T Nation

Advice for Training and Nutrition

Hello, my first post.

I have been training for 3 months (2 times a week for 1 and a half months and 3 times a week since, plus I have added a light workout on most of my off days i.e. pull-ups push-ups and bodyweight squats).

I’m 24.
I weigh 136 pounds, I want to put on about 15 pounds.
I am 5ft 8in.
I eat around 3000cal per day with quite a lot of protein.
I have increased my lifts by about 2 and a half times (using mainly machines at the moment, but will progress to free weights soon) in these 3 months so I feel I’m doing pretty well for now?

I’m looking for a bit of general advice on a few topics. Firstly with regards to diet, I’m currently eating pretty well (I’d say 70% clean, 30% average) with no junk food or ready meals at all i.e. fast food, chocolate bars, sugary drinks etc…

Is this okay? A lot of the articles seem like religious doctrine to be followed to the book, will my diet sustain me for my first year of training or should I try and eat better?

I do 3 full body workouts per week at a high intensity including (started a couple leg exercises recently) approx 30 min cardio and 1hr weights. I like it this way, but I know I should be trying to do more free weights. Can I get good gains on the machines? I do 2 sets of 10 reps, the 10th rep being close to failure on each set. I do about 9 exercises, is this too many? I seem to have lots of energy to spare but I seem to lift quite heavy for my size and time training (compared to others in the gym).

I’m very committed to working out and am getting more serious as I progress.

Thanks in advance for advice.

there is no athleticism to these machines. instead of moving the weight to your curve, you move it to the curve of the machine so your joints may suffer and for sure your accessory muscles are dormant. so i am glad you are moving to free weights =)

2 sets of 10 reps is not enough volume or intensity. i am not sure of your goal but you need more.

since you are so thin, i wonder if you wouldn’t benefit from weights first then HIIT afterwards (doing this as you are currently @ 3x/w) rather than burning the cardio first.

i don’t know what your goals are so it’s hard to throw out anything regarding what you are eating??

[quote]thruxton45 wrote:
2 sets of 10 reps is not enough volume or intensity. i am not sure of your goal but you need more.
[/quote]

X2

Why are you doing cardio?

136lbs @ 5’8"? Chim is right. STOP doing cardio (running on a treadmill that is.) and 15lbs added on your frame will be a good start, but not enough.

Stop worrying about eating “clean” and just plain EAT. Your skinny as hell man, you can afford a Wendy’s classic double, two bacon cheese and a 5 piece nugget every once in awhile.

And yes, as it was said. Move to free weights now.

Thanks for the advice. I’m getting pretty fit with all the cardio which is nice, but I realise it’s not going to be too beneficial for quick weight gain. Maybe I’ll cut out the running machine and just row. I just want a solid physique, I’m going to get stuck into the free wights on Monday.

Should I cut out all machines and just focus on the main lifts plus chins and dips, or do the mains plus some select machine exercises? Which would be best?

[quote]HiFiBoy wrote:

Should I cut out all machines and just focus on the main lifts plus chins and dips, or do the mains plus some select machine exercises? Which would be best? [/quote]

I would say anything that you don’t load plates on can safely avoided, but each machine can be a tool in your arsenal. I’m personally not a huge fan of machines, cables and Hammer Strength machines excluded, but I know some, used in combination with free weights, can be very helpful.

I mean to each his own, and it depends on your goals, but free weights will give you more bang for your buck, and should be the staple of your routine, with the machines as an accessory.