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Beginner Feedback

Hi Everyone-

I am brand new to the forums, but was wanting to see if you all could look over my schedule to see if I am on the right track. I have always been active (sports, gym), but now have two young kids and am nearing my 30th birthday so am in a slump and needing to get back on track.

Anyway- I am a female, 5’4, and currently weigh 145, but my goal is to lose 15-20 pounds of fat. I would love to transform that fat into muscle. I am not too concerned with the scale, but more focused on health and the way I feel. I had a trainer from my gym (Gold’s) help come up with my workout/food. Like I said, I want to lose fat and wanted to run this by you all to make sure I am on the right track. Thanks so much!

This is what I have for the gym:

Underhand lat pulldowns 5 sets of 8 (70lb)
Single arm Seated cable row 4 sets of 10 (30lb)
Bent over barbell row 3 sets of 12 (55lb)
Standing front push down 3 sets of 15-20 (20lb)
Assisted pull-up (neutral grip) 2 sets of 20 (150lb)

Tuesday: (cheat meal)
Hammer strength flat 5 sets of 8 (15lb)
Incline single arm press 4 sets of 12 (15/20lb db).
Flat bench narrow grip press 3 sets of 15 (30lb bb).
Alternating db fly 2 sets of 20 (10lb).
Push-ups as many as possible 2 sets
Stair master 30 mins

Bb bottom half bicep curls 4 sets of 10 (30lb)
Lying db tricep extensions 4 sets of 10 (10-12lb)
Standing cable hammer curls-3 sets 15r (rope attachment)
Seated overhead bb tricep extension- 3 sets 15r (DB 15lb)

Thursday: (cheat meal)
Concentration curls- 3 sets 15r (12-15db)
*Cable Tricep kickback-3 sets 15r (12-15 DB)
Narrow grip cable curls 3 sets of 15 (40lbs)
*Single arm underhand tricep push down (with D attachment) 3 sets of 15r (20 lbs)
Tricep push-ups- as many as possible
Hiit Elliptical

Db deadlifts 3x15 (15 lb)
Single leg hip raises 4x20
Side Lunges 4x10 per leg
leg press 3x15
Single leg Leg curls 3x12 (55lb)
Single leg Leg extensions 3x12 (90 lb)
Glute band side steps (using resistance band) 3x20 per leg

Saturday: (cheat meal)

Meals are as follows:

Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat, and Sun: 1600 calories; 120 carbs; 53 fat; 160 protein
Tues/Thurs: 2000 calories; 200 carbs; 44 fat; 200 protein

This seems like the trainer was trying to impress you with overly complicated exercises rather than put together a solid plan.

I would recommend a more basic approach to lifting (it always helps to get the basics down as a beginner) while you focus in on making the right kind of dietary habits, because this is where your real improvements will come. I recommend “fat loss happens on mondays” as a good resource to real life nutrition for busy people.

[quote]cjmc wrote:
I would love to transform that fat into muscle.[/quote]
Fat doesn’t transform into muscle anymore than fingernails transform into skin. They’re two different substances that happen to exist on certain parts of your body.

This is an awesome outlook. Good stuff.

I don’t know the guy, don’t know any particular reasons he had for designing that workout routine, and I don’t know what you paid him (please say it was the free session with your membership), but I want to punch in him the nuts. That routine is all kinds of terrible.

If you want to bash him in the head with facts (or let’s be generous and call it a contrary opinion), allow me to rant:

First of all, if someone’s having a “cheat meal”, it’s best to have it on their hardest training session (usually legs, sometimes back day), not on freaking arm day. Also, three cheat meals a week is super-generous to give someone new to a fat loss diet. I’m all for making gradual changes in nutrition, but come on.

I don’t see any rhyme or reason for his calorie cycling (having two seemingly-random higher calorie days and four lower calorie days. Similar to the cheat meal concept, higher calorie days “work” best on the days you’re doing the hardest training. And again, arm day ain’t that.

The fact that you have not one, but two arm days is simply an inefficient use of your time and a sign that he wants you to feel like you’re “targeting trouble zones” or some such nonsense. I’m certainly not saying not to train arms, but when the goal is fat loss, two arm days a week for someone in your situation is pointless.

He has you doing typical lightweight/high-rep crap which doesn’t actually build muscle or improve strength. Sure does make the muscles burn though, and that feels like something’s happening.

I don’t know what your current eating habit are like, so I have no real context for his nutrition advice other than to say that 2000 calories, even “only” twice a week, seems on the high side for a 145-pound beginner female trying to lose fat.

There are tons of effective training plans on the site here. Any of these will work just fine:

But you don’t need a “girl’s routine”. Almost any program will work fine. (I do like the points Joy Victoria brought up in that article, even though it’s speaking to guy’s who are getting their girls into training).

Tack on 15-20 minutes of high-ish incline walking (not HIIT, just walking on a fairly high incline without holding the handrails) right after lifting and you’re off to a good start.

Thank you so much for the reply. I appreciate that link and am going to switch over to one of the programs that the article suggested.

As for my diet, are you able to give me any advice on how to tweak it?
Right now she has me on 1600 calories for 5 days a week (2,000 on the other two days). Should I stay at 1600 calories all 7 days a week if I am using the 4 day program that your article suggested? Right now my 1600 calorie meals look like this:

Meal 1:
3 eggs
1 slice Ezkeial bread
2c spinach
50g blackberries
1/2 c dry oats w/cinnamon
4 oz chick breast (boneless, skinless)
15 almonds
1/3 c peas
4oz Chick breast
100g sweet potato
2c spinach
4oz chick breast
8 baby tomatoes
50g blueberries
4oz chick breast
1c spinach
2.5oz avocado
8 baby tomatoes
Meal 6:
4oz chick breast
15 almonds

I have been substituting some of the chicken breasts for lean ground turkey, but have been following this and it come out to 1616 calories; 113 carbs; 52 fat; 178 protein. What do you think?

I REALLY appreciate you helping me out!

Just for squirts and giggles, if I had to mindmeld with that trainer, here’s how I’d tweak that program. It ain’t perfect, but it’s something:

No training. One cheat meal with the family. This is the one and only for the week, so make it a big lazy breakfast, nice brunch, or big family dinner.

A1) Assisted pull-up (neutral grip) 3x6-8
A2) Push-up 3x4-6 (Straight legs always, never on the knees. Hands up on a bench if necessary)
B1) Bent over barbell row 4x8-10
B2) Hammer strength flat press 4x8-10
C1) Cable curl 3x8-10
C2) Lying DB triceps extension 3x10-12
Pretty high incline walk 15-20 minutes

A) DB Deadlifts 4x8-10
B1) Single leg Leg curls 3x10-12
B2) Hanging knee raise 3x8-10
C1) Romanian deadlift 3x6-8
C2) Glute band side steps (using resistance band) 3x15-20 per direction
Not-so-high incline walk 15-20 minutes

No training.

A1) Incline single-arm press 3x8-10
A2) Seated cable row 3x6-8
B1) Underhand pulldown 4x8-10
B2) Lateral raise 4x10-12
C1) Single-arm triceps pressdown 3x10-12
C2) Alternating dumbbell curl 3x8-10
Pretty high incline walk 15-20 minutes

A) Goblet squat 4x6-8
B1) Leg press 4x10-12
B2) Plank 4x15count
C1) Reverse lunge 3x8-10
C2) Crunch 3x10-15
Not-so-high incline walk 15-20 minutes

No training. Because, yay weekend.

Universal language for training is # x # meaning “Sets and Reps”. 3x6-8 is three sets of six to eight reps. Special note for the plank, it’s literally just getting into position and counting to 15 like one-one thousand, two-one thousand, etc.

Alternate any exercises that share a letter. For example, do a set of A1, rest a very little bit (enough to get to the area, grab the weights, remember what exercise, take a deep cleansing breath, and then get started), do a set of A2, rest a bit longer (roughly a minute or so should be fine most of the time), do another set of A1, rest a very little bit, do another set of A2, etc.

For the rep ranges, use a weight that keeps you in that zone. For example, if it’s 3x8-10, do the first set with whatever weight. If you get 10 reps and it feels pretty easy, use more weight next set. If you do a set and are struggling to barely get 7 or 8, drop the weight a little. If you get 8 or 9 before it gets tough, stick with it for the next set.

You don’t ever want to hit total muscular failure where you can’t lift the weight another inch. Stop any set before you get to that point, but don’t quit when the going gets tough. It’s a fine line, but you’ll figure it out with experience.

But that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.

[quote]cjmc wrote:
Right now she[/quote]
So I guess that’s a no-go on the nut punching. Totally my fault for assuming the trainer was a dude. Whoops.

I’d keep the nutrition the same each day to start, yep. At least establish some kind of baseline.

That’s all well and good and it can look fine on paper, but it is realistically feasible for your day to day life? Only you know if you’ll be able to eat those types of meals six times a day everyday for the next 90 days (ballpark).

I’m all for getting your nutritional ducks in a row, but if this is a 180-degree spin from how you’ve been eating the last year or three, then we may run into a speedbump in terms of consistency and practicality.

And no, you absolutely do not need to eat chicken in every single meal. There’s a line of thought that it can actually lead to food allergies, so totally feel free to swap it out for “random animal meat” of an appropriate portion.

The only thing I’d want to add is a quality protein-carb drink to have during workouts. Something like Surge Workout Fuel from the store (1 scoop per workout) should help reduce soreness and improve recovery.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
But that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.[/quote]

In my opinion Chris’s plan is approximately 7,649% better than your trainers, plus its free, bonus.

Chris is also likely to be around to troubleshoot your progress, also for free, with no ulterior motive other than being a nice guy.

[quote]dagill2 wrote:
Chris is also likely to be around to troubleshoot your progress, also for free, with no ulterior motive other than being a nice guy.[/quote]

You all are awesome! I appreciate it so much and will be dropping my trainer thanks to you all!:wink:

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]dagill2 wrote:
Chris is also likely to be around to troubleshoot your progress, also for free, with no ulterior motive other than being a nice guy.[/quote]


Nice call. Think I’d have gone for some Alice Cooper but I guess I’m just old fashioned like that.

God that original program is so bad. What is wrong with the (fitness) world?

Luckily we have Chris C. on the T-Nation forums fighting the good fight

If all out fat loss is your goal try this…