T Nation

Am I on the Right Track?

Morning all,

I am 17 years old, 6 foot 3 and still growing. Anyway, I have been hitting the gym for about a month or so and I have been following the 5-3-1 structure ever since. My primary objective is to get rid of the fat surrounding my waist area (currently at a slight muffin physique) and obviously build muscle. My gym partner has been hitting the gym for a year or so and wants me to continue bulking. By the way, I am 228lbs. I have been told by him, to lift heavy and eat a lot but clean. Is this the right way to go at this? Below is what I do so far (each week I am slowly increasing the weights I use):

Monday (Chest and Triceps):
Bench press = 74kg max, 64 reps (3x4)
Incline Dumbell press = 20kg (3x8)
Decline Dumbell press = 18kg (3x8)
Flys = 22kg (3x8) if there’s a queue then Pec Deck = 26kg (3x8)
Tricep pushdown = 17kg (3x8)
Standing Overhead Tricep Extensions = 18kg (3x8)

Tuesday (Legs):
Squats = 60kg going 80kg (4x5)
Standing Calf Raises (with bar) = 60kg (3x8)
Leg press = 230kg (3x8)
Leg Extensions = 30kg, I think (3x8)
Ham Curls = 28kg, I think again (3x8)

Wednesday (Core):
Knee/Hip Raises with 8kg dumbell in between = (4x8)
Press Ups = (To Failure)
Decline Ab Crunches = (3x8)
High Intensity Rowing = To 10min with 20 seconds full out burst and 40 sec light row

Thursday (Back and Biceps):
Deadlift = 100kg (4x4)
Lat pulldowns = 40kg (3x8)
Cable Seated Rows = 60kg (3x8)
Dumbell Bent Over Rows = 20kg (3x8)
E-Z Bar Preacher curls (close/wide grip) = 19kg (3x8)
Hammer Curls = 10kg (3x8)

Friday (Shoulder):
Standing Military Press = 35kg (4x4)
Arnold Press = 12kg (3x8)
Front Raise = 10kg (3x8)
Side Raise = 12kg (3x8)
Shrugs (Bar) = 110kg (3x8)

Saturday may implement Cardio and Sunday is rest.

Just wanted to know whether:
1.I was on the right track to burning fat fast?
2.Are there any important exercises that I’ve missed?
3.A brief description to what my diet should revolve around?

Cheers lads.

Just judging from your current strength level and your height/weight I would say cutting would be a better option for you right now. You said you’ve only been working out for about a month so even if you decrease your calories and are losing weight, you’ll probably still make decent strength gains. Keep your calories low enough to lose weight ( calculator here: http://caloriecount.about.com/cc/calories-goal.php ) eat clean and keep working out. I’d switch thursday and friday on your program though.

  1. Yes
  2. What you have listed will give you good progress/gains
  3. Chicken breast, lean meats, pasta and rice, fruits and veggies, nuts, water

@Andrewdwatter1

Cheers for the reply pal.

Will take your advice on board :smiley:

CW

To be honest, I think you should up your weights, if you have a spotter they should be pushing you until you’re sick.
I’m a skinny, little 15 year old blonde girl from Australia.
On Thursdays I do:

Squats - 40kg 4sets x 12reps.
Alternate Lunges - 40kg 4 x 12.
Leg Press - 80kg 4 x 12.
Laying Leg Curls - 15kg 4 x 12.
Straight Leg Dead Lifts - 30kg 4 x 12.
Calves - 40kg 4 x 12.

Push yourself if you want to see results. :slight_smile:
Cheers.

[quote]killinitx3 wrote:
To be honest, I think you should up your weights, if you have a spotter they should be pushing you until you’re sick.
I’m a skinny, little 15 year old blonde girl from Australia.
On Thursdays I do:

Squats - 40kg 4sets x 12reps.
Alternate Lunges - 40kg 4 x 12.
Leg Press - 80kg 4 x 12.
Laying Leg Curls - 15kg 4 x 12.
Straight Leg Dead Lifts - 30kg 4 x 12.
Calves - 40kg 4 x 12.

Push yourself if you want to see results. :slight_smile:
Cheers. [/quote]

If he were legitimately following 5/3/1 his weights and progression would be predetermined as percentages of max lifts that he tested at the outset of his program. If he’s smart he would be patient and not screw with those weights. 5/3/1 is all about steady, consistent injury free gains. It’s built that way for a reason and almost everybody feels like it’s too light when they first start.

Edited

Which brings me to my next point: OP, not to be a dick, but how is it that you are following 5/3/1? I’m no expert but it seems to me that the basic 5/3/1 template calls for 4 workouts a week, each based around 1 big lift and 2 accessory movements give or take. The big lifts are done for 3 sets of 5(week 1), 3(week 2), then 5-3-1+(week 3) followed by a de-load week with sets of 5. Loads and progressions are determined as a percentage of your working max.

What you are doing bears no visible resemblance to this, other than you are doing squat, bench, dead and mil press. I can’t actually see where you are doing any of your main lifts for 5,3 or 1 reps. You are also doing 4-5 “assistance” movements per workout. IMO this will make it difficult to progress with your main lifts. Again, not meaning to be a dick and not saying that 5/3/1 is the end all of lifting programs or even the best choice for you, but if you want to say you are doing 5/3/1, then do it.

Regarding you primary goal of fat loss: This is almost entirely a result of diet. I would suggest that you focus on getting lots of protein (lean meat, eggs, fish etc.), vegetables, and limited amounts of fruit (2-3 pieces) and some whole grains, mostly rice. Reduce/eliminate foods based on flour, sugar, junk fats etc. This is really just common sense. You will likely be able to eat pretty well as much meat and vegetables as you will feel like eating and still lose fat provided you are not eating junk in between. Basically, eat a big portion of protein and some vegetables with each meal and try to eat most of your carbs around your workout. Keep an honest food log to keep yourself accountable.

I would also suggest you do more conditioning work. Rowing is great, provided you are doing it correctly. Hill sprints are popular and awesome (provided you are ready for them). Burpees, jump rope, kettlebell swings (if you know how) med ball work, etc. are all good options as well. I would suggest 2 higher intensity sessions a week and at least 30 min-1hr of brisk walking/hiking daily. First thing in the morning is great but it really doesn’t matter as long as you do it. From a basic fitness perspective, I would say that any able bodied male ought to be able to run a mile or 2 at a decent clip (say 8min/mile at least) without feeling like they are going to die. You can get there purely through interval work, but 1 longer, conversational pace run/week is not a bad idea and it’s good for active recovery as well. Depending on where you’re at you may need to incorporate this slowly if you were planning to at all. Hope some of that helps.

Your friend gave you great advice when he said to “lift heavy, eat a lot but clean”

You said you’re doing the 5/3/1 program, but what is posted is not that. 4 sets of 5 (like you said for squat) is not part of 5/3/1 at all.

You’re also doing a shit ton of (uneccessary) assistance work. You need to but the 5/3/1 book, read it through 5 times, pick an assistance template out of the book, and follow it exactly as written.

And what is this shit about having 1 day of “cardio” a week? Conditioning work should be a mainstay in your training, especially since you want to lose weight.

Again cheers for the replies ladies/gents. (all take on board)

@Chris87 and @Batman730:

By the way, I was just noting down what exercises I had done, the whole 5-3-1 thing is my gym partner’s (bro) idea and he would tell me what to lift/how many sets/reps, so the workout I listed, sorry for the confusion if I you think that I was relating the workout directly to the 5-3-1 program. I was simply trying to let you guys understand what I lift. At that point I was curious to know if there was any exercises I was missing?

Secondly, is doing more (high intensity) cardio the best option for me because I got told by my bro that as well as eating away the fat, I could potentially decrease my gains. He stated that lifting the weights alone would be enough to help build strength and decrease the fat around my waist. Like Chris said that conditioning should be my mainstay but would that decrease the gains I have made? I dont know.(Btw, I put muscle on fairly quickly, thank you genes).

And @Batman730, thanks for the diet input. Could you please tell me the no-no’s of eating, just so I am aware of the foods to stay away from.(obviously I know the whole junk food crap). Lastly, what is everyone’s input, on whether I should continue clean-bulking or should I begin the trimming phase?

[quote]CardioWhat wrote:
Again cheers for the replies ladies/gents. (all take on board)

@Chris87 and @Batman730:

By the way, I was just noting down what exercises I had done, the whole 5-3-1 thing is my gym partner’s (bro) idea and he would tell me what to lift/how many sets/reps, so the workout I listed, sorry for the confusion if I you think that I was relating the workout directly to the 5-3-1 program. I was simply trying to let you guys understand what I lift. At that point I was curious to know if there was any exercises I was missing?

Secondly, is doing more (high intensity) cardio the best option for me because I got told by my bro that as well as eating away the fat, I could potentially decrease my gains. He stated that lifting the weights alone would be enough to help build strength and decrease the fat around my waist. Like Chris said that conditioning should be my mainstay but would that decrease the gains I have made? I dont know.(Btw, I put muscle on fairly quickly, thank you genes).

And @Batman730, thanks for the diet input. Could you please tell me the no-no’s of eating, just so I am aware of the foods to stay away from.(obviously I know the whole junk food crap). Lastly, what is everyone’s input, on whether I should continue clean-bulking or should I begin the trimming phase?[/quote]

You aren’t “missing” any exercises. I would argue that you are doing way too much. A bunch of those exercises are redundent, since you’ve already hit the same area with a different exercise (so the others are a waste of time).

You (and most people in general) would benefit from cutting down your assistance exercises to just 2 or 3 per session. (so bench, then 2 or 3 more exercises, etc) This forces you to pick the biggest “bang for your buck” and to put your effort into those instead of 10 different exercises.

Doing hard conditioning on a regular basis will slow your strength gains a bit, at first, until your body adapts to it. But it has numerous benefits that 20 more pounds on the bar won’t give you. You have to ask yourself, would you rather be strong and in great shape? Or slightly stronger but a loud mouth breather? You also said you want to lose weight, so this has to be a priority.

[quote]Chris87 wrote:

[quote]CardioWhat wrote:
Again cheers for the replies ladies/gents. (all take on board)

@Chris87 and @Batman730:

By the way, I was just noting down what exercises I had done, the whole 5-3-1 thing is my gym partner’s (bro) idea and he would tell me what to lift/how many sets/reps, so the workout I listed, sorry for the confusion if I you think that I was relating the workout directly to the 5-3-1 program. I was simply trying to let you guys understand what I lift. At that point I was curious to know if there was any exercises I was missing?

Secondly, is doing more (high intensity) cardio the best option for me because I got told by my bro that as well as eating away the fat, I could potentially decrease my gains. He stated that lifting the weights alone would be enough to help build strength and decrease the fat around my waist. Like Chris said that conditioning should be my mainstay but would that decrease the gains I have made? I dont know.(Btw, I put muscle on fairly quickly, thank you genes).

And @Batman730, thanks for the diet input. Could you please tell me the no-no’s of eating, just so I am aware of the foods to stay away from.(obviously I know the whole junk food crap). Lastly, what is everyone’s input, on whether I should continue clean-bulking or should I begin the trimming phase?[/quote]

You aren’t “missing” any exercises. I would argue that you are doing way too much. A bunch of those exercises are redundent, since you’ve already hit the same area with a different exercise (so the others are a waste of time).

You (and most people in general) would benefit from cutting down your assistance exercises to just 2 or 3 per session. (so bench, then 2 or 3 more exercises, etc) This forces you to pick the biggest “bang for your buck” and to put your effort into those instead of 10 different exercises.

Doing hard conditioning on a regular basis will slow your strength gains a bit, at first, until your body adapts to it. But it has numerous benefits that 20 more pounds on the bar won’t give you. You have to ask yourself, would you rather be strong and in great shape? Or slightly stronger but a loud mouth breather? You also said you want to lose weight, so this has to be a priority. [/quote]

OP, I have nothing to add to this.

Brilliant I completely understand what you’re saying Chris.

By reading what you guys have said, I am guessing that you want me to cut/trim now (correct me if I am wrong) and this should put me in better shape and help me lose a ton of weight.

Last few questions,

  1. I have tried to understand the dietary side of things, but whilst reading numerous articles which tell me the do’s and don’t of what to eat; people’s perspective seem to argue against them which puts me back to square one. So any specific food that I should avoid would help me a lot because I can then decipher what to eat for breakfast/lunch/post-gym meal/dinner.

I mean coming from an Asian background, I tend to eat curry maybe 5-6 days a week. Is there a problem here because curry usually involves a lot of oil(sunflower), so will that create a serious problem in my “trimming” phase.

  1. Is my progression good right now or am I falling behind on a few things. i.e the weights I am lifting and for the time I have been at the gym, are they good or should I be doing better.

  2. Should I be taking any specific supplements to aid my progression. I currently use pHD products (shake etc) but I have seen my brother use products such as Maltodextrin/Creatine/CLA pills/Omega-3 fish oil pills etc. Are these something I could take/or its something I should avoid. I mean are they a waste of time?

  3. Sorry but last question, I have stated that I do high intensity rowing for about 10min straight (its a killer) but I used to also do 20-30min incline walk on the treadmill after lifting weights. Should I bring this back into the ‘game’ or not. I am also planning on doing 2 or 3 sprint sessions with my brother each week. IS this enough or is there another cardio related exercise worth doing?

Cheers guys, you have all been very helpful, and I definitely aim to interpret any advice into my routines. Much love, CW

[quote]CardioWhat wrote:
Brilliant I completely understand what you’re saying Chris.

By reading what you guys have said, I am guessing that you want me to cut/trim now (correct me if I am wrong) and this should put me in better shape and help me lose a ton of weight.

Last few questions,

  1. I have tried to understand the dietary side of things, but whilst reading numerous articles which tell me the do’s and don’t of what to eat; people’s perspective seem to argue against them which puts me back to square one. So any specific food that I should avoid would help me a lot because I can then decipher what to eat for breakfast/lunch/post-gym meal/dinner.

I mean coming from an Asian background, I tend to eat curry maybe 5-6 days a week. Is there a problem here because curry usually involves a lot of oil(sunflower), so will that create a serious problem in my “trimming” phase.

  1. Is my progression good right now or am I falling behind on a few things. i.e the weights I am lifting and for the time I have been at the gym, are they good or should I be doing better.

  2. Should I be taking any specific supplements to aid my progression. I currently use pHD products (shake etc) but I have seen my brother use products such as Maltodextrin/Creatine/CLA pills/Omega-3 fish oil pills etc. Are these something I could take/or its something I should avoid. I mean are they a waste of time?

  3. Sorry but last question, I have stated that I do high intensity rowing for about 10min straight (its a killer) but I used to also do 20-30min incline walk on the treadmill after lifting weights. Should I bring this back into the ‘game’ or not. I am also planning on doing 2 or 3 sprint sessions with my brother each week. IS this enough or is there another cardio related exercise worth doing?

Cheers guys, you have all been very helpful, and I definitely aim to interpret any advice into my routines. Much love, CW[/quote]

Yes, trim down the number of exercises. Pick big bang for your buck exercises (an example is dumbbell bench instead of flies, lunges instead of leg extensions, etc). Just do 2 or 3 of these big assistance movements after you main lift.

1- honestly I dont really know whay curry is so I can’t help you here

2- Has your strength increased in the last 3-6 months? If so, then you are on the right track. It doesn’t matter what your numbers are, it matters that they are increasing. However, like I said before, what you wrote for your main lifts isn’t 5/3/1, buy the book.

3- The only supplements that you should consider is a protein powder and a multivitamin. You can take fish oil too if you have the money. Don’t buy anything else. If you have extra money, buy more food, not more supplementa.

4- that seems like a decent amount. I’ve never been a fan of the rower, but if it works for you then so he it

Regarding the curry, I don’t think the oil is as much of a problem as you think. I’d actually pay more attention to the starches that you eat with it. If you’re eating it with white rice, I’d suggest switching to brown rice, or just eating less rice. Likewise eat less breads.

I’m not going to say potatoes are the best, but I think they’re a better option than rice or breads. Also, a lot of people around here seem to really like sweet potatoes, so I’d give that a chance as a carb source if it’s an option.

Obviously if you’re living with your parents (which I’m guessing you are, at 17), your options are a bit more limited. In that case, I’d just eat more curry [especially bean, lentil or potato and paneer based] and use less bread or rice.