T Nation

Does This Look OK?


Hi -- I've been lurking for about six months and have been working out pretty seriously for about 12 weeks now. Please don't rip me up, I just want some input.

I'm a 19 year old female, and my goal is to add muscle, and lose fat (surprise). I'm currently 5'6", about 165 lbs.

My current routine looks like 5-7 exercises/day. I typically go to the gym 4-6 times per week. I've posted some stats below.

Bench = 75 lbs, 4x8
Squat = 100 lbs, 4x10 (I've just started doing this, so I haven't gotten a chance to max or anything)
Military DBell Press = 25 lbs, 4x8
Tricep Pulldown (on the cable machine) = 40 lbs, 4x8
Lat Pulldown = 60 lbs, 4x8

Weights typically take me about 35 minutes. I usually do 60 minutes of intense cardio (either running or biking). I eat about 1500 calories/day; I get about 120 grams of protein/day, little fat, and a fair amount of carbs.

Thanks for any advice you can offer!!


Not too shabby, your lifts are not bad, you need to remember when comparing to everyone else on here that most of us are men and we are naturally quite a bit stronger. I am not sure what specifically you are looking for in the way of advice.

My general advice would be, spend a little longer on the weights, more like 45-60 minutes, I am guessing that you do not rest too long between sets, a lot of women do this, take a little more rest and it will allow you to lift a little heavier. Really focus on upper and mid back muscles to help with posture, a lot of women tend to hunch forward.

Your calories may be a little low, but I would need to see your overall diet. Please post specific questions if you need some more help. It sounds like you are at least not afraid of free weights, which is a very good step. Good luck!


Hey, thanks a lot for your input, I really appreciate it. In terms of specific questions:

  1. How quickly should I be adding weight on?
    I typically try to do one day at a certain weight, and add a bit more on the next time (usually 5-10 lbs).

  2. What types of rep/set breakdown should I be using? 5x5, 4x8, etc?
    ...I'm trying to maximise fat burning, so I've been thinking of switching to the 10x3, but haven't worked myself up to a high enough weight for most things to use that.

  3. Is 60 minutes of cardio too much?
    I've heard a lot about how it's almost counter-productive to do tons of cardio, but I'm trying to get my body fat down (My estimate is it's about 28 or 30% right now, but I'm not sure).


This sample programs exercise selection is not balanced and some of the exercises leave a lot to be desired. Look at the programs here, I'd start with Vroom's thread "Are you a begginner two".



Those exercises were for example.

I typically complete:
Bench Press
Mil DBell Press
DBell Fly-Aways
Cable Machine Row
Cable Machine Tricep Pulldown
Cable Crossovers
Prone Leg Curl (Machine)
Leg Press
Bent-Over Rows
Bicep Curl
Lat Pulldown
Assisted Dips & Chins
Plus a couple more Tricep Exercises (skullcrushers, etc).

I just posted those because they're really the most relevant numbers - squat and bench. I don't have a deadlift area in my gym, otherwise I'd be doing those.

I've read many - even most - of the articles on here, but I'd like some feedback on my own routine and numbers. I suppose I wasn't specific enough in the original post, so I'm sorry for that.



What progress have you made over the 12 weeks so far?

I'm thinking you may want to shift to a little more weights and a little less cardio. Maybe 4 days of 45-60 minutes of lifting and 2-3 days of 20-30 minutes HIIT?

What does a typical day's diet look like? That will account for roughly 80% of your results, so you may want to get some feedback on that, too.

Since you've already been working out for a few months, you may be ready to move from 3x10 to a different scheme like 10x3 or 5x5 or whatever. Have you followed any of the programs from the site?


My bench has upped about 15 lbs, most of my weights have been relatively steadily increasing (5 or so lbs every week). I'm waiting for this to level off a bit, though.

That's a good idea; I was worried I might be overdoing the cardio. Over the next month, one of my main objectives is to switch to pushing some heavier weight and dropping down on the cardio to 3-4 times per week (instead of 5-6).

Typical day for me looks something like this (I know it's too high in carbs, with not enoguh protein...I'm working on that):

Breakfast @ 10a: fat free yogurt or 8 oz milk & 1 scoop whey protein
(Class 10a - 2p)
Snack @ 12:30p: Pria powerbar or a packet of tuna
(Gym 2-4p)
Snack @ 4p (right after gym): 8 oz skim milk; 1 scoop chocolate whey protein
Dinner @ 6p: Either a packet of tuna, a sandwich, some soup, etc.
Snack @ 8p: Tofu dog, low-fat mozorella cheese & olive oil
Snack @ 10p: Tofu dog, soup (usually chicken noodle or something).

That's pretty typical; plus I have a 'junk food' meal every weekend (usually 2 slices of pizza and a soda). I get about 100 oz of water/day (plus whatever I have while working out). I don't drink juice or soda.

Thanks for the help -- I lifted pretty seriously for about six months, but injured my knee and back, and am trying to pick it back up again.
I'm aiming for 5x5 (shifting towards that) by the end of November at pretty much 85-90% intensity.

Thanks so much for your help; I really appreciate it :slight_smile:


(1) of the lifts you listed, i deleted the least valuables ... note i did not say TOTALLY WORTHLESS ... just think bang for buck

(2) here are the requirements for a deadlift area: flat piece of ground approximately 4' x 4' or 4' x 8' if using a bar. seriously, if you have a bar, you have a place to deadlift. that pathetic excuse gets no wings on T-Nation!

(3) basically, your feedback is this: that program is inadequate; get a better one.

oh yeah, and eat something ... start with some fat!

on several fronts, what you say contradicts what you say you know. read up!

i don't mean to be so harsh, but quit f*cking about!



Newbie's should be required to send all first questions to Bastard.



Dude, chill the f*ck out, then.
If you don't have anything nice to say, don't bother saying it. If picking on a girl is your idea of a kick, go nuts, but leave me right out of it. I've frequently read how the members here are clueless why women don't post. Proof's in the pudding: because once anyone tries to learn something, they get jumped on.

I'm sorry you have enough spare time to be a dick to someone looking for help.


This is probably a good indicator of why you're not getting the results you're after.

Bastard didn't say anything that was an attack, you just think he did. If you quit being defensive, you'll be able to learn and acheive.


hey, i don't discriminate! i pick on everyone equally!

actually, i am helping, albeit in an admittedly harsh way. now, you can continue your uberdefensive stance and seek replies that soothe your ego, or you can at least try to read into what i wrote.

let me translate that last part: make some changes, or continue being 165 #s.

now THAT was an @sshole response!



Don't worry about Bastard, he's actually a good guy... He's just trying to point out that you may want to consider going with an existing program instead of putting together something yourself. Why not take advantage of the excellent (and free!) info from some of the top coaches in the industry :slight_smile:

What sort of body composition results have you had from the 12 weeks so far? How are you tracking this? Overall weight? Body fat percentage? Calipers? Tape measure? Mirror? Clothes fitting?

I don't understand about needing a deadlifting area - I do these in front of the squat rack, all you need is some open space. I have done more stiff-legged and romanian DLs than conventional and just rack the bar on the arms of the squat rack between sets.

Earlier this year when I was losing fat, I did an upper/lower body split lifting 4 days a week and had a push day, a pull day, a quad dominant and a hip dominant day. I also did about 20 min of cardio (step aerobics video) 4-5 mornings a week (early morning fasted cardio before my kids woke up). I also used HOT-ROX.

Progress was slow and steady, but I was able to really focus on losing FAT, not weight.

Your diet looks decent and it sounds like you know what you need to do to take it to the next level - more protein, higher quality carbs. Personally, I really like TC's new carb cycling article and am going to give that a go.

As far as progressing with the weights, simply add more weight once you're able to complete all your reps and sets. Eventually your strength gains will slow down and you will need to utilize other parameters, but for now don't worry about this.

Does this help? Any other questions? Are there any programs you are interested in trying? Charles Staley's EDT is very cool and Chad Waterbury's ABBH is a solid, simple program. Good luck!


A few more quick things - check out www.f-heit.com for some good nutrition articles and info geared towards women wanting to lose weight. And check out this article about good nutrition while in college

Also, there are some articles around here that made me realize soy is not the good food I thought it was - you may want to ditch the soy dogs. And you can add some lf cottage cheese to your yogurt for extra protein.


Thanks for your help, Jillybop.

I've been taping myself every few weeks and keeping track of clothing sizes. I'm a size 8, which is down two sizes in the past two months; my weight itself has declined maybe 8-10 lbs total.

The bulk of my protein comes from whey, meat, and dairy sources; with <30 g/day in soy. You're not the first person to knock soy, and I'll probably drop it relatively soon (eg, next grocery trip).

I didn't think of doing deadlifts in a squat cage (good idea, though), so I'm going to start doing them Thursday.

Again, thanks for your help.


she lies ... ok, ljakaitis, meet Jill ... Jill kicks all way more kinds of @ss than me. she even had an article published over there on F-Heit!

this is not a good cop / bad cop trick. believe me ... or don't ... i don't give a shit!

just thank your lucky stars that Jill is taking time to help you out!



That's pretty good results so far :slight_smile: Keep plugging away at it and continue to read, learn and "tweak" what you're doing.

Don't be afraid to try new things in the gym (easier said than done sometimes) and change up your routine regularly. Good luck!