are going to make a much bigger impression than losing 10 pounds and looking emaciated. If you start cutting you’ll probly lose your (little) gains. Post your diet…how may calories are you consuming? There’s generally a reason for why you aren’t putting on weight.[/quote]

Here is what I posted before about my diet. I really haven’t counted the overall calories, but have generally cut my overall consumption in order to lower my body fat percentage. When I am gaining, I am eat at least one and half times as much food…

[i]My diet isn’t consistant, as in I have no real steady plan, but I try to eat healthy. I usually eat 2 or 3 egg whites and one whole egg at breakfast around 9 or 10 am, with a bagel on HIIT days. When I work (at 6 am) I have a protein shake when I first wake up, and have breakfast at like 9 or so. Lunch usually is something like a large chicken breast, grilled, and cut in half then placed on two rolls, accumpanied by a salad.

Afternoon snack is usually a large portion of broccoli, green beans, or something of the like. I work out between afternoon snack and dinner usually, and have the MRP shake immediately following workout. Dinner varies, but is usually containing some kind of meat, being salmon, poultry, or beef with another veggie. Post dinner snack is often things like almonds, pistachios, or other healthy fat containing food or nut. [/i]

Thanks,
Scott

[quote]fireflyz wrote:
BF% doesn’t matter for this…the mirror does. What if you were 10% but carried it all on your abs? No one is gonna walk up to you at the beach and say, “Holy shit, dude…you must be 10%bf.” Similarly some people are high as 12-14% but have no fat on thier abs.

You’re gonna look like you have a flattish stomach with some light definition…combine that with muscle = better than the average joe. Congrats on the wedding btw.[/quote]

Thanks man, I really appreciate all of the helpful tips. I know I am petty for wanting a six pack, I mean, that is what all beginners want, is it not… But I kinda just need someone to tell me the hard way that I need the muscle first, before I can have the six pack, like you two have done. And I am very excited for the wedding, so thank you so much!

Scott

Weight is a personal issue. You said you wanted to be fit and muscular…so look for some guys on here that are your height and figure out how much they weigh. Just bear in mind we all over estimate how much we have to cut to get where we want…so you’re probably going to have to spend a lot of time initallly at least bulking. I envy you though, you’re tall and have a lot of weight to work with…so like I said before…make it quality and bust your ass in the gym and you’ll be well on your way to achieving your goals.

Supplements: I’d suggest either Surge Workout Fuel (it works for me) or Surge Recovery, along with whey protein. Creatine, BCAAs, and Receptormax are all options as well, but definitely some form of Surge for the workout and protein for after.

[quote]fireflyz wrote:
Weight is a personal issue. You said you wanted to be fit and muscular…so look for some guys on here that are your height and figure out how much they weigh. Just bear in mind we all over estimate how much we have to cut to get where we want…so you’re probably going to have to spend a lot of time initallly at least bulking. I envy you though, you’re tall and have a lot of weight to work with…so like I said before…make it quality and bust your ass in the gym and you’ll be well on your way to achieving your goals.

Supplements: I’d suggest either Surge Workout Fuel (it works for me) or Surge Recovery, along with whey protein. Creatine, BCAAs, and Receptormax are all options as well, but definitely some form of Surge for the workout and protein for after.[/quote]

Thanks, I’ll look into the surge, as that is all (of what you mentioned) I am not taking at the moment.

No problem…Thibs says all the time fat loss is a pyschological issue. You’re just in the unique position of being able to better achieve that by putting on quality mass. Truthfully, unless you’re a real fat ass/obese most beginners have that option. I would suggest keeping a food log for 3-5 days and figure out where you’re at calorie wise as well as what your macronutrients (fats, proteins, carbs, etc) are at.

There are a number of articles that give you a good idea of where you need to be at to gain lean mass. Then just go from there…not gaining: bump up 3-500 cals a day…too much fat: cut back 3-500cals a day. It’s all about learning how your body works and reacts. Enjoy the process…it’s addicting as hell.