Help.....Am I Doing Something Wrong?

I have to admit, I am a little confused and lost at the moment. I have been working out for 6 months now, and aside from my pants fitting better, losing some body fat, and gaining some strength, I have made very little gains.

Now I am going to presume that it is my diet. My goal was to lose some weight and body fat before I put on muscle, I know, bad idea, eat. I am 6’1, sitting at about 205 and 17% body fat. I was at like 215 around 21% bf. I don’t want to put a lot of fat back on, so should I be concerned with just eating and eating?

I have cleaned up my diet a lot. I drink only water, hardly any junk food, and try to consume about 140-150 grams of protein a day. I eat 6 times a day, but have mainly been concerned with fat loss up till know, but realize something is wrong and needs to change. This is the routine (below) that I am currently doing.

I do cardio because I have to (I’m military) and I want to get my run time down more. I do it early in the morning after a protein shake. Even with that though, I was still expecting to see more muscle gains than I have seen. Any advice would be appreciated, I don’t want to ‘waste’ another 6 months…

I know these things take time, but just seeing the progress other make in 6 months, I know there is something wrong here… I know my upper/lower split isn’t ideal, but I can only get to the gym three days a week, maybe four at the most.

I keep the workouts to roughly 45 minutes. I have read a lot of the beginner stuff, and tried to tailor it to my situation. Maybe I am impatient, but I am doing something wrong. Thanks…

Upper Body (Sunday, Thursday)
Bench (4 sets of increasing weightx8)
Incline Dumbbell Press (3x8)
Pull-ups (3x8)
Upright Dumbbell Rows (3x8)
Bicep Curls (3x8)
Dips (4x10)
Back Extensions (3x8)
Abs (different exercises throughout)

Lower Body (Tuesday)
Leg Press (4x8 increasing weight)
Leg Extensions (3x8)
Leg Curls (3x8)
Dumbbell Squats (3x8)
Smith Machine Bent Over Rows (3x8)

Cardio
HIIT - Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
3 Mile Jog - Monday, Friday

firstly i think you should remove 3 out of 5 of the cardio sessions. and then even out upper and lower body(2x each) and actually make lower body a lower body workout(deadlift, and whats the bent over rows doing in a lower body).

J

I see two glaring problems right off the bat:

140-150g of protein/day - you don’t weigh 100lbs. Double it.

Lift heavy weight. Load that bar down and get with some doubles and triples. Give your body a reason to get bigger.

If you can only get to the gym three days a week, I’d recommend a push/pull/legs split. Something like this:
Day1
Squat 5x3
Romanian DL 5x3 (focusing the weight on hamstrings)
Leg Ext 3x8 (higher reps are fine on the accessory movements)
Leg curl 3x8

Day3
Bench Press 5x3
Military Press 5x3 (or a variation)
Dips 3x8
Incline DB Bench 3x8
Add in some biceps work if you want

Day5
Deadlift 5x3
Pullups 5x3 (weighted, if possible)
Low cable row 3x8 (or bent BB row)
Kroc rows (if you don’t know what these are, do a search for them. They are awesome)
Add in some triceps work if you want

Thanks for the advice. I knew with what I was doing that I wasn’t going to get huge, at this point I was (perhaps mistakenly) more interested in losing body fat. I have to look at adding some deadlifts, etc in. I have just been hesitant because I don’t have a lifting partner, and I am still learning a lot of this stuff. So without looking like a fool, I have to get proper form down. I have tried to stick to mainly compound movements. As for the Bent over rows, I wanted to get something for my middle back. There was already probably too much on the upper day, so I just stuck it there.

Should I be concerned about just eating and eating? Thanks.

In a month or so, I should be able to get into the gym more. Maybe 4 or 5 days. Right now it is just limited to 3 or 4 days. Also, as for the Cardio, would even doing it in the morning have that great an effect on putting on size? I don’t do an extensive amount, 30 minutes tops.

Why dumbbell squats? Why machines for your legs? Only 150g of protein per day? Where are the deadlifts? Why upper/lower instead of full body? What has worked the past 6 months? Are you cutting or bulking? Decide.

cr3do, unless you’re in pretty damn bad shape, it’s quite difficult to get stronger and faster at a PFT (assuming you’re a devil like myself, because of the 3 miles) at the same time. Once you start approaching your max weight limit for your height and beyond, it gets tougher and tougher to have a “fast” run time. For me, I don’t even worry about it. I max out pullups and crunches no problem, and completing the run makes that an automatic 1st class PFT.

But I’m an airwinger…so I can do that.

Ok. What I have been doing the past 6 months obviously hasn’t been working how I want it to. So, I changed everything up today. I based all of this off ‘How to design a damn good program’ by Thibaudeau. It’s a four day split. As to a split over whole body, I don’t know. There is a lot of conflicting advice. I’ll have to see what works… There is still some fine tuning for this, but its better than what I have been doing. I don’t think what I have been doing is awful, I have made some strength gains and lost a bit of body fat. It at least introduced me to the gym. Before December, my visits to the weight room were a minimum. I was doing other stuff. So I’ll take it to the next level.

Day One Chest/Back
Bench
Incline D.B.
D.B. Bench
Pull-up
Bent Over Rows
Back Ext

Day Two Arms
Pull-ups (bicep concentration)
BB Curls
Seated DB Curl
Dips
Decline Tri DB Ext
Rope Tricep pull downs
Abs

Day Three Legs
Squat
Hack Squat
Leg Ext
Deadlift
Leg Press
Leg Curl

Day 4 Shoulders
Military Press
Upright Row
Lateral Raises
Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise
Abs

I am going to keep the cardio, maybe cut a day or two out. I want a perfect on my PFT, which may conflict with my other goals. Since I will just eat like crazy now, clean, the cardio will hopefully help keep fat to a minimum. As for my protein intake, again, a lot of conflicting advice. Some say 1-1.5 grams per kg, others say 1 gram per lean muscle mass. Other says 1 gram per pound, others as much as two. Some scientific data says too much is just wasted. Its even within this website that some of the contradictions happen. So I shot for the medium. If anyone can enlighten me, that would be great.

Dont forget to eat as soon as possible after morning PT. That 3 mile run is inviting catabolism(spelling). Not saying that 30 mins of steady state two times a weak is going to ruin all your gains but you obviously want to hold onto as much muscle as possible.

Also the big thing with the protein is making sure that every time you eat you consume it. I dont know what the ideal amount is per pound or none of that but having it at every meal helps quite a bit.

Thanks for the advice everyone. I’m glad I posted because it spurred me to do more reading. I was a little off base with the diet, well a lot. I am upping protein to 250 g a day, give or take. I am going to shoot for 3,500 calories a day. That’s about 500 over. I should hopefully see something between that and the new program I’ll do, with some specifics still to be worked out.

If I am not mistaken, you do a program for roughly two months before changing something up? Do I understand that correctly? Now, does it have to be a major over haul or just some tweaking here or there? Thanks.

[quote]cr3do wrote:
If I am not mistaken, you do a program for roughly two months before changing something up? Do I understand that correctly? Now, does it have to be a major over haul or just some tweaking here or there? Thanks.[/quote]

No. it does not depend on how long you are on it. just continue running the program until you see gains stalling. as for changing program, a simple tweak such as changing the order of exercises might suffice.

J

[quote]hungry4more wrote:
cr3do, unless you’re in pretty damn bad shape, it’s quite difficult to get stronger and faster at a PFT (assuming you’re a devil like myself, because of the 3 miles) at the same time. Once you start approaching your max weight limit for your height and beyond, it gets tougher and tougher to have a “fast” run time. For me, I don’t even worry about it. I max out pullups and crunches no problem, and completing the run makes that an automatic 1st class PFT.

But I’m an airwinger…so I can do that. [/quote]

What does this mean? Are you Officer or Enlisted?

I thought you needed Max Pull-ups, Max Sit-ups, and at least a 21 minute 3 mile run to be considered? At least for Officer?

I’m enlisted…What I mean is, int he airwing, they generally (not counting aircrew) aren’t anal about people having 285+ PFTs. Now, I have a very good CFT…but PFT, not so much…I’ve never been good at long distance running. 3 miles is the edge of what I’ll do somewhat comfortably. 4-5 miles, stupid to me. 6-7 miles, ridiculous. Haven’t gone beyond that…and never really intend to. Pointless.

I’m only doing this one enlistment before I get a normal civilian job, and 100% pursue my lifting ambitions…so making myself look perfect on paper with my PFT isn’t a high priority…just keeping it above average works for me.

I have made quite a bit of changes to my routine and diet. As far as I can tell, everything is in check and looks a lot better.

Sunday (Chest/Back)
Bench Press (4x8)
Pull-up (4x8)
Incline Dumbbell (3x8)
Bent Over Row (3x8)
Decline Dumbbell Press (3x8)
Back Extensions (3x10)

Monday (Arms)
Chin ups (4x8)
Barbell Curls (3x8)
Seated Curls (3x8)
Dips (4x10)
Decline Dumbbell Tricep Ext. (3x8)
Rope Pull Downs (3x8)
Abs

Wednesday (Legs)
Squats (4x8)
Romanian Deadlift (4x8)
Hack Squat (3x8)
Leg Press (3x8)
Leg Ext. (3x8)
Leg Curl (3x8)

Thursday
Military Press (4x8)
Arnold Press (3x8)
Lying Lateral Raise (3x8)
Upright Rows (3x8)
Shrugs (3x10)
Abs

I am going to keep Cardio, but only 3 or 4 days a week. Typically early in the morning (never longer than 30 min) after eating a little followed by my breakfast. In terms of diet, I have upped my protein to about 300 g a day. I try to keep fat intake to about 110 g, and Carbs at 475g. Beyond that, I am trying to consume anywhere from 4,000-4,500 calories a day, depending on activity. I currently weigh 205, at about 17% body fat. I feel like I am stuffing my face all day, so I am concerned about crazy fat gain. Any comments on that? Any other insights would be appreciated. Thanks.

Your first lift should be heavier, compound lift and less reps. So more like 6x4, 5x5, 4x6, etc…

I think it’s good to vary your rep ranges throughout your work out though, but try to get that first set nice and heavy.

I would recommend not doing Chin ups on your Monday. I know you have read all over that they are great for your biceps, and they are, but you are already doing pullups on Sunday. These exercises are too similiar to do on back to back days in 4X8.

Or you could just switch the order of your workouts.

Yeah, do that. Do legs on Monday instead, arms on Thursday and shoulders on Wednesday. Gives your upper body a break after you just did your chest/back.

Also, unless you are doing weighted pullups/chinups, you might be better off picking a number, say fifty, and do fifty pullups in as many sets as it takes. Otherwise you are limiting yourself if you are capable of doing over 8 pullups but are limiting yourself for the sake of keeping with the 4X8 training.

Your routine isn’t bad, much better than the first you posted.
Let me know if you need help with your PFT or whatever. I used to smoke those tests back in the day.

Good luck.

If your going to lift 4 days/week, you might want to consider doing 2 lowerbody days, split into hip (think deadlift) and quad (think squats)dominant days, and 2 upper body days split in a similiar (push/pull) fashion. Unless you are specifically trying to bring up your upper body or whatever. (I don’t want to confuse you or anything, just get in there and bust your balls and you will make progress. Don’t sweat the small stuff…yet.)

Also, 4,000-4,500 calories is too much if your trying to lose weight/body fat. I’d cut back on carbs, focusing on eating them mainly before/after your weight training sessions, and limiting them otherwise. 300 g of protein is on the high end, but it won’t make you fat if your getting it from clean sources.

There are a million ways to do workout splits. The most important thing is that you stick to whatever you decide to do, and you keep track of your progress. If you quit growing/getting stronger, do something different.

At least you had the balls to ask for help.

I’ve thought about the whole calorie intake, and I had to pick a goal. Gain lean muscle mass OR lose fat, I couldn’t have it both ways. I went with gain lean muscle mass, at least for the next several months and just see what happens. So I based those figures off the Massive Eating articles.

Of course they should be closer to 5,000, but I was a pussy and lowered them. Plus I have been completely full since I upped it. So that’s why I ask, just to see if I am on the right track to add muscle mass with as little fat gain as possible. I am going to monitoring it. I have read that it is about 2 pds of muscle a month one can grow under optimal circumstances, so would like 3 to 4 pounds be what I should look for on the scale a month? Again, I realize that is under optimal circumstances.

For the most part, everything is clean. Fruits, vegetables, chicken, eggs, oats, granola, cottage cheese, whey protein, yogurts, and I am currently doing this mass gainer. There are maybe three meals a week where I don’t have real control over what is put in front of me, but I figure everyone gets cheat meals, so it all probably balances out in the end.

I am not going to be a professional, so… Oh and pre workout I have been eating a Turkey Sandwich and after this Mass Gainer. Most of my carb intake has been morning and pre/post workout meals (I workout around 3-4). Not whole lot after that. Other than that there isn’t a whole lot to say.

Thanks for the advice on the legs, I will move them to Monday. I had the same thought myself about the pulls and chins back to back. I will up them to 50 rather than limiting myself. So I’ll do 5 sets of 10. I also should mention that I do stagger the weights, starting lower and finishing higher.

Thanks for the advice. I’ll look at playing around with the number of sets.